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Animal Kingdom | #AwakenSummer

If you are headed to Walt Disney World over the next few months be prepared to Awaken Summer with an incredible lineup of new attractions and experiences that will debut this summer across all four Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond! There is so much to tell you, so I’m breaking the news down into parts. You can read about #AwakenSummer at Magic Kingdom here, and at Epcot here.

Today is Earth Day, and it is also the day, 18 years ago, that Animal Kingdom opened to the public. I felt that it was fitting to share the Awaken Summer news at Animal Kingdom today! I love Animal Kingdom, but it’s always been a day park – shutting as early as 6pm. With the new things coming to the park though, it’ll be a “full day” park, and I’m looking forward to seeing the Tree of Life at night!

I am super excited about all of the new things coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom – this park seems to be getting a lot of attention this summer, and I can’t wait to be able to experience it all!

Tree of Life - Disney's Animal Kingdom

Nightfall brings more mystery and majesty to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park as guests discover rich new experiences under the stars. Whether riding Kilimanjaro Safaris at sunset, rollicking aboard rafts on Kali River Rapids at twilight, dancing alongside African performers in Harambe, or reveling in a live musical celebration of Disney’s new hit film The Jungle Book, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom can enjoy the park’s captivating new vibe and tone when it expands its offerings with extended hours and enhanced entertainment, scheduled to begin Memorial Day Weekend.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is such a majestic and beautiful park,” said George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort, “With new experiences and new ways to experience favorite attractions, nighttime at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be a can’t-miss experience for Walt Disney World guests.

The Tree of Life Awakens

The theme park’s iconic Tree of Life will undergo extraordinary “awakenings” throughout the evening as the animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment. High-tech projections of nature scenes take on a magical quality as they appear to dramatically emanate from within the Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life Awakens

Kilimanjaro Safaris after Dark

Each evening, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris daytime experience is artfully bathed in the glow of sunset with special lighting allowing guests to explore this attraction well into the night. During the expedition, guests can now encounter the nighttime behavior of the wildlife and better tune in to the unique vocalization of the animals. Plus, there are two new species to discover: African wild dogs and hyenas.

Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark

Harambe Wildlife Parti

When the sun sets, the popular Village of Harambe will become a hot spot with the new Harambe Wildlife Parti. Here, “party animals” can dance alongside a variety of entertainers and local street musicians, and enjoy the lively rhythms of African music. Guests can also partake in exotic foods and libations, and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants in the vibrant marketplace.

Harambe Wildlife Parti

Discovery Island Carnivale

The spirited community of Discovery Island has come together to celebrate their love of the natural world with the Discovery Island Carnivale. This nightly experience will captivate guests with lively music, jubilant dance, vibrant costumes, stilt walkers and tasty culinary creations — winding from one end of the island to the other.

Discovery Island Carnivale


Tiffins, a new restaurant set to open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2016, will celebrate the art of traveling and include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas. Open for both lunch and dinner, Tiffins’ menu will feature a diverse menu drawing from places that inspired the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Indian English word “tiffin” means a midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling.

Tiffins at Disney's Animal Kingdom

New Adventures with Favorite Attractions

Most attractions remain open at nightfall, and will shine like never before. At sundown, Kali River Rapids will reveal mysterious twists and turns throughout the rainforest with dramatic and drenching fun. Expedition Everest thrills adventurers as it lurches forward and backward through the icy peaks of the Himalayas. At night, the majestic mountain challenges trekkers to an evening ride revealing breathtaking views of the Animal Kingdom canopied by starlight. Amidst the colorful midway games at Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama in DinoLand U.S.A., the thrills turn up
aboard the zany Triceratop Spin or Primeval Whirl under the lights.

Expedition Everest

The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

For the summer, Discovery River becomes the stage for music and pageantry in a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book. The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic is a live show filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.

More Magic to Come with “Rivers of Light”

The nighttime will grow even more magical with the premiere of the majestic nighttime jewel, “Rivers of Light.” This illuminating musical experience – currently in development with a premiere date to be announced soon – will celebrate the magic of animals, humans and the natural world with a blend of performers, floating lanterns and theatrical animal imagery. The Disney creative team collaborated with the award-winning filmmakers at Disney nature to bring never-before-seen footage, telling dramatic and compelling stories from the animal world to the show.

On the natural stage of Discovery River, guests will marvel as a timeless custom comes to life before their eyes in a stirring performance. The ceremony begins with the arrival of a pair of mystical hosts, two complementary forces who come to the river bearing gifts of light. They set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels, engaging in a dramatic dance of water and light to summon the animal spirits. With these storytellers as guides, the wonders of “Rivers of Light” unfold, building to a magnificent finale with bursts of light as animal images soar to the heavens–signifying the ancient belief that when animals passed from one world to another they danced in the sky and became beautiful rivers of light.

I REALLY hope that this will have premiered by the time we go in September – it’s already been put back. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will arrive in the summer, in time for our trip!

Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom