When we heard that they were bringing nighttime attractions to The Animal Kingdom, there was rejoicing in our house. David and I have often vocalized our feelings that The Animal Kingdom, while wonderfully themed, and containing several amazing attractions, felt unfinished. It lacked, for us at least, the magic that the other parks had. We knew though, that nighttime hours and attractions, would go a long way in changing that. We are firm believers that all Disney Parks are better at night, and we hoped that The Animal Kingdom would be no exception. As of right now, there are several things being offered as nighttime entertainment in this park, with more that will be added (such as Rivers of Light), until Avatar Land finally opens. This is a guide to what is currently there.
YOU CAN NOW RIDE SAFARIS AT NIGHT!! This is a bit of a good news, bad news situation. The darker it gets, the less animals you will see, but there are certain animals that are more active later in the day. We recommend a sunset safari (grab a Fastpass!), for amazing lighting, and hopefully, seeing animals, like lions and zebras, that are a little more active later in the day. The safaris did add extra lighting that they turned on, which we have mixed feelings on.
You can ride Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids at night now! This really only impacted us for Expedition Everest, because we always leave Kali River Rapids feeling like we’ve done a rinse cycle in a washing machine. Expedition Everest is another one that’s both cool at night, or during sunset, and we recommend experiencing it at both times.
The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic
The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic is the interim show that was invented because of the difficulties that arose with Rivers of Light. What are those difficulties? No one knows exactly. We’ve heard every kind of rumor, from sinking floats, to problems with a GPS tracking system. All we know for certain is that the show is indefinitely delayed, our hearts are broken, and we have The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic in the meantime. We had mixed feelings about show. We enjoyed it, and thought it was well done, especially considering the fact that they had a month to do it. If you go into it, thinking of it as a stage show, like ‘Beauty and The Beast’ at Hollywood Studios, you will be happy with it, and think it’s great. If you go into it expecting it to be a nighttime spectacular, like Fantasmic, you will be disappointed. We didn’t wait in line for the show, and didn’t have a Fastpass. We got incredibly lucky, walked up, and a very nice Cast Member allowed us to stand in a good viewing spot that wasn’t being used. I did comment to David that I would have been disappointed if I had stood hours in the sun waiting for the show, or had done a dining package. I enjoyed the show for what it was though, which is basically a retelling of The Jungle Book, with fountains, dancers, singing, and stationary floats.
Discovery Island Carnivale:
We enjoyed this offering more than we thought we would. The sound of drums, and dancers (including dancers on stilts!), make their way through the streets, creating a procession. The costumes are beautiful, and colorful, and the music is super fun. All in all, we recommend catching one of the shows.
Tree of Life Awakenings:
This is the highlight of the night time attractions at The Animal Kingdom. For starters, now the Tree of Light, is lit up, sparkly, and dazzling, like all the other park icons are at night, Secondly, every ten minutes or so, the tree comes to life, with animations, and stories, told across the trunk. It’s truly magical to behold, and in our opinion, the best part of The Animal Kingdom being open at night.
Tiffins is The Animal Kingdom’s first signature restaurant (which we will have a full review of later), but just know, we’re giving it a 10 out of 10. The menu might look a little adventurous for some, but give this phenomenal restaurant, and adjoining lounge, a chance. Not only is the food and drinks amazing, but the restaurant is full of atmosphere and detail.
All in all, we’re happy with what’s happening at The Animal Kingdom, and excited for the future of this park. When Rivers of Light finally debuts, and Avatar Land opens, we think it will give this park a complete, ‘She’s All That’, make-over, finally breaking the curse of the half day park.