Animal Kingdom’s “Rivers of Light” show by Bill Iadonisi

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Animal Kingdom’s “Rivers of Light” show by Bill Iadonisi

Today, the most anticipated land ever to open at Walt Disney World is Pandora, World of Avatar. This astonishing land is based on the James Cameron’s blockbuster film Avatar. This land is a recreation of the explanatory moon, Pandora, and with the uber talents of Disney Imagineers and craftsmen, Guests will experience bioluminescent plants, floating mountains and two major attractions, the Na’vi River Journey and the Avatar Flight of Passage ride, where Guests will climb aboard a Banshee and experience flying through canyons and river areas.

But another amazing bit of magic and technical wizardry is now playing at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. For many years now, Animal Kingdom was lacking a nighttime parade or show. Fireworks were not an option because of the Animals. But a new attraction was first announced in October, 2013 along with the World of Avatar as part of the parks expansion strategies. This new light show was based on the same technology as Disneyland’s “World of Color” and to a much lesser extent, Hollywood Studio’s Fantasmic. The visual spectacular will utilize water mist screens, fog, light, floating lanterns, live performers and amazing projection mapping; where animals run across the trees at the far end of the lagoon. It was also to and encompass the park's Tree of Life into the show.

It was set to debut on April 22nd, 2016 which was also the parks’ 18 anniversary and Earth Day. But fraught with many technical problems, the premiere date could not be met. A media event was shown a small portion of the show on April 19th of 2016, when it was also announced that a substitute show, “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” would fill in until Rivers of Light was ready.

Some of the technical problems were floating lanterns which were intended to glide around the lagoon during the show. As they moved around, they were designed to arrange themselves into different shapes in answer to a Shaman’s summons; changing colors and into different shapes. They were expected to be an essential part of the show. The problem was that the Imagineers could not get the guidance systems to properly sync, so that portion of the show was eliminated, however the Shaman’s part in the boats are still part of the scene. With some of the other tech problems removed, the show’s running time was reduced from 22 minutes to approximately 15. But despite this, the show remains a stunning and visual treat for all. The lighted floats and boats with the live performers are breathtaking, and you can see animals running on the trees across the lagoon.

With all this said, the only true was to experience this show in its full technical glory is to see it live. No video pictures will do it justice. Even so, I have included some pics of the show for your enjoyment, and perhaps a bit of a tease to get you out here! Enjoy!


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