Spring Break at Walt Disney World: Closing Down Animal Kingdom – Daffy Does Disney

In today’s installment of Daffy Does Disney, I take advantage of the changing face of Animal Kingdom by taking a different approach to a day there than would have been wise in the past. Central to the change this time around is the new nighttime spectacular, “Rivers of Light.” Then join me again for a renamed daily wrap-up as I review the best and worst of my third day in the parks.


Posted on May 8, 2017, in Animal Kingdom, Daffy Does Disney, theme parks, travel, Trip Report, Walt Disney World and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Did the afternoon break work for you? Animal Kingdom isn’t the most accessible park on property.

    The feedback I have been getting from the Disney fans I know who have seen it is that Rivers of Light is a bit of a disappointment. I am hearing it unfavorably compared to the night-time shows at other parks. “Once was enough” is a common refrain.


    • daffystardust

      If I had made it into that 3pm showing of Finding Nemo I might have continued to hang out in the park, but as it was, the afternoon break worked out just fine. In the past, many people have labeled Animal Kingdom as a ‘half-day’ park. I’d say that for the time being, it’s become an ideal split-day park IF you’re not trying to do the stage shows and Rafiki’s Planet Watch. First-timers who want to try to see almost everything will continue to be able to experience it as a full day park. This will, of course, be more true for repeat visitors once Pandora opens.

      I’ve never been one to be emotionally attached to nighttime spectaculars, so maybe I don’t understand the huge love some people have for them. I enjoy them and see them every once in a while, but there’s not a single fireworks-type show that I think of as a must-do. Based on that relationship with the nighttime spectaculars, I really enjoyed Rivers of Light and will probably go back to see it again. But, of course, that might not happen on my very next trip because I’ll likely be very involved in experiencing Pandora for the first time.

      Disney is hoping that Rivers of Light will help spread the crowds around the park at night, so if most audiences have lukewarm reactions to it, they might end up making significant changes to it sooner rather than later. Adding Disney characters to the show would appear to be one of their more likely approaches.


      • I’m sure you have already heard the rumors that characters will eventually be added to Rivers of Light. It’s a quick and easy fix which always appeals to Disney. And odds are, most of the crowds who are underwhelmed by the current show would approve of such a move. I won’t be surprised when/if it happens.

        If possible, I’m even less attached to the big nightly “spectaculars” than you are. We generally consider them to be something to be avoided if at all possible due to the crowds they draw. We also tend to be early risers and don’t spend a lot of time in the parks after dark. The ideal approach is to do what you did and experience some attractions if the park remains open after one of these shows. But that doesn’t happen all that often and when it does we’re usually too tuckered out to carry on. As a result, I have never seen Wishes or Illuminations.

        I plan to check out Rivers of Light in whatever form it is in whenever I next visit Animal Kingdom (assuming there is a next visit to Animal Kingdom). I also plan to check out the nighttime show at Universal despite tepid reviews from everyone I know who has seen it (including your assessment). But these things are never priorities for us. They are the first thing to be cut from an ambitious touring schedule when batteries start draining faster than expected. An afternoon break definitely helps in that respect.


        • daffystardust

          I repeated the afternoon break approach my next day at Epcot and it worked even better. I probably would not have done so if I hadn’t had most of my arrival day also dedicated to that park, but it resulted in a huge power surge for my evening in the park. You’ll find out more about that late next week (yep, my exploits in Epcot will stretch out quite a bit).

          My ability to rise early, take breaks absolutely whenever I want, and stay out as long as my own energy will allow is mostly due to my status as a solo traveler. I can’t imagine I’d take my family to many nighttime spectaculars if I had kids in tow. Maybe one here and there, but kids need sleep even more than old people and without a big personal drive to see these shows it makes perfect sense to cut the day short and head back to the resort. This all leads to increased need for more amenities in those resorts, which means a much more expensive trip.


        • Don’t I know it!! 🙂


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