Rivers of Light - Natural Beauty Brought to Life in a Whole New Way!

Last week, I got to finally see Rivers of Light! Supposed to have debuted last April, it was exciting to finally be sitting in the theater, waiting for the show to begin. People around me seemed to have the same excited anticipation; "Was it going to be good?" "What is the new feats of technology?" "Please, oh PLEASE, let it be better than the Jungle Book show!"

The atmosphere while waiting felt very....Animal Kingdom; animal sounds and the faint animal shadows passing on the trees in the background with natural sounding music. The water lilies float around the lagoon while you wait for the show to begin and are present throughout the show. 

And then, it begins....

The beginning of the show focuses on how the Earth is the only place where water and light exists and create life. These factors working harmoniously is the driving theme throughout the show, celebrating the wonders of life. 

The boats with the "narrators" flow out first to start the show, and then the large and and gorgeous animal statues that change colors with the water lilies. Everything moves around the lagoon very synchronized. The fountains first coming out of the water lilies leave the audience in awe. The giant water lily comes out and one of my favorite parts of the show was the synchronization routine it does with the smaller flowers. 

The projection screens on both the large curtain and smaller curtains made by the flowers were impressive. These showed scenes of animals running, catching food, taking care of their young and interacting with each other. 

The finale brings the show together by adding fire to the light aspect of the theme. The main water lily combining both water and fire simultaneously shows the harmonious balance. 

I really enjoy the music. Calming, mysterious and triumphant all at the appropriate times. The "We are One" song is meaningful and catchy, reminiscent of the type of song at the end of IllumiNations; "We Go On". I was also reminded of Brother Bear with some of the music performed, especially transitioning into the finale piece. 

My thoughts on the show; It was peaceful, calming and passionate about its message, something that fits very well with the theme of Animal Kingdom. The balance of screen time with the floating objects throughout the show were well organized and the synchronization of all show pieces was fascinating. 

Some things to remember about this show:

  • The show is about 16 minutes in length and there are no backs to the seats. In some seating areas, you are actually not even on a seat, but sitting on "walls" made of stone. There are special handicapped areas on both sides of the theater. 
  • There will be no firework type pyrotechnics, they do not use these in Animal Kingdom due to not wanting to disturb the animals, especially at night.
  • While this show is going on, there are no full-show projections on the Tree of Life. The tree can be seen from Rivers of Light and has a couple moments of interaction with it. Do not try to see the tree projection shows and then walk to the second show (as I definitely tried to do) as you will be sorely disappointed and standing staring at a tree for 15 minutes that is only showing the occasional projected animal movements. 
  • Plan to show up to the show 30-45 minutes in advance to make sure you get a seat closer to the center of the theater; these seats will fill up first and the later you are, the further from center you will be.