Disney World permanently closes Rivers of Light, Primeval Whirl, Stitch’s Great Escape

by Brittani Tuttle

We have received confirmation from Disney that three experiences are now permanently closed at Walt Disney World Resort.

disney world

The nighttime spectacular “Rivers of Light” and the Wild Mouse coaster Primeval Whirl at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as Stitch’s Great Escape at Magic Kingdom, are now officially, permanently closed.

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Both Stitch’s Great Escape and Primeval Whirl were closed and on seasonal operating status, though the reimagined “Rivers of Light: We Are One” was still performing prior to the COVID-19 closure of Walt Disney World.

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No word was shared on any possible replacements coming to these locations. At least with Primeval Whirl, a clone does exist at Fun Spot Kissimmee:

Power Trip Coaster ride-through at Fun Spot America in Kissimmee

You can relive the magic of these now-closed experiences in our videos below:

Rivers of Light Animal Kingdom nighttime show preview
360° Ride on Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Adam July 17, 2020 - 11:52 am

Stop calling the horrible rivers of light show “spectacular” or “magic”. It’s the worst mass audience live show ever created. The show runner for this mess should be fired.

A July 17, 2020 - 2:46 pm

We loved it!

Debby July 17, 2020 - 3:47 pm

Loved all three we will miss them , they made great memories, for our huge Family

Ken July 17, 2020 - 4:09 pm

I have to agree with Adam. The show was terrible. I was really disappointed, because the setting for the show has such potential. Such a great setting for a night-time show!

Also, I wish Disney would leave religion out of their stuff. That show was so full of a particular religious worldview that clashes with so many other religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, & Islam. Can’t they just stick with fantasy and make-believe, like with the show Fantasmic, which is awesome; and Illuminations was pretty good? I’m thinking a lot of parents just want to be able to bring their kids to Disney for fun and fantasy without having another religious view shoved down their throats. Disney should be a place free of politics and religion. If they want it to be educational (as I suppose AK is somewhat), the religion should be presented as just that: a particular religious worldview common to certain peoples or geographic regions – but not proclaimed as if it were “gospel truth.”

Karen June 22, 2021 - 10:47 am

Hey Ken,
It sounds like your own worldview keeps you searching for things to be triggered about, finding messages and patterns where there are none. Most people missed any religiosity in the show, let alone felt something was “forced down their throats.” I think I’d take an introspective look at yourself to find out why you think that Disney would do what you’re saying.

Loui B July 17, 2020 - 8:21 pm

Sorry to see Stitch go even though since it hasn’t been running regularly haven’t been able to see it in quite a while. The coaster I was never on since not my type of attraction so won’t miss that. Never found the night time show to really excite me. Thinking they were somewhat limited with noise levels because of the animals and probably prevented them from doing anything with large fireworks which might have helped. Interesting about the religion comment as the few times I saw it never even thought of that. But to be totally free of religion, don’t think that is happening as long as they do Candle light every year. But guess can pick and choose what they wish to see.

Louise Herrick July 18, 2020 - 4:01 am

I’m not surprised about the rides but shocked about Rivers of Light. It hasn’t been there for very many years. First time I saw it I was a bit underwhelmed & decided I liked the gap filling Jungle Book night show better. It was a grower, however, so I’m sad that it’s gone as it helped create that wonderful atmosphere that AK has after dark. I presume the show will eventually be replaced as the stadium would be such a waste otherwise. As for the comment about religion being included….was it? I didn’t notice so it certainly didn’t offend me…

Chris Wood July 20, 2020 - 1:25 pm

I suspect all 3 rides will return, with a more pandering and placating themes that fit into the demands that Disney have more diverse attractions.


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