Harambe Nights party and Rivers of Light show coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by Banks Lee

Rivers of Light show at Animal kingdom

All-new entertainment experiences will light up the night in the years ahead at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We have details on a new summer event and a brand new nighttime spectacular on Discovery River.

“Rivers of Light” (pictured above) promises to be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. The show will come to life on the broad, natural stage of the Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. From the concept art above, it looks to be similar to the World of Color show at Disney California Adventure or Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No starting date has been announced, but we don’t expect it to start until 2015 or later.


This summer, Harambe Nights, Animal Kingdom’s first-ever ticketed special event will welcome guests every Saturday from June 7 through Aug. 9, 2014. It will feature theatrical storytelling, dining, live music and dance, amid the fun of an immersive street party.

It begins with a welcome reception in the park’s Harambe Village where savory appetizers and a selection of wines and beers are on the menu.

Lion King Concert in the Wild Concept art

Soon after, guests will find their seats waiting at the brand-new Harambe Theatre, where lighting, scenic pieces and projection exclusive to this production will transport them to the African savanna. (This theater will be the new home of the Festival of the Lion King show when it returns this June.) “The Lion King Concert in the Wild” 55-minute show brings the humor and heart of the story to life by blending excerpts from the Disney classic film with stage theatrics. Each week, a celebrity narrator backed by a live orchestra will join a company of singers and dancers to recreate the drama of an African story circle. The guest narrator adds emotional perspective to the original tale inspired, in part, by African folklore and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

Scheduled to appear:
June 7 – Viola Davis: “The Help,” “Ender’s Game”
June 14 – (To be announced)
June 21 – Montego Glover: “The Following,” “Memphis”
June 28 – David Alan Grier: “Porgy & Bess,” “In Living Color”
July 5 – Michael Beach: “ER,” “Third Watch,” “Sons of Anarchy”
July 12 – Harry Lennix: “The Blacklist,” “The Five Heartbeats”
July 19 – Joe Morton: “Scandal,” “American Gangster,” “The Good Wife”
July 26 – Alfre Woodard: “Desperate Housewives,” “Miss Evers Boys”
Aug. 2 – Brian Stokes Mitchell: “Ragtime,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “Glee”
Aug. 9 – Patina Miller: “Pippin,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”

Here’s a look inside the new theater:

First Look at the New Harambe Theatre | Walt Disney World

Harambe Village Street Party

As the show wraps, the celebration continues in Harambe Village to the tune of live Afro-pop rhythms. Dancers, costumed stilt-performers, puppets, popular characters from “The Lion King” and a DJ ratchet up the fun and encourage guests to participate in the street party.

The celebration will feature a culinary nod to Africa with multiple buffet stations of seasoned dishes for pairing with a selection of beers, wines and specialty beverages, all included in the event admission. Soft drinks and water also are offered. Sweet bites of gourmet desserts under the stars and a special farewell experience will deliver an ending to a magical evening.

Exclusive Lion King-themed merchandise and collectibles will be available to Harambe Nights guests. A limited-release case for iPhones 4 and 5 designed by Disney Design Group artist Randy Noble will feature imagery from “The Lion King,” and a 20th anniversary “The Lion King” puzzle will be offered. Other exclusive merchandise will include art and apparel.

General admission tickets run $119 for ages 10 and up; $79 for ages 9 and under. Premium floor seating tickets run $134 for ages 10 and up; $94 for ages 9 and under. The event runs from 7 to 10:30 p.m., and parking is complimentary.

To reserve tickets for Harambe Nights, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call 407-939-1319.


Here’s Disney’s announcement about Rivers of Light and Harambe Nights:

New nighttime experiences announced for Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World

Disney also recently provided this update on the construction of the new Avatar area at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

Update on the construction of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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