Magic Behind the Music: Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Parades & Shows – Rivers of Light

For many years, guests who flocked to Walt Disney World could enjoy their day at the theme parks, but after nightfall, those who remained at three of the four parks could end their day with unique spectacles of spectacular shows. Hollywood Studios had Fantasmic!, Epcot had IllumiNations, and the Magic Kingdom had Wishes. The pyrotechnics and stories of each of these shows left guests in awe and sent them home thinking about their local Independence Day fireworks and saying, “meh.” The only issue was that for guests going to Animal Kingdom, there was no such show. In fact the park routinely closed its gates around sunset every day.

In October 2013, the creative minds of Disney announced that they were about to correct this problem with Pandora, nocturnal safaris, and a new show called Rivers of Light that would help to close each day with a roar.  Rivers of Light was previously on the drawing board as a nighttime parade, but after the success of World of Color at Disneyland Resort, the idea of making another colorful fountain show revived and reimagined the project into what we have today.  Disney, however, was not about to settle for a simple copy or retool of World of Color. They were going to take that concept and “plus it” into a show with programed floats that would move along the water and generate the fountains.  

The show was scheduled to debut on April 22, 2016, coinciding with Earth Day and Animal Kingdom’s 18th Anniversary, but the technological complications involved in getting the floats to work pushed back the opening until February 17, 2017.  Our D-COT track was added to the Jukebox on May 24, 2017 and from that audio alone, members get the ability to hear the story of Rivers of Light: telling of the uniqueness of Earth, the space people and animals share within it, and the underlying message to be good stewards of it. Of course the story is told with great Disney flare as even the “rivers of light” concept is pulled from the aurora borealis (northern lights) in Disney’s animated film, “Brother Bear”.

Our D-COT track has earned a playcount of 1,520 in the relatively short time it has been on the Jukebox. 18 member have made it a favorite and D-COT Supporters have added it to 17 custom playlists. It gets a 4.7/5 average rating with 33 votes.

Rivers of Light may not have made as strong of a name for itself as World of Color at Disneyland, but there is an artistic boldness about it as it steps away from the classic Disney feel of Wishes, Happily Ever After, and Fantasmic! and ventures onto untrodden ground in its story, feel, and effects; giving Walt Disney World guests something unique to look forward to as they end their day at every theme park.

RocketEAR99 is one of our contributors that specializes in Disney music in the series we call "Magic Behind the Music". You will find some fun and exciting information about the music you can listen to in the jukebox.


  1. What bothers me about the track on the site is that it’s sped up at certain parts. It drives me bonkers that it’s not the original speed!

  2. I didn’t know that the concept was pulled from the Northern Lights! That’s awesome!

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