This Nighttime Show Is Returning Soon to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to some of the most beloved shows at the Walt Disney World Resort. From Festival of the Lion King to Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond, and even It’s Tough to Be a Bug, this Disney Park is packed with performances for Guests of all ages and interests.

While most of the shows at Disney’s Animal Kingdom have been contained within indoor theaters, live musical performances can be found all around the Park. And in the past, Guests have been able to take in shows like the now-closed Rivers of Light, Tree of Life Nighttime Awakenings, and Disney KiteTails (set to end later this month).


Credit: Disney

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In terms of evening entertainment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, fans have been hoping to see the return of Rivers of Light over the Discovery River Lagoon. The show, which has not been performed since Disney Parks closed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, added some extra magic to the theme park that for years had been lacking in evening entertainment.

Unfortunately, we do not have an update on if or when Rivers of Light will return so far, but we do have some exciting news on another nighttime performance that has been missing from Animal Kingdom: The Tree of Life Nighttime Awakenings.

Tree of Life Awakenings

Credit: Disney

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The Tree of Life Awakenings have been off the calendar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom since this April simply because the Park was not open late enough for the lighting effects to take place with it still being daylight. But now as we get into fall, Guests closing out the Park in the evenings will once again be able to gather in front of the Tree of Life on Discovery Island after dark for one of Disney’s most underrated nighttime performances.

According to Disney’s website, the Tree of Life Awakenings will return on October 1, 2022 beginning at 7:45 p.m. Rather than taking place at the one set time, 7:45 is the start time for the Awakenings in general, which will run off and on until the Park closes.

In the past, specific awakenings were shown for the holiday season alongside others that featured favorite Disney characters from The Lion King (1994), and The Jungle Book (1967), along with other classic Disney animated films and inspiration from lands in the Park.

Tree of Life Awakenings

Credit: Disney

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Disney’s official description for the Tree of Life awakenings reads:

A Mesmerizing Nighttime ExperienceFlickering fireflies magically appear and stir to life the animal spirits in the tree’s towering trunk—bringing to light a dazzling visual display swarming with color and animated imagery.

Gaze upon a young doe embarking upon a thrilling journey. Behold love blossoming between a pair of hummingbirds. Spy a sly fox spreading gifts of love among the denizens of a wintry forest.

A feast for the eyes, each revelation celebrates the eternal balance and harmony that exists in all living things, big or small, and is sure to inspire and delight your whole family tree.

Don’t miss the Tree of Life Awakenings during your next “late night” trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and be sure to check back here on Disney Tips for all the latest updates out of the Walt Disney World Resort.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."