Beloved Disney’s Animal Kingdom Show Has Come to an End

Tree of Life
Credit: Disney

Disney Parks are constantly changing and evolving as they bring new and exciting experiences to Guests visiting from around the world. Unfortunately, one side effect of things changing around the theme parks and Resorts, is losing iconic attractions, shops, and restaurants that Guests have enjoyed for years.


Credit: V Mills

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom has undergone several major changes throughout the years and several more updates could be on the way. Primeval Whirl, the controversial roller coaster in DinoLand U.S.A. closed permanently in 2020. And while the tracks have been entirely removed, only an empty space remains as Disney has not yet announced what, if anything, will take its place. (The company has, however, shared some “blue sky” ideas for what could potentially take over DinoLand if the area were to be rethemed.)

Rivers of Light provided evening entertainment in this Disney Park in place of a traditional fireworks show from 2017 to March 15, 2020 when the Walt Disney World Resort closed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rivers of Light did not return when the Parks reopened later that year, but new offerings arrived at the Park in time for Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

Rivers of Light

Credit: Disney

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Along with removing these attractions, Animal Kingdom added new updates for the 50th-anniversary celebration, including Disney KiteTails (which has already ended) and Tree of Light Nighttime Awakenings to go along with the new Beacons of Magic lighting shows on all four Disney Park icons.

Earlier this week, Disney removed showtimes for the Tree of Life awakenings from its official website leading fans to question whether or not the show would be coming to an end. As of this writing, the lighting show has also been removed from the 50th-anniversary page of Disney’s official website.

Tree of Life Awakenings

Credit: Disney

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The change comes as Disney fans continue using social media to voice frustrations with Animal Kingdom’s early closures since the Resort reopened during the pandemic. While Animal Kingdom has historically closed much earlier than the other Disney Parks, the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar changed its operating hours as the bioluminescence design of the theme park land was a major draw for Guests to experience the Park after dark. Moreover, the Tree of Life awakenings (which predated Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebrations) and the now-closed Rivers of Light show provided evening entertainment for Guests prior to the pandemic.

Of course, it is possible that Disney will rename the lighting show or reopen it with a new look after “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” officially comes to an end this month, but no announcement has been made supporting this so far.

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."