“We Are One” – The main thread through the new show, “Rivers Of Light” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
After decades of seeing all kinds of extravagant shows at Walt Disney World, I really didn’t know exactly what to expect of this latest new show at Animal Kingdom. I’d seen bits & pieces of it online via YouTube videos and similar. I’d also read varying accounts and reviews about the show.
I headed over to DAK (“Disney’s Animal Kingdom”) with a few cameras and 2-3 lenses in tow. I’d asked a few Cast Member friends of mine where would be the best, most accessible spot to view and shoot from. They suggested the Asia bridge (they were right by the way). There IS a whole new theater (similar to but smaller than the amphitheater at Fantastic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). But I didn’t wanna be a pest to other guests with all my equipment. I also wouldn’t be guaranteed a front row center seat needed to do the type of photographing I wanted to do.
Cut to the show. This particular show has no pyrotechnics due to the animals being in residence at the park and within close proximity to the show area. The whole performance is done via light, music, water and sensory effects (wild animal and nature sound effects etc…). The show is also not the usual whiz, bang, light up the sky type presentation. BUT – what it is – is a beautiful, peaceful show with just enough energy so that it doesn’t fall short of all encompassing artistic beauty. The storytelling narration combined with the different music segments blend perfectly with what’s happening on the water and up in the trees (yes, up in the trees – with exquisite lighting effects). There’s also a ‘water screen’ where projections of various birds and animals give the show an additional dimension for sure. FYI – the music score is all original created just for the show. Its creator is the same person who did the music score for the movie, “Brother Bear.”
All the floats / barges in the water are controlled via GPS remote Control. No cables. No wires. No drivers. The creatures depicted on the floats (see photos herein this blog post) change colors and also match the ‘scene’ happening around them at the time.
Bottom line, this is a must see! If you hear from people that ‘there’s no story line’ or ‘it lacks pizzaz’, pay not attention. This show is NOT supposed to have all that pizzaz, fireworks, lasers etc… It’s a peaceful reminder that we are all one. We are all connected and that we must all work together as stewards of planet earth. Remember, Disney’s Animal Kingdom was created and built to deliver this type of message. DAK sort of became a theme park by default and some demand. But it IS all about life and the need for communion between all living things. “Rivers Of Light” manages to give all visitors a final reminder and message before they leave this park that ‘We Are One’ to hopefully make a difference and instill this important philosophy within the heart and soul upon departure.
Last but not least, a HUGE congratulations and recognition to any and all persons who had anything to do with the creation of Rivers Of Light! Not only did y’all do an above and beyond excellent job, you managed to take and stir up a little Disney of old – you made learning entertaining. That was one of Walt Disney’s methods of mixing education with entertainment making it fun, interesting and for folks of all ages. Kudos!
Peace – Mike T.