Nighttime Experiences At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Are Officially Delayed.

In a shocking turn of events, Disney has announced that the official transformation of Animal Kingdom to an after dark park has been delayed. This is especially surprising, as the  key component of the nighttime experience – Rivers of Light – had previously been given a debut date (April 22, 2016) as well as scheduled cast member preview nights before the official opening date.

Here’s the press release from Disney:

With the expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re excited to give Guests even more opportunities to celebrate the magic of animals and nature as day turns into night. While we’d hoped to debut these offerings on April 22, unfortunately, they will not open as planned on that date as we give the team more time to bring these innovative experiences to life in a way we know will exceed our guests’ expectations.

We’ll share more information about timing on the Disney Parks Blog by mid- to late May.

 

There’s no indication indication if the delays are specifically related Rivers of Light, or other after dark components of the park. However, rumors have persisted that Rivers of Light was experiencing technical difficulties. We find it interesting that the wording implies delays with multiple nighttime offerings in that “they will not open as planned”.

Even more perplexing is that this doesn’t appear to be a slight delay, with only a hint more information coming in about 6 weeks, not an actual opening date.

On the bright side, Disney has released some more information about the Tree of Life awakening that will occur on the Tree of Life each night. The show will feature animal spirits who bring the Tree of Life to life in moments of wonder. In the Awakening, the tree is brought to life in the form of fireflies who surround the tree in magical animations that occur.

The Tree of Life will awaken multiple times each evening and it appears that it will not be a scheduled event, but more of a random happening, remaining active throughout the evening once it awakens for the first time that night. The Awakening will include 2-3 minute animal fables, as well as shorter nature and animal scenes.

Also notable, Guests will be able to see the Awakening in the main hub, but they will not be able to see the show from the back of the Tree of Life.

We’ll continue to follow this this story and post updates as they become available. 

Are you ready to begin planning a Walt Disney World Vacation? In order to save you time, stress, and money we recommend using a travel planner who specializes in Disney vacations. To better serve you and start this process immediately, you can connect with us on Facebook, or request a free no obligation WDW vacation quote. Our services are compensated by Disney, so it’s 100% free with no cost to you.

 

‘Sense Of Africa’ Tour Coming To Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

 

'Sense of Africa' is a brand new tour set to debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Click To Tweet The ‘Sense of Africa’ tour promises a close-up experience with the animals that call the lodge home and their backstage habitats.

This 3.5 hour experience will begin with a private breakfast at Boma before the restaurant opens. In addition to the restaurant’s regular breakfast buffet there will be some exclusive dishes offered. As Guests dine, a cast member from Africa will share stories and explain some details of the restaurant.

Next, the tour participants will journey backstage on a safari truck for some close-up animal encounters. The animals may include giraffe, ostrich and okapi, however the specific details of the encounters haven’t been announced.

Unfortunately, the ‘Sense of Africa’ tour isn’t the most economical experience.

The tour costs $249.99 per person, with a minimum age of 10 years old (a 15% discount is available for Annual Passholders and DVC Members). The tour groups are small, with a limit of 12 guests, Additionally, the tour will only be available on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Reservations are expected to open on April 5, 2016.

Are you ready to begin planning a Walt Disney World Vacation? In order to save you time, stress, and money we recommend using a travel planner who specializes in Disney vacations. To better serve you and start this process immediately, you can connect with us on Facebook, or request a free no obligation WDW vacation quote. Our services are compensated by Disney, so it’s 100% free with no cost to you.

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Tiffins And Nomad Lounge – New Details Released.

 

While much of the buzz at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is centered around the forthcoming debut of Rivers of Light, let’s remember that there’s a new signature dining restaurant and lounge coming to the park in order to help accomodate Guests in search of dinner or drinks. Tiffins and the adjoining Nomad Lounge are the new dining and drinking options opening soon inside the park. There’s hasn’t been an opening date announced by Disney yet, but we expect it to closely coinicide with the debut of Rivers of Light on April 22, 2016. Disney has, however, released some new information regarding Tiffins and the Nomad Lounge:

“Tiffins is the signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, celebrating the culture of design and research that went into creating this unique park,” said Emily O’Brien, Walt Disney Imagineering executive show producer for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

O’Brien describes the interior design as “a gallery you can dine in with artwork that is a direct result of travels to Africa, Asia and South America which influenced the design of the park.” The ideas of the park’s design team, including sketches, photography, architecture and textures, are all presented in a way that is uniquely Disney.

“All the senses are explored and turned into amazing works of art,” said O’Brien. “The galleries, or dining rooms, focus on Asia [Trek Gallery with 74 seats] and Africa [Safari Gallery with 64 seats], and the third [Grand Gallery with 114 seats] pays homage to animal species that the Disney Conservation Fund works to protect.”

The travel-inspired artwork includes a static, three-dimensional piece that features prayer flags blowing in the wind. “As our research team traveled up the high mountains of Nepal, the winds were strong,” explained O’Brien. “The prayer flags are rarely seen hanging, they are always blowing.” This portrayal of the motion is realistically captured in the display which will hang above a corner booth in the Trek Gallery.

“Tiffins is not about a make-believe place, it’s about real people and places,” said O’Brien.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is about the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action, and the adjacent Nomad Lounge brings into focus these core values. With beautiful waterfront views, the lounge focuses on storytelling, and also on guests’ travels, with large banners as “artistic representations” of answers to travel questions written on the perimeter wall. For instance, “what do you always do when traveling” or “what was your most adventurous moment?”

“We’re trying to tell the story of how guests can make a change,” said O’Brien. While the answers of Disney experts are displayed, guests also have the opportunity to purchase a tag that supports the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and to write their own answers to the questions to display above the bar– a way to share their own travel stories “so they can be a part of the story,” said O’Brien.

Tiffins will seat 252 and is located in Discovery Island, next-door to Pizzafari. It will serve both lunch and dinner in a signature restaurant setting. We’ll provide more details on the blog as they become available.

Are you ready to begin planning a Walt Disney World Vacation? In order to save you time, stress, and money we recommend using a travel planner who specializes in Disney vacations. To better serve you and start this process immediately, you can connect with us on Facebook, or request a free no obligation WDW vacation quote. Our services are compensated by Disney, so it’s 100% free with no cost to you.

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Writer’s Stop At Disney’s Hollywood Studios Gets New Life.

Be it the carrot cake cookie, or just a spot to duck out of the hustle and bustle of the park, The Writer’s Stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has long since been a fan favorite. Unfortunately, The Writer’s Stop was listed as one of several locations to be closing around Streets of American on April 2, 2016, as Star Wars Land construction kicks in.

Well, there’s some good news, as Disney has announced that the Writer’s Stop isn’t going to close on April 2 after all. We don’t know how long it will remain open – as it’s being tagged as “for a limited time” – but some new additions seem to show that it isn’t closing anytime soon.

Starting April 3, 2016, Writer’s Stop will be open at 11:30am until 1 hour before the close of the adjacent Sci-Fi Dine-In restaurant. Along with coffee and pastries, pretzels, a new charcuterie and a cheese plate will be available, along with alcoholic beverages.

Additionally, Disney is boosting things on the merchandise side by offering a new range of home and kitchen goods.

Are you ready to begin planning a Walt Disney World Vacation? In order to save you time, stress, and money we recommend using a travel planner who specializes in Disney vacations. To better serve you and start this process immediately, you can connect with us on Facebook, or request a free no obligation WDW vacation quote. Our services are compensated by Disney, so it’s 100% free with no cost to you.

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Rivers Of Light Questions & Answers.

In less than a month Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut a new nighttime show – Rivers of Light. To put this in proper context – Rivers of Light will be what Fantasmic is to Hollywood Studios and Illuminations is to Epcot – an iconic performance associated with one park and providing vacation memories for generations to come. As the anticipation builds for its arrival, let’s take a look at what we know about Rivers of Light to date, question and answer style.

What exactly is “Rivers of Light”?

Here’s the official description from Disney: “Rivers of Light” is a nighttime spectacular unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. The show will magically come to life on the broad, natural stage of the Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. During the show, a pair of mystical hosts come to the river bearing gifts of light and set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels for a dramatic dance of water and light to summon animal spirits. With the storytellers as guides, the wonders of “Rivers of Light” builds to a stunning crescendo.

It’s important to note that there is no mention of fireworks in the show description, as they would undoubtably cause stress to the many species of animals housed inside the park.

When will “Rivers of Light” debut?

The first official presentation will be on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. However, there’s rumors of a few special performances on the two nights leading up to April 22. These have been described as an after hours preview event for an additional fee. It’s unclear if these will be restricted to annual pass holders, DVC members, media and travel industry professionals, or even happen at all. There’s been nothing confirmed by Disney at the time of this post.

How many performances will there be each night?

It’s expected that there will initially be 3 shows each night. A schedule of 2 or 3 shows will likely remain intact throughout the summer in order to meet demand. As with all outdoor shows, weather conditions could result in cancellations.

What time will the shows take place?

Rivers of Light is a nighttime experience, but wether or not that means dusk or absolute dark remains to be seen. When factoring in the longer days of summer the first showing could possibly happen at 8:45, but 9:00 seems more likely.

On the back end, Disney has stated that the park will be open as late as 11:30 on some nights, which seems to suggest 11:00 as the final showtime of the night.

That leaves the second show – which for the sake of crowd turnover would fall evenly between shows one and three – likely 10:00.

Is there a dedicated viewing area?

Yes indeed. A big part of the Rivers of Light construction has been the addition of natural stone like amphitheater around the Discovery River area that will serve as the show’s stage. The whole design and look of the seating is intended to appear as if it’s been around for decades. It’s important to note that in order to fully see and experience the show, Guests will need to be inside the amphitheater. However, elements of the show can be seen – although parts may be obstructed – from outside of the amphitheater seating.

What is the seating capacity?

The amphitheater will reportably have a seating capacity of approximately 5,000. By comparison the seating for Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is approximately 6,900.

Will FastPass+ and Dining Packages be available?

Yes, both are expected. In fact, leaked reports tie dining packages to Tusker House, the soon to open Tiffins and even Flame Tree Bbq. We would expect that Yak and Yeti would also have a dining packages available. However, nothing has been officially announced or confirmed by Disney. It’s also likely that these will not be available initially and will be gradually rolled out.

In regards to FastPass+ the likely scenario is that one show – presumably the last one – would be for walk ups only and thus have no FastPass option.

That’s the basics as of this blog post, but we’ll continue to report on Rivers of Light as more details are confirmed.

Are you ready to begin planning a Walt Disney World Vacation? In order to save you time, stress, and money we recommend using a travel planner who specializes in Disney vacations. To better serve you and start this process immediately, you can connect with us on Facebook, or request a free no obligation WDW vacation quote. Our services are compensated by Disney, so it’s 100% free with no cost to you.

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New “Disney Early Morning Magic” Details.

Well folks, if you thought the previously announced $149 after hours event at Magic Kingdom was ridiculous, then brace yourself for Round 2. Disney is preparing to roll out yet another premium access opportunity at the Magic Kingdom, but this time it will be geared towards the morning. In what Disney is calling “Disney Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland”, Guests will gain early entrance into the park and a chance to experience 3 – and only 3 – popular attractions. As a bonus, breakfast is included.

Here’s the details:

Disney Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland

Fantasyland Fun Before the Park Opens
Make your Walt Disney World mornings more magical than ever with a first-access experience in the park!

Rising with the sun on select mornings, Disney Early Morning Magic gives you the chance to be among the first to enter Magic Kingdom park and experience a trio of Fantasyland attractions: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight.

Plus, in addition to the early-morning fun, you can get your fill of a fantastic breakfast at Pinocchio Village Haus—featuring such scrumptious breakfast fare as:

Chilled juices, coffee and teas
Seasonal fruit and berries
Freshly baked pastries
Cheese and cured meats
Scrambled eggs with assorted toppings
Vegetable frittata
Smoked bacon
Pork and turkey sausages
Fried potatoes with caramelized onions
Mickey Waffles
Available with the purchase of a separate ticket, Disney Early Morning Magic takes place on select dates beginning at 7:45 AM. However, admission is limited—be sure to buy your tickets before it’s too late.

Admission to Disney Early Morning Magic is $69 per adult and $49 per child (tax not included).

Know before you go details:

  • Official check-in will take place near the far left turnstiles of the Main Entrance to Magic Kingdom park beginning at 7:30 AM.
  • Ticketed Guests will receive an event sticker for identification.
  • Starting at 7:45 AM, Guests will be admitted into the park and guided into Fantasyland.
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight are the only attractions that will be operational during this special event.
  • Breakfast will be available at Pinocchio Village Haus from 8:30 AM until 10:00 AM
  • At 9:00 AM, the theme park will open to Guests with standard theme park admission tickets and exclusive attraction access will end.
  • Please note that standard theme park admission tickets are required for this event, in addition to a Disney Early Morning Admission ticket.
  • The number of tickets available is limited. In addition, all tickets are non-refundable, non-transferrable and are only valid for admission during the special event date and hours.
  • All attractions, entertainment and experiences are subject to change without notice.

How does it work?

  • You’ll pass through security check point.
  • You’ll touch your admission ticket or MagicBand with valid park admission (required) at the Mickey touch points.
  • You’ll be given a special sticker to wear that gives you the ride privilege. Guests with early park breakfast will not be given the stickers.
  • You’ll proceed to Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan and / or Winnie the Pooh as often as you like.
  • Regular park guests enter at 9am.

To sum up this event – Guests choosing to pay for this early entry will be given a special sticker to wear, admitted to the park 1 hour and 15 minutes early and given free reign of 3 attractions and provided a breakfast buffet.

There are no dates available at this point, as it will not be a daily option. Likewise, there is no information as to when this offer will be available for purchase. It will not replace Extra Magic Hour for onsite guests and will be available for all guests to purchase.

Are you ready to begin planning a Walt Disney World Vacation? In order to save you time, stress, and money we recommend using a travel planner who specializes in Disney vacations. To better serve you and start this process immediately, you can message us on Facebook, or request a free no obligation WDW vacation quote HERE. Our services are compensated by Disney, so it’s 100% free with no cost to you.

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