Disney has informed cast members that the Rivers of Light show and Primeval Whirl attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are now “permanently” closed. In addition, Stitch’s Great Escape at the Magic Kingdom will also be considered “permanently” closed.
Rivers of Light was a highly-anticipated nighttime show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that debuted in early 2017. Unfortunately, technical issues and unmet guest expectations caused the show to be viewed as a disappointment despite some impressive effects. Disney tinkered with the show multiple times, but they’ve ultimately decided to cut this nighttime offering from the park. What will become of the large seating areas that were built specifically for a nighttime show?
Primeval Whirl has had its own technical issues over the past year or two, resulting in intermittent operations. Recently, guests noticed the attraction was removed from the printed park maps. Rumors suggested it and the entire DinoLand U.S.A. area could be transformed into a new theme at some point in the future.
Stitch’s Great Escape has been in seasonal operation for years and has primarily been used as a meet and greet location during special events. Multiple rumors have suggested a new attraction could take its place, but those plans have never moved forward. Effectively, Stitch’s Great Escape has been closed for years and this announcement feels like more of a formality.
Perhaps the only surprise here is the permanent closure of the Rivers of Light show. While underwhelming, the show was capable of retaining guests who may have otherwise left Animal Kingdom early. Disney was counting on keeping guests at Animal Kingdom longer, both to maximize the park’s operations and to take some of the strain off of the other parks and their nighttime entertainment. But, current conditions have cut all of the nighttime shows at Walt Disney World and Disney must be preparing for a future where their expected crowds don’t warrant a nighttime offering at Animal Kingdom.