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Light and water show opening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom April 22

The "Rivers of Light" show will combine live performances, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery.
The "Rivers of Light" show will combine live performances, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. Disney Parks

“Rivers of Light,” a sophisticated light and water show featuring animal spirit guides, will open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 22, Earth Day and the park’s 18th anniversary, Disney announced Wednesday.

“Rivers of Light,” which has been in the planning and construction stages for more than three years, will be an extravaganza of water screens, moving fountains, light projections and other elements. It will center on an ancient lantern festival, with storytellers on lantern vessels who bear gifts of light and summon spirit guides — a tiger, turtle, elephant and great horned owl. The show will be set on Discovery River in the Asia section of the park. Here’s a Disney video about the attraction.

The show is one of several developments starting on April 22 that will give Disney World’s youngest park — and the one with the shortest hours — a nightlife.

In addition to the light show, Kilimanjaro Safaris will extend the tours into the evening with the addition of special lighting (also, hyenas and African wild dogs will join the animals on the safari trail). And the Tree of Life at the center of the park will come to life each night with music, dance, animal spirits and enchanted fireflies.

The hours won’t be consistent — closing times will differ according to the season (the park’s online calendar has not been updated yet) — but a Disney spokeswoman said closing time will be later than it is now.

A new section of the park themed after the movie Avatar and its land of Pandora, is under construction and scheduled to open in 2017.

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