Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998. But this past Memorial Day weekend ushered in a whole new era for the park, which is now open through the evening for the first time since the park’s opening date.
So what happens when this…
… turns into THIS?
Join us and find out!
Tree of Life Awakenings
When the sun goes down, the Tree of Life lights up! Visit the front of the Tree (the view from the park entrance) throughout the evening to see the new colors turn into moving projections, sharing beautiful stories of animals like the friendship of the fox and bear.
But the park’s icon isn’t the only thing that’s received a makeover. The Tree of Life Cupcake has been updated to reflect the Tree’s new look when it awakens (at least for the debut of nighttime activities at Animal Kingdom — we’re not sure how long this version will last)!
Harambe Wildlife Parti
Karibuni to the new Harambe Wildlife Parti!
Though beautiful and energetic music performances have always been part of village of Harambe in the Africa section of the park (thanks to the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe and other musicians), additional acts are now part of the entertainment options taking place on the stage across from the Dawa Bar. In the earlier portions of the evening, you can catch Kora Tinga Tinga – a solo performance of the Kora, a large hand-crafted African harp.
Though the music is slower and relaxed, guests are still encouraged to dance along with the music from this beautiful instrument.
And speaking of dancing along, you can do the same with the upbeat songs of the The Karibu Sisters!
Finally, the Harambe Village Acrobats perform a mixture of dance and gymnastics that may have been my favorite act of all. Exciting and energetic, this is a must-see performance.
Don’t forget, though, that along with these new performances comes a chance to experience an Animal Kingdom classic in a whole new way now that Kilimanjaro Safaris offer nighttime tours!
Personally, I didn’t see as many animals as I typically do during the daytime safaris (and, as always with live animals, experiences will vary). But, for the first time, I got to see the lions walking around as opposed to their typical daytime napping hours, along with the addition of hyenas. And the darkness lends an air of mystery to the whole thing… especially when you’re near the crocodiles (YIKES!). It’s almost like a new attraction, even if you’ve experienced the Safaris several times before.
But it’s time to say “Kwaherini” to Africa as we move to…
Discovery Island Carnivale
Like the Harambe Wildlife Parti, the Discovery Island Carnivale offers additional entertainment on the stage across from Flame Tree Barbecue. The Viva Gaia Street Band is joined by dancers and stilt performers ready to lead the guests in a party!
If all that partying makes you hungry, grab some Cheeseburger Egg Rolls at this new snack cart that only comes out in the evenings.
In between the Carnivale show, you can enjoy the Discovery Island Serenatas, a solo musician playing the Paraguayan Harp.
Much like the Harambe Wildlife Parti entertainment, it is so fun to see and hear the variety of acts and instruments in Discovery Island.
While you’re there, you can also pick up a new souvenir cup at Pizzafari, honoring the live action film version of The Jungle Book.
But that’s not the last you’ve seen of that beloved story…
Jungle Book: Alive with Magic
You may cap off your visit by catching Animal Kingdom’s first ever nighttime show, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic!
Featuring lots of Bollywood-style dancing and live music in addition to well-loved songs from the classic animated version of The Jungle Book, the show also celebrates the 2016 live action version of the film with projections on large water fans.
You can celebrate the show’s debut with the banana-flavored Jungle Book Cupcake found at Creature Comforts.
And a stop at Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks right near one of the entrances to the amphitheater will result in finding some VERY cool and colorful Glowing Steins.
Each of the Steins are $13.99, and come with your choice of fountain beverage.
This next one even changes color (though both Steins feature flickering lights for a lovely lantern effect).
The perfect souvenir to light your way for your first visit to Animal Kingdom AT NIGHT! We hope you get the chance to enjoy these new adventures very soon. And as they say in Animal Kingdom…
…Have a WILD time!!
Are you excited to experience Animal Kingdom at night? Please let us know with a comment!