Photo Tour and Review: Sights — and Snacks — in Animal Kingdom AT NIGHT!

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

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

… turns into THIS?

Tree of Life Awakening at Night

Tree of Life Awakening at Night

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.

Tree of Life Awakenings

Tree of Life Awakenings

The Tree of Life at Night

Tree of Life Awakenings

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)!

"Awakened" Tree of Life Cupcake

“Awakened” Tree of Life Cupcake

Unlike the usual chocolate version of this treat, this vanilla flavored cupcake is topped with buttercream frosting and completed with colorful firefly decorations. Find it at Creature Comforts.

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.

Kora Tinga Tinga

Kora Tinga Tinga

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!

Karibu Sisters

Karibu Sisters

Karibu Sisters

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.

Harambe Village Acrobats

Harambe Village Acrobats

Harambe Village Acrobats

Harambe Village Acrobats

Harambe Village Acrobats

Harambe Village Acrobats

Harambe Village Acrobats

Harambe Village Acrobats

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!

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris

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!

Viva Gaia Street Band

Viva Gaia Street Band

Discovery Island Carnivale

Discovery Island Carnivale

Discovery Island Carnivale

Discovery Island Carnivale

Discovery Island Carnivale

Discovery Island Carnivale

Discovery Island Carnivale

Discovery Island Carnivale

Discovery Island Carnivale

Discovery Island Carnivale

If all that partying makes you hungry, grab some Cheeseburger Egg Rolls at this new snack cart that only comes out in the evenings.

Evening Snack Cart in Discovery Island

Evening Snack Cart in Discovery Island

Snack Cart Menu

Snack Cart Menu

Do you remember these unexpectedly terrific (if not particularly photogenic ;) ) snacks that were first spotted at the Adventureland Egg Roll Wagon in Magic Kingdom? If not, read all about them here!

Cheeseburger EggRolls

Cheeseburger EggRolls

Warm Turtle Brownies are also up for grabs (you can find these all day at Restaurantosaurus), along with a selection of cold beverages.

Cheeseburger Egg Rolls and Warm Turtle Brownies

Cheeseburger Egg Rolls and Warm Turtle Brownies

Warm Turtle Brownie

Warm Turtle Brownie

In between the Carnivale show, you can enjoy the Discovery Island Serenatas, a solo musician playing the Paraguayan Harp.

Discovery Island Serenatas

Discovery Island Serenatas

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.

Jungle Book Souvenir Cup

Jungle Book Souvenir Cup

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!

Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

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.

Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

You can celebrate the show’s debut with the banana-flavored Jungle Book Cupcake found at Creature Comforts.

Jungle Book Cupcake

Jungle Book Cupcake

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.

Glowing Stein

Glowing Stein

Each of the Steins are $13.99, and come with your choice of fountain beverage.

Glowing Stein

Glowing Stein

This next one even changes color (though both Steins feature flickering lights for a lovely lantern effect).

Glowing Stein

Glowing Stein

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…

Disney's Animal Kingdom... open until 11:00 pm!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom… open until 11:00 pm!

…Have a WILD time!!

 Are you excited to experience Animal Kingdom at night? Please let us know with a comment!

Comments

  1. Mark says

    We went last Friday night. The Safari was very good. No elephants at 8 PM, but lots of other animals active, even the lions. Will definitely will try in the fall when it’s darker. Quite enjoyed Kora Tinga. Hypnotic rhythms. Loading the seating for the Jungle book show was chaotic. Too many cast members were clueless as to who goes where. Stop gap show and stop gap planning on this one. I am sure they will get it right eventually, but it’s a mess now. But overall a great evening out. Can’t wait for Avatar.

  2. Essie says

    I won’t see it for a while, but I am very excited about the AK at dark. Avatar isn’t a movie that I saw, but that also excites me as I love colored lights!

  3. Essie says

    The above comment is from Essie. I don’t know where the name Eddie came from! LOL

  4. Christie says

    Great post! This all looks so exciting and colorful fun! We are booked for the week after Thanksgiving. It’s a “slow” week for guests, I realize, but when I check the My Disney Experience app it has AK closing at 5pm each day we are there…are they planning to carry the evening activities into fall? I sure hope so! Should I keep checking for changes in the Disney calendar?

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