Animal KingdomThe Parks

9 Reasons We Can’t Wait for Animal Kingdom Nighttime Experiences

It’s no secret that I love Animal Kingdom (and here are just a few reasons why). It’s my favorite park and I absolutely love to spend time there. So, I’m very excited about the extended hours and new nighttime experiences that are coming to Animal Kingdom beginning Memorial Day weekend 2016. Here are nine reasons we can’t wait for Animal Kingdom nighttime experiences.


1 – Extended Hours and Attractions at Night

Beginning May 27, 2016 Animal Kingdom will extend their hours from the typical closing time of 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm during the summer months. We’ve only experienced Animal Kingdom at night in the winter months when the sun sets around 5:00 pm and you might be able to get a small bit of time in the dark. We’re thrilled for these extended hours. Attractions confirmed to be open through the late closing are:

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Expedition Everest
  • Dinosaur
  • Kali River Rapids
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug
  • Primeval Whirl
  • Triceratops Spin
  • The Boneyard

Those attractions that will not be open during the extended park hours include Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek.

2 – Tiffins and Nomad Lounge

We’ve been reporting the coming of this new table service restaurant and we’re very excited that Animal Kingdom will have another dining option. Read our article for all the details on this restaurant including a sneak peak at the menu. According to Disney, reservation information will be available on May 20, 2016.

3 – More Dining through the Extended Hours

Disney will never let us go hungry. Tiffins will not be the only restaurant option. Most quick service restaurants, kiosks and stands will have extended hours as well. As always, times are subject to change. Always check the Times Guide and Park Map for the most to date information on restaurant hours.

  • Anandapur Ice Cream Truck – open through 11:00 pm
  • Creature Comforts (Starbucks) – open through 11:00 pm
  • Dawa Bar – open through 11:00 pm
  • Eight Spoon Café (Discovery Island Kiosk) – open through 10:00 pm
  • Flame Tree Barbecue – open through 10:00 pm
  • Harambe Market – open through 8 pm
  • Isle of Java – open through 11:00 pm
  • Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery – open through 9:00 pm
  • Mahindi – open though 11:00 pm
  • Pizzafari – open through 10 pm
  • Rainforest Cafe –open through 8:50 pm
  • Restaurantosaurus – open though 11:00 pm
  • The Smiling Crocodile – open through 10:00 pm
  • Tamu Tamu Refreshments – open through 10:00 pm
  • Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks – open through 11:00 pm
  • Tiffins and Nomad Lounge
  • Trilo-Bites – open through 10:30 pm
  • Tusker House – open though 9:30 pm
  • Warung Outpost – open through 10:00 pm
  • Yak and Yeti Local Foods – open through10:00 pm
  • Yak and Yeti Restaurant – open through 11:00 pm


4 – The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic

Recently, Disney announced a temporary “Plan B” for the highly anticipated, but delayed Rivers of Light show. Disney has given us a teaser of what to expect:

“Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” Show – For the summer, Discovery River will become the stage for a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film “The Jungle Book.” “Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” is filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.

5 – Tree of Life at Night

We’re also very excited to see the Tree of Life transformed into a magical display that only Disney can pull off. Disney has provided a sneak peak of what we can expect along with a video:

During the evening hours, pay special attention to the Tree of Life at the center of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. At various times, flickering fireflies magically appear and awaken the wondrous animals’ spirits carved into the tree’s towering trunk—bringing to light a stunning visual extravaganza swarming with vivid color and animated imagery.

Witness a graceful young doe embark on a thrilling cross-country journey. Behold love blossoming between 2 hummingbirds. See a spry fox spreading gifts of love among the denizens of a wintry forest. A feast for the eyes, each approximately 3-minute-long revelation celebrates the eternal balance and harmony that exists in all living things, big or small, and is sure to inspire and delight the entire family, big and small.

6 – Kilimanjaro Safaris at Night

We’ve already got our FastPasses secured for Friday, May 27 to experience one of our favorites, Kilimanjaro Safaris, in a whole new light. We’re excited to view the animals in the dark since before, even with rare evening park hours, the Safari had only operated during daylight hours. Disney has released a sneak peak video of the Safari at night. Disney will use special lighting so we can view the animal nocturnal habits. The video will give you an idea of what to expect, but we can’t wait to experience it in person!


7 – Discovery Island Carnivale

On Discovery Island, there will be a brand new celebration that will feature music, dancers, stilt walkers, food and more. Check out another sneak peak video:

8 – Harambe Parti

Harambe Village will also play host to a party where you can become a “party animal.” Guests will be invited to join this street festival that will begin in the late afternoon. Entertainment will include:

  • Muziki, stilt walking musician and drummer
  • the Karibu Sisters, an acapella group
  • Harambe Soccer Meerkats, the village’s finest soccer players with skillful acrobatic dancing
  • Harambe Village Acrobats

9 – Rivers of Life at Night

Finally, even though it will not be debuting this summer, we can’t wait for Rivers of Light to make its way to Animal Kingdom. Reports are that Rivers of Light will debut “later this year,” but with one delay already, we’re not sure when to expect this show. Have no doubt, we fully expect to see this show and can’t wait. Thankfully, Disney has released a sneak peak video that has us very excited! Enjoy!

Will you be hitting Animal Kingdom at night? What are you most excited about?


Cindy E. Nykamp

After friends and family made them their go-to people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched DisneyLists.com in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Cindy wears many hats for DisneyLists.com. As a content creator, she has written over six hundred articles providing news, tips, planning, and more, for trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line to our followers. She directs a team of authors to bring our fans up-to-date information so that they can have the best Disney vacation experience. Cindy manages DisneyLists.com's Instagram account, sharing photos and videos to bring some Disney magic into our followers' feeds. She is also our chief photographer and has her photos featured on the official Walt Disney World Instagram account. Finally, Cindy regularly represents DisneyLists.com at Disney media events. While attending these events, she gets an insider's view of all the new things that have come to Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line and passes this information and tips to our followers.
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