Disney Announces Big Changes Coming to Animal Kingdom at #D23 EXPO 2015

Since its opening in 1998, Disney’s Animal Kingdom had pretty much been a daytime park. Announcements made at this weekend’s D23 EXPO 2015 are set to change that.

Disney's Animal Kingdom - Pandora World of Avatar

As part of the largest expansion in the park’s history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will immerse guests into the world of Pandora, and the entire park will transform after dark with new nighttime entertainment experiences, offering guests longer days than ever before to experience this one-of-a-kind theme park.

Here are the big changes to expect:

Rivers of Light

Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. “Rivers of Light” will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney's Animal Kingdom - Rivers of Light

Kilimanjaro Safaris

One of the highlights of a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure starting next spring. Guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.

Disney's Animal Kingdom - Kilimanjaro Safaris

Pandora – The World of AVATAR

The previously announced Avatar land gets an official name at D23: Pandora – The World of AVATAR. This world will include floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees, giving guests a transformational experience they will never forget.

Pandora will also be home to a new attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, called AVATAR Flight of Passage. This E-ticket attraction will allow guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world, giving them a birds-eye view of Pandora.

Pandora – The World of AVATAR is scheduled to open in 2017.

Disney's Animal Kingdom - AVATAR Flight of Passage

All of these new attractions and revamps will serve to make a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom more than just a half day experience.

Which development are you most excited about? Let us know in comments.

About Michelle Snow

Michelle is the owner and editor of CitySurfing Orlando. She also owns Zengrrl.com, is a freelance writer specializing in travel and entertainment, and has authored/co-authored four guidebooks on Orlando and Florida. She lives in Orlando near Disney, and hears Magic Kingdom fireworks every night.
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