‘Disney KiteTails’ aims to awe Animal Kingdom crowds for Disney’s 50th

New daytime show coming to former home of Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular

“Disney KiteTails” will launch Oct. 1, 2021, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. This new entertainment experience will come alive multiple times throughout the day at Discovery River Amphitheater, featuring performers flying windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes. Out on the water, elaborate three-dimensional kites – some stretching to 30 feet long – will depict Disney animal friends, including Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. (Disney, Walt Disney World)

BAY LAKE, Fla. – When “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” officially debuts, the Magic Kingdom will have “Disney Enchantment” as a draw. Epcot will have both “Harmonious” and the new “Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure” ride. Disney’s Hollywood Studios will showcase the Tower of Terror as a “Beacon of Magic,” along with the still pretty-new “Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway” and “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.”

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Though it has not received a major addition since “Pandora: the World of Avatar” opened in 2017, Disney’s Animal Kingdom won’t be left out of the party.

Logo for "Disney KiteTails" debuting at Disney's Animal Kingdom on October 1st, 2021 (disney)

In addition to the Tree of Life also becoming a “Beacon of Magic” at night, Disney Entertainment hopes to wow guests in the daytime with a new kind of show featuring elaborate kites.

Disney has used kites before, notably in “Surprise in the Skies” at Epcot for Walt Disney World’s 20th Anniversary Celebration in 1991.

"Surprise in the Skies" was a featured show at Epcot for Walt Disney World's 20th Anniversary Celebration (Disney)

Kites were also the heart of the first version of “Epcot Forever” when that temporary replacement for “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth” opened on October 1, 2019.

Epcot Forever fireworks show featured kits pulled by personal watercraft when it debuted October 1st, 2019 (Disney)

While the enormous, permanently docked bars for “Harmonious” now make World Showcase Lagoon too perilous for personal watercraft tugging kite strings, some of those same performers may lend a hand in the new show “Disney KiteTails” when it debuts October 1 in the Discovery River Amphitheater.

Discovery River Amphitheater will feature "Disney KiteTails" when it debuts at Animal Kingdom on October 1st, 2021 (Disney)

That venue was built to showcase the now-cancelled “Rivers of Light” Nighttime Spectacular that ran in various in various forms from February 2017 until the pandemic shutdown.

Disney admitted in July 2020 that while Animal Kingdom would reopen, “Rivers of Light” was destined for Yesterland.

"Rivers of Light" has now ended its run at "Disney's Animal Kingdom." (Disney)

With a prominent newish venue in need of a new show, and Animal Kingdom in need of something for the 50th, it was inevitable something would pop up.

Earlier this year, Disney announced “KiteTails.” And now, the entertainment giant has released a new behind-the-scenes video showcasing the creation and testing of several different sized kites.

Disney teams test the over-sized Zazu inflatable kite for "Disney KiteTails" ahead of its official debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom on October 1st, 2021 (Disney)

The largest will be inflatable, three-dimensional versions of some of your favorite characters, including Simba and Zazu from “The Lion King,” pulled by watercraft. Some are as large as 30 feet and will naturally inflate as they are tugged through the air.

Disney teams test the Zazu kite for "Disney KiteTails" ahead of its official debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom on October 1st, 2021 (Disney)

Other characters brought to life include animal friends from “The Little Mermaid,” “A bug’s life,” “Finding Nemo” and “The Jungle Book.”

Disney teams rehearse for "Disney KiteTails" ahead of its official debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom on October 1st, 2021 (Disney)

“Disney KiteTails” officially debuts October 1, and will be included in admission to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney 50

To all who come to this happy corner of ClickOrlando.com, welcome! Walt Disney World is counting down to its 50th Anniversary, and so are we. With 50 days until 50 years, we are taking a daily look back at the past, how Disney’s opening shaped Central Florida’s present, and a peek at what’s in store for the future.

We’re also looking to hear your memories of Walt Disney World: What do you love? What do you miss? What are some of your magical moments? You can share them with us by sending us an email and we’ll post them all for everyone to enjoy. Some might even be featured during our News 6 TV coverage of Walt Disney World’s 50th.

Here’s to dreaming, and here’s to another half-century of The Most Magical Place on Earth!

About the Author:

Ken Pilcher is a lifelong Floridian with more than 30 years in journalism experience. He joined News 6 in 2003 and has covered Central Florida attractions and theme parks since 1988. He currently produces News 6 at 7 p.m.