By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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The Rivers of Light Dining Package at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

By Dave Shute


Rivers of Light is the new evening show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that debuted in February 2017. While it opened to mixed reviews, I think it a must-see.

Rivers of Light (full review here) takes place most nights. Early on, it saw some weeks where it showed only four nights a week (Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesday and Thursdays), but since the summer has been scheduled for every night, for one to three times a night.

On nights when it shows once, more have wanted to see it than it can accommodate. You can book an advance FastPass+ for it, but this means that you will be unlikely to be able to add 4th or following FastPass+ to your Animal Kingdom visit that day.

Another option—though more expensive—is to book a Rivers of Light Dining Package. This package, which is available at the character buffet Tusker House and the high-end dining venue Tiffins, gives you either a fun or exceptional meal—depending on which you pick—and seats in a dedicated seating area in the Rivers of Light viewing area.

The package costs one or two table service credits, depending on the restaurant, if you are on the dining plan. For cash, current pricing of the Rivers of Light package at Tusker House is $52 for adults and $ 32 for children at lunch or dinner, and breakfast is $39/24. Lunch or dinner at Tiffins is $67/26.

Note that the dedicated Rivers of Light viewing area does not have individually reserved spots. Seating here is first come, first served, and those who get the package most commonly are those who are really dedicated to seeing this show. As a result, the seating area fills up quickly, and you want to get to it no later than 30 minutes before show start.

Because I think Rivers of Light is a must see but that there are better ways to manage your FastPass+, I’ve added the Rivers of Light Dining Package at Tusker House to all of my itineraries. In every case it replaces a previously suggested sit-down character meal (most commonly the princess meal at Akershus, as Cinderella’s Royal Table is already in the itineraries) so there’s not much extra cost.


Tusker House is a character buffet in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Here’s the review from The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit:

Tusker House includes an interesting village market theming…

Multiple rooms to dine in…

…with fun art…

…and visits from Mickey…


..and Goofy and Daisy.

The buffet is extensive and includes a carving station (salmon and pork at my visit) of which my images were either terrible or off-putting. The online menu is here.

Here’s few other representative shots from our last meal here:

For many more images and details on the offerings, my co-author Josh has an extensive review with a comprehensive set of photos, all of which are better than mine, here.


Tiffins opened in 2016 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as a “signature” fine dining venue.

A favorite among bloggers, it also appeals to normal people looking for fine dining and an interesting, imagination filled setting.

Here’s the review from The easy Guide:

The online menu is here.

The physical menu (click it to enlarge it) and some other shots, several in focus, from my last meal here:

You need to see Rivers of Light; you need to eat, and specifically you need to either dine well or eat with Mickey Mouse. Either way, a Rivers of Light dining package can be an effective way to both do that—at Tiffins or Tusker House.

Note that as Disney experiments with how frequently and at what times it will show Rivers of Light, the package is not available to book six months ahead like regular Disney dining—it’s been three months or so lately. Check your dates here.

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1 Catherine { 09.21.17 at 9:58 am }

When do you anticipate Rivers of Light shows being added to the January 2018 calendar?


2 Dave { 09.22.17 at 2:20 pm }

Hi Catherine, within a month

3 Tim { 12.29.17 at 7:05 pm }

I see a rivers of light dining time available for 3 p.m. do I need to eat and wait for the show or can we do something else and then go to the show?

4 Dave { 12.30.17 at 10:09 am }

Tim, if you do the dining package, then you just go to the special line about 30 minutes (no larter, a little earlier is OK) before the first Rivers of Light show is scheduled to start. In between continue to enjoy the rest of the park!

5 Jaime { 02.03.18 at 7:33 pm }


I have booked the ROL dining package for Tusker House. There are 2 shows that day – do I get to pick what show I go to or are tickets automatically assigned?

6 Dave { 02.05.18 at 8:40 am }

Jaime, I can’t find solid information on this.

7 Sil { 02.04.18 at 2:46 pm }

Hello! Are there a difference in the cost of the regular lunch and the River of lights package? Thank you!

8 Dave { 02.05.18 at 8:34 am }

Sil, if you are on the Disney Dining plan, no. If you are paying cash, Tusker House is aournd $5-7/person more expensive. Tiffins may or may not be more expensive, since it is a la carte.

9 Gemma Pritchard-Woollett { 08.24.18 at 4:34 am }

Hi there

We have the rol dining package for the first show. Just wanted to check where the seating is for this as there seem to be two seating areas? Not been to AK since the updates (rol, Pandora etc) and taking baby so want to make sure we’re not rushing around trying to find the right place.

10 Kelly B - Destinations in Florida { 08.24.18 at 11:03 am }

Hi Gemma – the current viewing area for ROL – w/ dining package is on the Dinoland USA side. You’ll enter near the Finding Nemo Musical show. The seating is basically a big “U” shape split by a waterway. Dining seating is closest to the waterway. (This is the usual set-up, but can change from time to time). You’ll still want to arrive about 30-45 minutes before the show starts.

11 Jane { 05.06.19 at 3:53 pm }

Hi Dave, how early would we need to get in line to see Rivers of Light during a very high crowd day (probably Thanksgiving day)? I’m trying to decide if the expense of a dining package is worth it. Sticker shock b/c my two sons have become “adults” according to Disney dining since our last visit (12 and 10 yr olds). Could do Tusker House but have been there before (fantastic food though…). I definitely don’t want to miss Rivers of Light.

12 Dave { 05.07.19 at 10:29 am }

Jane, Rivers of Light is being revised around Memorial Day. If the revision is a hit, then it may be trouble. If it is not, you should be fine, at least for the second show, as AK will be the least popular park that day, and ROL generally has not been well-received.

13 Jane { 05.07.19 at 11:25 am }

Wow, I had no idea. This is a must do for me b/c we haven’t seen any of the nighttime AK stuff yet. Thanks!

14 Jane { 05.16.19 at 1:45 pm }

Hi Dave, I don’t know how to plan my evening ADR at AK around Rivers of Light. I’m going to try to get the dining package for ROL for our lunch at Tusker House, so getting the package in time isn’t the issue—I just don’t know what time to ask for dinner for so we won’t conflict with the show. I’m thinking for dinner for part of our party at Tiffins and the kids with the 3rd adult at probably Yak and Yeti, but possibly Rainforest Cafe. We’ll be at AK on Thanksgiving day. I see that ROL plays much earlier in Nov than other times, should I expect it to be 6:15? I heard that somewhere but can’t find it now. If there were a 2nd show we’d go to that but I don’t want to count on it. The adult who’s coming with me to Tiffins really prefers early dinners, around 5 ish, and I don’t think that would work at all with a 6:15 ROL. I want to be able to arrive 30 min or so prior to get the good seats. I’m thinking to push dinner late enough that we could see a 6:15 ROL and get to the dinner, maybe no earlier than 7:15. Thank you for any advice.

15 Dave { 05.16.19 at 2:28 pm }

Jane, last year ROL was at 6.30, 8, and 9.15 on Thanksgiving. See this.

I would not count on three shows this year–it’s probably likely, but I would not count on it. The week after last year it was shown at 6.15 and 7.30. The shift to 6.15 was because of the earlier sunset, which would apply for this year as well, since Thanksgiving is so late.

16 Jane { 05.16.19 at 9:20 pm }

Thank you so much for this info! I had no idea they might run the show 3 times. Now I won’t worry and will set my dinners for the times people want to eat instead of worrying.

17 Dave { 05.17.19 at 8:26 am }

Glad to help, Jane!

18 Dan { 08.01.19 at 7:14 pm }

There’s something I was wondering..
If you use Disney Dining Plan credits for this package, do you still get the three courses described for the Tiffins meal or just the entree, dessert, and beverage that you would normally receive with the Dining Plan?

19 Dave { 08.02.19 at 7:53 am }

Dan, as I get it, if you book the package you get the package benefits. But I can’t say that with full certainty.

20 Laura { 08.15.19 at 11:04 am }

If you do the dining plan package with River of Lights, does that use one of your 3 FastPass selections for the day? Or can you go ahead and book 3 FastPass rides early in the day and count on that dinging package show to be still give you that special viewing area pass? Or should I only schedule 2 FastPasses because the dining package is my 3rd FastPass?

21 Dave { 08.16.19 at 10:42 am }

Hi Laura, it is completely independent of your FastPass+, so you can book the usual three!

22 Brenda { 10.31.19 at 2:23 pm }

We are going between Christmas & New Years this year and my Disney Travel Planner got me FP’s for ROL but then I saw the dining options. We will probably be doing cash pay for dining because I’ve got picky eaters and my mom, who is a senior hardly eats anything so I can’t see getting a dining plan for her when she eats less than my 9 year old. LOL Looking at menu for Tiffins and knowing my picky eaters there isn’t a lot of options. Does anyone know if you can just order appetizers, etc. or can adults order from kid’s menu and still qualify for the ROL passes? Would love to free up my FP for other options. Thanks!

23 Dave { 11.02.19 at 11:38 am }

Brenda, you pay the same fixed cost for the ROL dining package regardless of what you eat, and it is based on the age of the diner, not what menu they plan to eat from. If you want to it, and are picky, you might check the Tusker House menu–it’s a buffet, so has much more flexibility. It’s here:

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