Why There’s an Abandoned Attraction in the Middle of Animal Kingdom

Why is there an abandoned show sitting in the middle of Animal Kingdom?

Animal Kingdom

In October of 2021, a new show debuted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of the overall Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration. The show – – KiteTails – – was heavily promoted, yet by October of 2022, it was closed for good. So, what happened?

KiteTails opened at the Discovery River Amphitheater – – the previous home of Rivers of Light, itself a troubled nighttime show that was retired following the pandemic – – on October 1st, 2021, Walt Disney World’s 50th birthday. The show featured large balloons themed to Disney characters that functioned like kites pulled along by jet skis as well as in-theater performers.


Disney’s official description of the show read, “Hearts and imaginations will soar as incredible kites and windcatchers dance through the air to the beat of beloved Disney songs during this high-flying performance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Be awed by elaborate, three-dimensional kites of Simba, Zazu, King Louie, Baloo and more as they take flight above the Discovery River Amphitheater.”

We’re fans

There were actually two different KiteTails shows – – one based on The Jungle Book and one based on The Lion King, each featuring songs from those films – – that would alternate throughout the day, In addition, there was a short pre-show that featured several more Disney songs including the appropriate “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from Mary Poppins.

While KiteTails did develop a fanbase upon its debut, overall reactions to the show were somewhat mixed to negative. This perception was then exacerbated by a series of viral videos that showed the show’s kites “crashing” into empty sections of the bleachers. While Disney would claim these crashes were how the kites were supposed to land, the visual definitely did not help the show’s reputation.

Poor Zazu!

Originally, KiteTails was a scheduled show that ran at 6 specific times during the day. By May of 2022, the show had transitioned to a “walk by” experience that only featured the kites, with the in-theater performers removed. At the time, Disney said that they were “shifting the focus of the show so guests will be able to experience ‘Disney KiteTails’ from anywhere around the Discovery River Lagoon, with shorter and more frequent performances throughout the day. The retooled KiteTails experience lasted until September of 2022, when Disney announced that the show would be closing as of September 27th.


Interestingly, KiteTails has maintained a certain level of popularity uncommon for a Disney attraction/show that only lasted for such a time. A relatively devoted online fanbase still mourns the show, arguably more for the chaos of the “crashes” than anything else. In addition, Kiteman Productions – – the company responsible for manufacturing the kites – – had the Zazu kite on display at their 2022 IAAPA Trade Show booth.

The Kiteman booth

KiteTails was a short-lived show whose legacy has outlived its entire lifespan at this point, all the while leaving an empty amphitheater sitting in the middle of Animal Kingdom. Stay tuned to AllEars for more Disney history.

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One Reply to “Why There’s an Abandoned Attraction in the Middle of Animal Kingdom”

  1. Disney needs to utilize this space with a night time drone show. The new show over at the Springs is great now let’s bring that to Disney full time😁