Tree of Life Awakenings Review at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Tree of Life Awakenings Debuted On: May 27, 2016.
See this page for all of the Disney’s Animal Kingdom attraction reviews.
The Tree of Life Awakenings is/are a set of short, ~5 minute vignettes projected onto the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
During the day, most of us have probably seen the Tree of Life basking in the daytime glow.
Come nighttime, the Tree of Life transforms into a canvas of sorts.
According to Disney:
Flickering fireflies magically appear and stir to life the animal spirits in the tree’s towering trunk—bringing to light a dazzling visual display swarming with color and animated imagery. Gaze upon a young doe embarking upon a thrilling journey. Behold love blossoming between a pair of hummingbirds. Spy a sly fox spreading gifts of love among the denizens of a wintry forest. A feast for the eyes, each revelation celebrates the eternal balance and harmony that exists in all living things, big or small, and is sure to inspire and delight your whole family tree.
It is quite the show. In between vignettes, Disney lights the tree in bright blues, greens, and purples.
But after the music starts, the Tree begins to transform.
And over the course of just a few minutes, the Tree is awash with color and light.
Bright oranges and reds take over as a short story is told through animated scenes.
Originally, guests could only enjoy the projections from the front of the Tree of Life.
Now, the entire Tree lights up. I took this picture from the queue for It’s Tough To Be A Bug.
Here’s the back side of the Tree of Life as seen from outside Yak & Yeti Restaurant.
You can even pull up a chair and enjoy the show from the comfort of what is basically a private, peaceful viewing area. The viewing area in front is standing-room-only. With the number of guests typically exiting past the Tree of Life, things can get a little hectic up there, particularly after a Rivers of Light show lets out.
With the live action release of The Lion King, Disney added a new vignette, here with Simba, Mufasa, and Nala standing on Pride Rock.
The Tree of Life Awakenings typically begin just after dusk.
When the Tree of Life Awakenings debuted, there was a lull of about ten minutes in between each vignette. To see four or five vignettes, you’d have to stand around for over an hour.
These days, there’s a lapse of just a minute or two in between vignettes. That means you should be able to catch each over the course of about a half hour.
Unfortunately, different vignettes don’t necessarily run one after the other. I’ve actually stood there and watched the exact same one played back to back.
Hopefully, you’ll have better luck on the variety front. You might stop to watch whatever vignette is playing as you pass the Tree of Life.
The shows usually continue for about an hour after the Park officially closes. On your way out, you might stop for a few minutes and enjoy a couple of the vignettes to close out the evening. The sublime mixture of music and animation is a real treat. You can pull up a video of the original vignettes here. The best view is in front, as close to the Tree of Life as you’d like to get. If you’re a little closer, in front of the main pathway, you’ll be disturbed by fewer people passing by.
Originally, the Tree of Life Awakenings were supposed to debut on the same night as Rivers of Light. Of course, that show ended up being delayed. With the nighttime safari proving to be a disappointing experience for many, the Tree of Life Awakenings were probably the strongest addition to the Park back in the summer of 2016. That seems like a long time ago now.