“The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” Debuts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Photos, Video, Initial Thoughts

Hi everyone!

The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic soft opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom yesterday (the official debut is tonight). The show is temporary while the signature Rivers of Light show is readied, hopefully to be shown later this year. The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic was put together in a fairly short amount of time, so it doesn’t have that lengthy lead time that Rivers of Light would have had. There are elements I like and elements that didn’t work for me in The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic. The show feels more Bollywood than Jungle Book in my opinion (though I do like Bollywood performance).

The first sign (literally) of The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic that I saw was this stroller parking sign. For the soft opening of the show, I thought everything seemed to run pretty smoothly – at least it did in the Fastpass+ section. I have heard other thoughts about the standby line.

Barges could be seen out on the water prior to the show.

There was a sign for the Jungle Book Fastpass+ location, with Expedition Everest in the background. The Fastpass+ information said to get there closer to show time, but seating started at 7:30 p.m. I wouldn’t get there that early again, but it was nice to secure the seat early this time. The show started at 9:00 p.m., and the later show 10:30 p.m.

The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic Fastpass+ entrance sign.

A Cast Member waves as she seats guests in the Fastpass+ section.

There are wood benches and then there are stone type benches. We sat in the latter. It is a long time to sit in them, but most guests did seem to appreciate having an early seat.

A Cast Member sells light-up glow sticks, mohawks and other items.

Fast forward about one hour, as performers arrived to their spots. There are multiple barges, all with their own performers. This is a pretty large cast each night. What really works for me here is that Disney splashed out on live performers including musicians and singers.

It’s hard to see here, but the Tree of Life lighting could be seen from my seat – from the back of the tree, but still a pretty sight.

Here is the singer from the show, he did a great job. All the performers did, and the costumes and props were visually beautiful to look at. What didn’t work for me here is that I didn’t feel there was a cohesive story. The show is heavy on performances to Indian style arrangements of songs from the film. Those include “Trust in Me” and “The Bare Necessities”.

Here is video of the full show.

The show is beautful, vibrant and colorful.

Some of the costumes and props really stood out.

One of the most touted elements of the show is the water screen projections. From my seat, I saw almost nothing that had to do with the movie on the screens. I’m not sure if there was a wind issue, but mostly my view looked like this. Performers yes, Jungle Book not so much. I’ll be back for two more showings this weekend, so we’ll see if this changes.

The show runs about 25 minutes long, and doesn’t feature any characters on stage (which I personally didn’t expect, but I think some guests will).

The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic plays to up to 5000 guests per show and Disney says about the show, that it “welcomes guests to the dangerous, captivating world of the young ‘man cub’ Mowgli and the jungle animals that protect and threaten him”. Personally, I didn’t see that at all in the show, I think puppetry (like in Finding Nemo) might have helped here.

Cast Members sing and dance on a float.

Each section has their own stage to watch.

One of my favorite elements is the fire twirlers, they arrive near the end of the show.

The fire twirlers are on moving barges.

The biggest thing missing for me in The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic was the grandeur and sense of being captivated by a show (or a parade). Illuminations, Fantasy in the Sky, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Tapestry of Nations, Paint the Night in Disneyland…those are all productions that just knocked me over the moment I saw them and the ones that continue do so still. But this was put together in a short period of time, and was very entertaining.

The performers all did a great job, and there is a final moment with a quick bit of pyro.

I’ll have more tomorrow, with a review of the Tiffin’s dining package and a look at how the package works with the show.

It’s nice to have Disney’s Animal Kingdom park open at night. Whether you see The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic (or Rivers of Light when it opens), it’s worth a visit to see the beautiful Tree of Life projections at night.