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New daytime entertainment is stirring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, as “Disney KiteTails” comes alive several times daily beginning Oct. 1, 2021, at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Performers fly windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes, while out on the water elaborate three-dimensional kites – some stretching to 30 feet long – depict Disney animal friends, including Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. These colorful creations dance through the sky to the beat of favorite Disney songs in an uplifting, vibrant experience for the whole family. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Disney KiteTails Cut Short Today Due to Rough Kite Landings & Overturned Jet Skis

Disney KiteTails is the newest show to arrive at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with previews currently taking place and its official opening tomorrow during the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort. The show features kites and windcatchers designed after favorite Disney characters in a high-flying performance above the Discovery River Theater.

Credit: Disney

Fans on social media were quick to point out some of the striking differences between the show as it debuted and its concept art, and during yesterday’s previews clips were recorded and shared showing awkward landings for some of the kites, especially for poor Baloo from The Jungle Book. In short, the show was met with very mixed reviews by fans, and even “mixed reviews” may be putting it lightly.

During a portion of today’s previews, after coming in for a rough landing, it appears the jet ski pulling the kite of baby Simba overturned, causing the show to be cut short. Twitter user @thatdisneyboi caught the moment on video:

Thankfully none of the performers in Disney KiteTails were injured by the incident (and as far as we know the kite is okay, too) but the occurrence of something like this only during the show’s second day of soft openings certainly does not seem like a good sign for Animal Kingdom’s newest daytime show, especially when it’s considered with some of the negative opinions Guests already seem to have of KiteTails.

Credit: Disney

While we can’t speak to what went wrong with today’s show, it seems like some of the issue in fan disappointment of KiteTails could be chalked up to a marketing error. Now promoted as a “daytime activation” rather than a show, we think that phrasing implies it is simply something interesting to see happening while the theater would otherwise be empty, not a show on par with a fireworks show or even one of the live productions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Moreover, the show being loosely inspired by Asian kite festivals does make a lot of sense for this area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in terms of theming, we just…would not complain if it were better executed in the future. That being said, we’re glad no performers were hurt when this jet ski overturned and we will update you on any news from KiteTails as we have it.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."