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Hurricane Ian Forces Disney to Cancel Show’s Final Performance

Even though Walt Disney World Resort is reopening — or, at least, carrying on with a “phased reopening” — tomorrow after being closed due to Hurricane Ian, one of its shows has just quietly and unknowingly had its final performance.

KiteTails was meant to end its run as an exclusive Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary show with some fanfare on September 30 (tomorrow), but Hurricane Ian has thrown a wrench in all of Florida’s plans and brought about the show’s permanent closure several days early.

'Disney KiteTails' at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Credit: Matt Stroshane / Disney

KiteTails was, in a way, a crowd-pleaser — that is, if the crowds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom were feeling lighthearted and good-humored (which has seemed somewhat rare these days).

As one Disney Fanatic put it, “This was the best live-action show Disney has ever done. When it worked it was absolutely beautiful. When it didn’t, it was such an entertaining as hell disaster. No matter what you left that show with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.”

Disney KiteTails

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. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

KiteTails was indeed known for its somewhat comical failures during performances, which in a way endeared the limited-edition Walt Disney World Anniversary show to Animal Kingdom audiences.

According to the Disney website, this show (which involved kites being pulled by jet ski operators on the Discovery River Lagoon) involved “larger-than-life kites and colorful props [that danced] through the air to the beat of beloved Disney songs.”

Disney KiteTails

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)

The main Disney movies that were honored included The Lion King from 1994 and The Jungle Book from 1967. Disney has not made it clear that KiteTail’s originally-scheduled final showing is out of the picture, but since it was scheduled for yesterday and it has not been mentioned in the phased reopening schedule, it seems likely that this show is indeed gone for good already.

This show certainly made an impression on Disney Guests — whether they were positive impressions or negative ones — but unfortunately, due to Hurricane Ian, there will probably be no smooth sailing for the final showing of KiteTails! What did you think of this show?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!