Animal Kingdom commemorates 25 years of The Lion King!

Lion King 25 years Animal Kingdom

With the live-action remake of the beloved Disney classic The Lion King making its way to cinemas over the summer, marking 25 years since the original was released, where better to celebrate this very special occasion than at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

If you have never seen The Lion King before (spoiler alert), it is influenced by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, telling the story of Simba the young lion who returns to challenge his evil Uncle Scar for his rightful place as King of the Pride Lands. The 2019 live-action version features the voices of Hollywood favourites Donald Glover, Beyoncé and the legendary James Earl Jones, the remake of this iconic film is set to be a box-office smash!

Lion King Facts

  • Did you know Patrick Stewart was considered for the voice of Zazu?
  • The song Hakuna Matata was nearly left out of the film!
  • During this song you can see a ‘Hidden Mickey’ shape on the back of a bug when Timon lifts the log
  • Pocahontas was made at the same time, and Disney thought it would be the more successful film
  • The Lion King is the highest-grossing hand-animated film ever

To mark the event and get involved in all the fun, be sure to make your way to Animal Kingdom between now and 30th September 2019 for some extra-special entertainment. Not least of all, a fun-packed dance party with all of your favourite Disney pals, including the hilarious Rafiki and Timon! Have fun and throw some shapes at The Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party which is a daily, time-limited event held between 11:30am and 5pm, that started in late January running through to the end of September and is suitable for guests of all ages.

Lion King Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party

Be sure to head to the Discovery Island Stage opposite the Flame Tree Barbecue, and take a walk on the wild side as you release your inner dance animal, before bopping along to the live band that will get the crowd up and on their feet!

As the band plays popular Disney tunes, you are bound to ‘feel the love tonight’ as you dance alongside all of your favourite animal friends, including The Lion King’s Timon and Rafiki, as well as other Disney characters. There’ll be ‘no worries’ as you look out for The Jungle Book’s Baloo, Tarzan’s Terk, Pocahontas’ Meeko and Koda from Brother Bear!

Throughout the Discovery Island area at the centre of the park where the dance party is being held, as well as at the entrance to the park, make sure that you locate the series of special 3D backgrounds where you can strike a pose and recreate some iconic Lion King moments in your photos!

Lion King 3D photo background

If you are all danced out, but still want more Lion King-inspired entertainment, make sure that you take the opportunity to see the Broadway-style Festival of the Lion King in the Africa area of Animal Kingdom. This show has been running since 1998 at the park, originally in the Camp Mickey-Minnie area, though it now plays in the Harambe Theatre in the expanded Africa zone.

With the use of a selection of spectacular large puppets and costumed performers joined by our heroes Simba, Pumbaa and Timon, the stunning Pride Lands setting of The Lion King is brought to life in a 30-minute show of music, dance, colour and acrobatics!

“The best Disney show ever, make sure you don’t miss it!”

Take your seats in one of the theatre’s sections – Lion, Warthog, Elephant or Giraffe for a performance to remember, as four extravagantly-costumed performers lead out a pack of entertainers, including lofty stilt-walkers, and play host to the show which includes a selection of well-known Lion King tunes from the Elton John and Tim Rice soundtrack, including Be Prepared, Hakuna Matata, the iconic Circle of Life and the Oscar-winning Can You Feel the Love Tonight. At times throughout the show you’ll be called on for some audience participation, as each seating area makes the noise of its eponymous animal! With so much happening onstage, keep your eyes peeled for the tumble monkeys who swing on trapeze bars and rings above the stage, aerial dancers dressed as birds, as well as fire-knife wielding hyena performers!

Festival of the Lion King show times: 10:00,11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00

Festival of the Lion King Animal Kingdom

“High energy and plenty of audience involvement – you have to see this show it’s a total blast.”

If you want to make sure that you get VIP seating for the show, you might want to consider booking one of the Dining Packages hosted at Tiffins Restaurant, where you can enjoy a gourmet three-course lunch or dinner menu inspired by exotic world locations. After receiving a complementary glass of fizz, starters include charred octopus or spiced chickpea falafel, followed by pan-seared kingklip or tamarind-braised short ribs, as just some of the options. Make sure you leave room for dessert though, with choices such as South American chocolate ganache or whipped cheesecake on the menu, you won’t want to miss out! If you opt for the Tier I dinner package, you’ll also receive a guided safari tour of the Animal Kingdom Park.

If you are at the park between the Memorial Day weekend in May and 30th September, don’t forget to check out the Tree of Life. Here The Lion King is set to receive a nightly star-billing, as movie animations are projected on the tree and music will play in a stunning tribute to the film.

Are you planning on going to Animal Kingdom this year? Let us know what you think of the Lion King celebrations!