"I Just Can't Wait to Be King" is a large contrast from the film's non-musical segments, as emphasized by the number's usage of lively colors and sounds. The song is performed near the beginning of the film by a young Simba and Nala as to enunciate Simba's desires to become King. It is a prelude to Simba's lost innocence, being tricked into thinking he killed his father, his leaving Pride Rock, and attempt to forget his past.
The song appears in the Broadway show and is performed by Scott Irby-Ranniar, Kajuana Shuford, and Geoff Hoyle on the 1997 Original Cast Recording. In the Spanish language version of The Lion King, "I Just Can't Wait to be King" was performed by Mexican singer and entertainer Kalimba. Elton John himself also recorded his own version of the song for the film's soundtrack.
It also appears in DisneyToon's 2004 direct-to-video followup The Lion King 1½. Timon and Pumbaa are disturbed by some noise from outside of their home, which is actually Simba, Nala, and the animals singing this musical number. Timon is angry and hits the leg of an elephant supporting the tower of animals. The elephant jumps in surprise and causes the tower to collapse, explaining why it collapses in the original film. Timon and Pumbaa's home is ruined by this event.
The Brazilian musical group “Exaltasamba” recorded a Portuguese version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” (O que eu quero mais é ser rei, roughly translated as “What I want most is to be king”) in a samba style to the CD Disney Adventures in Samba.