Festival of the Lion King

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Festival of the Lion King
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Area Camp Minnie Mickey (1998-2014)
Africa (2014-present)
Status Operating
Opening date April 22, 1998 (Camp Minnie-Mickey)
June 1, 2014 (Africa)
Closing date January 5, 2014 (Camp Minnie-Mickey)
Hong Kong Disneyland
Area Adventureland
Status Operating
Opening date September 12, 2005
General statistics
Attraction type Musical
Theme The Lion King
Fastpass+ available

Festival of the Lion King, an original interpretation of the Disney animated film The Lion King, is a live stage musical performed in Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida and in Adventureland at Hong Kong Disneyland. The show uses songs, dance, puppetry and visual effects to portray a tribal celebration in an African savanna setting filled with lions, elephants, giraffes, birds, zebras and gazelles. In this theater environment, Festival of the Lion King is a traveling celebration presented by Simba and his friends (including a band of four human singers). The show is in the form of a revue, and not a condensed version of either the film or Broadway show. The show features Elton John and Tim Rice's award-winning music from the movie.

Disney's Animal Kingdom version[edit]

The show is presented inside an enclosed theater in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Guests sit in four sections, each designated with an animal name: Warthog, Elephant, Giraffe, and Lion. These animals are represented by large puppets on four parade-style floats, which were originally built for Disneyland's The Lion King Celebration parade. Guests are asked to make a noise corresponding to their animal at certain times during the show and children are sometimes pulled out of the audience to dance. The show is hosted by four performers dressed in costumes inspired by traditional African dress. Each has a Swahili name: Kiume (meaning "masculine and strong"), Nakawa ("good-looking"), Kibibi ("princess"), and Zawadi ("the gift").

An actress in the Warthog section of the performance at the Animal Kingdom.

After the hosts welcome the audience to the show, the curtains open and a procession of dancers, puppeteers, and stilt walkers enter the theater ("I Just Can't Wait to Be King"). Among them are Lion King characters Simba, Pumbaa (both puppets on floats), and Timon (played by a live performer). Acts include gymnastic "Tumble Monkeys" ("Hakuna Matata"), a fire knife-twirling hyena ("Be Prepared"), and an aerial dance featuring performers dressed as birds ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight"), leading to an interactive sing-along ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight").


Due to the construction on Avatar Land (based on James Cameron's successful film Avatar and its upcoming sequels) replacing Camp Minnie-Mickey (which was the show's original location), the show went into a five-month hiatus while a new theater, the Harambe Theater, was constructed in an unused dense forest area in the Africa section of the park.

Construction on the Harambe Theater was complete in May 2014 and the show reopened there on June 1, 2014. This relocation was part of a wider expansion of Africa, which included a new path, restrooms, and new restaurant opportunities.[1]


On March 21, 2016, a small electrical fire originating from beneath one of the puppet floats broke out during a performance of Festival of the Lion King. The fire was quickly extinguished and no one was hurt due to the incident. The show resumed performances the next day.[2]

Hong Kong Disneyland version[edit]

Musical at Hong Kong Disneyland

The show is featured in the "Theater in the Wild" in Adventureland. Similar to the theater setting in Disney's Animal Kingdom, guests sit in four different sections, each with an animal name: Warthog, Elephant, Giraffe and Lion. The show in Hong Kong has been arranged to a simplified version of the story of The Lion King along with the songs in the movie. The performance is mainly in English, but two actors dressed as monkeys summarize and translate Rafiki's lines into Cantonese in order to accommodate guests who do not speak English. Simplified Chinese subtitles, for Mainland Chinese visitors, are also projected onto the screens above each seating section. The show is presented to Simba by Rafiki (portrayed by a female actress, as in the Broadway musical) as a re-telling of Simba's life. Simba is represented by a large, elaborate puppet on a parade-style float decorated as a tribal-styled Pride Rock. The show does feature the same finale song as the show at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which features a medley of songs from the movie.


Clip from "Celebration Finale (Hakuna Matata/Can You Feel the Love Tonight/Be Prepared/I Just Can't Wait to Be King/Circle of Life)".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

A soundtrack CD was released in 2001, titled "Festival of The Lion King (Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World)"

Track listing:

  1. Circle of Life – 1:40
  2. I Just Can't Wait to Be King – 2:40
  3. Hakuna Matata – 2:04
  4. Tumble Monkeys (Sing, Sing, Sing/Playmates/Snake Charmer/Caravan/Hakuna Matata/Yes! We Have No Bananas/Hawaiian War Chant) – 3:56
  5. Be Prepared – 3:00
  6. Can You Feel the Love Tonight/Circle of Life (Medley) – 4:45
  7. The Lion Sleeps Tonight – 2:28
  8. Celebration Finale (Hakuna Matata/Can You Feel the Love Tonight/Be Prepared/I Just Can't Wait to Be King/Circle of Life) – 3:45
  9. Circle of Life (Bows) – 0:34
  10. King of Pride Rock Circle of Life Reprise (Instrumental) – 2:34

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Festival of the Lion King reopens on June 1 at Disney's Animal Kingdom". http://www.wdwmagic.com/. May 29, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ "Fire prompts evacuation at Disney World show; no injuries". www.dailyjournal.net. Retrieved 2016-04-02. 

External links[edit]