It's Tough to Be a Bug!

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It's Tough to Be a Bug!
Its Tough to be a Bug Sign (2598576385).jpg
Entrance marker at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Area Discovery Island
Status Operating
Opening date April 22, 1998
Disney California Adventure
Area Golden State (2001–2002)
A Bug's Land (2002–Present)
Status Operating
Opening date February 8, 2001
General statistics
Attraction type 4D film
Theme A Bug's Life
Duration 9 minutes
Fastpass+ available

It's Tough to Be a Bug! is a 9-minute-long 3D film based on the 1998 Disney·Pixar film A Bug's Life. Using theater lighting, 3-D filming techniques, audio-animatronics and various special effects. Flik, from A Bug's Life, hosts the show and educates the audience on why bugs should be considered friends.

The attraction opened in Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort on April 22, 1998, a full seven months before the actual feature debuted in theaters.[1] A second version of the attraction debuted at the opening of Disney California Adventure on February 8, 2001.[2]


At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Bug's Life theater is located inside The Tree of Life. As the queue winds around the tree, visitors can glimpse animal carvings on the tree that aren't visible from other vantage points. The "underground" pre-show area features posters of various bug acts from the show, as well as those for all-insect parodies of Broadway musicals, such as Beauty and the Bees, Web Side Story, Little Shop of Hoppers and My Fair Ladybug.

At Disney California Adventure, the Bug's Life theater is located in A Bug's Land. There, the queue passes through a replica of Ant Island before heading underground, where the queue appears the same as the one at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It was originally part of the Bountiful Valley Farms pavilion of the park until A Bug's Land was built around it.


About a year before the opening of Animal Kingdom, Disney Imagineers had decided to place a show inside the park's centerpiece Tree of Life, but struggled to find an acceptable concept. Disney CEO Michael Eisner suggested a tie-in with the upcoming Pixar film A Bug's Life, and the creative team developed a story based around the characters from the film. Visual effects studio Rhythm and Hues was brought in to produce the 3-D animated portion of the show, while Disney special effects teams created the rest of the experience, including animatronic characters, wind, rain, and foul smells.[3][4]


The overture consists of a medley of "One", "Tomorrow", and "Tonight" while the voice of a female bug counts down the minutes to the next show. At California Adventure, the voice is a male bug and has "Flight of the Bumblebee".

The doors close, and the announcer tells the audience not to buzz, sting, pollinate or chirp during the show. Flik welcomes the audience and tells them to put their bug eyes (3D glasses) on. The show begins with the butterflies flying away. The title card, a leaf that says "It's tough to be a bug!", appears. Then, jungle music begins to play, and a Mexican redknee tarantula (referred to as a Chilean Tarantula in the show) named Chili makes his appearance, surprising Flik. A pair of acorn weevils, along with Weevil Kneevil, place a slingshot on the stage and launch acorns from it. Chili shoots the first acorn with a quill, but fails to shoot the second due to Weevil holding on to it. Weevil then taunts Chili, who chases after him. The next guest is a soldier termite who defends his mound by spraying intruders with acid. A piece of the set (wood) falls with a rumble and the "Termitnator" steps out. The termite shoots at a taunting flea. Sensing more intruders, the termite shoots at the audience, triggering hidden water jets in the seat backs (despite Flik's protests) until he runs out of acid and leaves. Flik next introduces a stink bug named Claire de Room, who walks onto the stage. The acorn weevils place a flower as a target. Weevil re-enters the scene and crashes into the flower, causing it move towards the audience; Claire then passes gas, which affects and disgusts both Weevil and the audience.

An explosion is heard as Hopper, furious that Flik has allowed humans into the insect world, appears. A rhinoceros beetle chases Flik off the stage and four Weevils hold up an ad for "Knock 'em Dead" exterminators. The acorn weevils turn over the ad and use it as a makeshift movie screen to show clips from old monster movies featuring giant bugs. Hopper thinks that it's time for humans to have a taste of their own medicine, and a giant fly swatter attempts to flatten the audience. The screen goes black as a hand appears with a can of bug spray. Hornets sting the audience, and several black widow spiders go up and down, trying to capture and scare the audience. Hopper says that nothing can stop him, but a chameleon appears and tries to eat him. Hopper, afraid of the chameleon, retreats.

Flik reappears and says that he forgot to mention the reptiles, which segues into the finale. Bees, dung beetles (The Dung Brothers), dragonflies and ladybugs sing about how insects help humans and about how "it's tough to be a bug". Weevil returns, holding a moldy cupcake, and the bugs chase him. The butterflies come back to form as curtains and Flik wraps things up, saying that magnifying glasses are for looking at little things, not for burning little things, and the show ends. The bugs start to talk all at once as they exit. The announcer then tells the audience to gather up their personal belongings and take their "small grubs" by their "grubby little hands" as they exit. In the Animal Kingdom show, the female voice says to exit through the doors to the left, while the male voice says to exit through the doors to the right.


The show's score was composed and conducted by Bruce Broughton, while much of the queue music was arranged by George Wilkins. The attraction's titular theme song was written by Wilkins and Kevin Rafferty.

Queue music[edit]

The queue features parodies or renditions of songs from famous Broadway shows using bug sounds.

Track Name Parody / rendition of
1 "One" (A Cockroach Line) "One" (A Chorus Line)
2 "Beauty and the Bees" (Beauty and the Bees) "Beauty and the Beast" (Beauty and the Beast)
3 "Tomorrow" (Antie) "Tomorrow" (Annie)
4 "I Feel Pretty" (Web Side Story) "I Feel Pretty" (West Side Story)
5 "Hello Dung Lovers" (The Dung and I) "Hello Young Lovers" (The King and I)
6 "Tonight" (Web Side Story) "Tonight" mixed with Flight of the Bumblebee (West Side Story)


The cast includes:[1]

Movie clips[edit]

  • Beginning of the End-Stock footage of giant grasshoppers is recycled from this film.
  • Empire of the Ants-During the part where Hopper takes over the show, he shows a clip from Empire of the Ants (although in black and white) to show how humans depict insects as "monsters".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "It's Tough to Be a Bug". Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ Malloy, Betsy (2002). The Everything Family Guide to the Disneyland Resort. Adams Media. p. 170. Retrieved 2016-07-05. 
  3. ^ Sklar, Martin (2013). Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms. Disney Book Group. Retrieved 2016-07-05. 
  4. ^ Joseph Kleiman (2013-03-27). "It's Tough to be a Bust: The Rhythm and Hues Bankruptcy". Retrieved 2016-07-05. 

External links[edit]