Hello & welcome back to Pride Rock and today, we are taking a look at the various ways that Lion King is represented in the theme parks. Now, there are some changes to this article because they’ve been so long in the past, from now on, I am not including special occasions such as Unleash The Villains, which Scar and the Hyenas were a part of.
And I am also excluding parades from here on out. Even though, The Lion King had been featured in parades such as the Once Upon A Dream parade. Nor am I going to mention the Sorceor’s of Magic Kingdom game.
This comes down to the fact that these articles can be so long and while I love these theme park articles, I hate the length of them. So, I’m going to try and cut them down, where I can. Oh, and there is one more change I think you’ll appreciate for the show based attractions, if there is a video, I’ll link to it. With this out of the way, let’s begin.
The Legend of The Lion King – Magic Kingdom
Now, I had heard about this attraction before but before watching it, I had no idea what it was. After watching it on YouTube, it’s apparently just a puppet show that is a retelling of the movie. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s something akin to Voyage of The Little Mermaid but it was done better. All of the songs seemed to be in tact and it didn’t rearrange the order of any of the numbers. Now, it did use clips from the movie but they seemed to be integrated better and I also like how Rafiki was the narrator of the story in this. That just seems to be a natural role for the wise old baboon. If you are interested in watching this, here is a link to it. Now, this was replaced by Mickey’s PhillarMagic, which features “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” but alas I could not find a picture of that online.
Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable – EPCOT
Now again before watching this on YouTube, I had never seen it before and in some respects, I could have gone without seeing it. This is at best an educational film about protecting the earth and giving it back. It starts out with with Timon wanting to build a lakeside resort in the jungle and this leads Simba to tell Timon, a story of a creature that he is similar to.
And this leads him to talk about humans were once small but overtime grew into a large population and started overtaking the land and were polluting the air and sea. And humans learned that they needed to give back. Timon realizes that he shouldn’t build his lakeside resort and tears down the damn and that lets the water stream naturally. Now, I gotta be honest and say that I find this a little bit hypocritical on Disney’s part as the whole message is protect the environment and Simba is telling Timon not to build a resort, when Disney World itself houses a plethora of resorts so that their guests can stay on property. It’s almost like they are trying to make us feel guilty while a multi miillon dollar theme park and resort. Now look, I’m all for protecting the land and I understand that EPCOT is the educational park but this just left a sour taste in my mouth as though, the audience was being judged while again sitting in an air conditioned room at a theme park. I don’t know, I applaud the effort but this just came off as hypocritical to me. Again, here is a video of it, if you wish to watch. Now while Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella reprise their roles of Timon & Pumbaa respectively, Matthew Broderick did not come back to voice Simba and instead, he is voiced by Cam Clarke. And while there is a noticeable difference, Clarke puts in a good performance.
Festival of The Lion King – Animal Kingdom/Hong Kong Disneyland
Now, we come to the one attraction that I have seen. The best way to describe this show is imagine Cirque Du Solei putting on a celebration of all things, Lion King and this is what you get. You have the characters, the songs, Mixed with acrobatics. This is one of the most fun shows at Disney World and it is a must-see every time I go to Animal Kingdom. It is just show much fun to watch and something that I truly suggest to anyone planning a trip to Disney World as you will not be disappointed. Here is a videoÂ of it for you to enjoy in all of it’s glory.
Now, this is also found at Hong Kong Disneyland but one of the key differences is that it is presented as the story of Simba’s life by Rafiki, who just like in the Broadway musical is played a woman.
The Hakuna Matata Restaurant – Disneyland Paris
The Hakuna Matata Restaurant is a restaurant found in the Adventureland section of Disneyland Paris. It did not start life as a Lion King restaurant but with the release of The Lion King in ’94, it was rethemed to the juggernaut film. According to The Lion King Wiki, most of the building remained unaltered other than murals featuring the grub eating duo.
It’s A Small World – Disneyland
As a part of the refurbishment of Disneyland’s Small World that included adding dolls based on Disney characters in the Mary Blair style, Simba, Timon & Pumbaa were added to the Africa portion of the ride and that sun there looks a lot like Mufasa but it also makes me think of the Broadway poster.
World of Color – California Adventure
The Lion King is featured in the nighttime spectacular, World of Color at California Adventure. The scenes projected include the stampeded and Can You Feel The Love Tonight among others.
Fantasminic – Hollywood Studios/Tokyo DisneySea
Scar is one of the villains featured in the montage of villains called upon in the montage of villains and in the Tokyo DisneySea version music from the film can be heard in medley of songs which builds up to Circle of Life.
Lion King Suites – Art of Animation Resort (Disney World)
The Art of Animation Resort at Disney World features suites based on The Lion King and I think they look rather neat.
And what’s really neat is that for the statutes that can be found throughout the hotel, the team that worked on this hotel worked with Walt Disney Animation to make sure that the characters were film accurate in their looks.
And this is just a taste of what can be found there and as you can see, iconic moments such as the log scene and Simba standing atop Pride Rock were included. That is pretty cool.
While this isn’t all the ways, The Lion King is represented in the parks around the world, I feel that this sufficient enough. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article and join me tomorrow for a look at…
Can You Feel The Love Tonight?