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Vintage Walt Disney World: Legend of the Lion King

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

Before Mickey and the PhilharMagic Orchestra took up residence in the Fantasyland Concert Hall at Magic Kingdom Park, an entire Pride Land of characters inhabited the space in the form of Legend of the Lion King, which debuted at the park July 8, 1994.

Legend of the Lion King at Magic Kingdom Park

Narrated by Rafiki, the show featured “Disney Humanimal” versions of the famous characters from the hit Walt Disney Pictures’ animated movie. Disney Humanimals are larger-than-life figures that look just like their animated film counterparts.

Legend of the Lion King at Magic Kingdom Park

The Mufasa Disney Humanimal measured seven feet long – tip to tail – and six feet tall.

Legend of the Lion King at Magic Kingdom Park

The stage for Legend of the Lion King was 125-feet wide, and was actually bigger than the seating area in order to permit the use of giant sets, including an 18-foot Pride Rock that rose from below the stage.

Today, all of the songs and pageantry of “The Lion King” still live on at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park where “Festival of the Lion King” is performed daily at Camp Minnie-Mickey.

Comments

  • is it still playing or was removed?? IM SO CONFUSED!!!

  • Man do I miss this show. I used to watch it every time I went to Disney world. I remember being 8 or 9 years old and going up to the LotLk theater to see that the sign was removed. Philharmagic’s good, but the Lion King will always be my favorite. Why did they remove the show anyways?

  • “The pre-show didn’t have chairs, but the auditorium did!” – thanks for your response. I was kind of confused by a post above (Paul wrote: “I hated having to stand for the whole thing. If it had chairs in the auditorium it would have been better.”

  • Hello, Nate. This is an odd request, but I just graduated from a library science program and I am former CP. I’m very interested in being a part of your team with the Disney Archives, however I don’t know how to go about receiving that information. Is there any way you could point me in the right direction or shoot me an email with some details on how I might get my foot in the door? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time.

  • I never got to see that show, but I do love the Mickey’s Philharmagic :)

  • I distinctly remember that there were chairs in the auditorium – when did they get removed? 3D is everywhere these days, so I´d be happier with that “vintage” show…

    • The pre-show didn’t have chairs, but the auditorium did!

  • Keep these articles coming,

    Really enjoyed this particular article with the original stage show at the Magic Kingdom.

    The Lion King in my opinion was the best Walt Disney Studios motion picture, of the decade…and filled with emotion and sorry for the once and forever king of the horizon Mufasa.

    • Thanks Kevin, I’ll continue to do my best to find great stuff to share from the archives.

  • No offense for all the love of this, but I saw it once and never again. It was kind of cool with the puppetry, but I hated having to stand for the whole thing. If it had chairs in the auditorium it would have been better.

  • I was lucky enough to be part of the cast for this show from 1998-99. I performed it over 1800 times and never got tired of it. One of my favorite memories: in order to keep the theater comfortable for the audience, the air conditioning was up fairly high and it got so cold down in the pit that many of us wore sweat pants even in July :-) Mickey’s Philharmagic is a cute show, but that will always be the LotLK Theater to me.

  • This was the second attraction my family visited on our first trip in December 1996. These pictures help bring back some great memories. While looking for pictures of The Mickey Mouse Revue, you need to find pictures of The Hunchback of Notre Dame show that played in MGM Studios(DHS). Thanks .

    • Ryan, you’re in luck. I wrote about it a couple of week’s ago. Just click here: http://tiny.cc/hudfh

  • I miss this show so much … it was always one of my favorites … I like Philharmonic too but wish they would have put it in another location so that we could have both :(

  • Excellent photos. Is there any chance we could see Vintage pics from the 20,000 Leagues ride? By my first visit, it was long gone and I never got to ride. :(

  • Would love to see some behind the scenes pics of the humanimals.

  • My Godson/nephew Ryan conquered his fear of dark rides while watching the preshow from my shoulders. One of my fondest memories of the many trips we’ve made to the Kingdom over the years. He’s going into high school this fall, but I’ll always remember the toddler he was as he enjoyed the show. Can’t wait to take him to see the 3D version coming out. Thanks for bringing this marvelous memory to mind.

  • I only got to see Legend of the Lion King once, but it was an amazing show.

    Wasn’t this location where Magic Journeys played before Legend of the Lion King came in?

  • @ Amanda….im in the same boat as you. I always made sure as well to see the show, since its my favorite Disney movie. I also enjoy the Philharmagic, but wish that it were placed somewhere else

  • My family and I were privileged to see the very last show. It was an amazing atmosphere. Watching the show and little by little the people who worked on the show came out and watched with us. It was a great show we still have the buttons they passed out to all who attended.

  • This was my absolute FAVORITE show as a kid. I made sure we saw it every single time we went to Disney. I remember being so mad at Philarmagic when it first opened, cause I just didn’t want to like any replacement. I love Philarmagic now, but I wish it had a better TLK segment, or else that Legend was somewhere else in the park <3

  • Bring it back! Bring it back! Loved this Lion King show!

  • For me, even the Mickey’s Phiharmagic building is still “The Mickey Mouse Revue”, long before LK.
    3-D is all very nice, but there was just something about those Animatronic tableaus, back in the day, that let you know you were at Disney. :)

    • Eric, I’ll have to dig around for some Mickey Mouse Revue photograph to share with you. It’s on my list!

  • I wasn’t a fan of this show. For me, it’s location replacement (PhilharMagic) and Lion King attraction replacement (Festival of the Lion King) are both far superior than this show.

    My biggest objection to this show was how Simba would appear to be smiling at the death of his father.

  • I miss this show, too. It really was magical!

  • I had forgotten about this! Thanks for featuring it and bringing back some fond memories – definitely remember seeing this with my family back in the day.

    • Ben, you’re welcome. Glad we could bring back some fond memories.

  • As much as I love Mickey’s Philharmagic, I still miss this show. We loved being able to see Lion King in Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom back in the day. When the music began and the curtain rose it was like you were right there in the story.

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