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Celebrate the Grandest Tales and Tastes of Africa During Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Shawn Slater

by , Senior Communications Manager, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment


Where were you when “The Lion King” came out in 1994? I was a tour guide at The Magic of Disney Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where several sequences featuring young Simba had been animated. It’s hard to believe, but this summer marks the 20th anniversary of that now-classic film. In honor of the epic tale of “The Lion King,” Disney’s Animal Kingdom is prepared to stage a special celebration event like no other.


It all begins with a Welcome Reception in the park’s Harambe Village, including mouth-watering appetizers and African-inspired wine and beer. Then it’s time for the ‘mane’ event! Take your seat inside the newly built Harambe Theatre for an unforgettable performance of “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.” This all-new, never-before-seen theatrical experience features a live orchestra and choir, dancers, digitally projected movie moments, and dramatic lighting and scenic elements – all hosted by a celebrity guest narrator. The show brings to life the humor, heart, and stirring emotional power of Simba’s journey to find his place as the Lion King.


The lineup of celebrity narrators for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” features stars from movies, TV, and Broadway. Those scheduled to appear each night of the event include*:

  • June 7 – Viola Davis: “The Help,” “Ender’s Game”
  • June 14 – TBD
  • June 21 – Montego Glover: “The Following,” “Memphis”
  • June 28 – David Alan Grier: “Porgy & Bess,” “In Living Color”
  • July 5 – Michael Beach: “ER,” “Third Watch,” “Sons of Anarchy”
  • July 12 – Harry Lennix: “The Blacklist,” “The Five Heartbeats”
  • July 19 – Joe Morton: “Scandal,” “American Gangster,” “The Good Wife”
  • July 26 – Alfre Woodard: “Desperate Housewives,” “Miss Evers Boys”
  • August 2 – Brian Stokes Mitchell: “Ragtime,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “Glee”
  • August 9 – Patina Miller: “Pippin,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”

After the show, the celebration continues with the Harambe Nights Street Party, filled with music, characters, and live performers, encouraging everyone to join in and “Go wild!” You can enjoy an all-inclusive buffet of sophisticated and flavorful African cuisine and gourmet desserts. Exclusive Lion King merchandise and collectibles will be available for purchase during the event, and you’ll want to stick around for a special finale to bid “kwaherini” to a magical evening that could only happen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Harambe Nights takes place every Saturday from June 7 – August 9, 2014, with the Welcome Reception starting at 7 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. show time. Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Tickets with premium floor seating are $134 for adults, $94 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Capacity is limited, so you’ll want to go ahead and get your tickets by visiting Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or calling 407-939-1319.

(*Entertainment subject to change)


  • Couldn’t chance hoping that this will become an annual event with the expansion of AK (as I posted earlier)> Managed to rearrange our summer schedule and squeeze in a trip starting 8/6 so we will be able to attend the very last Harambe Nights.

  • My husband bought our premium tickets last night; they are selling out fast. Can’t wait to see the new show in the new theater. This will be a magical night!

  • Hello Tracy,
    I believe and Shawn can correct me if I am wrong but TBD means to be determined or announced. The food and drinks are included in the price. I am attending June the 7th. I am thrilled that I saw the information about it just days after if was announced but the more expensive closer seats were already sold out in less than a week. So, book, book, book if you want to go. It is a non-refundable ticket and not inexpensive so be sure you want to attend.

    Hello Shawn,
    So there will be a full meal which the reservations people don’t know. They only know about the appetizers, drinks and desserts which I’m glad I read your comment because I was planning to come a little hungry but to eat something in advance so I wouldn’t feel unsatisfied by appetizers for dinner. Also any chance that the kiss good night will be a preview of the new AK night time spectacular that was just announced “Rivers of Light”? I am soooo excited. The night is going to be a surprise for my daughter and my friend who will be with me on the trip.

  • Hi
    Can you be so kind as to just tell me is the welcoming appetizers and African-inspired wine and beer are included in the price or do you have to pay extra for these also what time does it finish in the evening. and if I am thinking of going on the 14 June ( in the list of performers appearing what is or what does TBD mean
    Also could you be so kind as to also tell me how the little girl at the end of the Beauty & The beast show gets the rose. Is it just luck of the draw.
    Greetings from England And happiness and Joy to everyone working and visiting Disney World, Florida

  • While we can’t make this event, my wife and I will have to have some sort of celebration of our own on 6/24, which will be the 20th anniversary of our first date, when we went to see TLK on opening night.

    • Gregory – Happy Anniversary! No doubt, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” is one of your favorite songs!

  • Do you think this is something that would be good for a 7 year old to attend or is this something that is a bit more refined?

    • TC – Children are certainly welcome (and there will be kid-friendly items on the menu), but you would be the best judge of whether or not your child would enjoy this event. My wife and I will be making it a date night and letting the kids sleep over with Grandpa and Grandma! 😉

  • Just bought my tickets! I can’t believe my incredible luck, this event coincides with my first Disney trip. I’ve been saving for this trip for years and to have an event focused on my favorite movie be available while I’m there is just too awesome! Looking forward to this so much now!!!

    • Catherine – You’re coming at a great time. Here’s wishing you a visit filled with joy and magic!

  • Super excited and just bought tickets for closing night for my 9 year old daughter and myself. FotLK is our favourite Disney show so this will be a spectacular experience for us. One more question: will beer and wine be available during the dinner part of the reception as well? I can’t imagine it would just be with the appetizers prior to the show, but would like to know. Also, are there specialty non-alcoholic beverages available, as well, other than soft drinks and water? Hoping for an exotic juice mixture.

    • Anne – Yes, drinks will definitely be available for dinner during the Harambe Nights Street Party. Our Food & Beverage team is still working out the details of the menu, so I’m not sure yet about specialty non-alcoholic beverages. We hope to get an update from them soon.

  • sounds excellent!

  • Sounds great. I have some questions. Do you know how long the show will be? Is it 20 min? 40? an hour? How long is the whole event? Is the buffet afterwards like dinner or just snacks? Is it unlimited wine and beer? I know it was mentioned that there is no AP discount, what about DVC or Tables in Wonderland discounts?

    • Honore – Great questions. “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” will last approximately 55 minutes. The entire event runs from 7 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. The buffet stations during the Harambe Nights Street Party will offer a variety of substantial selections for dinner. The event ticket price is all-inclusive of entertainment, reception appetizers and drinks, dinner, desserts, and beverages (including wine and beer). Sorry, but there are no discounts available.

  • As soon as I heard about this I bought tickets! Can’t wait to experience the first “Harambe Nights” on June 7th! I leave WDW on June 8th, so this will be a wonderful ending to my trip :)

    • Carol – It certainly will, and Viola Davis will be a perfect host for your evening!

  • Man I sure hope they will continue this… I would love this… I have looked into alot of other tours and such but this by far looks the coolest!!

  • Wasn’t Montego Glover, who speaks June 21, part of the opening cast at DAK at Festival of the Lion King before becoming famous? I swear she was. This event looks amazing!! I wish I didn’t move so far away to the other coast or I would be buying tickets ASAP!

    • Alison – You’re absolutely right! Montego Glover was part of our Disney family at “Festival of the Lion King” when it opened in 1998, before finding success on Broadway and television.

  • Tickets booked! Very excited, but I just remembered that we won’t have a rental car on our trip. Shawn, do you know if Disney busses will be running to the Animal Kingdom that late for this event?

    • Scott – I’m checking on that for you and will post the answer here when I have it. Thanks for the question!

    • Scott – I’ve just confirmed with my friends at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that Disney resort busses will be available to get you back after the event, so as they say, Hakuna Matata! :-)

  • Can’t get link for premium tickets to work

  • Just bought our tickets! Can’t wait!!! :)

  • This sounds so amazing ! I just bought my season pass and only live about 20 minutes away from Disney. But, sadly as a poor college kid this is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive ! My birthday is the 10th so I would have loved to see Patina Miller.

    • Nick – It’s going to be pretty great. Maybe you can hint around for an early birthday present! 😉

  • Of course, I leave 5/21 so I miss this and the 7 Dwarfs.

  • I got a mysterious email about this a few days ago, because I am an Annual Passholder. I see no mention of AP discount, or any reason why they made mention of it in the email. Anyone know why?

    • Linda – Sorry, but no discounts are available for this experience.

  • Here’s hoping that as AK expands with Avatarland (the new River of Lights announcement looks AWESOME)this will become an annual event, like EPCOT’s Christmas event. *fingers crossed*

    • Erin – That would be terrific if it did.

  • Rob, Tina and Maureen – I’m sorry to hear you’re going to miss it. This is the first time we’ve held an event like this at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but you never know what the future may hold!

  • So clicking the link takes you to the information about the event. The link on that page to book the Premium seats does not work.

    • Brian – I checked, and this should be working for you now.

  • Figures, it begins right after I leave, end of May and ends the day before I go back again in August. This sounds fantastic. and I have to miss it! Wah!

  • I agree with Rob, but please extend into October!

  • This sounds terrific!

    • Karen – I think so, too. In fact, I already got my tickets! Who are you most excited to see as narrator for the show?

  • Please extend this into September! Pretty please!

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