Sunset Over the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Behind the Scenes of ‘The Lion King – Concert in the Wild’ for Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on June 4th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Back in 1998, I had the good fortune to be part of the opening team in Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Thanks to the impressive work of the Imagineers who created it, the park’s fictional village of Harambe became a very real place to us, with a rich history and vibrant population. The village took its name from the Swahili word “harambee,” which is roughly defined as “pulling together to create something greater than its parts.” For Harambe Nights, the new special event debuting at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this week, the citizens of Harambe village are doing just that to create an epic theatrical celebration of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

“On this grand occasion of the film’s 20th anniversary, the people of Harambe have pulled together to present the beloved ‘Lion King’ story to visiting guests in a new way,” said Show Director Marsha Jackson-Randolph. “The village storyteller hosts, the Harambe choir sings, the best dancers dance, and the Sangoma shaman works his mystical powers as iconic scenes of the film appear to come to life in the authentic African tradition of a ‘Story Circle.’ And there’s more excitement! Harambe’s Town Council has invited a 25-piece guest orchestra and a celebrity guest narrator to join them each night.”

During a recent rehearsal, Marsha gave us a behind-the-scenes look at some of the tremendous work going into the staging of this all-new show, “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild,” and her close collaboration with noted South African Choreographer Warren Adams, whose impressive credits include Broadway’s “Motown the Musical,” the Hong Kong production of “The Lion King,” “Of Mice and Men” with James Franco, and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” starring Neil Patrick Harris.

I got goose bumps just watching the cast rehearse and can’t wait to see all the elements of the show come together in the Harambe Theatre. Of course, the only way to experience “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” for yourself is to get a ticket to Harambe Nights, and they’re going fast!

Harambe Nights takes place from 7 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. every Saturday, June 7 – August 9, 2014. The celebrity narrators scheduled to appear each night as part of “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” include*:

  • June 7 – Viola Davis: “The Help,” “Doubt,” “How to Get Away with Murder” – SOLD OUT
  • June 14 – Avery Brooks: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “American History X”
  • 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”

Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax, and include parking, a Welcome Reception, the 55-minute theatrical experience, two hours of additional live entertainment during the Harambe Nights Street Party, and amazing food and drinks throughout the evening. For tickets, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call 407-939-1319.

(*Entertainment subject to change)

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A New Way to Visit Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on June 2nd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Everyone knows the way to get to Never Land is to follow the second star to the right, but now there’s a new portal that has opened up in Magic Kingdom Park that can take you directly to a very special corner of Pixie Hollow!

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By entering the new Garden Theater, part of Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A., you’ll be magically shrunk down to the size of a fairy and transported into Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook. That’s where you’ll find Tinker Bell herself, waiting to meet you amongst her collection of treasures from the mainland. Take a look:

Best of all, Disney Fastpass+ service is now available for this experience, so Tinker Bell fans of every age can now be sure of getting to meet their favorite fairy!

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Join Us for a Special 3 a.m. Showing of ‘World of Color,’ Streaming Live From Disneyland Resort

posted on May 24th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


UPDATE 5/24: Rock Your Disney Side live stream coverage has concluded.


5:00 a.m. EDT / 2:00 a.m. PDT

Who’s still awake and rockin’ your Disney Side?

As our 24-hour celebration is wrapping up on the East Coast, things are still going strong at Disneyland Resort, where dance parties at Sleeping Beauty Castle, Tomorrowland Terrace and Mad T Party in Hollywood Land are continuing through 5 a.m. And coming up at 3 a.m. is our special, late-night showing of “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park. If you’re not here, check out the Paradise Pier live stream for a glimpse of the show. You’ll find the world is a carousel of color – even at this time of night!

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Step Inside Scary Tale Hall at Magic Kingdom Park… If You Dare!

posted on May 24th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment



12:15 a.m. EDT / 9:15 p.m. PDT

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It’s the witching hour. Beware of apples and spinning wheels!

Two of Disney’s greatest villains, the Queen from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty,” have moved into Princess Fairytale Hall for the evening, turning this corner of Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park into Scary Tale Hall and holding court waiting for you! You’d best hurry, though, if you hope to catch them, for they’ll be vanquished with the morning light once the park closes at 6 a.m.

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Catch a Glimpse of Disneyland Resort Nighttime Spectaculars on Disney Parks Blog Live Streams

posted on May 23rd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment



11:30 p.m. EDT / 8:30 p.m. PDT

Between the four live streams originating from Disneyland Resort today during the Rock Your Disney Side event, there’s a lot to see. Tonight, be sure to check in on those streams for live views of some of our nighttime spectaculars.

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Disney Villains Are Set to Take Over Magic Kingdom Park

posted on May 23rd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment



9:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. PDT

What Disney Side are you rockin’ today? Does it have a bit of a villainous streak? If so, you’re in luck, as the Disney villains are preparing to take over Magic Kingdom Park! They’ve already crashed the “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!” Street Party and are set to roll through the streets in the “It’s Good to Be Bad” Villainous Celebration at 10:45 p.m. and 12:45 a.m. (just ahead of scheduled performances of Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade).

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Later tonight, around 1:45 a.m., you’ll be able to meet your favorite baddies at spots all over the park. Among the villains you may find are Big Bad Wolf and Cruella De Vil on Main Street, U.S.A. and Bowler Hat Guy creeping into Tomorrowland. Queen of Hearts, Stromboli, and Captain Hook are headed to Fantasyland. Jafar is slithering into Adventureland, and Dr. Facilier is expected to materialize in the Enchanted Glade near Liberty Square.

Of course, you won’t want to forget about Scary Tale Hall. Maleficent and the Queen will be turning half of Princess Fairytale Hall to the dark side, starting at 11:00 p.m. It’s going to be wicked!

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Movie Marathons to Rock Your Disney Side at Disneyland Resort

posted on May 23rd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment



1:30 p.m. EDT / 10:30 a.m. PDT

Do you wanna see a movie? And do you like the “Frozen” songs?
Come on and Rock Your Disney Side. It’s nice and cool inside. Come join our sing-along!

Among the fun and unique happenings today at Disneyland Resort for our 24-hour event is a pair of day-long movie marathons in each park. At Disney California Adventure park, sing-along screenings of Disney’s Academy Award-winning film, “Frozen,” will be kicking off at 11:30 a.m. and running all day long. “For the First Time in Forever” you can “Let It Go” “In Summer” to your heart’s content … even if your voice is a bit of a “Fixer Upper”!

Over at Disneyland park, you can join the excitement of the Avengers Super Hero Movie Marathon at the Magic Eye Theater in Tomorrowland. Throughout the day and night, step inside and catch all the action of “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

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‘Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade’ About to Step Off at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on May 23rd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment



12:00 p.m. EDT / 9:00 a.m. PDT

Here we go! It’s nearly time for all the beauty and majesty of the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade,” starting at noon on the streets of Magic Kingdom Park. What are you most looking forward to seeing? The Princess Garden with Anna and Elsa from “Frozen”? Peter Pan’s Lost Boys and soaring pirate galleon? How about the spectacularly colorful and animated Storybook Circus finale? Oh, and I hear there’s a dragon on the loose … and she breathes fire!

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade: The Princess Garden "Frozen"

The entire procession is a sight to behold. If you aren’t able to join us to experience it in the park, be sure to follow along on the live stream. And if you can’t make this performance, the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” will be presented again at 3:30 p.m.

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Harambe Nights Street Party to Bring Out Your ‘Wild Side’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 22nd, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


The citizens of Harambe, the African village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, are preparing to welcome you this summer to a special event like none ever held before. Among other things, Harambe Nights will feature an all-new show, “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild,” celebrating the 20th anniversary of Disney’s “The Lion King” with a live orchestra, choir, dancers, animation, special effects, and a celebrity guest narrator.

I’ll have an update soon on everything happening behind the scenes to bring “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” to life. While this theatrical experience will certainly be a highlight of the evening, once the show comes to its dramatic conclusion, the celebration is just getting started!

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Following the show, everyone is invited into the village for the Harambe Nights Street Party, a festive gathering of music and fun with a delicious, all-inclusive African-inspired menu.

“Harambe Nights Street Party is a totally immersive experience,” said Show Director Forrest Bahruth. “There will be opportunities for guests to get involved, to dance, to be entertained or just to relax and enjoy the evening.”

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The Harambe Nights Street Party fills the village streets with Afro-pop music from the Harambe Nights Band and DJ Khalifa, beloved Disney characters, stilt walkers, and specialty performers, encouraging everyone to join in and “Go wild!” You can even show your true wild side with some cool, glow-in-the-dark face painting and other opportunities to join in the fun.

“Our guests are going to come away from Harambe Nights, not only with memories of the 20th anniversary of ‘The Lion King,’” said Forrest, “but also the tastes and excitement of Africa and a feeling that they are a part of the great ‘Circle of Life.’ It’s going to be fantastic!”

Harambe Nights takes place every Saturday from June 7 – August 9, 2014, with a Welcome Reception starting at 7 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. show time for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.” Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Great seats are still available for all nights, but capacity is limited. For tickets, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call 407-939-1319.

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Rock Your Disney Side With Special Entertainment at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on May 19th, 2014 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


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It’s almost here! Magic Kingdom Park is going to stay open from 6 a.m. Friday, May 23, until 6 a.m. Saturday, May 24, so you can Rock Your Disney Side for 24 straight hours! Throughout this mega Disney day, all your usual favorite characters and shows will be available, and we’ve also planned some special entertainment experiences for you:

  • Everything kicks off with a special edition of the Welcome Show, as heroes and villains make their way to Magic Kingdom Park.
  • The “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!” Street Party will feature Disney heroes at 10 a.m. and Disney villains at 1:30 p.m. When it comes to the 5:45 p.m. performance, though, exactly who makes an appearance will be determined by your votes throughout the day! (More information on how you can vote will be posted on Friday morning).
  • The Magic Kingdom Park parades will each have two performances, with the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” at 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. And don’t forget “Wishes Nighttime Spectacular” fireworks at 9 p.m. and “Celebrate the Magic” at 8:45 p.m., 9:45 p.m., and 11:45 p.m.
  • Prior to each presentation of Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade, the Disney villains roll through Magic Kingdom Park in a pre-parade, celebrating how “It’s Good to Be Bad!”
  • Starting at 11 p.m., half of Princess Fairytale Hall becomes Scary Tale Hall, the perfect place to encounter Maleficent and the Queen from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” (Don’t worry, though. The other side of the hall will still feature favorite royals Anna and Elsa.)
  • Later, around 1:45 a.m., the villains take over the rest of the park’s character greeting locations. Where Aladdin and Jasmine appear in Adventureland during the day, expect to find Jafar instead. Elsewhere, Dr. Facilier takes the place of Princess Tiana, Captain Hook subs for Peter Pan, and more!
  • In Tomorrowland, the #INCREDIBLESSuperDanceParty rocks the Rockettower Plaza Stage from 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., followed by Incredibles Movie Night with screenings of Disney•Pixar’s “The Incredibles” from 11 p.m. – 5 a.m.
  • Disney’s “Up All Night” Dance Party at Cinderella Castle and the Frontierland Dance Party on the west side of the park will keep things festive from 2 a.m. – 5:45 a.m.
  • This grand, 24-hour extravaganza concludes with a special “Kiss Goodnight” at 5:50 a.m. at the Railroad Station in Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A.

So whether your Disney Side aligns more with the heroes or the villains, you’re in for a whole day and night of fun at Magic Kingdom Park!

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