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A New Home for ‘Festival of the Lion King’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Shawn Slater

by , Senior Communications Manager, Disney Live Entertainment

I fell in love with “Festival of the Lion King” the first time I saw it, in a sneak preview ahead of the 1998 opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. From the acrobatic antics of the Tumble Monkeys to Zawadi’s soaring vocals during the signature “Circle of Life,” the exuberant spirit of the show’s cast has kept me coming back time and time again and made “Festival of the Lion King” a guest favorite at Walt Disney World Resort for 15 years.

A New Home for 'Festival of the Lion King' at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Today, I’m excited to tell you “Festival of the Lion King” will soon be moving to an all-new theater, bringing the “tribal celebration” home fittingly to the Africa section of the park, where Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will be able to continue enjoying the show for years to come.

The new “Festival of the Lion King” theater is set to open in 2014.


  • It says closed during those dates, so no shows will be performed during this time.

    I’m disappointed as I will be there for my birthday in January 2014.

    Why stop show when the theater isn’t ready? Only reason I can think of is wanting to work on the old theater at the same time right?

  • Any word on the time table for this move? I see that show times are listed through January 5th on the Disney website, I am taking my son for the first time January 18th-25th and he LOVES The Lion King, this is one of the shows I was really looking forward to experiencing with him! Will it be running??

  • Will the show of the lion king be open in november and dicember? Please answer

  • Hi i just wanted to ask if the old festival of the lion king will be open while the other is being made?

  • My question is, now that a new theater is being built for the show, will the show itself be more like the improved version of it that Hong Kong Disneyland got? While the show remains a favorite attraction at Animal Kingdom, I would hope for some technical upgrades and some revisions to the show scenes and storytelling, and less circus-like “we have no bananas” acrobatic acts.

  • I love the show, but it was shortened a few years ago. Will the new theater allow for the full-length version?

  • FOTLK is a family favorite for us as well. I am so glad they will be keeping it. While I am not particularly thrilled with the idea of an Avatar Land, I am sure Disney will do well as long as they leave the design open to their awesome Imagineers. Camp Minnie Mickey really is in need of a makeover. Since they discontinued Pocahaontas there has not been enough offered in that area. I look forward to seeing something new and unique to Disney World. The potential new Car Land is to basically be a repeat of Dineyland California Cars Land and Avatar, as far as I know, will be a whole new concept. Good luck and Thank You Disney Company for keeping Festival of the Lion King!

  • Will the show still be there during the year of 2013?

  • I see in the comments where you mentioned avatar being in the design phase I thought that project was postponed indefinitely??

  • Will the new theatre seat more guests?

    • Kelsey – The interior of the new theater will be very similar to the current space, with the same audience capacity.

  • I hope the cast remains the same. This show & The Tusker breakfast make Animal Kingdom worthwhile.

    • Donna – I agree. The Cast definitely makes the show!

  • For those who are asking about a timetable, the plans are still being finalized. We will be able to share more details soon.

  • Will the new theatre be open air (like the original theatre) or completely indoors like the Hong Kong Disneyland version? Just saw the show less than two weeks ago at the Hong Kong park and loved it!! The indoor (air conditioned) theatre was most welcome too 🙂

    • Beverly – The new theater in Africa will be enclosed and climate-controlled, just as it is today.

  • This question has been asked a few times, but not answered. So, will there be a hiatus for the show. We also are coming in January 2014, and hope to be able to see it. It is our favorite in Animal Kingdom.

  • I am happy that The Lion King show will move to other locations.

  • When I read on another site that it was moving I was wondering if it was Moving Moving or if they were just re-drawing the borders between Africa and CMM since the old theater is on the border pretty much as is. That said now that I know it’s moving I’m excited to see the new theater and I’m glad that Disney isn’t getting rid of this fan favorite all together to make way for Pandora like I’d initially feared it would 😛

  • Like so many others who have commented above, FOTLK is our favorite show at WDW and AK is my favorite park. Our next visit to WDW will be the last week of Feb. 2014. What are the chances of being able to see FOTLK then? Aug. 27th I can make my ADRs and would like to know if we’re going to plan a full day at AK.

  • This is great news!It makes sense to move it there. What is replacing its old spot?

  • Wonderful news. It will really make the show so much better (if that is even possible)!

    Will the theater look the same or will it be more African designed?

    • Cris – Yes! The exterior of the new theater is being designed to fit right in with its African surroundings.

  • Will there be a hiatus while the show moves?

  • When does the current location close?

  • I am so glad they are saving FOTLK. It’s my favorite show in all of Walt Disney World. As for Avatar Land, I’ll wait and see what it is. I only saw the first half of the movie while waiting for my car to be repaired. If they do the tree in fiber optics it could be quite beautiful at night.

  • Is it closing because of the AVATAR land?

    • Terri – The show is actually just moving to the Africa area. We’re currently in the design phase for AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We look forward to sharing more details on that in the future.

  • Will the Festival of the Lion King show be at Camp Minnie-Mickey through the year of 2013?

  • The Festival of the Lion King is a wonderful show, and I’m excited to see it in the new theater.

    I have to say, though, that I REALLY miss Tarzan Rocks! It had such great energy, especially with the live band. Is there any chance of bringing it back?

    • Terese – “Tarzan Rocks” was a lot of fun, but now we can all enjoy “Finding Nemo – The Musical” at Theater in the Wild!

  • Its going in behind the Dawa bar where they used to have the check in and staging area for the Wild Africa Trek. I sure hope they do something about the walkway and bridge congestion there.

  • Will an addition bridge/pathway be constructed leading to the new theater to ease walking traffic congestion?

    Is anything else being added to the new Lion King area?

    • Timothy – A new pathway will lead from the Tusker House restaurant area in Africa, toward the new theater.

  • Are we talking early 2014? ( Before March ) or later?

  • If the new theatre isn’t ready by late March 2014, will I be able to take my disabled adult daughter to the current location? So looking forward to our seeing this wonderful production for the first time.

  • Will the show still be the same or will there be some changes?

    • Delaney and Michael – When it opens at the new theater in 2014, “Festival of the Lion King” will be the same show we have all come to love!

  • I am excited that the Lion King is getting a new home… not so excited about the possibility of AVATAR land, I think there is so much more Disney could do with that area.

  • Will the Festival of the Lion King show be open still all through the rest of 2013 and will the final of the show going to be the same where the kids ask to be part of the show?

  • awesome photo!! cant wait to see the new theater!!

  • Will the show be closed while the move takes place? We’ll be there in January and hope to see it.

  • That’s one of my favorite shows, I love the energy, the music, the costumes…
    Any news on where in Africa it will go?

    • Wes – The new theater is being constructed west of the existing Harambe Village in Africa. When complete, you’ll see it to the left as you cross the bridge into the Africa section of the park.

  • Will the show still run this August? I am planning a family vacation and the Festival of the Lion King is one of our favorites!

  • This the best show, we make sure we get to see it every time we go to the animal kingdom. The first week of july we took 3 of our grandkids that had never been there, they still talk about it when we get together. There are so many things to do there now at the animal kingdom, we enjoy it more and more every time we go’

  • So the old one is closing to make way for Avatar?

    • Jamie – We’re currently in the design phase for AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We look forward to sharing more details in the future.

  • Sounds fun! Why is the show moving?

    • Forrest – The theme of the show is an even better fit for the African section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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