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Why Guests Can’t Get Enough of ‘Festival of the Lion King’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom


There’s something about “Festival of the Lion King“—the music, the performers, the staging and the overall celebratory feeling—that excites guests with every performance.

This magnificent musical tribute to a young lion’s journey of discovery is created in such a way as to keep you engaged in every aspect of the story. As Tara Anderson, show director for “Festival of the Lion King,” stated: “With our production, we don’t tell the story of “‘The Lion King’.” We celebrate the music and the characters of the story. We hit all the beats of the story, but we do it in a very artistic way.”

While some audience members are welcomed to participate, guests can feel like longtime friends in this lush, exotic world. And once Timon takes the stage to lead everyone in “Hakuna Matata”, it’s impossible not to feel drawn into all the magic.

Among the show’s highlights are the very agile and sprightly Tumble Monkeys, a troupe put together by their pal, Timon. The highly-trained acrobats perform Olympic-style feats in sync to a lively jazz medley.

Of course, that cunning, two-faced Scar is also at hand, spreading villainy with his snarky hyena henchmen in “Be Prepared” which features an electrifying fire dance. But love literally soars above it all when the Flying Bird performers, clad in radiant color and plumage, bring “Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ to the highest heights in sheer balletic splendor.

“The show has wonderful individual elements,” Tara said. “What makes it work is all those elements coming together and being that circle of life.” And that is the feeling that is evoked when you hear the “Circle of Life” being sung and see all the entertainers dressed as the animals take the stage for the finale. Timon then leads everyone in singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” with the Tumble Monkeys performing for all.

There are performances throughout the day, so check your Time Guide. You can use your Fastpass+ to pre-arrange times for viewing.

What is your favorite part of the show? Tell us in the comments section below!


  • This is my favorite show of all the Disney parks and being a Passholder, I’ve seen it many times (every time I go). I always tell anyone (friends, strangers at the Parks) DO NOT miss this show. They say they saw it on Broadway and I tell them – this is not the same show at all. When I’m “blue”, I turn on the CD and listen to the music and I can picture what is happening and I’m happy again. I think I truly know the whole show! Wish I was younger so that I could audition for it – In my mind I can dance like that!

  • This show is fantastic, but if you really want to see the Lion King done right visit Hong Kong Disneyland! While both shows are great, theirs takes it to the next level.

  • My boyfriend and I absolutely love this show. The last time we were in Animal Kingdom it was the first attraction we visited. My only wish is that somehow “He Lives In You” could be incorporated into the show somehow! My favorite Disney song of all time.

  • I LOVE this show! I have seen it dozens of times since Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1998 and it gives me chills every single time. It is nearly impossible to pick a favorite part as everything adds to the whole experience but I think the finale, with all of the Cast on stage, the bird in flight, the music at a crescendo, it brings me to my feet each time. Best Disney stage show ever!

  • We really like the new theater for Festival of the Lion King. The only thing “missing” from it is the extra space between the performers and the audience and truthfully we much prefer being closer to the action. It makes us feel more a part of the show rather than being on the outskirts of it and just observing it. Overall, it makes for a more enjoyable experience that we can’t wait to see again.

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