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Today in Disney History: ‘The Lion King’ Steps Into Theaters

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

Today in 1994, “The Lion King” was released in theaters. This coming-of-age story of Simba, the future king of the Pridelands, is still a hugely popular film with Disney fans both young and old. I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to get over Mufasa’s death 21 years later.


The memorable music from “The Lion King” is highlighted in the Disney’s Animal Kingdom show Festival of the Lion King preformed daily at Harambe Theater. This energizing show features classic characters from the movie with live action performers – most notably the tumble monkeys.

Simba can also be spotted in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade atop a drum while Zazu flies near by at Disneyland park in California.

“The Lion King” won two Academy Awards for best song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and best score. The musical version is still on Broadway in New York City where it will celebrate it’s 18th year this November.


  • If there is any Disney franchise that is underrepresented in the parks compared to how big and successful of a movie run its had, The Lion King is, well, king. Such an awesome movie, here’s to hoping we see more attractions and just more of LK in the parks! Happy 21st Birthday Lion King!

  • James’ wife here – I vividly remember taking my son and his best buddy to the theater – the intensity of the movie was incredible! They were just “little guys” then and they would turn their heads when a scary scene would arise – soo cute!
    At Animal Kingdom this past May we were visiting the meerkats, a species we had not know about until the film!
    Disney is intertwined into our daily lives and it always evokes and brings back fun and fond memories; we’ll always be kids at heart because of WDW!


  • Any chance for Harambe Nights to occur? Was a wonderful event and would love to repeat it!

  • I can’t believe it’s been so long…I hope there’s also a Parks Blog post planned to recognize Roy Disney’s birthday, since we might not have WDW without him.

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