If you’re spending a day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you have to be prepared for a wild day of fun and adventure! Of course, no trip to the park is complete without a visit to the Harambe Theatre to see Festival of the Lion King. This broadway-caliber show opened with the park in April 1998 and is a twenty(ish) minute long musical performance of some of the most popular songs from The Lion King with live singers, dancers, gymnasts, and puppeteering. Let the procession begin!
The show is perfect for all ages. Before the pandemic, the show featured interactive segments where members of the audience (including adults!), could be picked to participate in the show’s opening sequence or rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” The “Be Prepared” musical number stars singing character Kiume with a professional fire knife dancer. Timon, as always, attempts to steal the show before the gymnast Tumble Monkeys take over with gravity-defying feats. A female dance portraying a bird actually takes flight over the audience during “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?,” and the Celebration Finale brings all of the performers together for a stunning end to the show!
Growing up, Festival of the Lion King was one of my favorite stage productions and, in my eyes, the definition of Disney magic come to life. The colors and energy in the show are unmatched! So, when the parks announced that they would be re-opening the show with COVID-safe precautions under the title “A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King,” I could not be more excited. This version of the show has removed audience interaction, the Tumble Monkeys, the bird’s flight in “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” and a socially distant re-staging for performers.
While I certainly miss some of the elements that have been temporarily cut from the show, there’s truly nothing like experiencing the performance that comes alive around you. On one of my visits to the show (of course I had to see it twice), I wanted to practice my photography skills and try my hand at a show I’ve never taken pictures of before. While it’s definitely a tough show to capture because of the sharp lighting changes and constant movement, I’m so proud of how my images came out!
If you’re looking to bring the magic of Festival of the Lion King home, you can find the full soundtrack on Spotify, as well as hundreds of recordings of the show on YouTube!
If you’ve seen A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King, let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Have a terrific day,