Why Festival Of The Lion King Is A Can’t-Miss Show At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Festival of the Lion King

During your Walt Disney World vacation, planning your time wisely is an important part of fitting in all of the magic you can each day of your trip. While some choose to make a very specific itinerary, others like to go with the flow and see where the day takes them. If you are limited on time, especially if you have park hopper tickets, it’s easy to brush off the shows at any of the four theme parks in order to accomplish all that you wish to see, do, and eat. One show that I highly encourage you NOT to skip is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here are five reasons NOT to skip Festival of the Lion King.

1. It’s the only attraction to honor the popular film.

Despite being released over 20 years ago, The Lion King still ranks high on the list of Disney Classics. Surprisingly, you will not find any other attraction or character meet and greet related to this movie. While the Kilimanjaro Safari appears as if it was modeled after the savanna found in the animated film, there is nothing included in this attraction that pays direct homage to the movie. You will find a statue of Rafiki when you ride the train over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, but overall, an immersive theme relating to The Lion King is lacking from this area. The 40-minute Festival of the Lion King show includes your favorite characters from The Lion King as well as its Academy Award-winning soundtrack. If you love The Lion King, then you must attend this entertaining and heart-warming show.

Festival of the Lion King Simba
Simba, Pumba, and elephants appear in the show as animatronics. Timon is dressed in character and goes on stage with the other performers. Photo by Loren Javier (CC BY-ND 2.0)

2. It’s a Broadway quality performance from start to finish.

When visiting Disney parks, one should never underestimate the talent you will find. Disney performers are among the most-gifted in song and dance and those appearing at Festival of the Lion King are no different. What’s more is that Festival of the Lion King mirrors the show on and off Broadway with its elaborate costumes and make-up and the Simba and Pumba animatronics interact with the other performers. Unlike other popular shows like Frozen Singalong and a Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!, Festival of the Lion King does not use any animation to enhance the show drawing your attention to the pure art on display by all of the performers.

Festival of the Lion King Cast Photo
The vibrant costumes in Festival of the Lion King authentically represent African nations and the animals found on the savanna.

3. The Tumble Monkeys put on a show within the show.

In the middle of Festival of the Lion King, you’ll meet the silly tumble monkeys. They bounce, swing, flip, and climb their way into your hearts! Their acrobatics will make you ooh and aww and keep you on the edge of your seat. They are a comic relief and very entertaining during what is already an amazing performance.

Festival of the Lion King
The incredible acrobatics of the Tumble Monkeys are just one reason why Festival of the Lion King cannot be missed!

4. There’s not a bad seat in the theater.

Festival of the Lion King is held in the Harambe Theatre in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The stage is situated in the center of the theater with four sections of stadium seating on benches. Despite being able to fit 1,500 guests during each showing, you cannot have a bad seat in the house since all of the action is front and center to each and every section! The show also invites the crowd to interact with the performers, singing along and waving their arms in the air, and being able to see the other guests in all of the sections participate brings a smile to your face.

Festival of the Lion King
Festival of the Lion King normally shows daily on the hour between 10:00AM and 5:00PM. Join the standy-by queue or utilize a lightning lane for an even quicker wait time and seating. Photo: Emily Murray.

5. It allows you to take a much-needed break from navigating Walt Disney World’s largest park!

Consisting of 580 total acres, 110 being the savanna, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is by far the largest park and your legs will feel it! Taking breaks during long park days is essential for your body, mind, and spirit, and visiting outstanding shows like Festival of the Lion King is one way to take a rest without missing out on any of the magic. On warmer days, the air conditioning will be as welcomed of a treat as a Mickey ice cream bar, and singing along with the melodic tunes from The Lion King refreshes the soul.

Festival of the Lion King
There is something for everyone to enjoy during the Festival of the Lion King. Photo: Emily Murray.

Festival of the Lion King is something that you just should not skip when visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. From sensational singers and dazzling dancers to custom costumes and awe-inspiring acrobatics, you won’t be sorry that you stopped by this show. And once you see it for the first time, it will easily be moved to your must-do list of attractions when visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Do you usually make time for Festival of the Lion King when you are at Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Photo: Emily Murray.

Written by

Shelley Wehler

Contributing Writer

Shelley is a stay-at-home mother of two girls living outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Her love of all things Disney has grown even more as she sees the magic come alive through the lens of her young daughters. She spends her free time keeping up with the latest in Disney news and daydreaming of her next trip to the parks!