DISCLOSURE: I was an invited guest of the Walt Disney World Company to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to share The Lion King goodness in the park, but all opinions are my own.
The Lion King has always played a huge role in the fabric of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and to celebrate the animated classic’s 25th anniversary Walt Disney World is celebrating in a big way with new and enhanced experiences.
With so many great new experiences, I wanted to share how you can have a Disney Day themed to The Lion King at the park!
Since Disney’s The Lion King was first released in theaters 25 years ago, we have lost half of Africa’s lions. Only 20,000 remain. The time to act is now.
For each rider on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during opening week of The Lion King film (July 19 – 25, 2019), Disney Conservation Fund will donate $2 (up to $350,000) to the Wildlife Conservation Network in support of the Lion Recovery Fund’s efforts to help double the number of lions across Africa by 2050.
- Lions are threatened from a combination of factors, including: poaching, loss of prey and destruction of habitats, and Disney has launched The Lion King “Protect the Pride” campaign in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund in an effort to double the lion population by 2050.
- Since 1995, the Disney Conservation Fund has directed up to $75 million ($13M to projects across Africa) to save wildlife and protect the planet.
- Disney has already donated more than $1.5 million to the Wildlife Conservation Network’s (WCN) Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) and its partners and will make additional grants as well as invite fans to help double the donation for a total contribution of up to $3 million. Fans may participate by taking part in celebratory experiences and purchasing special-edition products, as part of The Lion King Protect the Pride campaign.
The Animation Experience at the Conservation Center
Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Affection Section and the Wildlife Express Train are once again open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and now there is a brand-new additional experience for everyone to enjoy!
In honor of the celebration of Disney’s “The Lion King,” The Animation Experience at Conservation Station offers you the opportunity to learn how live animals have inspired some of the most iconic characters from this beloved “tail” while learning more about some of the animals who call Disney’s Animal Kingdom park home.
During the experience you will create a personalized piece of Disney art through an instructor-led animation class.
You could draw Simba, Zazu, Pumbaa, Timon, or another friend. Each session will be different so be sure to visit often to complete the collection.
Disney FastPass+ Service will be offered for the experience, and you can make those selections using the My Disney Experience app.
The Lion King Merchandise
Would it be a trip to Walt Disney World if you didn’t at least look at the souvenirs, and for this celebration you’ll find some extROARdinary new merchandise at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
You can find a large selection of items inspired by The Lion King at various locations around the park, but you’ll find the largest selections at Mombasa Marketplace, Island Mercantile, and Discovery Trading Company.
The Lion King Photo Opportunities
To help you celebrate, Disney PhotoPass photographers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are offering photo opportunities inspired by inhabitants of the Pride Lands – including four brand new Magic Shots!
You can also snap a photos in a colorful backdrop at the entrance of the park, have fun themed props from “The Lion King” near the Tree of Life, during a tender moment between Simba & Nala, or strike a pose at Lion King Corner near Pizzafari.
I think these photo opportunities are so much fun, and a great way to remember your Disney Day!
The Lion King Inspired Treats around the Park
And what better way to celebrate The Lion King than with a ‘whole pride of eats and treats’! The Disney Parks Blog has broken down all of the tasty goodies you’ll find at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer.
From latte art and ice cream sandwiches to special cones and more, there are enough treats here to have a feast fit for a (lion) king!
Hakuna Matata Dance Party on Discovery Island
Who is ready to let loose? The Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party is a family-friendly event featuring music, dance, games and some of your favorite Disney friends—including Timon, Rafiki, and surprise friends!
Get into the groove as a live world beat-style band starts the party by adding a cool twist to popular Disney hits.
Perfect for Guests of all ages, the festivities are held daily at the Discovery Island Stage—don your dance shoes for tons of problem-free fun!
The Lion King Scavenger Hunt
Some of your favorite Lion King characters are hidden around Harambe. Each time you spot one, add the corresponding sticker to your map. Whether you choose to hunt for all the carvings or not, return your map to Mombasa Marketplace in Harambe or The Outpost Shop in the Oasis by September 28, 2019 for a savanna surprise.
The adventure costs only $6.99, and are available while supplies last. Also there is one surprise per map, so if you have a few seekers you may consider purchasing a few maps.
The Festival of The Lion King
Join the inhabitants of the Pride Lands for a grand gala in honor of Simba, the lion cub who would be king.
As the lights dim, hear the sounds of the African savanna. A kinetic kaleidoscope of color floods the stage as colossal puppets, extravagantly costumed dancers, amazing acrobats, a daring fire dancer and incredible stilt walkers dazzle the senses.
During spectacular theatrics, you’ll relive all the classic songs from The Lion King, including “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” The spectacular finale includes a soaring rendition of “Circle of Life.”
It’s a moving and immersive theatrical experience celebrating music that has touched generations of Disney fans—and a festival you’ll want to be part of again and again!
Rivers of Light: We Are One
Eastern festival traditions merge with innovative technology to offer a dazzling nighttime pageant of lantern floats, grand theatrical imagery and a soaring musical score!
Enter a breathtaking world that remains hidden by day, but comes alive at night to tell the story of how mankind has been inspired by animals and all of the natural world.
With the enhanced Rivers of Light: We Are One, you’ll experience a new story about the milestones we all share in our journey through the great circle of life. It’s a tale told in powerful fashion—featuring the addition of even more dramatic Disneynature live-action footage and a tapestry of classic moments from animal-inspired Disney animated films, including The Lion King.
You’ll be captivated by a re-imagined soundtrack as the original musical score now is woven together with familiar Disney themes, carrying us through moments of discovery, fun, friendship, fear and love.
Tree of Life Nighttime Awakenings
Flickering fireflies magically appear and stir to life the animal spirits in the tree’s towering trunk—bringing to light a dazzling visual display swarming with color and animated imagery.
Gaze upon a young doe embarking upon a thrilling journey. Behold love blossoming between a pair of hummingbirds. Spy a sly fox spreading gifts of love among the denizens of a wintry forest.
A feast for the eyes, each revelation celebrates the eternal balance and harmony that exists in all living things, big or small, and is sure to inspire and delight your whole family tree.
Reawakening Your Love of The Lion King
The Tree of Life sleeps tonight—or does it? Through September 30, experience the wonder as an original musical score and mystical images—featuring animals and themes inspired by The Lion King—take you on a sublime journey. Be there to see this slumbering iconic tree become even more stunning in a new awakening.Follow us for more updates: