The Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney Day The Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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!

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Kilimanjaro Safaris

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.

The Lion King Kilimanjaro Safaris Disney's Animal Kingdom Wordless Wednesday Safari Animal Kingdom

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. 

Protect the Pride Kilimanjaro Safaris The Lion King
Disney

#ProtectThePride Facts:

  • 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.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Animation Experience at Conservation Center

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.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Disney Dooney and Bourke Purse

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. 

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Photo Op

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!

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Hakuna Matata Dance Party

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.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom The Festival of the Lion 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.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light We Are One
Photo: Walt Disney 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.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom
Photo: Walt Disney World

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.

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Disney’s Oh My Disney Blog Review

Disney's OMD
Disney’s OMD

Disney started a new blog several weeks ago that has quickly become one of my daily must visits. It is called Oh My Disney or OMD for short. This blog is one of the most fun and quirky things I’ve discovered of late. If you aren’t already ready this hilarious daily dose of Disney, what are you waiting for?

OMD is one of the newest official blogs put out by The Walt Disney Company. You can find fantastic offerings about Disney films, tv shows, music, parks and more. One of the aspects I love most is that this blog is written in the colloquial style, as if you were having a conversation with a late 20s to mid 30s Disney lover. It isn’t the traditional just the facts ma’am post that you get, and by all means that serve a purpose, from several other blogs. This is a lighthearted glimpse into some of Disney’s greatest pop culture productions, sometimes even crossing over into ABC and ESPN territory.

Check out this image Graphing Our Emotions: The Lion King Edition:

Lion King
Lion King

This is just one of many reasons why I love this blog. There are things that will make you laugh, cry and remember why you love Disney.

I am so glad I happened to catch a tweet from a friend who works for Disney who said he was working on a new project and that we should all check it out. This blog is something that I can honestly say has brought cheer and smiles to me every day since. It started just under two months ago with the first post titled “Everyone Should Listen to Chef Gusteau” released on February 4th. This blog is part advice column, part reminiscing about Disney’s fantastic history, and part let’s just have fun. Across the header of the site you will often see posts with themes if you don’t want to go through all posts daily (which I strongly recommend). These sections are labeled as Aww (mostly romantic moments), Oh, Snap! (a little snarkiness served up Disney style), Retro (things that are typically geared towards younger generations (than mine) that grew up in the 90s – side note, super scary to think of 90s things as retro, but I digress), Silly (pretty self explanatory), and Whoa (things you definitely need to check out – case in point, the fantastic new Mickey Mouse Short, Croissant de Triomphe). Croissant de Triomphe on Disney Video

Often times this blog says what I’m thinking, or at least what I’d like to think I thought of before they posted it. Some of my favorites include The Snuggly Duckling: Best Pub Ever, We Dare You Not To Cry: The Most Blubber Cry-Worthy Pixar Moments (SPOILER ALERTS), WALL-E: How to Win Every Argument Ever, and 10 Paperman GIFs to Make You Believe In Destiny. There are so many more, but I want you to discover them on your own.

Paperman
Paperman

Have you seen OMD? If so, what are some of your favorites? If you ever need a pick-me-up, this is the place to go! Hop on over and check it out and let me know what you think of this great new addition to Disney’s blogs. I mean how could you not love a site that features a fantasy edition of the Bachelorette based around the male characters of the Lion King or a video condensing Mulan to 60 seconds? I would love to see more like this from Disney in the future and can’t wait to see what else OMD has coming down the pike!Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Landscape of Flavors Menus and More Food Pics

While we briefly gave an overview of the meals we sampled the other day for breakfast and dinner, I thought we should take a closer look at what I’m sure will become one of my favorite counter service locations on property: Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. There are so many amazing things to share about this great food court. It is like no other value resort in its attention to detail and theming that are prevalent throughout the resort common areas and suites.

One of my favorite details I wanted to share was all of the incredible artwork in the different dining areas themed after the resorts areas of The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid. I wish I could take some of this artwork home to decorate my house! It feels like you are immersed in a very cool art gallery while enjoying some truly incredible food. I was trying to describe the menu to a friend the other day and think Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Kidani Village is the closest as far as the world flavors influence, but with some Riverside Mill from Port Orleans Riverside thrown in with the create your own pasta and salad options. Having said that, this food court really doesn’t feel like any other. The ambiance is very relaxed and welcoming. I cannot wait to go back and try some of the incredible offerings that this restaurant has!

Also check out our post from the other day with pictures of what we ordered for dinner and breakfast here.

 

Landcape of Flavors general pictures and artwork

 

Breakfast pictures and menus

 

Snacks and drinks

 

Dinner pictures and menus

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Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Preview – Sketch Wall in Lobby

One of my favorite elements of the lobby at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the sketch wall in the lobby that runs opposite the front desk in Animation Hall. The sketches are from the four featured themes of the resort: Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. From right to left with your back to the front desk, the sketches progress from very rough black and white sketches to more finished drafts, and then eventually on to full color sketches of the characters we know and love from these great Disney and Disney-Pixar films. Some of the drawings depict the characters as we are familiar with them from the movies while others are concept sketches of earlier incarnations. Enjoy this slide show showing the progression of the beautiful artistry from the animators and imagineers.

 

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The Lion King: Diamond Edition on Blu-Ray Roars Into Stores Tomorrow!

 

 httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TI3cSw9MuM

 

When I first received the The Lion King”: Diamond Edition on Blu-Ray, available October 4th, my thoughts went back to when I saw the movie on the big screen in 1994.

I had just finished up my junior year of High School (yes, I am totally dating myself here), and as I walked up to the ticket counter I felt like people were going to think I was a total weirdo for going to see a ‘Kid’s Movie’ by myself. However, I was shocked (at the time) to find so many adults inside the theater.

The thing that I most enjoyed then was the music (by Elton John and Tim Rice), because I felt like it spoke to me as I was starting to realize that soon I would be leaving home…alone…to start my own adventure. I sincerely hoped that I would find a friendly warthog, Pumbaa, and meerkat, Timon, along the way that would be there to help me, because I was scared.  The whole ‘Circle of Life’ theme found a place deep in my heart, as I didn’t know what tomorrow would exactly bring.

Now we fast forward to now…And as I watched this movie as a Mom with Zoe, I find that my thoughts drifted into two drastically different directions.

I found that the sense of loss in this movie absolutely jumped off of the screen, and into a huge lump in my throat.  Seriously if you don’t experience this, you may want to consider consulting a doctor!!! 😀

But on a sometimes lighter note, the exploration of the many responsibilities and benefits of being a loyal friend and family member made me think back on events in my life with a touch of laughter and tears.

While the music is still absolutely amazing and helps set the mood of the movie, I find that I am more attached to the story itself rather than the big ‘song and dance numbers’.

Yet at the same time Zoe’s biggest take away from the movie was the friendship between Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa, because she is just learning how friendships work…at least in a Kindergarten way. Also, she now likes to hold up a doll and exclaim, “Nants ingonyama bagithi baba” or something to that effect.

I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this Disney Classic as an adult. It was definitely an interesting way to look back on my life at a different time.

 

 

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