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“Remember who you are.” That’s not as easy as it sounds, Mufasa, especially after 25 years. Lucky for us we remember exactly where we were when The Lion King came out on June 24, 1995. It was the last day of elementary school for both of us. The bell rang, we ran out with joy, and then off to The Lion King we went. Different theaters of course, we wouldn’t discover our partner in crime for many years to come. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Disney Classic the Animal Kingdom will have a variety of new Lion King festivities. Hakuna Matata, we got you covered with all the details.

To Celebrate the Lion King a new Dance Party on Discovery Island
Rafiki and Timon Dance Party

Hakuna Matata Dance Party  

How would you celebrate 25 years? Timon and Rafiki are throwing a dance party in the Animal Kingdom. Find your best flowered shirt and get ready to break it down to the steel drum calypso beats of the islands and Disney favorites. Just try not to tap your feet along to the beat, it’s hard not to! Being a family friendly event, glow sticks are frowned upon in this Disney establishment. If dancing is not your speed, no worries, sit back and enjoy the music or join Timon and Rafiki in the Lion King games.

You’ll find the Hakuna Matata Dance Party on Discovery Island, directly across from Flame Tree Barbecue. The show takes places daily, and time may vary from day to day, make sure to check the My Disney Experience App for the exact time.

The Lion King Picture Frame - Photo Credit wdwnt.com
Step and Repeat at Animal Kingdom Entrance

Pictures, We Got Pictures

Every celebration needs a picture, or it’s not a celebration, right? The Lion King celebration is no different. Situated by the entrance of the park is a brand new, step and repeat (Disney term, meaning backdrop or framing for photos). Walking towards the entrance and just beyond the security check, off the right, you’ll see a Lion King “frame” where you can capture a picture with the stars of the show.

Passholder Insight: Depending on the time of day, you may or may not have a Disney Photopass Photographer there to take the picture. If there is no one there, you know what to do, ask another friendly Disney park goer for a little help. We’ve found people to be extra helpful for photo ops when at Disney.

New Lion King Tree Awakening Show
Tree of Life Awakenings Show

Capping Off The Day  

No Walt Disney World celebration is complete without a nighttime spectacular. The Lion King celebration at the Animal Kingdom is the ticket. Over the past couple of years, Walt Disney World has been working to transition the Animal Kingdom to a “full day” park by adding nighttime events. One of the events is the Tree Awakening show on the Tree of Life.  

The show uses projection technology to tell the story of the animals sculpted in to the Tree of Life. As night falls, the “spirits” of the animals come to life and enchant you with a story. Beginning Memorial Day weekend and running through September 30, 2019 the Tree Awakening show will honor the Lion King with new music and images inspired by the characters of the movie.

The show begins daily at 6:45 pm and continuously runs every 10 minutes until park closing. The show is about 5 minutes in length.

Passholder Insight: The show can be seen all around the Tree of Life, but the majority of the action takes place on the “front”. The front is located on Discovery Island between the two gift shops.   

It’s a great year for anyone who is a Lion King fan. Disney is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the movie in many ways, including a “live” action version hitting theaters on July 19, 2019. If you haven’t seen the trailer, get ready to cry your adult eyes out all over again. Alright, you’re ready to be king of the Lion King celebration, it’s the circle of life!