Festival of the Lion King – Animal Kingdom – Disney World

Facts at a Glance About Festival of the Lion King:

Park: Animal Kingdom Location: Africa Height Requirement: None Fastpass: Yes
Quick Notes: Dazzling live show featuring singers, dancers, acrobats, stilt walkers, huge floats with audio-animatroncs, fire twirling, music, wonderful costumes and makeup. Elements of the Broadway production are incorporated into this show, but it’s quite different and perhaps more spectacular.  
Disney Warnings: None.
Our Additional Cautions: Includes flashing lights, spot lights which can pan over the audience, mist effects, loud music, many performers moving in different places at once, Fire twirling act which produces some smoke. Audience participation in the beginning of the show includes making animal sounds. See below for more details and cautions.
Length: The show lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Wheelchair/ECV and Special Needs info: You can stay in your wheelchair or ECV. Service animals are permitted, but check with a cast member to make sure your animal will be able to handle all of the activity. Sign Language, Assistive Listening, Handheld Captioning.

Overview of Finding Festival of the Lion King in Animal Kingdom

This spectacular production features songs and characters from The Lion King film, and it’s a sensory feast. The singers and other performers are top-notch, and the animatronics are a testimony to the imagination of the Disney designers. There’s usually so much going on at one time that it’s hard to pick something to focus on. This is one of our favorite live shows at Disney, and we find that many readers feel the same way. One reader wrote:

“We can’t see this show too many times. It’s so beautiful I get tearful watching it. My kids and my husband love it too, and we try to see it every time we’re at Disney.”

People with conditions that require a calmer, less stimulating environment should keep in mind that this show is very stimulating. For those who require stimulation, this is the perfect show. It’s also a good choice for those who are hearing or visually impaired.

Queue and seating information for Festival of the Lion King

The seating is limited, so you may want to arrive about a half-hour before the show to get in, depending upon crowd conditions. Guests are usually seated approximately 15 minutes before the start of the show. The outdoor queue is uncovered and parts of it are very exposed to the sun. It can get stuffy here, and there are often crowds waiting to get into this popular attraction. The first or last show of the day may be less crowded.  Another good time to try to miss the crowds is around parade time.

This is an indoor theater in the round, and the action takes place in the center and down the aisles. The seats are rows of hard metal bleacher seats with no backs (oh so uncomfortable). The theater is air-conditioned and the lights are low, though it’s not dark.

Important information: Because of the nature of the show with performers all over the central area, guests who need to leave during the show must contact a cast member to lead them out safely. It may be necessary to wait for a portion of an act to be finished if leaving during the act might endanger the performers or guests. We have heard of guests not being allowed to leave at all. It may be up to the Cast Member’s discretion.

Wheelchair/ECV information: People in wheelchairs or ECVs and their companions sit in the front two rows. You must climb stairs to get to the third row or above. It’s a good idea to arrive early if you need special seating. Wheelchairs are seated before the general public is let in. Cast members will direct wheelchair users to the correct entrance and seating areas.

For the visually impaired, low vision, legally blind: Here’s what one parent had to say: “My son was able to sit upfront to see the show by talking to a cast member before hand.” —Kara Bethune Love

Additional details about Festival of the Lion King

The entertainers may interact with some of the people in the audience. Some volunteers (usually children sitting in the front rows) will be chosen to stand up and participate with the performers. One of the female performers will “flirt” with one of the male guests (it’s scripted).

Here’s a tip from one of our readers: “If sitting in the handicapped section or on the isle near the front be aware that those kids are more likely to get chosen to participate. Discuss the possibility with the other adult members of your household ahead of time and decide whether or not that would be appropriate for your kiddo – you don’t want to be put on the spot.” —Diane Speigle

There’s an act with fire twirling. The lights in the room are dimmed, and the fire twirling creates a bright spinning light. We have not really experienced the smell of smoke or fuel even while sitting in the front row, but depending upon where you’re sitting and your sensitivity level, it could be a factor. Some flames also shoot from the stage, and even cover a portion of the stage. Many people take photos of the show, which creates a lot of flashing lights. There are many spotlights and flashing lights, which usually seem to move with the music.

Here’s another tip from Diane: “The “smoke” used in the show comes out of the floor right in front of the handicapped seating – I saw some kids apprehensive of it, while others loved it.” —Diane Speigle

Check out Festival of the Lion King on video:

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