Disney Guests were in for a real treat on May 8 as the fan-favorite show, The Festival of the Lion King, soft opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
However, if you want to be among the crowd who gets to see the first very official performance on opening day — May 15 — you’re in luck. Disney Parks has announced that they will be live-streaming the opening performance of The Festival of the Lion King — currently operating as a slightly modified version and called A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King.
So even if you are not in Walt Disney World, you will be able to witness the Cast Members back in action from the comfort of your own home.
Disney Parks Blog shared the exciting news this morning:
There’s something special about entertainment. The combination of dance, music, costumes and the unmistakable talent of the Disney Live Entertainment team is pure magic. That’s why I’m thrilled to share that “A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King” is opening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 15! I was able to sit in on a dress rehearsal recently and was so impressed. I found myself tapping my foot, clapping along and grinning from ear to ear (from behind my mask, of course!).
It was also wonderful to see how excited and joy-filled the performers were to do what they love most by sharing their talents and artistry. They are just itching to share their passion with a live audience and are thrilled to be bringing the show to Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests.
They noted that because of the safety protocols in place, including physical distancing, the opportunity to be an opening performance Guest is limited. In order to make sure everyone has a chance to witness this historical moment, Disney Parks will be live-streaming the show! Disney Parks Blog explained:
One thing to keep in mind is, there have been a few changes to the show since you last saw it. While the majesty and splendor is all there, staging and choreography have been updated with safety protocols in mind for our performers and our guests. We’ve also pared down parts of the show, such as the acrobatics, but the rest of the cast will be sure to dazzle you.
Because we are still physical distancing as part of our health and safety measures, the opportunity to view “A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King” during a visit to the park will be very limited. To give more people a chance to enjoy it, a one-time live stream will be available on May 15 at 12:25 p.m. ET right here on the Disney Parks Blog. We invite you to tune in to our first official show and join in the fun!
Looking to the future, we hope to have even more good news about entertainment to share in the coming months. As always, stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog. Hakuna Matata!
This is just one step toward bringing back Cast Members to Walt Disney World. In case you missed it, the Walt Disney Company had to make the difficult decision to lay off tens of thousands of Cast Members across Disney Parks and Resorts in the U.S., including employees of both Disneyland in Anaheim in Southern California, and Walt Disney World in Orlando in Central Florida. These layoffs also included a majority of the entertainment Cast at the theme parks.
But as we continue to move forward, Walt Disney World is working hard to bring Cast Members back to the Most Magical Place on Earth. In fact, yesterday during The Walt Disney Company’s Q2 earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek stated that 80% of Cast Members have returned to work!
Disney is currently describing A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King as:
The Circle of Life – Live on Stage
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, 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!
Know Before You Go
“A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King” will be presented in a modified format to be mindful of the current environment. Adjustments to the show have been made onstage and backstage, including updates to choreography and temporarily pausing some show elements to allow for appropriate physical distancing.
Seating will be limited for the show and is not guaranteed with park admission. Guests should check My Disney Experience app, in-park tip boards or speak with a Cast Member at Harambe Theatre for queue information and show availability, which is subject to change.
The live stream will happen on Disney Parks Blog on May 15 at 12:25 p.m. EST.
Are you going to be turning into the live stream of The Festival of the Lion King on May 15? Let us know in the comments below.