Festival of the Lion King, Orlando

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Festival of the Lion King, Orlando

Bear Island Road, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Orlando, FL 32819

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Review of "Festival of the Lion King, Orlando"

published 12/01/2018 | Secre
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"Stunning Spectacular Extravaganza"

Festival of the Lion King, Orlando

Festival of the Lion King, Orlando

The Festival of the Lion King is one of the key attractions at Animal Kingdom, Orlando, which is a park owned by Disney. It is not a condensed version of the film or the Broadway show and is considered to be a form of revue which is known for bringing together music, dance and sketches to create a compelling show without an overarching narrative. Instead of the narrative being key, instead a revue relies on a general theme serving as the motto for a loosely related series of acts, alternating between solo performances and dance ensembles. This isn’t a kind of show I have been to before, but at thirty minutes long, it was nothing short of spectacular.

The show starts by splitting the audience into four animal groups; lion, elephant, giraffe and warthog. The lead actors pull out a member of the audience for a demonstration of the noise made by each animal. Within this introductory period, you are introduced to the four hosting performers dressed in traditional African dress and with Swahili names; Kiume (meaning "masculine and strong"), Nakawa ("good-looking"), Kibibi ("princess"), and Zawadi ("the gift"). Right from the off-set there was a certain amount of good natured bantering between the four leads.

And from there, the show commences with Circle of Life and madness descends as a variety of African dressed dancers mob into the stage space dancing enthusiastically as they go. You are therefore considered thoroughly welcomed and the next hit is I Just Can’t Wait to be King in which some dancers on stilts are added to the mix. These are songs that most people know by heart and this really does result in a festival like atmosphere as everyone can sing along to their hearts content. This is where the various floats are brought out including Simba and Pumbaa who are both puppets on floats and Timon, a live performer.

The Tumble Monkey’s are brought out at this point and treat you to a stunning display of acrobatics and dance across the main floor, where there are hoops and bars set up for them to monkey across. The acrobats playing the tumble monkeys aren’t only exceptional acrobats, but also fine actors as well. Whenever the tumble monkeys aren’t doing their act but are still on stage, they act the part of mischievous monkeys beautifully, picking bugs off each other and other behaviours that are seen in the wild.

Timon leads us into Hakuna Matata with some help from Pumbaa in the warthog section as the tumble monkeys act the fool and drive poor Timon insane before settling down to pick bugs off each other. The tumble monkeys take over after two million years at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder and proceed to wow, amaze and thrill with trampoline acrobatics. The four of them work together in a dance acrobatic act that is nothing short of exceptional; I’d be happy to watch an entire act of their escapades as they somersault, toss and tumble across the stage area. Part of the act has them forming a human linking chain from a centre roof hook that another monkey climbs up to continue the act and it’s nothing short of phenomenal.

Be Prepared comes up after the tumble monkeys and the entire atmosphere of the piece changes with the heavy drums and dimmer lights. The costumed dancers seem to have a more menacing way to them, although I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly how this was achieved… although Timon made himself very scarce as they took over the stage. The bass singer here was absolutely stunning with an astonishing breadth and depth of vocal tones whilst the act continues around him. The hyenas are out in force during this section of the revue and one of the most impressive aspects of all is the fire twirling that is done here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an acrobat working with live fire before in an act and there was something truly special here. The special effects are also shown off to their full effect as flames come up from the floor; Disney really don’t stint on this show and it truly has a wow factor.

This then leads into the far more gentle and graceful aerial dance – for those who have watched Harry Potter, think Beaxbatons versus Durmstrang! – which again is impressive almost beyond words. Sections of the dance are done as a ground dance, with both dancers dressed as birds; the male dancer lifts the female dancer for large sections of this. This continues until the female dancer is hooked to a hoist device of some kind and the dance continues both in the air and on the ground with the female soaring above the ground and continuing the acrobatics. This is done to a musical and vocal medley of Can You Feel The Love Tonight and Circle of Life which continues to be stunning.

Leading toward the finale, the ground dancers in various costumes and arrays come out as a strong alto belts The Circle of Life which goes into an audience participation rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, with each section of the audience taking a different part of the vocals to repeat whilst Timon sings the melody line. All different groups of dancers are out on the stage including the stilt walkers, the tumble monkeys, the birds and the other variety of groups, once more giving this a true carnival atmosphere. And then you’re into the Celebration Finale which is a medley of all the songs that have made up the show so far, bringing it all together in a stunning fanfare of combined acts.

In total, the Festival of the Lion King is a thirty minute performance and it is honestly one of the most stunning things I have seen and comes in as one of the top honeymoon attractions. The music is absolutely classic Lion King and takes me straight back into my childhood, but the performances around it are stunning. If you are in the Animal Kingdom, this is one act that you simply cannot afford to miss.


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Comments on this review

  • RICHADA published 14/01/2018
    Sounds magic! R.
  • mumsymary published 13/01/2018
    E. good to know
  • ravingreviewer published 12/01/2018
    vh
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Product Information : Festival of the Lion King, Orlando

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Bear Island Road, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Orlando, FL 32819

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Listed on Ciao since: 04/01/2018