Must-sees at Disney World for fans of ‘The Lion King’

Fans of ‘The Lion King’ won’t want to miss out on these meals, experiences, attractions, and even hotels when they head to Walt Disney World Resort!

There are so many incredible experiences at Disney World, but how do you know which one to choose? Well if you are a fan of The Lion King, we’ve got you covered! Join our pride as we explore everything you can try at the theme parks to immerse yourself in the movie, from Simba’s pretzels to Timon and the Tumble Monkeys’ meet and greet!

Here is your guide to theme parks and hotels to indulge your love of The Lion King throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom has by far the widest selection of Lion King experiences. After all, the mission of the entire park is the preservation of wildlife!

Festival of the Lion King

Lion King Festival at Animal Kingdom Festival of the Lion King, the popular and high-energy live musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom combines music, puppetry and shows inspired by Disney’s animated film classic, “The Lion King.” (Ryan Wendler, photographer)

This larger-than-life show celebrates the 1994 film through song, puppetry, and acrobats. If there is one thing on this list that you choose to experience as a “must see”, let it be the Festival of the Lion King! Acrobats like Tumble Monkeys are always my favorite.

Simba Pretzels

Simba Pretzels are the Animal Kingdom equivalent of Mickey Pretzels at the other parks. This item can sometimes be hard to find as it only comes out seasonally. But when it’s available, check out the food kiosks in the Africa section of the park.

Simba’s Sunset DOLE Whip

If you’re looking to boost your DOLE whip, this gift is for you! It’s a classic pineapple DOLE whip, but covered in strawberry sauce. Alternatively, if you are looking for something less sweet, there is another Lion King treat you can try: Get Scar’s Lair which is a DOLE pineapple smoothie with tart apple syrup! Both can be found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Africa in Animal Kingdom.

Safaris on Kilimanjaro

Animal Kingdom Kilimanjaro Safaris Okapi detect animals of The Lion King like these okapi in their natural habitat. (David Roark, photographer)

you can’t have a Lion King day without seeing some real lions! On Kilimanjaro Safaris, you will have the opportunity to see a wide variety of animals native to Africa, including lions. The Imagineers even built a real Pride Rock for the lions to relax on! Plus, you’re likely to see other animals featured in the background of this classic animated movie, from giraffes to gazelles to zebras to antelopes.

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Discovery Trading Company

If you are looking for the best Lion King Souvenirs, good news: You’ll find them at Animal Kingdom! Specifically, you won’t want to miss the Discovery Trading Company store. From stuffed animals to pins and everything in between, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

Meet Timon and Rafiki

Animal Kingdom Timon and Rafiki Timon (left) and Rafiki (right) cruise the Discovery River as part of the holiday celebrations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

Animal Kingdom has some wild (pun intended!) characters that meet and greet. It’s the only park where you can meet Tarzan, Flik and Kevin! So of course the guests can also find their favorite Lion King icons like Timon and Rafiki. Check the My Disney Experience app on the day you go to see where and when you can meet your favorite characters.

Magic Kingdom

While you may not come across characters or attractions that feature the characters and story moments of The Lion King, still a theme park featuring representation for the movie! This is where we all suggest Lion King fans head first.

Mickey’s Magic Phillargical!

Magical Mickey in the Magical Kingdom catch some Lion King moments at every Mickey’s Philharmagic performance. Photo by Ernie Carr

Magic Kingdom is home to one of my favorite Lion King Experiences: Mickey’s Philarmagic! This 3D show follows Donald Duck on an adventure through the most iconic musical sequences from classic animated movies (and yes, Lion King it’s included!)

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

While all of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels are beautifully designed with exceptional themes, there are two in particular that will make you feel like the King of the jungle.

Disney Animation Art Resort

Art of Animation Resort The Lion King Catch larger-than-life characters and scenes from The Lion King at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Photo by Brett Svenson

If you want to really dive into The Lion King, then you must stay in the Art of Animation. Different sections of the hotel are inspired by different movies like The little Mermaid, carsY Finding Nemo.

But obviously, we’re here to The Lion King! The exterior of this hotel features larger-than-life character statues, Pride Rock, and even an elephant graveyard. The rooms themselves are also fantastically themed. There’s colorful furniture, large characters cut out from key scenes in the movie like the “I Can’t Wait To Be King” musical number, and the bathroom tiles are even painted like the sunset from “Circle of Life”!

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Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge Catch animals like these zebras prancing across the savannah when you stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. (David Roark, photographer)

Animal Kingdom Lodge doesn’t have the same flashy theme as Art of Animation, but it does have something unique: a savannah!

You can feel like Simba standing on Pride Rock overlooking pride land, except it will be you on your balcony overlooking the savannah filled with zebras and giraffes. At the heart of this resort’s “yard” is a spacious enclosure where animals roam free, and you’re likely to see some of the familiar faces of The Lion King during your stay! If you want to immerse yourself in African culture instead of just the animated movie, then this is a great hotel option for you.

Bonus: Disneyland Paris

If you’re heading across the Atlantic Ocean to visit Disneyland Paris, there’s a chance fans of The Lion King you won’t want to miss out! Be sure to check out “Rhythm of the Pride Lands.” It’s a Broadway-style show with some of the most talented performers I’ve ever seen in a theme park. They even sing my favorite song from The Lion King II, “He lives in You.” You won’t be disappointed!

Tell us, which of these experiences have you had? And which one will you visit on your next Disney vacation? You can make your trip even more fun with a special Lion King Disney-inspired outfit, too!

Becca is a Disney fan, movie enthusiast, and theme park architect who loves to immerse herself in the worlds she loves. Whether that world is Batuu at Hollywood Studios, or finding the filming locations for the latest live-action remake, she’s got it all covered. Movie magic can be found all around you, if you know where to look. For more of Becca’s adventures, you can find her on all social media @theFilmTripper.

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