Who Would Love Disney’s Festival of the Lion King?

One person in our family considers Festival of the Lion King a must-do Animal Kingdom attraction and insists on trying (usually unsuccessfully) to include it on every visit. Poor Megan!  The rest of us are kind of meh about the Lion King show and it’s probably due to getting burned out in the early years when she’d beg to see it twice a day.  (She has powerful persuasion skills and was the sweetest child!)

Who Would Love Disney’s Festival of the Lion King?

Having pretty much shunned the Festival of the Lion King for the past couple-few years (as we say in these parts), I promised Megan when we took our Mother/Daughter Disney trip back in June we could see her favorite show. I was so excited we were going to see Pandora, I think I was unusually agreeable.

So, once we’d ridden Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage (twice), it was time to make good on my promise. We were off to the Harambe Theater, which is conveniently located just past the Dawa Bar (had to stop, Pandora made us thirsty). We didn’t have to wait long outside the theater before we headed in to find a seat (Tip: don’t use a FastPass for this attraction).  It was wonderfully cool and dark as we made our way up the aisle in the closest section to perch on the bleachers.  I’d forgotten about those seats.  Luckily, the women in our family come “standard equipped” with good seat cushions.  Still pretty uncomfortable.  So much for trying to squeeze in a nap.

When the show started, I quickly realized it was much better than I remembered. The Tumble Monkeys had a much smaller role than they’d had in the past and didn’t perform the acrobatics I’d seen them do before, but the singing and dancing was fantastic!  Who Would Love Disney's Festival of the Lion King?This show does an amazing job of including the audience throughout its entire 30 minute duration.  I’d forgotten how great the costumes are and how talented the performers…I owed Megan an apology for a few (slightly) negative comments I’d jokingly made pre-show.

I asked Megan to share her thoughts on why she loves Festival of the Lion King so much and here’s what she had to say…

“I love the stunts like the fire twirler and the monkeys. The dancing is fun to watch and I enjoy the choreography (mainly when the two birds dance).  I love the singing and I think Disney does a really good job of finding people who will sing the songs really well live (like “Be Prepared”) and I’ve always thought the floats with the giant moving and talking animals were a pretty cool touch.”Who Would Love Disney's Festival of the Lion King?

We noticed families with children of all ages enjoying Festival of the Lion King’s clever mix of circus-style performance, musical numbers, characters and audience participation. It’s a winning combination!

Have you seen Festival of the Lion King? How do you feel about it?  Who in your family loves this show?

Disney World’s Flights of Wonder

Birds in Flights of WonderThere’s not much I don’t love about Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom!  Here lately, I’ve had a lot to say about this oh-so-much-more-than-a-half-day park.  Today’s no exception.  I want to talk about Flights of Wonder.  Over along the walkway between Africa and Asia, you pass right by the theater for this very special show.  Sometimes there’s a Cast Member outside the theater’s entrance with a bird – talking about what makes that bird special, how they live, what they eat and so on.  Sometimes there’s just a sign posting the daily show times.  It’s pretty easy to just keep waking, but then you’d miss out on something pretty special and unique.  Unless you’re afraid of birds…but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Flights of Wonder is worth a spot in your touring plan at Animal Kingdom.  If you took the kidsOwl / Animal Kingdom / Flights of Wonder out of school to visit Walt Disney World and they need something educational to make the teachers feel better about their absence – See Flights of Wonder.  If your feet are tired and you need a place to sit and relax for a few minutes –  See Flights of Wonder.  Do you love learning about animals or have a special fondness for birds?  See Flights of Wonder.  It’s a great show for the whole family!  Unless you’re afraid of birds…but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Animal Kingdom / Flights of Wonder / PerformersThe show, which lasts about 25 minutes, begins with a Cast Member speaking about birds – suddenly, they are interrupted by the amazing Guano Joe – tour guide extraordinaire!  Guano Joe is quite a character and as it happens…is afraid of birds!  The rest of the show involves the Cast Members teaching Guano Joe (and the audience) all about different types of birds.  Several different bird behaviors (I hate to say “tricks”) are demonstrated while Guano Joe learns how and why birds behave they way they do – once he begins to understand, he starts to overcome his fear (fake, hokey, cheesy – you name it… embrace the experience).  It’s cute, funny and straight forward.  Birds fly overhead (quite low above spectators’ heads) from trainer to trainer, but birds also perform on stage.  It’s engaging, entertaining, and, for 25 minutes out of your day, a nice break from the sun and crowds.

If you are afraid of birds:  This show may not be for you – In case I’ve not been perfectly clear:  birds frequently fly close to the audience.  If you’re feeling brave (please, try to set a good example for the children) – Animal Kingdom / Flights of Wonder / Bald Eaglesit mid-way between the first and last row to the very outside.  Based on my last visit, this will minimize close encounters of the bird kind.  (OMG!  I KILL me sometimes.  I’m laughing so hard I have to end here…..)

So?  Flights of Wonder – Yea or Nay?

If you’re really afraid, check out one of many YouTube videos of the show to get the gist.