When Walt Disney World reopened in July, 2020, there was very little entertainment in the form of theatrical shows. Slowly, live theater has returned. One show that has been back for a while is Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The show was reworked for social distancing, and some elements were removed. Even the name reflected the changes, when it returned it was called A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King. It still had the songs, performers, animals, and costumes that make the show so popular. One thing, though, that was missing was the Tumble Monkeys.
I am happy to report that Disney has finally dropped the “A Celebration of” and the full Festival of the Lion King show is back! I recently saw it, and I thought I’d share my observations.
There is one thing that I noticed that is still missing. There is no audience participation. Sure, at one point the performers will divide the audience into sections to tell them what to sing and to either wave or clap, but that’s it. There are no audience volunteers. It is unlikely that they will return at any point in the near future.
The Tumble Monkeys are back, and are just as much fun as ever. Their acrobatics and timing are still amazing! I loved the show without them, but they add so much to Festival of the Lion King that the show now feels complete once again.
Another major return is the flying bird during Can You Feel the Love Tonight. With A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King there was a dance, but the two birds stayed socially distanced. The female bird will now once again soar high above the stage.
As far as seating is concerned, Disney is no longer trying to keep space between parties. The theater was almost full. Cast Members were seating guests right up to the start of the show.
When my daughter and I went, there were eight shows. They take place on the hour, starting at 10:00 and running through 5:00. We went to the final show of the day. Remember to check for show times the day you plan to visit, because they could change.
It is great to see the full Festival of the Lion King and the Tumble Monkeys once again. If you are headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, make it part of your day. Festival of the Lion King lasts just under 30 minutes, and it’s a great way to take a fun, air conditioned break in the middle of the day.