Time FrameJune 1, 2014
The popular Festival of the Lion King show is moving to the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom to facilitate future construction of World of Avatar.
- Festival of the Lion King is being relocated to a new theater behind the Tusker House Restaurant in Africa
- The relocation is due to construction in the formerCamp Minnie Mickey section of the park for World of Avatar
- The last day of operation in the Camp Minnie Mickey location was January 5, 2014 and it is expected to reopen in Africa in Spring or Summer.
- Cast Members are expected to be able to enter the building on May 8th. The expectation is the show will return in June.
- No significant show changes are expected upon relocation of the show. However, there have been reports that they will be recasting the show. It is expected that the current performers will be allowed to try out again when the show relocates.
- While not confirmed, it is anticipated that an additional bridge will be constructed leading directly from Discovery Island to the new theater behind the Tusker House.
- It is also anticipated that a pathway will be built directly to the World of Avatar.
- It is unknown if any additional components/rides/animal exhibits will be included in the new area, at this point it seems unlikely. However, there have been reports of additional shops in the area as well as an expanded Harambe Village.
- More info on the Avatar Expansion can be found here.
A look inside the theater can be found here:
June 1, 2014: The Disney Parks Blog confirmed that Festival of the Lion King will re-open on June 1st.
May 8, 2014: The Disney Parks Blog shard a video inside the new Harambe Theater.
May 6, 2014: WDWMagic.com reported that the last performance of Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade will be on May 31st. It was anticipated that the parade would run until Festival of the Lion King was ready to re-open.
May 2, 2014: Disney revealed at the Around Our World event and the Disney Parks Blog that Festival of the Lion King will re-open in June in a new extension to the African village of Harambe. Additionally, a new premium event called Harambe Nights will utilize the new space as part of the event. The first scheduled night of that event is June 9th.
April 28, 2014: Orlando Theme Parks News posted an article stating that cast members will be able to preview the new Festival of the Lion King theater on May 8th.
April 27, 2014: ParkJourney.com posted a photo update of the Festival of the Lion King construction.
April 1, 2014: Orlando Theme Parks News posted a photo updated of the Animal Kingdom that included construction updates of the new area in Africa.
March 11, 2014: Orlando Theme Park News posted a photo update of the Animal Kingdom that included construction updates of the new area in Africa.
January 5, 2014: Festival of the Lion King had it's last day of operation in Camp Minnie Mickey. It is expected that it will re-open in the summer in the new location.
November 30, 2013: DisBoards.com poster flashcal reported that he was in a presentation made by Imagineer Joe Rohde regarding the Avatar expansion. In the conversation Rohde reportedly mentioned that Harambe Village will be expanded to include additional shops as well as a path directly to Pandora. This had largely been speculated and recent filings with the Orange County Register may be related.
November 15, 2013: Orlando Parks News has reported that the latest issue of Mickey Monitor (Annual Passholders mailer) states, "Catch [the Festival of the Lion King show] before January 5, 2014! It's your last chance to see Festival of the Lion King for six months."
November 8, 2013: DisneyAuditions has put out a casting call for Festival of the Lion King beginning in April 2014. The casting call references the four main singers and the full description is below:
Disney Parks Talent Casting is seeking male and female vocalists for Festival of the Lion King, an African-inspired celebration of the music from the feature film. This original musical theatre production will be performed live in the NEW state of the art, indoor, 1500 seat theatre-in-the-round in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, FL. This large scale, high energy production features singers, dancers, gymnasts and specialty performers. We are especially seeking performers with a diverse look for full time and part time positions beginning in April 2014.
Performers employed by the Walt Disney World Resort are covered under the terms and conditions of a collective bargaining agreement with Actors’ Equity Association.
Seeking the following roles:
Kiume: The Leader. Must have a strong and powerful presence; Male resonant baritone/bass. 5’10 – 6’2
Zawadi: The Gift. “Mother Earth” to all who know her. Female gospel mezzo-soprano with high belt. 5’5-5’8
Nakawa: The Prince. Good looking and confident. Male pop/R&B second tenor. 5’8-5’10
Kibibi: The Princess. Sweet and impatient. Female pop/gospel second soprano with high belt to E. 5’4 - 5’8
October 17, 2013: Spencer Coleman of the WDW Fan Boys Podcast posted on their Facebook page that Festival of the Lion King will be recasting the entire show. The existing performers will be allowed to try out when the show is recast. It is unknown if any additional changes will be taking place.
July 29, 2013: The Disney Parks Blog officially confirmed that Festival of the Lion King is moving to the left side of Harambe as part of the further development of Avatar. There will be no changes made to the show and the expected opening date of the new theater is "2014". It was also confirmed that a new pathway will lead from Tusker House to the new theater.
July 15, 2013: Orlando Theme Park News reported on Twitter that the construction of the new Festival of the Lion King theater has been delayed and will result in additional delays to the Avatar project.
March 16, 2013: Twitter user @GoRatsGo posted an image of the construction walls at the Africa Bridge.
March 11, 2013: Per OrlandoThemeParkNews.com, Construction has begun on the new theater behind the Tusker House Restaurant
March 6, 2013: WDWMagic.com has confirmed that construction will begin soon for the new Festival of the Lion King Theater
March 5, 2013: The entrance to the Wild Africa Trek has moved from its location near the Dawa Bar to an area to the right of the Kilimanjaro Safaris Fastpass Entrance. This is likely due to the future relocation of Festival of the Lion King
Early March, 2013: The entrance to the Wild Africa Trek moved from its location near the Dawa Bar to an area to the right of the Kilimanjaro Safaris Fastpass Entrance. This is likely due to the future relocation of Festival of the Lion King.
January 3, 2013: Ken Storey of TheDailyCity.com revealed blueprints of the relocated Festival of the Lion King Theater. Following this on January 4, 2013 TheDisneyBlog.com also showcased the moving plan.
September 10, 2012: Stitchkingdom.com has reported that the "Tumble Monkeys" that perform in this show have only been offered a 6 month contract instead of their normal 12 month contract. It was around this time that rumor circulated that the show would close in the Camp Minnie Mickey Location on January 19, 2013. The show close information appeared to either change or be inaccurate.
August 10, 2012: Screamscape.com reports that Festival of the Lion King is expected to close in January.
June 17, 2012: Entertainment cast member drew81 posted on WDWMagic.com that Festival of the Lion King is expected to move to Africa.