Last year there was a nasty rumor that the Festival of the Lion King was going to be closed in January 2013 to make way for the Pandora, aka Avatar, expansion. While a temporary shutdown would be bad enough many festival enthusiasts feared it would be a temporay closing similar to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage which closed for a temporary renovation in 1994 never to reopen.
Well the latest rumors are good news for Festival fans. The cast has signed a new long term contract and a new location for the show has been found. Not only does that mean the show will not permanently be closed it is a good indication it will not be closed at all. The show will stay in Camp Minnie-Mickey, it’s current home, until the new location is ready.
The new location actually makes more sense. According to sources the show will be located in Harambe Village behind Tusker House. Given that the show is all about Africa that makes a lot more sense than Camp Minnie-Mickey.
This is all just rumor for the moment though so do not be surprised if things do not work out this way.
Of course all this moving is necessary, if it happens, because the rumored location of Pandora is the current location of Camp-Minnie Mickey.
Any one who has been to Camp Minnie-Mickey can understand quickly why it is the prime location for some expansion love. There is nothing there but the Festival of the Lion King and some character meet and greets.
Grumpy is hoping this rumor is one of the true ones. Festival of the Lion King is the best show in Disney property, in my grumpy opinion. The last time I was there I saw it at least twice and I still love it.
Okay maybe a tumble monkey, part of the talented cast of the Festival of the Lion King, did not compete in the Olympics this year. But one of the current tumble monkeys started his career out as an American Olympian. And he did win bronze. It just wasn’t this year.
Joey Hagerty, one of the famous monkeys, actually won a bronze medal in 2008 at the Olympics in Beijing. Watch the video to hear from him.
So I wonder which is more exciting? Competing in the Olympics or working at WDW in the best show they have. I know what I think.
Can you feel the love tonight? Well if you can’t you may be out of luck (at least temporarily) if you are a love the Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Rumor has it that the Festival may be going away at least temporarily.
According to some sources, whether reliable or not remains to be seen, the Festival of the Lion King is scheduled for a temporary shut down in January of 2013. The supposed plan is to make way for Pandora, the Avatar themed expansion.
If this is the case it will be a sad day for Grumpy. The Festival of the Lion King is one of the best shows at Walt Disney World. It is filled with music, acrobatics and drama. There is even a little crowd participation.
It may just be a rumor though! After all Disney went to a lot of trouble to enclose and air condition what used to be an open air theater. So we can hope that this rumor is completely false.
Of course Pandora itself is the source of a lot of rumors.
The rumors include where it will be situated in the Animal Kingdom. Speculation at first was Camp Minnie Mickey. This makes sense because Camp Minnie Mickey was an after thought when the Beastly Kingdom was cut because of budget overruns in the rest of the park.
Then a rumor involving Rafiki’s planet watch emerged. These rumors involved some permits issued for that particular area.
As of now, there is no official confirmation of where the land of Pandora will be.
If the expansion goes on but Avatar is out it wouldn’t break my heart or a lot of others who were never enthused about Pandora. I was considerably let down when they announced the tie-in would be Avatar. Haven’t seen the whole movie. Have no desire to do so. There were so many better themes for a Disney park and the top choices in my book would not have required Disney to shell out so much money for a license.
And Grumpy is not alone in that disappointment.
So if this rumor is true, let’s hope it’s completely true and the closing is only temporary.
Number 4: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
This one is a no-brainer for me. I love Aerosmith. I love roller-coasters. Put the two together and what could be better! The ride premise is simple and is established in the pre-show. Aerosmith is inviting you to attend their next concert which is across town in LA. To make sure you get there in style they are providing a super-stretch limo. You leave the pre-show and head to the final queue before climbing into your limo.
Your limo is, of course, the roller coaster car and the cars look the part. Unlike any other roller-coaster at Disney though, these cars come complete with a rocking sound system. You pull up to the launch which is also unlike most roller coasters. There is no steep hill to climb. You go from sitting still on a flat track to 57 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds. When they say get ready and push your head back, you better listen!
Then your tour of LA begins accompanied by blaring Aerosmith. The ride is inside, similar to Space Mountain, but is far more energetic. You blast by traffic signs at high speed and even do some inversions before finally arriving at the concert. Unfortunately the concert turns out to be a gift shop. I guess the driver made a wrong turn somewhere.
Even though I have always missed the concert I never miss Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. In fact, my wife and I usually use the single rider line and we have ridden it up to five times in one hour.
Number 3: Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at the Magic Kingdom
Wishes Nighttime Spectacular is the closing ceremony for the Magic Kingdom. It is an amazing fireworks show with a story. Jiminey Cricket is the narrator of the story that revolves around good triumphing over evil. Not real unique for Disney World but hey we are looking for a happy ending to our already glorious day in the Happiest Place on Earth right?
Story or no story the fireworks are amazing. There is something primal about the lights and the sounds, some of which will reverberate through your body, that brings out the kid in all of us. And what kid doesn’t love fireworks? Okay Elijah, my son was scared by his first fireworks display and it was on the backyard variety but he was young. Most kids love fireworks and this display puts the average Fourth of July display to shame. Maybe its the music. Maybe its Cinderella’s castle serving as the backdrop. Oh and did I mention you get to see Tinkerbell fly? That’s pretty impressive too.
During special seasons of the year the show changes up a little bit and on the Fourth of July rumor has it that the number of rockets shot increases to almost double. The best viewing is in front of Cinderella’s Castle but you can see the show from all over the park. There is a special dining package which includes reserved seating and also a special package that allows you to watch the show from the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Number 2: Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
I am going to admit up I might be one of the few people to include this one on a list of Top Seven Must Sees but I offer no apologies. This is not a ride. It is a show. As the name suggests it is loosely based on the Lion King. The key word being loosely. Many of the primary characters from the movie make appearances, namely Simba, Pumba, Timon and of course Scar do make appearances though.
The show centers around the premise of a festival being held. Scar of course is attempting to disrupt it. This is a show but not a play! There is a lot of excellent singing centered around four characters created for the show. There are also acrobatics including a spirited performance by the “Tumble Monkeys”. The finale of the show even involves a character flying high above the audience as the cast sings “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”.
I am not sure exactly what it is about this show that moves me so much but it does! I love it. I watch it every time I go and sometimes multiple times during a trip. Check it out if you haven’t already and let me know your thoughts.
For the grumpy’s number one Walt Disney World Must Sees click here.
If you missed grumpy’s earlier installment of the Walt Disney World Must Sees click here.