Stage shows are back at Walt Disney World with the opening of 'A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King'

May 08, 2021 in "Festival of the Lion King"

A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King
Posted: Saturday May 8, 2021 9:33am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Large scale live entertainment is back at Walt Disney World today as Disney’s Animal Kingdom resumes live shows at the Harambe Theatre.

“A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King” is a modified version of the hugely popular Festival of the Lion King that has performed at Disney's Animal Kingdom for many years.

Here is a look at the very first performance from earlier today.

To accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, the theatre’s capacity has been greatly reduced to approximately a third of its maximum.

Empty rows provide physical distancing between groups, and parties are seated in groups of 4. If you are a group larger than 4 you will be split up.

No virtual queue or FastPass+ is in operation, but the standby line has capacity to snake throughout Africa from the bridge to Pandora, all the way back to the main bridge into Africa.

The show itself has been modified to allow for physical distancing of the performers.

This means the show is about 5 minutes shorter, and we unfortunately lose the tumble monkeys and the flying bird segments of the show.

These modifications are temporary during the pandemic, and the expectation is that the full show will return when conditions allow.

Guest participation on the stage has been eliminated, so don’t expect kids to be able to take to the stage for the finale parade.

The show is in unannounced previews now, with an official debut on May 15 2021. Today's first show began at 12:20pm.

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mm52200Aug 22, 2021

I wouldn’t expect anything to change until union negotiations with vaccine mandates are complete.

Nick_AAug 22, 2021

I unfortunately expect that date will be pushed back, because if they were switching back mid-September you’d be hearing about rehearsals by now.

Magic FeatherAug 22, 2021

I was told that mid-sept was a target to get the show back to normal, but that was admittedly pre-Delta (I also expected B&tB to come back without COVID reblocking, and we saw how that went).

drew81Aug 21, 2021

I think they’ll quietly not bring them back and run with the current show for as long as they can.

RSoxNo1Aug 21, 2021

Usually you can go in 15-20 minutes before hand without issue. On lower crowd days you can cut it even tighter. Any update on when the tumble monkeys are coming back?

jinx8402Aug 20, 2021

Depends on when you go and how the crowds are that day. AK is very dead today. We showed up 15 mins before the show and went right in and about half the auditorium was empty when the show started

arich35Aug 20, 2021

Is this just a line up an hour before show time thing? What seems to be the best practice to make sure you get in for a given showtime

JohnDJul 22, 2021

Baby steps. May not happen by 50th but full show is slowly on the way back.

MorphinePrinceJul 22, 2021

It's been performing without the monkeys since it re-opened

wdwmagicJul 22, 2021

No word on that at all yet

wdwmagicJul 22, 2021

July 31

mfortisJul 22, 2021

If it comes back without the monkeys, then they might as well just keep the lights off.

iowamomof4Jul 22, 2021

At first you say July 31, then you say August 31. Which one is it?

T.S.Jul 22, 2021

Any hints as to when the full show might return, rather than this abbreviated version?