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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SirwalterraleighApr 20, 2023

…only took 3 years…they’re cranking now

JohnDApr 20, 2023

Bumping again. So I saw it today. The entire show appears to be back including stilt walkers and children marching around the theater with a narrative change. After the children dance around the theater, singling out one child with Timon saying and pointing, "You were perfect, especially you!" was removed. This was not related to health but was clearly a narrative change. I get the impression what was done previously is not coming back.

mm52200Dec 16, 2022

Stilt walkers being there some days and missing others is due to staffing. No crowd interaction still.

RSoxNo1Dec 16, 2022

Sorry to thread bump but wanted to update people here. I could be mistaken but in late November the stilt walkers weren't part of the show, but they were definitely there a week later. They are also not doing the animal sections or having kids come around as part of the finale as of early December.

RSoxNo1Jul 21, 2022

Love to see this show back to it's former glory.

Figments FriendJul 17, 2022

Great to have the entire Show back! ✨ -

Henry MysticJul 16, 2022

More photos! Massive applause tonight! 653654

SplashJacketJul 16, 2022

Absolutely fantastic show. The enthusiasm by the performers and guests was extremely evident. The tumble monkey segment is fantastic. Way better than I remember and I have always loved it. Returns the show to its full glory. Acrobatic can you feel the love tonight is equally amazing. The sign language interpreters did an amazing job. Phenomenally talent and animated!

UnbansheeJul 16, 2022

Beauty and the Beast dropped physical distancing some time ago

jrhwdwJul 16, 2022

Another First Day, another Standing Ovation!!! GREAT JOB AK/TDO!!!! Now all we need is the normal BATB & F!

wdwmagicMay 25, 2022

That was my thought exactly.

Zummi GummiMay 25, 2022

I really hope it’s not because they don’t want to pay the cast the overnight “premium” for those rehearsals, but it wouldn’t shock me if that were the reason.

Doug MeansMay 25, 2022