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Festival Of The Lion King Relocates For Avatar

Construction walls are up. Not for building Avatarland - yet - but for relocating the popular Lion King show.

The Festival Of The Lion King is one of Disney World’s most popular shows.  According to a recent Tram driver’s spiel it is the single most popular show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I’m not sure that is fully official news, but I can believe it. The show is often crowded and is lots of fun. Between the dancers, monkey gymnasts, fire jugglers, and great music, there is plenty of entertainment to be had.

The Festival is currently located in the Camp Minnie Mickey area of the park, which quite honestly doesn’t have very much going on except this show and a Disney character meet and greet. Perhaps that is why Disney selected this area for the new Avatar land, Disney’s latest expansion with James Cameron.

And with the announcement of Avatar, many people wondered if the fun, popular, but old Festival Of The Lion King would live to see another day. Some even suspected that since The Festival Of the Lion King hadn’t moved, it meant Avatarland was dead. Generally speaking there was confusion.

The Festival is one of the most popular shows in all of Disney World.

The Festival is one of the most popular shows in all of Disney World.

Mixed Signals – Good Bye

All of the unknowns seemed to be a bit further confused when reports (Source) stated that Disney Cast Members working at the Festival show were notified that the show would be shut down in early 2013. This suggested the show might be done for good.

Mixed Signals – Hello

At the same time, as part of the NextGen initiative Disney installed new FastPass Plus entrance stanchions near the existing location for the Festival, suggesting it might still be around for a while.

 These recently installed FastPass+ stanchions suggest the show isn't moving from its current location for a while.

These recently installed FastPass+ stanchions suggest the show isn’t moving from its current location for a while.

So what is going on now?

New Location

Disney has filed paperwork (application 121217-6, permit 48-00714-P) with the South Florida Water Management District (of which Orlando is a part, since it is ‘upriver’ from South Florida) for a project called “A K Africa Hardscape Improvement”. The purpose appears to be to relocate the Festival theater from its current home to a new home in the Asia section of the park, not far from the Tusker House Restaurant.

Map from the South Florida Water Management District web site application, with notes on new and old location for the theater.

Map from the South Florida Water Management District web site application, with notes on new and old location for the theater.

In addition, there is now real construction going on in Animal Kingdom for the new theater to house The Festival of the Lion King.

Disney has put up construction walls at the entrance for Africa to clear the new site.

Disney has put up construction walls at the entrance for Africa to clear the new site.

The construction wall stretches from the Africa entrance back to the Dawa Bar.

The construction wall stretches from the Africa entrance back to the Dawa Bar.

If you have the free Google Earth program installed on your PC (download it free here), you can fly over a full map of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and see the site noted on the map using this link (can be a bit slow to open).

Bottom Line

In the end, it turns out that Avatar will move forward, although slowly, and that the popular Festival Of the Lion King show will remain – just in another spot. But when it will move, and whether or not there will be a downtime, is still to be revealed.

What do you think about the relocation of the Festival Of The Lion King?
Leave your comments below!

About the author

Herb is the founder, author, webmaster, chief executive, and chief bottle washer for World Of Walt – and he is the Disney enthusiast who put this site together. Ever since his parents took him to the Magic Kingdom on a family vacation as a youngster, he has had an interest in the magic that Disney creates for families.

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  • Gilbert Henry

    I’m not really very excited about Avatar, but I also don’t want to be one of those ‘I have everything” Disney Fans. I think we need wait and see what the Disney Imagineers create. They usually do a good job.

  • jrtruba

    What does AVATARLAND have to do with Animals or Animal Kingdom????

  • Rosa Tapia

    I love the lion king show, but if it has to be relocated is ok I guess, as long as the show stills there, honestly that’s one of the big reasons why I go to animal kingdom.

  • Katrina Siekierka

    Nice to see them expanding within the Animal Kingdom. I bet they will do a good job with Avatar. And the Na’vi are a type of animal. Just as humans are animals.

  • Marie Scott

    Why mess with perfection. I fear that within a few years us Disney world veterans won’t even recognize Walt Disney World as we know it. It will no longer feel like we’re going home! Marie Scott

  • Leslie Stewart

    Me and my sister think they should just get rid of the super tacky carnival games in the cheesy dinosaur land and put Avatar there. It would be an improvement over “knock over some pins” or “pop a balloon” just to win an environmentally irresponsible toy that will end up in a landfill

  • Charlee Weinschenk Wiley

    Avatar is all about protecting the environment, it was a beautiful movie. I think the connection between Animal Kingdom and Avatar will be great if done right, and it’s Disney so how can they not do it right. 31 days and counting till Disney :)

    • Ingrid Krieger Vinson

      I totally agree!

  • Sadgirl Bigham

    The Lion King show is full of great energy as well as Avatar!! The love for the planet is amazing to experience!

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