Opened: Originally opened on April 22, 1998 in Camp Minnie-Mickey. Reopened in New Harambe in Africa on June 1, 2014.
Location: Africa behind Tusker House.
Extra Magic Hours: No.
Show Length: 30 minutes.
Show Schedule: Usually once per hour on the hour beginning one hour after regular Park open.
Type: Musical theater show.
Similar To: Unique in its scope and elaborateness, but similar to Finding Nemo the Musical and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.
Scary Factor: Zero.
When To Go: There are usually between eight and ten scheduled performances throughout the day, depending on crowds and how late Animal Kingdom is open. The first show in the morning and the last show in the evening are usually the least crowded.
What to Expect: Festival of the Lion King takes place in what is now an enclosed, air-conditioned theater with four separated bleacher sections. The show features acrobatics, animatronics, singing, dancing, fire, theater, and the most elaborate costumes and sets you’ll find at Disney World. The show has an exciting pace and there is almost too much to take in as more than 50 performers move about the stage throughout the show.
Where to Sit: Seating is bleacher-style without backs. The section you choose isn’t as important as the row you select. Most people will want to sit higher because it provides a better view of the various floats and sets. Those sitting in the first five to eight rows won’t be able to see much more than what is directly in front of them, though the first row offers a fantastic floor-level view.
FastPass+: Yes, low priority. The return window is between 30 and 10 minutes before a show starts (so for a 3pm show, the return window is 2:30pm-2:50pm) and you’ll need to arrive closer to the 30-minute mark to enjoy much benefit. Without FastPass+, your seat would be in a similar location in standby. If you’re planning to arrive just a couple of minutes before showtime, FastPass+ will benefit you as you’ll be guaranteed admittance into that show.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
Not much. There are a few interesting things to look at in the standby queue, but the FastPass+ line is very similar.
Total Average Experience Time with FastPass+: 50-60 minutes assuming you arrive 20 minutes before show time.
4th FastPass+ Availability:
When to Arrive: 20 to 30 minutes before afternoon showtimes given moderate or heavy crowds. You can cut it closer to showtime for the first or last shows of the day or very low crowds.
Commentary: Festival of the Lion King is a fantastic show that embodies almost everything that makes Walt Disney World unique. The two main problems are the uncomfortable bleacher-style seats and the potential that a tall person will sit down in front of you. Otherwise, this is one of WDW’s top five best theater shows and shouldn’t be missed.