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Thursday, 14 November 2019

The Lion King and Jungle Festival at Disneyland Paris- returning June 2020

Review of the The Lion King and Jungle Festival at Disneyland Paris

I was thrilled when I realised that the 2019 RunDisney weekend at Disneyland Paris coincided with the final few days of The Lion King and Jungle Festival in September. I had seen video on social media of the wonderful 'Jungle Book Jive' and knew how big the lines were for the new 'Rhythms of the Pridelands' show. This colourful season will be returning in June 2020 and so I thought I would share my trip with you.

The Jungle Book Jive
This is event theatre at its best with the very catchy soundtrack of drumming while floats come in from two directions, giving a difference experience depending on where you view it. Some characters arrive in the middle of the central plaza in vehicles, Goofy and a huge cast of Indian drummers and dancers make an impressive entrance via the castle bridge. All the characters and dancers meet in the middle for fabulous dancing, singing and fun on the four mini stages at the edge of the plaza. My favourite viewing spot was in the middle but I saw the parade three different times in different spots to take it all in.

Indian dancers in the Jungle Book Jive

Characters and floats in the Jungle Book Jive

The Rhythms of the Pridelands
The theatre in Frontierland  has been rebuilt to accommodate this amazing new show. This uses the songs and stories of the Lion King but uses a style similar to Cirque du Soleil with acrobatics and clowning as well as some stunning singing. I couldn't help thinking there was something slightly dated now about it but it definitely still hits all the right notes and is beautiful to watch. This was an incredibly popular show with people queuing for a long time despite the large seating capacity of the venue.

Rhythms of the Pridelands

singers in Rhythms of the Pridelands

Timon's MataDance
This was a fun interactive show in Adventureland where a team of dancers with the help of Timon, Pumba and ZaZu taught a dance to the audience. Volunteers of all ages were selected from the audience to join in the dancing at the front. I really enjoyed this and the interactions were fun and involved choosing quite a few volunteers which means special experiences for guests. Perhaps Disney didn't realise how popular the show would be and I feel that it needs a larger and rounder space for next year to provide better viewing for more of the audience.

Timon and dancers in the show.

Djembe Joy Village drumming
I have seen and enjoyed the African drummers on various trips to Disney and loved how in the past my children have joined in with the drumming too. This opportunity to listen and perhaps join in with the drummers was included as part of the festival and as part of the signature package (see below).

Drummers at Disneyland Paris

Lunch with Mickey and Rafiki at Hakuna MatataFor the festival the Hakuna Matata restaurant was changed into a venue for a character lunch with set meals served on bamboo plates. I really enjoyed my lunch here with a very tasty vegan curry. Having heard some mixed reviews of the meal at the beginning of the season I was pleasantly surprised with both the food and the relaxed atmosphere, allowing enough time to get photos and have fun with the characters.
Vegan curry

Meeting Mickey in Hakuna Matata

Lion King Icecream at Hakuna Matata

Disney hotel guests were also able to buy a signature package for the festival. Magic Plus and Infinity pass holders were also able to book the package for a discount and this was opened up to pass holders who were staying off site so I treated myself! The package included a E15 gift card, the Hakuna Matata meal, a Lion King themed cup with a non-alcoholic cocktail, a meet and greet session with Minnie and a drumming session. It also included reserved seating for the Rhythms of the Pride Lands show was was great as mean't no long queueing or worrying that I wouldn't get in and so it was definitely worth it for me. The package cost E99 per guest with a 15% discount for Infinity pass holders and a 10% discount for magic plus pass holders.
Specialist cup

I really enjoyed this festival and think it has the perfect summer vibe and so it is great that it is returning in June 2020.

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