A similar mini-show entitled Tale of the Lion King premiered at Disney California Adventure, in honor of the film's 25th-anniversary celebration and in conjunction with the release of the new movie. On November 24, 2021, following Disneyland Resort's reopening, Disneyland announced that a new show entitled Tale of the Lion King would open in 2022 in Fantasyland at Disneyland.
The show debuted in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom on July 8, 1994; taking place in the same theater that is currently used for Mickey's PhilharMagic in Fantasyland. The Legend of The Lion King replaced the 3-D movie Magic Journeys, which was shown in the Fantasyland Theater for 6 years from December 1987 through December 1993. This show featured what Disney describes as “Disney Humanimals” which are “larger-than-life figures that look just like their animated film counterparts”. The Mufasa Disney Humanimal measured seven feet long from tail to tip, six feet tall, and was perched upon an 18-foot Pride Rock that rose from below the stage. The stage for the show was 125-feet wide and was bigger than the seating area in order to permit the use of giant sets. The attraction closed on February 23, 2002, to be replaced by Mickey's PhilharMagic.
The show returned in 2019, renamed as The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands. The classic character and the iconic songs from the film come to life on stage for a new musical production at The Chaparral Theater in Frontierland. This new version joins the variety of entertainment options for guests visiting the resort, including the award-winning “Mickey and the Magician” at Walt Disney Studios Park, and the Festival of Pirates and Princesses since 2018.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show was originally scheduled to close on November 1, 2020. However, it closed 3 days earlier, on October 29, 2020, in response to a second coronavirus lockdown in France. On August 24, 2021, following Disneyland Paris' reopening, Disneyland Paris announced that the updated version of the show would return on October 23, 2021.
Disney California Adventure version
Unlike the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Paris, the Disney California Adventure version of the show celebrates the story and music of the Lion King, in a brand-new way. The lead narrator, Mwongozo (Swahili for “guide”) leads a troupe of 18 performers called the Storytellers of the Pride Lands in this adaptation. The performance is presented in a contemporary story-theater style that retells the tale through language, song, and dance.