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Legend of the Lion King

Legend of the Lion King

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Legend of the Lion King entrance

   This show was being developed by stage director Fran Soeder at the same time that the film was being completed.  Soeder was also a consultant on the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show at the Disney/MGM Studios.  This Kodak-sponsored show opened on July 8, 1994 with Ernie Sabella (the voice of Pumbaa) and Robert Guillaume (the voice of Rafiki) cutting a vine instead of the conventional ribbon to open it.  In the holding area, guests would encounter scenes from the film on the walls before going to the preshow area to see a costumed Rafiki, who told the story of Simba the Lion King.  Unlike the usual character costume, Rafiki's mouth moved in sync to the soundtrack.  After Rafiki talked, the animated Circle of Life was then shown from the Lion King film on a screen behind Rafiki.  The live-action Rafiki and the film were also on monitors to the right of the stage above the doors to the theater so that it could be seen clearly by everyone.  

 Once the preshow was over, guests would proceed into the 500-Seat theater that was 125 feet wide and was the former home of The Mickey Mouse Revue and Magic Journeys.  The show featured key scenes from the movie and were acted out with fully articulated puppets that were designed by Chuck Faucett, who had also designed the puppets used in Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  Each puppet required from two to eight people to operate.  They were designed in a variety of ways.  Some were worn similar to a backpack.  Others were on wagons with springs while others required the puppeteers to ride the wagon as they operated the puppet.  

 Rehearsal for the show began on May 15, 1994, several weeks before the film's June 15th release.  There were eight different casts of ten people each that performed the show at least 30 times a day.  In many ways, this show was the predecessor of the popular Lion King Broadway show, which also made use of puppet animals.  

 Legend of the Lion King closed on February 23, 2002 to make way for Mickey's PhilharMagic.  For those that miss the Lion King show, I Just Can't Wait to be King is performed in the PhilharMagic movie.

The Preshow

(African music is played and Rafiki is shown in his home.  He can be heard snoring.  Suddenly he wakes up, surprised.)

Rafiki:  Oh.  Who are you?  What are you doing here? (He sniffs the air.)   Oh!  I know that smell anywhere.  Homo Sapiens! (Laughs.) Well, no matter!  After all, nobody's perfect. Hmm.  Every one of us is connected in the great Circle of Life.  You, me, that guy over there with the funny hat.  Oh, sorry ma'am. (Laughs.)   So, welcome, cool off, relax.  It's a jungle out there.  Now pay close attention.  Come, come, for old Rafiki has a tale to tell you.  It is the story of Simba.  (A drawing of Simba appears on the tree truck behind Rafiki.)  You see, Simba was the fine little lion cub who was destined to become the Lion King.  His father, King Mufasa, taught him well, to understand the balance of nature and to respect all creatures in the Circle of Life.  But something terrible happened!  Oh no, no, no, no.   I'm getting ahead of myself.  Always do that. (Laughs.)   Let me start at the beginning.  Ohhh, the winds of change.  Ahhh, change is good.  Asante sana.  Squash banana.  We we nugu.  Mi mi apana!   Laughs.)  It is time.

Rafiki in Legend of the Lion King preshow.

Movie Soundtrack:
Nants ingonyama.
Bagithi baba.

Sithi uhhmm ingonyama, ingonyama.

Nants ingonyama.
Bagithi baba.

Sithi uhhmm ingonyama, ingonyama.
Siyo nqoba.
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala.
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala.
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala.
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala.
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala.
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala.
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala.
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala.

From the day we arrive on the planet,
and blinking, step into the sun.
There's more to see than can ever be seen.
More to do than can ever be done.
There's far too much to take in here.
More to find than can ever be found.
But the sun rolling high,
through the sapphire sky.
Keeps great and small,
on the endless round.

It's the Circle of Life.
And it moves us all.
Through despair and hope.
Through faith and love.
`Til we find our place.
On the path unwinding.
In the circle,
The Circle of Life.

(The chant continues as Rafiki visits the newborn Simba, then shows him to all the animals assembled below on Pride Rock.)

Legend of the Lion King Circle of Life preshow

It's the Circle of Life.
And it moves us all.
Through despair and hope.
Through faith and love.
`Til we find our place.
On the path unwinding
In the circle,
The Circle of Life.

The Main Show

Act One

(Pride Rock rises from the stage.  Mufasa and Simba are on it.)

Mufasa:  Look, Simba.  Everything the light touches is our kingdom.

Simba:  Wow.

Mufasa:  A king's time as ruler rises and falls like the sun.  One day, Simba, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king.

Simba:  And this'll all be mine?

Mufasa:  Everything.

Simba:  Dad?  We'll always be together, right?

(The sky darkens and stars appear in the sky.)

Mufasa:  Simba, let me tell you something that my father told me.  Look at the stars.  The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars.

Simba:  Really?

Mufasa:  Yes.  So whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you.  And so will I.

Act Two

(Pride Rock goes back below the stage.  Zazu appears, along with Simba and Nala.)

Zazu:  Just look at you two.  Little seeds of romance blossoming in the savanna.  One day, you two are going to be married!

Nala:  Ew!

Simba:  I can't marry her.  She's my friend.

Nala:  It'd be too weird.

Zazu:  Sorry to bust your bubble, but it's a tradition going back generations.

Simba:  Well, when I'm king, that'll be the first thing to go.
I'm gonna be a mighty king
So enemies beware!

Zazu:   Well, I've never seen a king of beasts with quite so little hair.

I'm gonna be the mane event,
like no king was before.
I'm brushing up on looking down,
I'm working on my roar.

Zazu:  Thus far, a rather uninspiring thing.

Simba:  Oh, I just can't wait to be king!

Zazu:  You've rather a long way to go, young master.  If you think!

(A portion of the movie featuring this part of the song is shown.)

Everybody look left.
Everybody look right.
Everywhere you look I'm,
standing in the spotlight.

Zazu:  Not yet!

Let every creature go for broke and sing.
Let's hear it in the herd and on the wing.
It's gonna be King Simba's finest fling.

Oh, I just can't wait to be king!
Oh, I just can't wait to be king!
Oh, I just can't wait to be king!

Act Three

(The costumed Rafiki character appears on the right side of the stage.)

Rafiki:  Simba thought the future would be filled with only good things. (Laughs.) He believed it would be fun to be king! (Continues laughing.)  Pretty naive, huh?  For you see, whenever there is power, there is always someone who wants to take it away.  Case in point, Uncle Scar.

(Scar appears on the left side of the stage.)

Scar:  I was first in line-until the little hairball was born.

Rafiki:  But Scar wouldn't give up so easily, so he entered into an unholy alliance with the laughing stock of the kingdom, the hyenas!

(Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed appear on the right side of the stage, as steam erupts in center stage and turns into the Elephant Graveyard.)

I know that your powers of retention,
are as wet as a warthog's backside.
But thick as you are, pay attention!
My words are a matter of pride.
It's clear from your vacant expressions,
the lights are not all on upstairs.
But we're talking kings and successions!
Even you can't be caught unawares.
Be prepared!

Banzai:  Yeah, be prepared.  We'll be prepared.  For what?

Scar:  For the death of the king!

Banzai:  Why?  Is he sick?

Scar:  No, fool, we're gonna kill him.  And Simba, too.

Banzai:  Great idea!  Who needs a king?

The Hyenas (Sing-sing):  No king, no king, la la la la la.

Scar:  Idiots!  There will be a king!

Banzai:  Hey, but you said -

Scar:  I will be king!  Stick with me, and you'll never go hungry again! (The hyenas cheer.)

So prepare for the coup of the century.
Be prepared for the murkiest scam.
Meticulous planning.
Tenacity spanning.
Decades of denial,
is simply why I'll,
be king undisputed.
Respected, saluted.
And seen for the wonder I am.
Yes, my teeth and ambitions are bared.
Be prepared!

Act Four

Legend of the Lion King Simba and Scar

Scar:  Now you wait here.  Your father has a marvelous surprise for you.

Simba:  Hey Uncle Scar, will I like the surprise?

Scar:  Simba, it's to die for.  Oh, and just between us, you might want to work on that little roar of yours, hmm?

Simba:  Little roar.  Puh!   Rrrrow!  Rrrrow!  

(Simba's roar echoes through the canyon.  The screen shows the wildebeest stampede from the film is shown as the following dialogue is heard.)

Scar:  Mufasa!  Quick!  Stampede in the gorge.  Simba's down there!

Mufasa:  Simba?

Zazu:  Your father is on the way!  Hold on!

Simba:  Hurry!

Mufasa:  Scar!  Brother, help me.

Scar:  Long live the king!

Simba:  Nooooo!

(Simba and Mufasa appear again on stage.)

Simba:  Daaaad!  Dad?  Dad?  Dad, come on.  Ya gotta get up.  We gotta go home.

Scar:  Simba, what have you done?

Simba:  There were wildebeest, and he saved me.  It was an accident. I, I didn't mean for it to happen.

Scar:  Oh, of course you didn't.  No one ever means for these things to happen.  But the king is dead.  And if it weren't for you, he'd still be alive.

Simba:  What am I gonna do?

Scar:  Run away, Simba.  Run away and never return.

Act Five

(Rafiki appears again on the right side of the stage.)

Rafiki:  So Simba ran far away, to escape his guilty past.  But like I always say, you can run, but you can't hide from yourself.

(Pumbaa and Timon appear and discover Simba.)

Timon:  All righty.  Whadda we got here?  Jeez, it's a lion!  Run, Pumbaa!  Move it!

Pumbaa:  He's so cute and all alone.  Can we keep him?

Timon:  Lions eat guys like us!

Pumbaa:  But he's so little.

Timon:  Who's the brains of this outfit?

Pumbaa:  Ummm.

Timon:  My point exactly.  You know, having a lion around might not be such a bad idea.  You okay, kid?

Simba:  I guess so.

Timon:  Hey, where ya goin'?

Simba:  Nowhere.

Timon:  Gee, he looks blue.

Pumbaa:  I'd say brownish-gold.

Timon:  No, no, no.  I mean he's depressed.

Pumbaa:  Oh.  Kid, what's eatin' ya?

Timon:  Nothin'.  He's at the top of the food chain! (Laughs.) The food chain!  (Laughs.) Ahem!  So, where ya from?

Pumbaa:  Anything we can do?

Simba:  Not unless you can change the past.

Timon:  Look, kid, bad things happen, and you can't do anything about it, right?

Simba:  Right.

Timon:  Wrong!  When the world turns its back on you, you turn your back on the world!  Repeat after me. (Clears throat.) Hakuna Matata.

Simba:  What?

Pumbaa:  Ha-ku-na Ma-ta-ta.  It means "no worries."

Hakuna Matata!
What a wonderful phrase.

Hakuna Matata!
Ain't no passing craze.

It means no worries,
for the rest of your days.

Timon and Pumbaa: It's our problem-free philosophy.

Timon:  Hakuna Matata!

Pumbaa (Burps):  I'm starved!

Simba:  I'm so hungry I could eat a whole zebra.

Timon:  Well, listen, kid, if you live with us, you have to eat like us.  Hey, this looks like a good spot to rustle up some grub!

(He gets a leaf platter of bugs and grubs.)

Simba:  Ew!  What's that?

Timon:  A grub.  What's it look like?

Simba:  Ew, gross.

Timon:  Mmm, tastes like chicken.

Pumbaa (with a mouth full of bugs):  Slimy yet satisfying.  You'll learn to love 'em!

Timon:  I'm telling ya, kid, this is a great life.  No rules, no responsibilities.  Oh! The little cream-filled kind.  And best of all, no worries.  Well, kid?

Simba:  Oh well, Hakuna Matata.

Timon:  That's it.

It means no worries,
for the rest of your days.

All:  It's our problem-free philosophy!

Simba:  Hakuna Matata!

Pumbaa and Timon:  Hakuna.  Matata!  Hakuna!  Matata!  

(Simba appears as an adult.)

Legend of the Lion King Simba, Timon and Pumbaa

Simba:  Hakuna Matata!

Pumbaa and Timon:  Hakuna!  Matata!   Hakuna!  Matata!

Hakuna Matata!
Ha-kuuuuuuu-na Matata!

Act Six

(Rafiki again appears on the left side of the stage.)

Rafiki:  Simba grew up in this happy bachelor life, eating bugs and grubs, until one day, his childhood friend Nala showed up.  And then the sparks of romance began to fly (laughs).

He's holding back, he's hiding.
But what, I can't decide.
Why won't he be the king I know he is,
the king I see inside?

Can you feel the love tonight?
You needn't look too far.
Stealing through the night's uncertainties,
love is where they are.

(They disappear beneath the stage and Timon and Pumbaa appear on the left side.)

And if he falls in love tonight,
It can be assumed.

Pumbaa:  His carefree days with us are history.

Timon and Pumbaa:  In short, our pal is doomed. (They start to cry.)

Act Seven

Rafiki:  Asante sana, squash banana.  We we nugu mi mi apana!

Simba:  Who are you?

Rafiki:  The question is, whoooo are you?

Simba:  I thought I knew.  Now I'm not so sure.

Rafiki:  Well, I know who you are.  You're Mufasa's boy.

Simba:  You knew my father?

Rafiki:  Correction.  I know your father.  He's alive!  And I'll show him to you.  Shhh.  Look down there.  (Points to a pool.)

Simba:  That's not my father.  It's just my reflection.

Rafiki:  No.  Look harder.  You see, he lives in you.

(Animated footage of Mufasa from the film is projected in the background.)

Simba:  Father?

Mufasa:  Simba, you have forgotten me.

Simba:  No!  How could I?

Mufasa:  You have forgotten who you are, and so have forgotten me.  Look inside yourself, Simba.  You are more than what you have become.  You must take your place in the Circle of Life.

Simba:  How can I go back?  I'm not who I used to be.

Mufasa:  Remember who you are.  You are my son, and the one true king.  Remember who you are.

Simba:  No!  Please!  Don't leave me.

Mufasa:  Remember.
Simba:  Father!  Don't leave me!

Rafiki:  So, Simba returned home, only to find the kingdom in ruins.  And when he reached the border, he saw how bad things had gotten, for under Scar's tyranny, the Circle of Life was thrown completely out of balance!

Legend of the Lion King Simba and Scar battle

(The scene from the film of the ruined Pridelands and the climatic battle between Simba and Scar is shown.)

Scar:  And here's my little secret.  I killed Mufasa!

Young Simba's Voice:  Noooo!

(Scar meets his demise.)

Rafiki:  It is time.

Mufasa's voice:  Remember.

Legend of the Lion King group shot

Act Eight

(Steam again blows to symbolize the rain falling on the scorched Pride Rock.  Simba and Nala are shown.   Timon, Pumbaa and Zazu watch as Rafiki shows off the newest heir to Pride Rock.)

'Til we find our place.
On the path unwinding.
In the circle,
the circle of life!
The Circle of Life!

("Legend of the Lion King" is projected on the screen, the same way the title does in the movie.)

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See ya real soon!