Theme Park of the Day: Universal Studios Singapore

Disney magic? Africa is coming to California this summer

February 6, 2019, 2:02 PM · The Pride Lands of Africa come to California this summer, as Disney has announced its latest theme park promotion for its upcoming reboot of The Lion King.

Continuing Disney's recent tradition of "live"-action remakes of its animated classics, the new version of The Lion King hits theaters on July 19 this summer. Yes, this remake is actually still animated, but this time with more photo-realistic CGI than the the 1994's original's hand-drawn animation. Jon Favreau directs while Donald Glover stars as Simba, with James Earl Jones reprising as Mufasa.

Disney previously announced Lion King-themed events for Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris, with a Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party running daily at Disney's Animal Kingdom this year and The Lion King and Jungle Festival this summer in France. Now Disney California Adventure will be getting an event to support the new release, as well.

"Throughout the day, a traveling troupe of storytellers will arrive to celebrate The Lion King in story, song and dance, inviting everyone to join in," Disney said in its press release. "The fun continues with music, colorful craft activities and more, honoring the spirit of Africa."

But... in California Adventure? I guess we can count this as one more example of Disney moving away from the park's original theme. Will Disney ever just concede the theme and rebrand the park as Disney's Hollywood Adventure?

A Lion King festival would have fit perfectly in Disneyland's refurbished Adventureland, but even with the extra space Disney has carved out in that land, it still lacks the stage or parade route needed to support an event such as what Disney appears to have planned.

Long-time fans might remember that Disneyland has featured The Lion King in a park-wide celebration before, with the Lion King Celebration parade, which ran in the mid-1990s before becoming the foundation for Disney World's Festival of the Lion King show. (Here's a video that I found on YouTube, where every extinct Disney attraction lives forever.)

But since Disney already has committed to Mickey's Soundsational Parade at Disneyland for this year to support its Get Your Ears On - A Mickey and Minnie Celebration event, and Adventureland lacks the space to stage an event on its own, Disney California Adventure gets the Lion King event by default.

Replies (2)

February 6, 2019 at 11:25 PM

The park is still about California, just much less so than when it opened. Disney California Adventure is now about the state of California and Disney. Sort of like how Epcot is(or at least was)both a park about science and technology, and a park about different cultures and countries of the world. Its much less stratigicly laid out the way Epcot is, but one or even two themes to a theme park is limiting. The name works fine. Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the other hand, should have had its name changed as part of the announcement that almost nothing from the parks early days will remain. At least bits and pieces of things about California are still left throughout DCA.

February 7, 2019 at 2:11 PM

For anything that is Summer this year, Disneyland probably wants to push people into DCA as much as possible with Galaxy's Edge opening...

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