‘I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing, that it all started with a mouse.’ Well, for me, it all started with a Lion.
Though it may not be news to some you but I am, by all accounts, a huge Disney fan. What you may not be aware of however is that The Lion King is my ultimate favourite Disney film. It was ‘my era’ and as I explain in one of my latest instagram posts it helped to shape my life as it is today. I fully believe and always have that Disney has played a huge part in my upbringing, my morals and my general outlook on life. What one person can achieve through a tenacious dream still inspires me today and every single time I visit Disneyland (this was my 6th visit) I enter and leave with a positive spring in my step! This particular visit however was extra special, read and watch on to hear why.
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If my childhood self could see me now ✨#DreamsCanComeTrue swipe to see me wearing this exact T-shirt on my 8th Birthday (I lived in it!) ? I’m here in @disneylandparis for the exciting Lion King and Jungle Festival and I’m pinching myself at every moment. Disney legitimately shaped my life, I grew up watching the films and falling in love with the characters, I learned right from wrong, I learned what true love is and how being a princess means more than just wearing a crown. Some of my most fond memories with my brother, sister and friends are Disney related. Now I’m 32 years old and @disneylandparis still turns me into a giddy excitable child! There’s no place in the world that has such power over adults ? it’ll NEVER change for me #DisneyWildfestival *PressTrip
The Lion King & Jungle Festival
Last weekend I was invited by the Disney team to experience a few days in the park as part of a hosted press trip witnessing the magic of their park’s brand new Lion King & Jungle Festival. I was one of the lucky first few to visit the Djembe Joy Village that combines the wild side of the African Savannah with the colorful vibrancy of the Indian Jungle. Inspired by two of Disney’s iconic movies The Lion King and The Jungle Book.
What’s included in The Lion King Experience
The park is promising those travelling in the next two months an immersive experience like no other before offering guests exciting add-on called The Lion King Experience. The festival itself is taking place until the 22nd of September and for an additional £88.00 per person the following is included:
- The Lion King Show: Access to the best seats in the house for ‘The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands’ amazing new stage show
- Drumming Session: Shake and sway to the sound of beating drums with traditional musicians
- Meet ‘n’ Greet with Minnie Mouse: Enjoy time with Minnie Mouse, dressed in her special ‘Jungle Jive’ outfit!
- Character Lunch at Hakuna Matata: Located at Restaurant Hakuna Matata, your encounter with Rafiki and friends will include an African platter, 1 non-alcoholic drink and a frozen dessert. The restaurant will welcome you between 11:30am and 1:30pm
- Collector’s Edition Souvenir Cup: Receive a collector’s edition ‘The Lion King’ souvenir cup, with a special beverage inside. (1 per person)
- €15 Gift Card: Redeem in shops and restaurants across the parks, as well as in the ‘World of Disney’ emporium. (1 per person, valid for 30 days from activation)
- Surprise Message from Simba: Enjoy a surprise message from Simba himself!
The Lion King Show
From the moment you step foot into the village (which is situated between Frontier and Adventure land) the excitement level steps up a notch, here, you can brush shoulders with the likes of Rafikki or watch on as Timon and his tribe of dancers encourage you to join in a jig. Djembe Joy Village is also where you can watch the highly anticipated new theater show; The Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands. The show runs three times a day at 12:30pm, 1:30pm or 4:05pm and you queue for the extravaganza just like any other ride or attraction at the park. For me this show alone is worth the visit over these two precious months of Jungle fun at Disney. The performers have spent over two years creating a modern yet authentic showcase of the classic songs from the film. The impressive stage production combined with the emotional musicality is on a spine tingling level of brilliance. The spectacle proudly showcases traditional African dance with some ‘Cirque Du Soliel style’ acrobatics and tricks. From the moment the curtain opened and the drums were beaten for the first time goosebumps prickled their way across my entire body, it was brilliant!
Get The Look
The Jungle Book Jive
As well as the included extras mentioned above Disneyland Paris have created a limited edition bespoke parade called the The Jungle Book Jive which takes place in the main Disney Plaza similarly to the classic parade itself. Performers take to the street and the familiar furry faces of Baloo and King Louie join a troupe of Bollywood style dancers to lift up the spirits of the spectators even higher! The show includes live music and a colourful eruption of pastel powders from the castle.
Food & Merchandise
Along with the experiences there’s also a plethora of new merchandise including the two sets of ears I was supporting the entire weekend, soft toys, apparel and so much more. If you are travelling in the eight of summer the quirky Hakuna Matata restaurant in Frontierland provides not only some enviable shade in the midday heat but also some finger licking good food options!
I’ve written in detail about Disney Parks before (read here why I think ‘Every adult needs to visit Disneyland’) but I was especially blown away by the excitement of this weekend as the video at the top of this post displays 😉 Just when I thought Disney had managed to do everything it could to ignite that youthful fire inside of my belly they go ahead and surprise me all over again! We had the best weekend at Disneyland Paris and though I may be biased towards The Lion King as a film, the festival truly is a magical experience for all ages.
To read more about the finer details and book your tickets click here.
*Though this was a hosted/gifted press trip I was not asked to write a review in return, all views are very much my own.