Disneyland Lion King Celebration picture of rhino

The parade begins with this gentle rhino. She charms the crowds by moving in close and batting her big baby blues... complete with eyelashes.

Lion King Celebration Parade picture that includes Rafiki

Here we have the lead float, a giant-sized platform that has a live-character Rafiki dancing and singing, with an Animatronic Zasu standing by to add his counsel. The Lion King logo crowns the detailed float. Notice the waterfountain that Zasu sits on. The giant giraffes' heads bob up and down to the music of "Circle of Life."

Lion King Celebration picture

It's a bit hard to see it, but this man is walking behind a figure of an ostrich. Notice his costume. Throughout the parade, the participants are decked out in fabulous African-themed costumes.

Disneyland Lion King Celebration picture of dancers

Here we have one of several African dance troups that perform between the various floats. These bird costumes are marvelous, but the dance routines are what really makes these performances something to remember. As an observer, you are all the more appreciative of the effort these people put into their work when you see how heavy the costumes are and how hot it must get in them under the blazing Southern California sun in the summertime.

Disneyland Lion King Celebration Parade picture of an elephant

Another big float comes by that you can't help but admire. This elephant must stand close to 25 feet tall. Once again we have a float adorned by a working waterfall in the front that enhances the atmosphere of the overall perception of a glimpse into the jungle as this float passes by you.

Disneyland Lion King Celebration picture of dancers

More dancers in wonderful costumes. Again, imagine how difficult it must be to concentrate on a complicated dance routine that you must repeat several times as you go through the park... in a full-body costume... in the hot sun... when you look like you weigh 92 pounds soaking wet.

Lion King Parade picture of a jungle scene

Nearly invisible in this picture is the chimp that is playing amid the foliage. This jungle scene has several performers in it, but the decorations on the float are what really caught my eye.

Lion King Celebration picture of dancers

The next float is adorned with African dancers who tell the "Circle of Life" story with their hands and body movements. Truly spectacular and one of the reasons this parade is still popular after two years and thousands of performances.

Lion King Parade Dancers

Again, character dancers entertain the crowds with their expressive movements and intricate routines. Much like synchronized swimming at the Olympics, you have to take a close look to truly appreciate the workthese performers put into their work and the difficulties they must overcome in order to make it look so smooth and effortless.

Simba On Top of Pride Rock

Finally, the new king arrives. Sitting atop Pride Rock, it's Simba. The Lion King Celebration culminates in this animatronic figure performing a routine nearly as elaborate as the dancers that surround him. The final chords of music are punctuated with the release of doves who fly away home.

The Acrobat

I saved these pictures for last because they illustrate the point I've been pounding away at. These dancers come at the end of the parade. They walk with poles that are about 10 feet long until they get to their positions along the parade route. At that point they insert their poles in holes in the street, and climb up them to do their performance. The routine lasts between five and ten minutes - and its all done off the ground. Just amazing.

Lion King Celebration videoWe still have a few copies of The Lion King Celebration Video available on VHS cassette. These are brand new, sealed copies that we purchased in Disneyland while the parade was still running. It shows the complete parade, including the enchanting soundtrack. I also have one last copy of the VHS version of The Main Street Electrical Parade from the same era. We also specialize in Toy Story Toys and Collectibles.

This page was last updated on November 15, 2017.

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