Trivia Behind Disney’s The Lion King

Trivia Behind Disney's The Lion King

In 1994, Disney released what would become one of their highest grossing films ever, The Lion King. The film was wildly popular with children and adults alike. In 2011, it was re-released to theaters in a 3D format. Seeing this Disney classic come to life in 3D was spectacular! It was nearly 20 years before another Disney film matched the popularity of The Lion King. Chances are you’ve seen this classic Disney film numerous times, but do you know some of the trivia behind Disney’s The Lion King?

  • Many of the character’s names are actually words in Swahili. Rafiki means “friend,” an appropriate term for the baboon who set Simba – who’s name means “lion” – back on the path to become king. Pumba, the carefree warthog, has a name meaning “lazy.” Simba’s mother Sarabi has a name meaning “mirage” in Swahili. While Mufasa is not a Swahili word, it is reportedly the name of the last king of the Bagada people who used to live in Kenya.
  • Some of the animators traveled to Africa to study the movements of the animals living there. They also brought a lion cub, as well as,  a fully grown lion to the studio for the animators to watch.
  • Actor Liam Neeson was considered for the voice of Mufasa.
  • The wildebeest stampede took approximately three years to be animated and required a new computer program to be written in order to keep the wildebeests from running into each other.
  • The classic Disney love song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” almost didn’t make it into the film. After viewing a screening of the film which did not include the song, Sir Elton John insisted the film’s love song be added back into The Lion King.
  • Scar is the only lion throughout the film whose claws can be seen out each time he is shown.
  • The film originally included several characters which were later cut from the film. One of those characters was a rhino with a tickbird on his back. That tickbird later evolved to become the character we know as Zazu.
  • The plot of The Lion King is loosely based on Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Do you know any other trivia about Disney’s The Lion King? Share it with us in the comments below!

Photo credit: ohhector / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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Kimberly's love of Disney began at an early age and grew even more when her family won a Walt Disney World vacation from a local radio station. She grew up visiting the parks every one to two years and is fascinated by Disney history and trivia. Whether at the parks or at home, Kimberly is constantly looking for hidden Mickeys. She enjoys sharing tips and helping others plan their Disney vacations. In addition to Frontierland Station, she can also be found writing for Park World Travel and selecting music for Park World Radio.

Latest posts by Kimberly (see all)

  • I didn’t know the “Hamlet’ portion, but I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on that on my own… It seems so obvious now… LoL!

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