Lion King Tree of Life: Disney's Animal Kingdom's Cancelled Attractions Part 3

Tree of Life Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Tree of Life is the icon of Disney's Animal Kingdom and it was always intended to hold an attraction. But that attraction was not always intended to be It's Tough To Be A Bug.

Welcome to the third entry in Disney's Animal Kingdom's Cancelled Attractions. Today we are discussing the canceled 3D film based on The Lion King for Disney's Animal Kingdom. If you missed any of the previous entries in this series then be sure to check here.

Before It's Tough To Be A Bug there were a few other proposals for what should fill the space underneath the Tree of Life.

One of these plans was for a Lion King-themed show based around showcasing the Circle of Life in the scientific sense guided by characters from the film like Rafiki, Nala, and Simba.

This ride was very similar to the at the time already existing and open Circle of Life An Environmental Fable, but was developed independently of it for the new park.

With The Lion King being as popular of a film as it was at the time the park was being designed and built it was almost a certainty that some Lion King attraction would come to the park, the question being what and where. It did make a certain amount of sense that the most popular Disney film of that generation would be inside the icon of a new park.

But that was not to be. A bug-themed attraction was also in development, and with a bug-themed movie in development at Pixar, the synergy was such an easy move that CEO Michael Eisner couldn't resist. It also helped that an insect-based attraction wouldn't really make sense in the parks other main opening day lands, Dinoland USA and Africa.

In all honesty, it is probably a good thing this attraction didn't happen. While it likely would have been just as good as the Bug's Life attraction we did get, it almost certainly would have been worse than the Lion King attraction that was developed after its cancelation.

Festival of the Lion King was developed by all accounts in a very quick timeline, reusing most of its materials from a Disneyland Lion King parade. It was made to fill two voids made by other canceled attractions, one being this and one being the canceled Beastly Kingdom. It ended up becoming one of the park's most popular attractions and outlived even the destruction of its original land, moving to a new location in the park, something almost unheard of for a Disney attraction.

It would have been interesting to see what this would have been, but it being canceled did lead the way for two other beloved attractions.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the other entries in this series here. We release new entries in this series every Tuesday so be sure to come back every week for new articles including next week's exploration of Fantasia Gardens. Also if you like explorations of Disney attractions that never came to be, check out our Epcot Center's Cancelled Attractions series.