Monday, January 17, 2022

Lion King Parade

Here's a fun lot of photos (scanned from prints) of the parade from the "Lion King Celebration", which debuted back in 1994. I guess there was a movie called "The Lion King"? Who ever heard of a king who's a lion! They don't even have opposable thumbs. Or DO they? These photos come to us courtesy of the DREAM TEAM - that's Irene, Bruce, and James.

Sure, I could dance up on that thing in my underwear too, but I have my pride. Get it? Lions? Pride? I'll be here all week. I appreciate the stylized creatures on the float. That young lady appears to be having a good time. She and I both live for the art of the dance.

Quick, Henry, the Flit! Bug spray is the only thing to use when you have an infestation of crocodiles. What, you didn't know that crocs are insects? I guess you didn't go to the University of Phoenix like I did.

This float appears to have many drummers on it - I can imagine a big sound of multiple percussion instruments really getting the heart pumping. Maybe there was one fellow on the end of the float playing a tiny triangle. We can only hope.

Giraffes. Why did it have to be giraffes? 

Oh boy, it's the star of the show himself, Kimba. I mean Simba. One online description proceeds thusly: The last float - Pride Rock - is led by a group of zebra and cheetah dancers, two tribal elephant dancers and two tribal bird dancers. Simba stands atop Pride Rock while Nala roars and drums out the beat with her paw at the foot of the float. Above them, Mufasa's face is represented in a spinning sun design.

Here's another shot of the same float from a different day. Simba was basically the Santa Claus of this parade. You know what I mean!

And finally, from yet another day comes this nice photo taken from a distance, giving a sense of the crowds that would gather for this parade. Love the late-afternoon light, with the guests all in shadow. 

Thanks as always to the Dream Team!


Nanook said...

Even if parades are not your thing - it's hard to resist the beauty and details of a Disney parade.

Thanks to the Dream Team!

TokyoMagic! said...

♫ ♪ ♩ Kimba the white lion is the one! ♪ ♬ ♩

Geez, Disney really does "copy" the work of other companies, don't they?

Having said that, I did like this parade. Those crocodiles were radio controlled. Unless they had very small children inside, driving them. But I'm pretty sure I remember hearing that they were radio controlled, along with some large "insects" that also rolled along on the ground.

Thank you Irene and the Dream Team, and Major, too!

JB said...

#1- That's one crazy-looking push button phone Zazu (the bird at the top) is standing on.

#2- Those crocodiles look pretty neat, and kind of menacing. Probably scared the churros outa little kids watching from the curb. I'm assume they were motorized and scooted around. I wonder if their legs moved when they crawled about?
EDIT- Thanks Tokyo, for the radio control info.

#3 (and pretty much all of these photos)- This parade was certainly colorful! Like Major and a few other GDBers, I'm not much of a parade person. Especially when time is tight and there's so much other stuff to do. But I think I would probably like this parade with all the colorful floats and music.

#4- Major, it had to be giraffes because all the snakes were out for the day, shedding their skins, washing their hair, and doing their nails.

#5- I like those carved gourds hanging in the tree. They probably served some purpose in the wild; bird's nests, maybe?

#6- Wow. They even rolled the Matterhorn down Main Street! They musta put it on casters, like when they moved it from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland.

#7- In this one we can see one of the giraffes lowering its neck, which I think they both did, while trundling down the street.

Thanks to Major and the Dream Team for today's colorful photos. Irene, hope you're still hanging in there and that you'll be able to beat the Big "C" disease. I did, and so can you!


I was in the filming for marketing the Lion King Celebration. They had put out a request to employees to sign up to be “guests” in the parade commercials. We were asked to wear bright colors. I had three friends were were parade performers a as well. My group was placed right on the corner edge in front of the Emporium. The parade floats were all spaced out and did not move while filming ( at least on that day ) this was done prior to park opening .... but we actually were still filming when real guests were coming in ... for them to walk down main street they had a roped off channel that let them pass along the east side of Main Street. The soundtrack would play and the performers would do there routines and then we ( the fake guests) would jump , clap and sway to the music. Also on the side of the street we were on there was extra decorations on the lampposts and buildings that were NOT on the opposite side . After a several scenes ? Shoots ? Some of the floats were dragged into another position and we repeated the same thing. We were served food as well backstage. I don’t know if I appeared on tv as at this time I was so sick of hearing ALL Lion king music as it played EVERYWHERE working with the company back then and I was sick of it! To this day I’ve never seen the Lion King broadway show .... and I have no interests still. Lol.

I was also used as a fake guest for the filming and marketing shoots done for Grizzly River Rapids. Again we were asked to show up in bright colors and we checked in at Harbor Gate then we had to walk along the delivery access route and under the tunnel then to Grizzly Peak. We were divided into 3 groups after our clothing’s was cleared . Two groups loaded into the rafts and we cycled through dozens of times while the third group was dispersed like props around the viewing areas, lines and cues .... some had prop (Disneyland) shopping bags and balloons . There was no audio or BGM or sfx .... we rode over and over ... an interesting thing was that they amount of WETNESS could be controlled with only some geysers getting near riders. Later there was a break and the groups rotated and some of us were now pedestrian fake guests and the others now fake guests riders .... this was done about 2 months before the park opened. There was filming and photography being done for use in commercials , brochures , guides, postcards etc. it was actually really fun. No we were not paid ... but we were fed.

I know Disney replicates many actual structures for its parks .... but I’m surprised how much Disney often copies other film studios .... and it’s not coincidental. Over Christmas some friends and I watched the Mr. Magoo Scrooge and the Mr. Magoo 1001 Arabian Nights by UPI Studios (1959) I liked the music so much I ordered the soundtrack cd!! Anyway , the later is ofcourse Aladdin ... and Disney TOTALY even copied Aladdin’s Sultan Parade costume !!!!!! I’m sorry it was totally the same costume just done in their animation styles of the two studios ...and there were other details too! Shane on the giant empire of Disney !!!

Chuck said...

Those radio-controlled crocodiles were a significant technological advance over the one used in the Peter Pan segment of the Main Street Electrical Parade. That one’s internal mechanism was clockwork.

This was less of a parade and more of a mobile stage show - the floats would move, park, and then the dancers would do their routines around the stationary floats to music from the movie. Then, at a certain point, the transition music would cue and everybody would move to their next station along the parade route. I thought it was actually a pretty clever way to move the show along but still provide a coherent story. It also afforded some different performer staging than you would see in a traditional parade, and the performers were fantastic. Aside from the MSEP, this is the only Disney parade I have ever seen more than once, and even as APHs moving from one part of the Park to another, my wife and I would still often stop and watch one tableau as it rotated through a station before moving on.

Thanks again, Dream Team, for bringing back some great memories!

Stu29573 said...

I heard that the Pride Rock float was repurposed for use in the Festival of the Lion King show at WDW. Looking at these pics and having seen the show a few times, I think that if it is the same float it was modified. There is no big dorsal rock sticking up and no "Mufasa's Ghost."
Hey, a great band name!

DrGoat said...

One of my favorite parades. We were there for 3 days and caught the parade every time. A real show, as Chuck said. The leading music coming up the street, before you can see the parade, was very cool. Parade would stop and everyone would do their thing. Especially liked the the last float with all the attractive Cheetah dancers. Great music, excellent parade. It must have been our trip in April, '95, the opening of the Indiana Jones ride.
Mike, thanks for the bonus story. Must have been a good time working for the park when you did.
Thanks to Irene, Bruce and James.
Thanks Major.

JG said...

Thank you Major, Irene and the Dream team!

First time seeing for me, or if I did see it, I’ve blocked out of my memory. this looks like a real extravaganza. Radio-controlled crocodiles no less… Quite a show.

Speaking of Disney snagging others IP, Shakespeare should have had a word them about this film.

I have confess, I became thoroughly fed up with this movie and the music, my kids played it constantly and unlike Beauty & Beast, I just didn’t like it, there is no way I would have sat through this parade. I know I’m a grump and I’m sorry, I can’t help it.

Years later, we all saw the stage version in London, which was amazing, and I had some time to get it out of my system, found the play very enjoyable.

At least they didn’t shoehorn Simba into the Jungle Cruise.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I don’t believe that I ever actually saw this parade in person, though I could be wrong. It looks like a good one though, they definitely didn’t cheap out!

TokyoMagic!, I haven’t seen “Kimba” since I was a child, but of course I’ve heard that “The Lion King” was practically the same story. Supposedly TLK is a loose reworking of “Hamlet”, though I am no Shakespeare expert. I wonder where the people operating those remote controls for the crocodiles were? On top of the Main Street buildings? They’d have to have a good line of sight along the whole parade route. And the crocs were right in the mix, so they needed to really control them!

JB, that is an iPhone 0. The crocodiles remind me of the little bugs from The Main Street Electrical Parade, the ones that spun around and went from side to side to interact with guests. People loved those! It doesn’t look like the crocs had moving legs, but who knows. There’s probably video on YouTube. I didn’t consider that the snakes had their own lives, because it’s all about me. As it should be! As for moving the Matterhorn, it already had casters on it from when it was moved from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland. Maybe the giraffes were supposed to be bowing? No idea. I hope Irene checks in today!

Mike Cozart, very fun that you participated in those marketing campaigns. It would be amazing to see a commercial with you in it! I’m surprised you never looked to see if you showed up. I can only imagine how tired you would be of the music! Hey, at least you got free food. I saw TLK at the Pantages, and can’t say that I loved it. I was impressed with the craft of it, the puppetry and so on, but otherwise it didn’t do much for me. Funny that they always wanted you to wear bright colors - I don’t know if I have ANY clothing that would qualify as “bright”. It’s all pretty muted. Maybe I would have had to go to Target to buy a bright orange shirt. I’ve never been on the Grizzly River Rapids, but “controlled wetness” is now one of my favorite phrases. One of my first trips to DCA I was with a friend who had her two kids. Her son went on GRR and when he got off, it looked like he had jumped into the water and climbed out - completely soaked. I had NO interest in getting that wet. Funny about Mr. Magoo and the “Aladdin” tie-in. I guess everyone “borrows” from everyone else?

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I didn’t remember that there were crocodiles in the MSEP, but I believe you! I still recall watching that parade with my dad, we both loved it. Of course I’m a sucker for anything that lights up or glows, even now. Based on your description, TLK parade sounds like a dress-rehearsal for the ill-fated “Light Magic”, with the floats stopping for brief performances. TokyoMagic! LOVED “Light Magic!”, it was his favorite parade of all time.

Stu29573, I am not surprised that they repurposed the Pride Rock float, Sue has some WDW photos that show floats (not Lion King floats) that I’ve seen in Disneyland parades, only now they were in Florida. Smart, I guess. “Mufasa’s Ghost” is a good band, but the mosh pit is too intense.

DrGoat, wow, 3 days in a row! I probably would have watched the parade all the way through once, and then tried to figure out how to maximize my ride times the other two days. The “attractive Cheetah dancers”, ha ha. There’s nothing like some pretty girls! I agree, Mike Cozart had some great experiences with the park, there’s a part of me that wishes I’d lived close enough to have worked at Disneyland at some point in my younger life.

JG, yeah, I am quite sure I did not see this parade. I think there was a chunk of a few years where I did not make it to the park very often, and this must have been right in that time. I suppose when stories are as old and well-known as Shakespeare’s they can be considered “public domain”. See: West Side Story! I liked TLK, but was never as crazy about it as my friends. I gave my video copy to a friend and never missed it. Oo-la-la, London! Pretty cool. I saw the stage version in L.A., it was fine. Now that you mention it I am amazed that not Lion King characters appeared in the Jungle Cruise!

Chuck said...

JG & Major, they may not have shoehorned Simba into the Jungle Cruise, but I can recall at least one ride-through at DL or the MK where the skipper referred to the rock overhang on the African veldt as “Pride Rock.”

And I guess there wasn’t a crocodile in the MSEP - he’s just referenced in the soundtrack. But I could have sworn I saw a Disney parade at some point with the crocodile in it following Captain Hook. Or maybe I just wanted to remember it because I wanted to crack that joke so badly. And I did - I did crack that joke badly.

Kathy! said...

Wow, this brings back memories. Like DrGoat, I went to Disneyland in 95 shortly after Indiana Jones opened and saw this parade. I took a Fun Saver disposable camera and snapped some what I thought would be marvelous pictures. I have one that’s OK of the drummer float seen here, and one of Simba where half the photo is of my finger. Oops! At least it’s not covering the float. I also took an Indy queue pic where my finger is covering the top half. A Lou at photography I’m not! There is a pretty good photo of Adventureland skulls though! Thanks Dream Team and Major.

Unknown said...

I remember this was one of my favorite parades. I especially liked when Simba roared at the end. I agree the movie wasn't one of my favorites, that honor would go to Beauty and the Beast but the winner for me of over saturation goes to Frozen! I enjoyed your stories Mike of being background color for parades and rides. Sounds like stuff I'd like to do. I'm still hanging in there but not going out much until this latest surge calms down. It'll be a couple more weeks before I venture out to Knotts.

Unknown said...

By the way, unknown is me, Irene. Laptop still down. Sigh.

JB said...

Mike C., I enjoyed reading your "fake guest" stories.

Chuck, your crocodile/Peter Pan/clockwork joke was so funny I forgot to laugh. ;-)

Irene, Nice to hear from you! And yeah, with your compromised immune system you don't want to take chances right now. But soon! (we hope)

TokyoMagic! said...

JB, the crocodiles did move their legs and they rolled along the ground. Here is a video I shot of The Lion King Parade, in 1996. It's a little washed out at first, as the parade enters Town Square, but the color gets better once the parade floats gets closer to where I was standing. It appears they were only using one crocodile on this day, and he/she can be seen starting at the 10:55 mark. Oh, and I had forgotten how the performers would got out and hand musical instruments to guests.

Also, the video opens with a shot of the "Coming In 1997" sign for Light Magic. As the Major stated, Light Magic was my all-time favorite thing, ever turned out by the Walt Disney Company! Actually, you can read about my disgust of Light Magic in an old blog post of mine, from April of 2017.

Here is that "Lion King" parade video:

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I guess it’s not much of a surprise to know that they at least referred to The Lion King, being such a smash hit. I can deal with just a reference to Pride Rock! Just don’t add animatronics of Timon and Pumbaa, or add the Elton John songs (love Elton, but come on). I wasn’t sure if there were smaller crocs in the MSEP, but I’ll bet there was a float with the hand-eating crocodile. I understand the temptation to crack jokes badly!!

Kathy!, ah, those disposable cameras. Remember when every wedding had those on the tables? Poor Kodak, if only they’d somehow understood the way digital photography would take over. Sounds like you are like me as far as photography goes… I just don’t seem to have the knack.I’m always a few seconds too late to capture the thing I want. Lou worked at it, I suppose it’s like anything, the more you do it the better you’ll be.

Unknown, I’ve seen video of Simba roaring, it’s kind of cool the way they made the figure move. I’ve never been sure if it was some sort of puppet, or if it was an actual animatronic. Or something in-between? “Frozen”, it’s a nice movie that I could not sit through a second time. I like parts of it a lot, and the rest of it does nothing for me. Obviously I am in the minority, and that’s OK! I still remember sitting next to a car in a parking lot, and the mom was blasting “Let it Go” on the car radio while her two young daughters belted out the lyrics. It was fun!

Unknown, as soon as you mentioned Knott’s, I knew it was you!

JB, maybe ALL the guests are fake, all the time! We live in a simulation, or so I’ve been told. Can’t this simulation be a bit more fun? Give me a flying car already. For sure, we want Irene to be safe. Knott’s will still be there when you’re ready.

TokyoMagic!, i knew you’d know about the crocodiles. What kind of video camera did you have back then? One of those heavy things that you had to lug around? I haven’t watched the video yet (gotta finish replying to everyone), but I am looking forward to seeing the faces on guests when somebody hands them a musical instrument. I know that when you say “disgust” (regarding Light Magic), it’s like when kids say something is “bad” when they mean it is “good”. Crazy kids!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, yes it was one of those big bulky cameras. And the batteries for it were almost as heavy as the camera itself. If I had been paying for a daily ticket into the park, I probably would not have wanted to be impeded by lugging a heavy camera around all day. But I had an annual pass at this time and visited quite frequently, so I tried to bring the camera with me from time to time, to capture things that I figured would not be around forever. I shot a lot of footage of Tomorrowland, prior to it's destruction for the new Tomorrowland of '98.

Melissa said...

Say what you like about Disney, but they sure know how to throw a parade. I agree with everyone about the crocomodiles being a highlight; they are cute and well-designed. I wonder who the person in the floorlength navy skirt in the crocodile picture is? One of the Main Street atmosphere characters? Or were any of the regular Main Street CMs wearing skirts that long?

I also had a bit of an overdose of the Lion King music at that point. I was working in the children’s section of a department store, and we had a TV and VCR going all the time. The movies in heaviest circulation were The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Jumanji.

So cool that you got to be in that video, Mike!

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! Thank you for posting your video - I enjoyed it. I love the crocodile and rhinos, especially. (How do the two people, in each rhino, keep in step? Is the lead doing some "counting" or calling directions?) I need to also learn how to post videos, as I have hours of movies I'd love to share - starting back in 1956. In a minute, I'm heading over to read your April 2017 post.

Irene, I'm glad you're here and hanging out with us! I couldn't agree more regarding who's the award winner for over-saturation. I don't think a week goes by where I don't see Frozen coloring books somewhere - plus all their other products. Thank you for sharing these terrific photos - what a fun day at Disneyland!

Thank you, Major!

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! I loved your April 2017 post and all the comments. The parade, I did not. The music, even less.

JB said...

Tokyo, Thanks for more info on the crocodiles. And thanks for the video of the parade (the legs DO move!). Like Sue said, the rhinos and the croc were somehow more likeable than the other characters. I was surprised at how short the parade was; less than 15 minutes, and what- four floats? I guess it's an example of quality over quantity.