Disney’s Animal Kingdom will introduce a kids’ activity based on Disney Junior’s “The Lion King,” announced Walt Disney World on Jan. 25. The activity, which will open Feb. 7, will encourage younger guests to explore the theme park while learning about various animal species.
The new Lion Guard Adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will involve guests in a scavenger-hunt style activity. The park-wide experience will take them in search of five characters found in the animated TV series: Kion, the leader of the Lion Guard; Bunga, a honey badger; Fuli, a cheetah; Beshte, a hippo; and Ono, an egret.
Guests joining the Lion Guard Adventure will use a map, available in select merchandise locations, to help them find character statues hidden in themed locations throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These colorful statues represent each animal and each location is identified with a Lion Guard banner. The areas also have signs that describe the found character’s attributes as well as emphasizing the “Circle of Life” and conservation.
After they find the five statues and learn about the character traits, guests can mark their completion of the Lion Guard Adventure at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Here, Disney cast members will welcome participants as honorary members of the Lion Guard, inducting them with a special pledge and a button. The area will also features fun activities, characters from “The Lion King” and a photo-op with Rafiki.
The Lion Guard Adventure will run at Disney’s Animal Kingdom through late March 2016. The Lion Guard Adventure is included in Disney’s Animal Kingdom admission.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch also will offer additional activities related to “The Lion Guard” inside the Conservation Station. That area will offer music, videos and a look at Disney Junior’s “It’s UnBungalievable,” a short-form nature show hosted by “The Lion Guard’s” animated Bunga the honey badger, and Ono the egret, that also uses live-action wildlife footage from Disneynature.
The Lion Guard Adventure is inspired by and promotes the new animated TV series “The Lion Guard,” which premiered on the Disney Channel on Jan. 15 and is aimed at children ages 2-7. The series continues the storytelling of Disney’s 1994 movie “The Lion King” by centering on Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, and his friends; the series was introduced with the 2015 television movie “The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar.”
Dr. Jill Mellen, education and science director for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, told the Orlando Sentinel that specialists working the park’s animal programs have served as consultants for the series. These animal experts have influenced the show’s plots and advised the show on the characteristics, behaviors and habitats of various African animal species.