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Happiest of all the Disney lands is the one inspired by animated Disney film classics -- Fantasyland. Here, in the courtyard of Cinderella Castle, are the Mad Tea Party, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Snow White's Scary Adventure and Peter Pan's Flight. In the center of all is a gigantic jewel -- Cinderella's Golden Carrousel.

Guests have the chance to prove their worthiness to Merlin in the daily "Sword in the Stone" show. Most charming of the adventures is Walt Disney's salute to all the children on earth -- It's a Small World -- where hundreds of doll-like figures sing and dance in their native costumes.

The "animateered" performance of "Legend of The Lion King," based on the hit Disney animated feature film, "The Lion King," creates a mystical jungle where animators' drawings are brought to life using an advanced form of puppeteering and special effects. The show includes the film's dramatic opening song, "Circle of Life."

The lush lagoon setting of Ariel's Grotto offers a chance to meet "The Little Mermaid" character, Ariel, and then cool off in an interactive leap-frog fountain spouting between sea sponges. Guests also can meet popular classic characters at the Fantasyland Character Festival.

A silly ole bear named Pooh and pink pal Piglet take Walt Disney World guests on a whimsical journey into the storybook pages of the Hundred Acre Wood in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a new attraction at the Magic Kingdom.

The heartwarming tale of America's favorite playmate and his adorable friends combines memorable music, surprising illusions and fun for the whole family in a magical new attraction in Fantasyland.

Good times with the Hundred Acre Wood gang begin as guests hop aboard golden "hunny pots" and travel through a Blustery Day. Howling winds stir up a whirlwind of adventure as Owl's house topples, Piglet is swept into the groaning gusts and baby Roo gleefully swings from his scarf, tethered like a kite in the wind. Despite the wayward weather, Pooh is "bearly" bothered and continues his ongoing quest for honey.

Night has now fallen upon the Hundred Acre Wood and hoo, hoo, hoo else but Tigger springs into the adventure with a bouncy, trouncy, flouncy game of hide and seek. Hunny pots bounce along the darkened path chasing a topsy-turvy Tigger to the fun-loving tune, "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers."

The bouncefest leads to Pooh's house where he stands guard over his prized honey into the wee hours of the night. The wary bear drifts off to sleep only to dream of the dreaded honey-stealing Heffalumps and Woozles, forewarned by Tigger. Wacky, glowing creatures surround the hunny pots as they drift through a silly dreamscape full of song and surprise.

As the story unfolds, squalls swell into a storm with the worrisome gang enveloped in the elements. Hunny pots bob swiftly along the rising waters and swirling whirlpools as the Hundred Acre Wood transforms to a Floody Place. Eeyore, Roo, Kanga, Rabbit, Owl and Tigger band together forming a rescue chain to save Piglet from falling over Floody Place Falls. Meanwhile, Pooh has taken advantage of the rising waters to reach the top of the honey tree.

A happily-ever-after storybook ending features a hero's party, a colorful rainbow and all the gang safe in the Hundred Acre Wood ready for another escapade with the young boy who inspired the "Pooh Corner" tales, Christopher Robin.

Disney's hit animated motion picture musical "The Lion King" has been transformed for Walt Disney World guests into a spectacular, three-dimensional live-theater experience using a new kind of living animation.

"Legend of The Lion King," featuring the music of Elton John and Tim Rice from the film classic, is performed daily on a giant stage in the Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Theater with a cast of Disney Humanimals portraying the movie roles.

Larger than life figures that look just like their animated film counterparts, Disney Humanimals are manipulated, not by electronics, but by human "animateers" hidden from audience view. They are larger and more life-like than any puppets. Mufasa the Lion King, for instance, is seven feet long -- tip to tail -- and six feet tall.

The legend is narrated by Rafiki, the wise shaman baboon, high priest to the court of Mufasa. Mufasa's son, Simba, is destined to inherit his father's throne, but first he must overcome the deadly schemes of his wicked uncle Scar and his own self-indulgence with a troupe of happy-go-lucky jungle dropouts.

The story is filled with heart-pounding drama and uproarious humor in action and music.

With the help of Rafiki's narration, memorable moments and music from the motion picture become a spectacular Magic Kingdom theatrical experience. The dramatic "Circle of Life" overture of the Disney film is used to introduce the presentation before guests enter the 500-seat theater where they are engulfed in an African fantasy environment beneath giant acacia trees at sunset.

The 125-foot-wide stage is actually bigger than the seating area, permitting the use of giant-size sets in keeping with the scope of the story -- the rocky "Pride lands" of Africa, deep jungle, moonlit watering holes and the Serengeti grasslands that seem to be alive.

The performers at times seem near enough to touch from front-row seats.

And just as the appearances of the animal stars in the "cels" created by Disney animators reflect the personalities of the talented actors who provide their voices, the colorful Disney Humanimals on stage are an extension of the live actors below stage level providing a myriad of movements and expression for each performer -- smiles and frowns, winking eyes, expressive shrugs, furtive walks and dancing steps.

Every element of the show seems to live and breathe, including Africa, where the story takes place. The grass sways in the breeze, light filters through the leaves on the trees . . . Each and every part of this show interacts with the others, making the audience feel they are in the heart of the film.

During the story, Simba grows from a two-and-a-half-foot cuddly cub . . . to a seven-foot full-grown lion. The transition is smoothed by stage sets which move in magically from every direction -- including an 18-foot pride rock that rises from below the stage.

Some effects are achieved through sophisticated technology, such as special visual effects created on a fog which drifts across the stage.

The most thrilling and dramatic moment comes when Uncle Scar succeeds in luring Mufasa into the path of a huge stampede to "save Simba." Thousands of wildebeests come racing out of the distance. The deafening roar of their hoof beats passes over the heads of the audience, then dies in the distance, leaving the little cub, Simba, beside the body of his royal father.

Simba blames himself for Mufasa's death and escapes to a faraway jungle to try and forget everything in a thoughtless, carefree life. Years later he is reunited with his childhood sweetheart, Nala, and discovers that Mufasa is not dead but lives within the heart of the rightful lion king, Simba himself.

The show features the songs from the film, including: "The Circle of Life"; Simba's happy solo, "I Can't Wait to Be King"; the wicked Uncle's boastful "Be Prepared"; and the national anthem of Simba's thoughtless jungle mischief-maker playmates, "Hakuna Matata" (No Worries).

Rock-and-roll legend Elton John and Academy Award-winning lyricist Tim Rice teamed up to create the original score for the film which is also the heart of the stage presentation. Robert Guillaume expands his role as Rafiki to provide the narration for the Walt Disney World presentation.

The cast also includes Zazu, a hornbill who serves as Mufasa's majordomo; Pumbaa, the warthog; Timon the meerkat; and Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, the laughing hyenas.

The show is performed up to three times per hour each day. There is a cast of 10 for each performance. In one scene, it takes five of the "animateers" to create the movements of one large figure.

 
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Cinderella's Golden Carrousel See where Cinderella's Golden Carrousel is on a Map
Dumbo the Flying Elephant See where Dumbo the Flying Elephant is on a Map
Mad Tea Party See where Mad Tea Party is on a Map
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh See where The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is on a Map
Peter Pan's Flight See where Peter Pan's Flight is on a Map
Snow White's Scary Adventure See where Snow White's Scary Adventure is on a Map
Mickey's Philharmagic See where Mickey's Philharmagic is on a Map
It's A Small World See where It's A Small World is on a Map

 

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