The Tumble Monkeys Return to Animal Kingdom
At the risk of repeating myself, Disney theme parks continue to restore beloved amenities that we’d feared lost in the pandemic.
I’ve got news of three returning favorites in today’s update!
The Tumble Monkeys Return!
For nearly a year after Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened, one of its signature presentations remained dark.
Disney couldn’t operate Festival of the Lion King due to social distancing requirements.
In May of 2021, park officials came up with a short-term solution.
Celebration of Festival of the Lion King removed many of the crowd-based elements of the presentation, along with the acrobatics and tumbling sequences.
For more than a year, audiences have mostly sung along to the wonderful soundtrack for The Lion King. The show has looked like this:
We’ve all had fun with this modified presentation. However, when you pay attention to the pandemic measures, they’re impossible to miss.
The entire stage spaces cast members out for their protection, and they seldom interact physically.
Disney did what it could to bring back the show, but it’s just not the same.
Thankfully, Disney spent early July switching back to the old ways.
On July 4th, Animal Kingdom hosted what is hopefully the last Celebration of Festival of the Lion King performance ever.
Then, Disney renovated the sets in preparation for the comeback of the real deal. Finally, on July 16th, Festival of the Lion King returned in all its previous glory!
Here’s the updated version of the show we all know and love:
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you! The Tumble Monkeys are back and hopping around everywhere!
Now, Festival of the Lion King feels like a festival again!
Also at Walt Disney World…
We’ve got one other comeback to discuss, along with a sort of return and an update that applies to this week alone.
Let’s start with the time-sensitive one. Remember that Disney Enchantment is now operating two shows nightly through July 24th.
If you’re visiting Magic Kingdom this week, please plan for this temporary change.
The first performance of Disney Enchantment occurs at 9:20 p.m. each night, while the final showing takes place at 11:00 p.m.
Disney does this because the parks claim their largest crowds of the year in July. So, you can think of the fireworks as a double bonus.
My pro tip is to secure seating for one show. Then, try to ride or be around an outdoor attraction at Tomorrowland or Fantasyland during the other.
I’ve had any number of magical memories involving Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.
Sure, the attractions stay in motion and block your view some. Still, viewing fireworks during a ride is something distinctly Disney magic.
Line queues are also good, although they often get bottlenecked as everyone stops and watches the show.
Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, BB-8 fans will be happy to know that the droid has returned to Star Wars Launch Bay.
Chewbacca and Darth Vader are also holding down their posts, but my family prefers BB-8 Astromech on Duty.
Also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Green Army Drum Corps are “returning soon.” Disney hasn’t announced an exact yet, but the official website has been updated.
The other noteworthy return occurs on September 3rd. That’s when the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival brings back the lounge at the former Restaurant Marrakesh.
Disney has previously used the space for festival seating and shareables/drinks. However, it’ll take on a more official look on Labor Day Weekend.
Florida Blue will sponsor this “new” lounge…and it’ll have air-conditioning! Longtime Disney fans know this will be decidedly different from most Morocco pavilion locales.
King Hassan II of Morocco, the country’s ruler at the time, insisted that the World Showcase pavilion remain authentic.
So, Disney has mostly subbed in fans for air-conditioning here. Even better, thanks to its sponsor, this lounge will include complimentary refreshments and entertainment.
My understanding is that you can get a free Henna tattoo here as well as Twining tea.
As such, you can expect the Florida Blue Lounge to prove VERY popular! It’ll be like having a second DVC Lounge, this one located in the World Showcase!