Festival of The Lion King

If you have ever been, or ever plan to go to Disney World in Florida, make sure that you schedule a visit to Animal Kingdom to watch The Festival of The Lion King. This is probably (in my opinion) one of the best productions you can watch in any of the parks.

It’s a live stage production based on the Disney film and is such a vibrant, upbeat and energetic show. It lasts for about half an hour and combines the classic songs from the film with dance, puppetry and special effects.

As a photographer, it’s a great opportunity to get some portrait shots of the performers. The stage is in the centre of the theatre, with the audience seated around the permieter, so you really can get a full 360 degree experience.

If you are planning to shoot this show, a telephoto lens is essential. For these shots, I used the Canon 70-200 f2.8L on a 5D Mk III body which is the most amazing combination for sharpness and performance in relatively low light.

Whilst they do not stop people taking pictures and using flash, it really does spoil the shot – I was watching people taking pictures using all sorts of devices including point and shoot cameras and even iPads with the flash popping away. I think there is a time and a place for flash, and these shows are not it! If you have a camera capable of manual settings, then you really can get some great shots if you know how to set it up.

So often, it’s easy in post production to just apply some preset or other to every picture, but it seems the Disney magic somehow means that the pictures look great just as they are. Very little editing has been done to these images other than a bit of cropping and straightening.

Since these photos were taken, the show has moved to a new location in the park, but it’s high on my “to do” list for our next visit later in the year.

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Be sure to check out more Disney images in the Disney World gallery.

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