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6 Facts and Secrets About Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable at Disney’s Epcot

Editor’s Note: Sadly, Circle of Life has been retired. However, enjoy this walk down memory lane with some amazing facts and secrets from a show that has given so many guests so many great lessons and memories over the years.

We can’t get enough of the lovable characters from The Lion King, especially Timon and Pumbaa with their constant jokes and banter.  The attraction is a 70mm film shown at Epcot to guests continuously all day.  If you are a fan of The Lion King and/or enjoy learning more about how you can help conserve and protect the environment, then you definitely don’t want to miss this one.  Here are 6 great facts and secrets about the show:


6 – Circle of Life wasn’t the first attraction at the location.

There was an attraction in the same location prior to Circle of Life, called Symbiosis.  It had roughly the same message as the current attraction, which focuses on the important relationship between humans and nature and the impacts on the environment and world from this relationship.  Symbiosis was in operation from 1982 through 1994 until it closed forever to make room for the new attraction to open in 1995.

5 – The attraction used to have a sponsor.

When the attraction first opened in 1995, it opened with a sponsor.  The sponsor for that time was Nestle. Nestle remained the sponsor from 1995 through 2009 when the sponsorship ended.  Since then the show hasn’t had a sponsor and remains without a sponsor today.  It will be interesting to see if Disney finds another sponsor for the show and makes any changes to accommodate the sponsor that would be selected.

4 – Second attraction based on the Lion King at Walt Disney World.

The Lion King was an extremely popular movie that was released in 1994.  The movie gained the hearts of the entire world rather quickly and the movie and characters still maintain their popularity today.  It is no surprise that Disney wanted to quickly get an attraction in place to capitalize on that popularity.  They opened “The Legend of the Lion King” at the Magic Kingdom in 1994, and it ran until 2002.  The Circle of Life became the second attraction at Walt Disney World based on The Lion King, opening in 1995.  Since then there have been more attractions opened that were either based on The Lion King or included characters from the movie, thus showing the continued popularity.


3 – Protecting the environment has always been a huge message and concern for Disney.

Disney has always been a company that cares about conservation and protecting our environment and all of the beings in it.  This was a passion that started directly with Walt Disney himself.  This message is of such importance to the company that they even created a conservation video that is hosted by Jiminy Cricket and called “E”.  It is shown to cast members that join the company during onboarding.  Because of this passion for the environment, it definitely explains the addition of the themed attraction at Epcot. Some guests find the messages in the show to be too preachy and a bit over the top, rather than entertaining.  Fortunately the jokes from Timon and Pumbaa help to lighten the messages and add comedy to the show.

2 – The voice actors from The Lion King return for the attraction.

You will notice during the attraction that the voices sound almost spot on.  Well that is because the voice talent returned to reprise their roles for the film in the show.  James Earl Jones returned to voice Mufasa, one of the most beloved Disney fathers in history.  Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella also returned as the hilarious, dynamic duo, Timon and Pumbaa.  They are all amazing voice actors who perform their characters perfectly, and no one else could ever do the roles the same as these gentlemen.  Sadly, Matthew Broderick didn’t return as Simba, so Cam Clarke performed his voice.

1 – Attraction quick facts:

  • Opening Date: January 21, 1995
  • Length: 13 minutes
  • Theater Capacity: 428 guests
  • Location: The Land Pavilion, Epcot – Future World
  • Accessibility: Guests in wheel chairs do not have to transfer for the experience.
  • Age Interest: Acceptable for all ages

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About Christy Caby

Hi! I’m Christy, and I am a wife and mother of 2 young boys (ages 5 and 2). I first fell in love with Disney when my mom took me when I was a child. After that I proceeded to go to WDW for my senior trip with my friends, and I completed a year in the Disney College Program (working in merchandise at Mickey’s of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). I shared my love of Disney with my now husband and sucked him in. He proposed at Disney, we honeymooned at Disney, we started bringing our boys before they were born and then as early as 8 weeks old. We then continued to vacation to Walt Disney World 2-3 times per year. We decided that what makes more sense than just moving to Orlando so that we could live the Disney life and be here for all of our favorite events and seasons every year. That is exactly what we did! Now we are at the parks a couple times a week and go for most events and major holidays. We can’t get enough and get to experience Disney in a whole different way. I love to share this love and passion for all things Disney with the world and hope that I can help others appreciate the magic that Walt Disney World has to offer!