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Disneyland Article
Lion King Show Coming To Fantasyland Theatre In 2022
Brady Macdonald
A “Lion King” musical stage show coming to Disneyland offers a new adaptation of the ancestral story of how a young lion cub becomes king of the jungle told with singers, dancers and drummers.

The “Tale of the Lion King” show will move from Disney California Adventure to the Fantasyland Theatre at Disneyland in 2022.

Disneyland hasn’t set a date yet for the start of the “Tale of the Lion King” show, but don’t expect to see the performance take over the Fantasyland Theatre before February when the “Celebrate Gospel” event will be calling the venue home.

The new “Lion King” show highlights a lineup of new and returning entertainment, festivals and special events coming to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in 2022.

The modest-sized “Lion King” show that played on the banks of Paradise Bay in the “World of Color” viewing area will likely expand to match the scale and size of the Fantasyland Theatre.

During the show’s DCA limited-time run, a traveling troupe of storytellers retold “The Lion King” in a contemporary style through story, song and dance on the Palisades Stage overlooking California Adventure’s Paradise Bay. The cast of 18 performers in African-inspired costumes formed an ensemble called the Storytellers of the Pride Lands.

The theme park production featured new musical arrangements of popular songs from the original film, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. At the time, the theme park stage show served as a movie tie-in for the photo-realistic computer-generated remake of “The Lion King.”

The new score incorporated elements inspired by the original compositions. Vocal performances were paired with a percussive soundtrack provided by a troupe of drummers.

Set on the African plains, the story told the tale of the battle for Pride Rock after the death of Mufasa the lion king. In the tale, the exiled Simba the lion cub must figure out how to grow up and take back his rightful throne from Scar, Mufasa’s murderous brother.

Here’s a rundown of what else is on tap for Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney in 2022.

‘Celebrate Gospel’ The “Celebrate Gospel” event that last took place at Stage 17 in DCA’s Hollywood Land in 2019 will be moving to Fantasyland Theatre in February.

The one-day event at DCA will be expanding its run of dates when it makes the move across the esplanade to Disneyland.

“Celebrate Gospel” will feature live choirs — including local singers from Orange County choirs. The event will be included with the price of admission to the park.

Nighttime entertainment “Fantasmic,” “World of Color” and the Main Street Electrical Parade will return in spring 2022 as part of a phased reopening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

The COVID-19 pandemic put fireworks, nighttime spectaculars, parades and live shows on hold during the phased reopening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure due to the large crowds they attract.

Since the parks returned, Disneyland has brought back fireworks in time for the Fourth of July and resumed the first parade as part of DCA’s Oogie Boogie Bash in early September.

Seasonal festivals Two seasonal events put on hold by the coronavirus closure of Disney California Adventure will return in 2022 with a pair of festival lineups that include food, entertainment and Disney characters in festive attire.

Disney California Adventure will host the Lunar New Year event on Jan. 21 through Feb. 13 and the Food & Wine Festival on March 4 through April 26.

DCA’s Lunar New Year event celebrates Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures and traditions with multicultural performances and foods.

DCA’s Food & Wine Festival features local, celebrity and Disney chefs who offer free culinary demonstrations on the weekends and paid signature events throughout the event.

After-hours parties Disneyland will double the number of limited-time, after-hours events in 2022 as late night parties tied to Valentine’s Day, Disney Villains and Star Wars return to the parks after an extended coronavirus closure disrupted the schedule in 2020.

Sweethearts’ Nite will run on Feb. 1, 3, 8, 10 and 14 at Disneyland. Villains Nite will take place on March 8 and 10 at Disney California Adventure. Star Wars Nite will run on May 3, 4 and 27 at Disneyland.

The Disneyland After Dark separate admission events offer special nighttime entertainment, character meet-and-greet opportunities and reduced wait times for the limited capacity after-hours parties.

Special events Disney postponed the D23 Expo fan convention planned for 2021 at the Anaheim Convention Center until 2022 due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rescheduled D23 Expo will be held September 9-11, 2022 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The world’s biggest gathering of Star Wars fans will return to the Anaheim Convention Center on May 26-29 in 2022.

The 2020 Star Wars Celebration was canceled due to the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Magic Bands The next generation of the Magic Band wearable tech will be coming to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in 2022.

The wearable tech bracelets will track and collect data on visitors and create “magical moments” as they move around the Anaheim theme parks and the nearby Disney hotels.

Walt Disney World visitors use Magic Bands in place of theme park tickets and hotel room keys as well as to make payments and unlock in-park experiences. The Magic Bands are also used as part of Disney’s PhotoPass program and as a way to interact with some theme park attractions.

Hey Disney The Hey Disney virtual assistant that works with the Amazon Alexa smart speaker system will be coming to the Disneyland resort hotels in 2022.

Hey Disney works similar to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri with users summoning the system using the phrase “Hey Disney.” Hey Disney will offer vacation planning tips and storytelling entertainment in Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel character voices with more than 1,000 possible interactions.

Hey Disney — already announced for Walt Disney World hotels — is expected to roll out over time at the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

Parking trams The end is near for Disneyland visitors tired of huffing and puffing along the nearly mile-long tram route between the parking garages and the front gates. The parking trams that have been out of commission since March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.

Tram service between the Mickey and Friends and Pixar Pals parking garages and the front gates of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will return in early 2022.

Downtown Disney Downtown Disney will undergo a major renovation that will see the popular Earl of Sandwich shop, the former AMC Theaters and other stores demolished to make way for a new midcentury modern-designed addition to the Anaheim shopping mall next to Disneyland.

Work will begin in January 2022 on a multi-year project that will reimagine the Downtown Disney outdoor shopping center.

The work will take place in the West End of Downtown Disney once envisioned as the location for a fourth Disney hotel project that was cancelled in 2018.

Toontown makeover Walt Disney Imagineering will reimagine Mickey’s Toontown with new interactive play areas for young children as part of the launch of the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway dark ride at Disneyland in 2023.

Mickey’s Toontown will close in March 2022 for construction and won’t reopen at the Anaheim theme park until sometime in 2023.

The new additions will include a water play area and fountain at the center of the reimagined land dubbed Centoonial Park and a Dreaming Tree with a grassy play area.

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