Throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a wide variety of trees help give guests the impression that they are exploring lush environments from around the world. During the Holiday Season, the park adds one more: an enormous Christmas tree placed in its Main Entrance courtyard. Like many Christmas trees, this one has plenty of Disney toys scattered beneath it.
Since the theme of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is wildlife and wild places, it’s fitting that these oversized toys feature some of the company’s most beloved animal characters. Among the films represented here are “The Jungle Book,” “Winnie the Pooh,” and, of course, “The Lion King,” In this picture, for example, there are building blocks featuring Simba, Nala, and Timon as well as a pull toy of a giraffe from the “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” musical number.
When it was released in the summer of 1994, “The Lion King” was not only a box office sensation but also had one of the largest merchandise campaigns of any Disney film up to that point. Overall, the film proved so successful that Disney decided to re-release it later in the year just in time for the Holidays. Given this amount of attention, toys featuring Simba and his friends were common sights under many Christmas trees in 1994. With the debut of latest entry in “The Lion King” saga, the TV movie “The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar,” earlier this month on Disney Channel, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of its characters will pop up under a few trees this year as well.