Mufasa : Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.
Simba : But, Dad, don’t we eat the antelope?
Mufasa : Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
When the animated version of The Lion King came out I really didn’t pay too much attention to that interaction between Mufasa and Simba. I was 15 years old. Now as a father Mufasa’s words really hits home. I want to teach my kids in a similar fashion to that of Musafa’s wisdom.
This week I was in Disney World for a Lion King media event. While I was making my way to Orlando I was thinking about the circle of life mentality and what lessons Mufasa was looking to teach his son.
My wife and I try to instill many values in our daughters as they are growing up. One of those values is respect for others and our environment. While I was at Disney’s Animal Kingdom resort the kind folks at Disney taught me about all of their efforts to respect all creatures and the balance of nature that is part of the circle of life.
Disney looks to lead campaigns to benefit groundbreaking and collaborative conservation efforts to bring lions back by supporting programs that engage communities to ensure a future for African wildlife and their habitats. Since Disney’s The Lion King was first released in theaters 25 years ago, we have lost half of Africa’s lions. Only 20,000 remain. The time to act is now. Lions are threatened from a combination of factors, including: poaching, loss of prey and destruction of habitats.
As we toured the Animal Kingdom resort we learned about all of the efforts Disney is doing in their park locations and other parts of the world to help conserve the environment. Disney has already donated more than $1.5 million to the Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund and its partners and will make additional grants as well as invite fans to help double the donation for a total contribution of up to $3 million. Fans may participate by taking part in celebratory experiences and purchasing special-edition products, as part of The Lion King Protect the Pride campaign.
Part of the bonus features on The Lion King movie is that you get to learn more about the Protect the Pride campaign. I highly encourage you and your family to check out that bonus section of the movie. It is a great educational tool to have your kids learn about protecting lions.
When I came home from this trip my family wanted to learn about my time at Disney World. I told them about private Kilimanjaro Safari Ride. We had an animal science expert talk about how the animals all share the land and interact together as if they were on the African plains. We learned about the type of diet each animal has, when each animal is active and how Disney works with zoos to make sure the animals have the best care they can receive while at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
I told my family about how the film crew came to Disney World to learn how each of the animals act and their behavioral patters to make The Lion King true to life. I shared with them about my experience at the Elephant Berm and how Disney cares for these beautiful animals. We learned about the different parenting styles the elephant parents have between the two moms in the pack. One is a helicopter parent while the other mom doesn’t step in unless the kids are acting up.
Even though Disney makes movies like The Lion King and has resorts like Disney World to entertain us they strive to help conserve the planet and reduce waste. Just like Mufasa teaches Simba to respect all living things around Pride Rock, Disney leads by example by reducing their carbon footprint.
It is great to support a movie like The Lion King when you find out about all of the efforts Disney makes to protect the environment, care for all the animals inside their parks and ones outside in the wild. Combine that with the powerful messages these movies teach us I am always happy to take my family to see these movies from Disney.
I had a chance to sit down with Rob Legato, Clarie Martin and Jon Ross who all had a hand in making The Lion King. Stay tuned for those interviews.
The Lion King is available now on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere and physically on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 22. To win a copy of The Lion King follow me on Twitter @ArtEddy3 and let me know your favorite Lion King character.
(Please note: Disney sent me on this media trip, but my thoughts are my own.)
Check out the video below to see what you and your family could experience if you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom.