Did you know that The Lion King was actually made by Disney's "B-team" as the "A-team" was busy working on Pocahontas that same year? The beloved 1994 animated film has won over the hearts of audiences all around the world, and it is filled with numerous fun facts you can bring to your next trivia night.
The Lion King Cast
The voice acting in the movie was truly top-notch, but the soundscape of the characters could have been very different had things gone another way.
Question: James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair, who voice Mufasa and Sarabi in The Lion King, also played king and queen in what movie?
- Answer: Coming to America
Question: Who did Disney want to cast to voice hyenas Banzai and Shenzi?
- Answer: Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong
Question: Which performer sings Hakuna Matata and Can You Feel the Love Tonight?
- Answer: Joseph Williams (film composer John Williams' son)
Question: Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, who play Timon and Pumbaa in the movie, originally auditioned for what characters?
- Answer: The hyenas (and Nathan Lane was considered to played Zazu too)
Question: Who was the original director of the movie?
- Answer: George Scribner
Question: Why did Scribner leave the film?
- Answer: He wanted it to be an animated nature documentary (and not a musical).
Question: What famous Star Trek actor was considered for the role of Zazu?
- Answer: Patrick Stewart
The characters in The Lion King have their share of secret fun facts too.
Question: What language do the names Simba, Nala, Sarabi, Rafiki and Pumbaa come from?
- Answer: Swahili
Question: What does the name "Simba" mean?
- Answer: It is Swahili for "lion."
Question: What does the name "Zazu" mean?
- Answer: It means "movement" in Hebrew and is more commonly used as a girl's name.
Question: Rafiki and Scar were originally conceived as what animals?
- Answer: Rafiki as a cheetah and Scar as a baboon
Question: Nala was originally supposed to have a younger brother in the movie. What was his name?
- Answer: Mheetu
Question: Who took over for singing the last third of Scar's Be Prepared after Jeremy Irons threw out his voice?
- Answer: Jim Cummings, who also voiced Ed the hyena
A Grand Tale
Boost your trivia knowledge of the film by taking on these factoids.
Question: What Shakespearean play served as inspiration for the plot of the movie?
- Answer: Hamlet
Question: What was the original title for The Lion King?
- Answer: King of the Jungle (or Bamblet, as a portmanteau of Bambi and Hamlet)
Question: How do you translate the opening chant from Circle of Life?
- Answer: "Here comes a lion, Father. Oh yes, it's a lion. We're going to conquer. A lion and a leopard come to this open place."
Question: How long did it take to complete the iconic wildebeest stampede scene?
- Answer: Three years
Question: How many copies of the official movie soundtrack have been sold?
- Answer: 10 million
Question: What "bug-eating song" was eventually replaced by Hakuna Matata instead?
- Answer: He's Got It All Worked Out
Question: There are two pairs of "hidden Mickey ears" in the film. Where are they?
- Answer: Off Zazu's head during I Just Can't Wait to Be King and on a bug during Hakuna Matata
Question: Where does The Lion King rank in the American Film Institute's list of the top animated movies of all time?
- Answer: Fourth, behind Snow White, Pinocchio and Bambi
Question: Where was the world premiere?
- Answer: At Radio City Music Hall in New York City
More Disney Trivia
If you are interested in learning more about The Lion King or other Disney movies, consider checking out these online resources.
- Oh My Disney: This official Disney website is filled with fun quizzes, news stories, and eye-opening articles.
- Disney Trivia: Featuring information about the parks, resorts and Hidden Mickeys, this site is a great source of Disney trivia too.
- Absurd Trivia: Ready to test your knowledge? Choose between four different quizzes about The Lion King ranging from easy to tough.
- D23: The official Disney fan club boasts a wealth of information about all your favorite Disney franchises, plus "the Ultimate Disney fan event" with D23 Expo.
It's always interesting to learn about what was going on behind the scenes of your favorite movie. The Lion King is a beloved treasure, and now you can appreciate it even more with these fun trivia facts in your back pocket. It means no worries for the rest of your days!