June 30th was the official debut of The Lion King and Jungle Festival. As the name indicates, two somewhat loosely related but ultimately distinct properties are at play for this new summer season: The Lion King (Africa) and The Jungle Book (Asia).
The Jungle Book Jive is a brand new production on Central Plaza featuring Disney Friends, Dancers, Singers and Drummers inspired by The Jungle Book. Here’s our review – with some spoilers!
In The Jungle Book Jive, Mickey and some of his Friends (Minnie, Donald, Daisy – sorry Pluto, no doggies allowed in the Jungle) set off on an adventure in the world of the Jungle Book (India/Asia). On board 4 new vehicles, they leave Town Square to look for Goofy, Chip, Dale and Clarice in the Central Plaza Jungle (guess they got their holiday approved earlier and are already on site). Thanks to (or despite?) Donald’s navigation talents, they find Goofy, Chip, Dale and Clarice who have made some friends: and incredible group of traditional drummers, dancers, a singer named GhôlDivah (yes, really!) and later, Baloo and King Louie!
- Logistics and Viewing
The show is a fantastic display of creative force and logistics featuring 65 performers including 28 dancers, 4 vehicles, 5 colourful animal rolling show pieces, and one big Jungle Book float you may recognize from Magic on Parade (with a rather well done retheme). 10 drummers were hired by the producers in Rajasthan, where the creators took a trip for inspiration in creating the look of the show and the costumes.
On top of the performances, the show also debuted an innovative smoke/fireworks technology which gives the finale a big “wow factor” and also draws inspiration from the traditional colourful powders found in India.
The style of the show could be described as “Disney Bollywood”, a risky yet successful bet from the Disneyland Paris team, as the show is a true Disney-style celebration of these tradition, carried by a punchy soundtrack that is simply irresistible. As is tradition, the show is performed half in French half in English depending on the songs and which Disney Character is talking – yep French Donald is back again.
Viewing for the show is very similar to the Pirates and Princesses performances with one big exception: Jungle Book Jive is very much 360 degrees show and not a Parade, and even though the floats will drive up Main Street and down from Fantasyland, they do not stop and Guests waiting there risk being disappointed. The best viewing points are the middle of the hub (which focuses on Disney Friends), and all around the hub (where Guests will get more of a look at the dancers).
- Show Scenes
The show features many different scenes and songs (not the official scenes names):
– It all starts with a very long pre-show music of about 15 min before the performers even step off.. it’s a bit unclear why this choice was made: apart from a few rolling drum sets along the route, not much goes on during that time except sunburns.
– “We’re on our way”: Mickey and some of his Friends make their way to the Central Plaza Jungle in their colourful vehicles – hit and miss on these design.. the plane looks cute while Daisy’s car reminds us more of the Magic School Bus and hides her too much inside. Meanwhile the Jungle animals and dancers also head there, but from Fantasyland – they are not “parade size” but rather some sort moving show pieces, quite well done. They all meet in the center and look for Goofy.
– “Goofy’s made new Friends”: Goofy emerges from the Castle with his incredible crew of drummers, Chip and Dale, the dancers and GhôlDivah – this is the first moment that really made our jaw drop. A surprise: Clarice is also here, in a pretty amazing Bollywood inspired costume.
– “Goldivah”: first performance for this new “character” created for the show. The Diva in a gold dress, GhôlDivah (again, LOL) performs a traditional Bollywood style song with her dancers. An unexpected choice for a Disney show (maybe even unheard off), but it works. Meanwhile Chip and Dale get on stage with acrobats for a bit of mock stick fighting while Clarice is being her diva self.
– “Trust in Me”: This is where the show really connects with the Jungle Book. As Goldivah performs a Bollywood version of Trust in Me, Baloo and King Louie make their entrance aboard the large former Magic on parade Jungle Book float, rethemed for the occasion.
– “Il en faut peu pour etre heureux” and “I wanna be like you”: Baloo jumps on stage (quite literally!) for a “Bare Necessities” inspired song – we say inspired because if you listen closely, the lyrics and tune of the song is there but the background music is an original creation – very fun. Next up King Louie take the mic across the stage for his performance with Mickey and Minnie.
– “We found our way”: in the show’s finale, all the Disney Friends gather on the two front stages to sing the anthem of the show in its finale version: “We found our Way”. As the characters perform one last routine, incredible colourful “smoke fireworks” explode above the stages and on the Castle. Get your cameras ready because this is the money shot!
What an incredible show. Disneyland Paris is approaching “Tokyo levels” with this production. Original, colorful, fun and a perfect fit for the Summer, we can’t recommend enough you get carried away on this adventure. Congratulations to Farida Chakouri, Matthieu Robin and Christine Mellet who are heading this production, and the Disneyland Paris management for trusting them in trying something so different.