Secrets of 'The Lion King' Revealed: What You Didn't Know About the Disney Classic


To honor the 20th anniversary of The Lion King, we're breaking the 5 things you didn't know about about the Disney classic.

It’s hard to believe 20 years has passed since the release of Disney’s The Lion King. To celebrate the anniversary, ET is counting down five things you didn't know about the film.

5. What’s in A Name?
Several character names in the film seem completely made up, but they’re not! They’re actually based on Swahili words.  Simba means “lion” or “courageous warrior.”  Rafiki means “friend.” Pumbaa means “ignorant”, “lazy”, or “careless.” Sarabi means “Mirage.”

4. The Hidden Message
After Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa are lying in the grass discussing the stars (ironically, Pumbaa is the one who gets it right), Simba slinks off and plops down, causing a flurry of dust to stir up and spell out the letters S-F-X.  The abbreviation was intentionally placed there by the special effects team.

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3. A Light Beating
To make it sound authentic, young Simba actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas was lightly beaten on the back in voiceovers to create the sound of Simba sliding down the elephant’s backbone in the elephant graveyard scene.

2. The Longest Stampede
The most intense and tragic scene in the movie happens pretty early on. Yes, we’re talking about that unforgettable wildebeest stampede. But what you didn’t know is the scene took approximately three years to animate!

Watch the video above to see number one. Maybe you’ll find out the real “king of the jungle.”