MY DREAM CAME TRUE!
Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world

The Lion King 3D World Premiere!

When I first saw Disney's The Lion King, the spunky lions, the catchy songs, and the beautiful animation made me an instant fan. I liked the movie so much that I named the adorable cat that I adopted from my local animal shelter "Nala," after Simba's best friend. And so I was excited to get the opportunity to attend the World Premiere of The Lion King 3D at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California.

My formal invitation letter listed the attire as "Hakuna Matata" ("no worries" in Lion King lingo), so, I pulled on a summery dress and headed, with a friend, to the El Capitan Theatre.

The theater marquee announced "The Lion King 3D World Premiere." Large backdrops featuring images from the movie and Lion King 3D movie posters lined the red carpet area. Reporters, camera operators, and photographers, one atop a ladder, stood along the barricade. At the will call tent at the end of the carpet, I handed my photo ID to a cheerful woman seated at the table, and she presented me with an envelope; inside were our tickets.

Security officers directed us to the red carpet, which, in this case, wasn't red at all. Thick green "grass" lined the route to the theater. I could feel the soft blades tickle the sides of my feet as I walked along. Reporters interviewed actors Adam Irigoyen (Shake it Up!), Niketa Calame (who voiced "Young Nala" in The Lion King), and Gilles Marini (Sex and the City, Brothers & Sisters), while cameras captured the action. VIP guests mingled. At the end of the carpet, Rafiki and Timon greeted the VIPs and celebrities.

Inside the theater, the concession stands offered complimentary tubs of warm, tasty popcorn and bottles of soda, juice, and water. We chose our refreshments and picked out our seats.

The El Capitan Theatre originally opened in 1926 and has been beautifully restored. The auditorium reminded me of that of a Broadway theater. An organist entertained the audience with a selection of Disney music, until he and his organ disappeared by slowly dropping into the stage. The lights dimmed. We donned our 3D glasses.

When the first note of the song, "Circle of Life," was heard, the audience erupted in applause and cheers. The audience would erupt twice more, for the opening and the closing 3D title cards that simply read "The Lion King." In between, children and adults giggled, and some tears were shed.

Once again, I was engaged by the lions and their friends, especially by the touching relationship of young Simba with his father, Mufasa. The movie was just as good as I remembered it, and the 3D effect added to the fun, especially in the scenes with the flying birds and the falling rain.

When we stepped out from the comfortably cool theater into the Southern California summer sun, the green carpet and all of its accouterments had already been packed up into large trucks.

My friend and I headed home full of a happy Hakuna Matata feeling!

I did this on August 27th, 2011, in Hollywood, California, USA.

Jen (California, USA)*

You might also enjoy:

Jen's Disney bucket list

Jen's review of the premiere of Finding Dory

Jen's article: Top ten things you need to know before you hit the red carpet

Jen's review of the premiere of Disney's Frozen

Jen's article: Top seven things to know if you're going to a movie premiere without a ticket


* Jen attended the Lion King 3D premiere as a contest winner.