Skip to content

DAK History Lesson: The Bare Necessities (of theater)


Jambo everybody! Welcome back to another edition of your DAK History Lesson! These lessons will get you ready for the 15th Anniversary, happening on April 22nd. Be sure to come back to the site around that time for coverage of that WILD day! (Do you see what I did there?!) Today, I will be showing you the first show to be featured in the Theater in the Wild…Journey into the Jungle Book!

This stage show premiered opening day at Animal Kingdom and was a reimaginning of the classic animated film. This new production featured a storybook style stage design and a large amount of puppets. Not puppets you would normally think of though.

Shere Khan, the large tiger from the film, was a multiple person operated, of human height, will a really intricate, yet super cool design (check out the video below for more on that!)

The show featured the best songs from the film with cute dance numbers paired with them. The audience favorite always seemed to be Colonel Hathi’s March, apparently guests LOVE elephants…who knew!?


The show closed in 1999 for unknown reasons. It could have been for budget cuts, low guest satisfaction, or just a change of face. It was later replaced with Tarzan ROCKS! and then Finding Nemo the musical.

Did you ever see Journey into the Jungle Book? Would you like to see it return? Can you believe Disney closed the book on this show?! (See what I did there?) Let me know in the comments below! Next lesson, we will be covering the 2nd show in the Theater in the Wild…Tarzan ROCKS! Until next time…It’s Nahtazu!