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The Lion King vs. Aladdin: The Draw Of Disney

Recently a friend of mine came back from New York and, while there, she went to see her first musical – The Lion King. She absolutely loved the show, the setting, the costumes and of course the enduring songs. I happened to mention that Aladdin was making its West End debut next summer should she wish to indulge further into the world of Disney on stage and this lead us to a discussion about both films and shows and their merits.

For instance, 'You’ve Never Had a Friend Like Me' vs. 'Hakuna Matata'. Which is the better song? ‘Mr Aladdin sir, what will your pleasure be? Let me take your order, jot it down. You ain’t never had a friend like me.’ A wonderfully energetic song, delivered with power and a punch. Compared to ‘It means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s our problem free philosophy.’ The more laid back styling’s of Timon and Pumba reminding us the importance of relaxing. Which song is better? Which contains the best message?
Both shows contain lyrics by Tim Rice. He was brought into the making of Aladdin after the death of Howard Ashman and famously worked on The Lion King with Sir Elton John. In this area we had to call a draw. Both shows contain wonderful scores and lyrics and we were unable to choose between the two.
Ok, round two – Villains. A Scar/Jafar faceoff. Who would win between the two? Sure, Jafar in Aladdin has his evil stare and magic staff but Scar in The Lion King sure can shimmy his shoulders and deliver a menacing rendition of 'Be Prepared'. Ambition and power drive both characters and they great Disney villains. For me, Scar wins every time.
Round three – the lovers. Aladdin and Jasmin vs Simba and Nala. While both 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight' and 'Whole New World' are great songs, here my friend and I both agreed that Aladdin and Jasmin were the better of the couples. While we have nothing against the lions we felt that you can’t beat ‘a magic carpet ride.’
Over all it seems that we agreed that both films are great and we both love The Lion King on stage. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Prince Ali, the loveable diamond in the ruff ready to ‘share this whole new world with you.’

Theatre manager, writer, maker.

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