Disney's "The Lion King"
Disney's "The Lion King" was released 20 years ago. Disney

Believe it or not, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary since Disney’s animated feature “The Lion King” debuted in theatres. If you’re not feeling old yet, just know that the first drafts of the movie’s conception began in 1989. The movie did leave us great legacies like the famous term Hakuna Matata; the first Disney character fart; and of course, tha valuable lessons we learned from Rafikki, “It’s in the past now, you can learn from it or run from it.” To celebrate its magnificence, we’ve put together the strangest, funniest facts about the highest grossing animated film in history.

1. In “The Making of The Lion King,” we’re told that the original opening scene featured a narrated dialog which directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff scratched out when they heard the final version of “Circle of Life.”

2. The result from the scene’s images without dialogue was so powerful, Disney decided that for the first time, they would use a complete scene as the movie’s trailer.

3. A hyena researcher sued Disney for “defamation of character” for its portrayal of the animals in the film. [PDF] Still, we're glad they went with hyenas as the characters were originally written as cape hunting dogs.

4. Dust cloud forms the word SEX? When this caught people’s attention, some even created bad publicity campaigns against Disney’s “hidden sexual messages.” Animators later said the letters spelled “SFX,” as an innocent nod to the art department.

5. Did you know Rowan Atkinson from “Mr. Bean” was cast to voice Mufasa’s ‘right hand’ Zazu?

6. An earthquake in 1994 forced the Disney Studios to close down temporarily and much of the film was finished in the artists’ homes.

7. The Lion King” is the highest-grossing hand-drawn animated feature of all time with a total box office of over $987 million; it is also the third highest-grossing animated feature in general, the 19th highest-grossing film of all time, and the best-selling videotape of all time.

8. James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair play the king and queen in both, “Coming to America” and “The Lion King”, so basically Eddie Murphy and Simba have the same parents!

9. The film caused a huge stir in Japan for being extremely similar to the well-known animated series Kimba the White Lion,which literally features almost-identical characters to Simba, Rafiki, the hyenas and even antelope stampeeds! Not to mention the similarity between the cubs' names.

10. When Timon pulls some bugs to eat out of the log during 'Hakuna Matata' one of them has Mickey ears.

11. The film's creators spent two weeks on safari in Kenya, studying how real lions live. They recall tying a rope behind their Land Rover and drove slowly as lion cubs chased the rope, batting and playing with it just like house cats.

12. Some people at the studio considered “The Lion King” the ‘small’ movie compared to the upcoming “Pocahontas”, so they put their "B Team” of creators and animators to work on it.

13. The scene where King Mufasa's ghost appears to Simba was the last scene created for the movie. In the original script, Mufasa died and never reappeared, but the producers decided that Simba really needed to see his father again.

14. A die-hard fan noticed that Zazu’s name is misspelled in the closing credits and is listed as ‘Zasu’. Good eye!

15. Pumbaa was the first Disney character to ever fart on screen. And there you have the funniest, fun fact of them all.

16. This was the first full-length animated film to be created from an original script idea. That is, a story that didn’t adapt a pre-existing book or Fairy Tale. Granted, there’s some Hamlet in there, but we’ll let that pass.

15. Scar’s “Be Prepared” number where an army of hyenas assemble and begin marching, is actually inspired by an image of Adolf Hitler watching a Nazi procession.

17. After “Hakuna Matata”, “What do you want me to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?” is probably Timon’s most famous line. Funny enough, this wasn’t in the script; Nathan Lane improvised!

18. Scar is the only lion in the movie that has claws. Makes sense.

19. Originally, producers intended to have “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” be a comical duet between Timon and Pumbaa.

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