Professor & Disney Legend Recognized for Bringing “The Festival of the Lion King” to Life
On Saturday, Jan. 24, Ron Logan, an associate professor at Rosen College and former executive vice president and executive producer for Walt Disney Entertainment, was recognized for his instrumental role in bringing Disney’s “The Festival of the Lion King” to life on stage. Almost 20 years later, the award-winning live show is still going strong since its debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998.
Logan received a commemorative plaque during the Circle of Life Family Reunion Celebration Banquet at the Heaven Event Center in Orlando, which was part of the first FoLK Reunion weekend that brought together 400 former and current cast and crew, along with their family and friends. Logan’s former student, senior Elizabeth Steinbach, who graduates from Rosen College this spring, helped produce the reunion with a team that included Meka King, Veryl Jones, Cynthia Guerra, Holly Johnston, Karen Gibson, Jennifer Vazquez, Tiffany Bagwell and Travis Hill. Reunion activities included a Mix ’n Mingle with the cast and crew of “The Festival of The Lion King,” the Circle of Life Family Reunion Celebration Banquet and a viewing of the show at its new location in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Harambe Theater District.
Although Logan was a seasoned entertainment executive at the time, turning “The Festival of the Lion King” into a reality was no easy feat. As Logan recalls, he was given six months’ notice, zero budget and little space to produce the live event, so he did what he famously tells his students – “Just figure it out!”
He purchased the Lion King Celebration Parade floats from Disneyland for $1 each, raised large tents, hired top talent and developed a show that guests voted Best Live Show on Walt Disney World property. Although things have changed after almost two decades as performers have married, created families and gone on to perform all over the world, including Broadway and Cirque du Soleil, the show remains a Disney fan favorite and one of Logan’s proudest accomplishments.
— (Jan. 29, 2016)