The Lion King is Disney's ThirtySecond animated feature and, in my opinion, its best. Often compared to Bambi or even Hamlet, Lion king has the perfect combination of humor, drama, an amazing score/music and incredible characters.
A group of Disney artists travelled to Africa to study the animals' behavior and the scenery, just like they would do in the days of the World War when Walt would take some artists to study the latinamerican culture. With all their references, the studio went through a lot of different styles before settling on the epic landscapes in which this beautiful movie takes place.
But the studio wasn't always so sure that it would be a big hit. In fact, most of the big animators from Disney left the production or never even played a part in it, preferring to work on what would be the studio's biggest hit (or so they thought) Pocahontas. This means that a lot of less experienced artists were able to get bigger roles on Lion King.
Even though the animation stars like Glen Keane, Ruben Aquino and Chris Buck were working on Pocahontas, we still get to see some amazing character animation on Lion King.
Mike Surrey and Tony Bancroft were responsible for the animation of Timon & Pumba, the comic relief of the movie, who give the movie one of the most famous Disney songs.
Andreas Deja, who was Disney's go-to man when it came to animating villains, was supervising animator for Scar, probably one of the stand out performances of the film. Paired with the amazing voice lent by Jeremy Irons, Scar is probably one of the best villains in Disney history. I mean, a lot of people remember Bambi as being a sad movie because of Bambi's mother's death, but in Lion King we actually see how Mufasa is killed by his own brother! It doesn't get more villain-ey than this!
Ruben Aquino also had work put into the film. He skipped the production of Aladdin to study the animal movements for Lion King, and was responsible for giving guidelines to animators working on different characters, and even did a study of the wildebeest stampede, which served as a starting point for the 3D animation used for this scene.
But the animation isn't the only thing that is great in Lion King. We all know about the incredible score and music that was composed for the film. Working as a team, Hans Zimmer composed the score and Elton John and Tim Rice wrote the songs for Lion King inspired in African music and its instruments.
The first song that Elton John did for the film was Circle of Life, an amazing song which actually inspired the opening sequence of the film. Hans Zimmer took the song and added some african sound to it to make it feel more in the environment. The result was one of the best songs from Disney movies.