Fantasyland Theater, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Dates: July 8, 1994 – February 23, 2002
Behind the Scenes
Developed by director Fran Soeder
Puppets by Chuck Faucett of Animax Designs, Nashville
Originally sponsored by Kodak
Rafiki was performed by a costumed actor, with an animatronic head that synchronised mouth movements to the soundtrack.
The rest of the characters were puppets on frames, either on wheels or carried by puppeteers. Some had animatronic heads to keep mouths in sync (via radio control) and others (such as Mufasa and Pumba) used lever-operated mouths. A large team of puppeteers were required to keep the show running up to 30 times a day – each show required 10 puppeteer, and there were 8 teams to account for the strain of performing the highly physical show, and holidays / illness etc).
The 500-seat Fantasyland Theater stage was 125 feet wide.
Puppets were designed by Chuck Faucett, and each required from two to eight people to operate.
The same creative team (Fran Soeder and Chuck Faucett) created the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, which used similar techniques.
(Information from https://waltdatedworld.com/id181.htm)