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    The Timeline Of "The Lion King" Was Confusing Me, So I Tracked Down Some Answers

    Okay but how many years is "Hakuna Matata"?

    Both the 1994 and 2019 versions of The Lion King tell the story of a young lion cub named Simba who goes through lion puberty and eventually becomes king.

    Disney

    He just couldn't WAIT.

    We meet Simba on the day he is born, and watch him grow up over the course of "Hakuna Matata." I, too, would have loved for my puberty to happen over just one musical interlude.

    Disney

    Anyway, this had me thinking about the aging of Simba in general and how much time passes in the whole movie. I polled my coworkers to see what popular opinion was:

    Jen Abidor

    I personally always thought he was somewhere between 15 and 20, much like the majority of my coworkers.

    But I needed to know more, so here's a somewhat scientific/somewhat unscientific deep dive into it.

    If you have any insight, please add it in the comments, but please remember this is an analysis of an animated baby lion. It's all in fun. I could be wrong!

    First of all, let's explore how much time passed between "Circle of Life" and when Simba wakes Mufasa up to play.

    Disney

    I used a chart from a site called Living With Lions that helps you age lions. Which is exactly what I needed to do today, coincidentally! Anyway, according to my nonexpert opinion, looking at the chart, Simba is only around a 2-month-old cub during the events from when he wakes Mufasa up to when he runs away.

    Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com, livingwithlions.org

    I guess animated baby lions start talking essentially right after birth. But do the rules of speech development even count when we're talking about TALKING LIONS???

    But here's where it gets a little wild: I recently learned that all of the plot from when Simba wakes up Mufasa through the stampede takes place over the course of two days.

    Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

    That means that SO MUCH happened in just two days (Two full musical numbers! A major insidious villain plan! A trip to the elephant graveyard! THE STAMPEDE!). In comparison, I spent two days bingeing a Hulu show this weekend.

    This means, of course, that when Simba meets Timon and Pumbaa he's still roughly 2 months old — his age in the first stage of his "Hakuna Matata" evolution.

    Disney

    In the middle "Hakuna Matata" phase, Simba appears to be between 20 months and 3 years old when I look at the chart, which makes him a "sub-adult" lion. Sub-adult is also a convenient word for describing my personality.

    And finally, full-fledged adult Simba appears to be somewhere between 4 to 7 years old. Let's say he was 5? Seems right!

    Disney, livingwithlions.org

    Per the site, "Adult lions are between 3 and 8 years old. They are fully grown and are of breeding age — females will often have cubs."

    That means Simba's lil' "Hakuna Matata" adventure while his lioness friends rotted away under Scar's fascist regime was ONLY about five years. Which is bad, but, like, not as bad as we thought, I guess?

    Disney

    And that about wraps up this investigation. Kind of weird to think that Mufasa was also probably only like eight years old when he had Simba, but if I think about it too long my head will explode. THE END.

    Disney