Just because I love Disney, it doesn’t mean I love every attraction, show, or treat Disney has to offer. My skip list is about those park attractions I’d pass up. It’s not all negativity here, though — I offer up an alternative I’d much rather do instead! When it comes to It’s Tough to be a Bug, I’d rather do anything else. Anything. Including sitting and counting back from 7000 by 14s.
I only remember sitting through It’s Tough to be a Bug once, and that was once too many. While that sole visit was years ago, the unwavering desire to NEVER GO THERE AGAIN sits strong with me. When I went to the parks back in January of 2018 with some friends (including a WDW first-timer who was thrilled to check out this attraction), I chose to sit it out when they headed for the Tree of Life. I didn’t even need to do anything in the meantime. I found some cute animals to watch and I simply waited by myself. #noregrets
Now, I know some people consider this attraction a must-do with every visit, but I’ll be honest. I think they’re confused about what qualifies as “fun.” Personally, feeling like I’ve got dirty, invasive bugs crawling all over my skin for the rest of the day is not something I’d consider “fun,” but maybe that’s just me.
It’s Tough to be a Bug is a 9-minute 3D show (with those classic 4D elements Disney shows love to throw in — animatronics, smells, puffs of air, and other….interactive aspects). As this list grows, you might note some other attractions are similar styles of shows, so let me assure you that I’ve got nothing against 3D/4D shows put on by Disney — even though I do seriously question the plot and execution of some of these offerings.
It’s Tough to be a Bug is offered at Animal Kingdom, but it’s entirely possible to spend a whole day in Animal Kingdom and never stumble upon it. The show is offered inside the Tree of Life in the aptly-named Tree of Life Theater. The pathway to get over there is easy to overlook, so don’t feel badly if you have to ask for directions (or, just don’t go! Problem solved!).
My distaste for It’s Tough to be a Bug begins even before I’m seated in that theater, though. Sometimes, I think maybe Disney is just too good at its theming. The queue for this show feels like it’s running through an underground hive — perfectly themed for A Bug’s Life, but not something I’m about. I really don’t mind bugs. I understand their importance and I don’t like squishing them, but I definitely prefer them “over there” when I’m “over here.” In that queue, I feel as though the bugs are definitely also “over here,” and I’m on edge the whole time.
That anxiousness does not dissipate in the theater and actually amplifies as the show begins. If you haven’t sat through this show and would prefer to be surprised, you should skip down over the next two paragraphs. Or you can read on and understand why you should really just skip the show altogether.
It’s Tough to be a Bug is an informative show hosted by Flik. He introduces a number of his bug buddies and explains some of their rare talents before Hopper shows up to wage war on bugs’ biggest enemy — humans. During Flik’s presentation, audience members are blasted with putrid air from a stink bug, and while that’s generally unpleasant, it’s nothing compared to the enormous spiders descending from the ceiling on Hopper’s command among flashing lights and spooky fog that makes the whole thing generally terrifying.
Just when you think it’s over — after Hopper’s been scared off and you’ve enjoyed a cute song — audience members are asked to remain seated while the creepy crawlies exit the theater, feeling like they’re running along your bench, right under your bottoms. NO, THANK YOU.
As promised, I’ve come prepared with an alternate use of your time. While sitting and watching grass grow would be better than visiting It’s Tough to be a Bug, Disney offers tons even better than THAT!
If you want to sit down somewhere air conditioned, enjoy music (much more than a 10-second unpleasantly squeaky show by some flying critters), and get a little more connected to some animal life, ditch It’s Tough to be a Bug, and head over to Africa for the excellent Festival of the Lion King show, instead. I will admit, Festival of the Lion King is much longer than It’s Tough to be a Bug, clocking in at 30 minutes, but that’s ok because, unlike with It’s Tough to be a Bug, you won’t be (literally) itching to flee the theater.
Hosted by Timon, Festival of the Lion King is a high-energy show with some of the best tunes from the movie, an aerial show, flying tumble monkeys, and a dance parade where little ones can join in! Plus, there’s a man who performs with FIRE. The animatronics are massively impressive, and the jokes are pleasantly corny. What isn’t to love? Plus, nothing crawls on you, unless your kid sees you as a personal jungle gym, but, I mean, I can’t help you there.
I’d love to hear what some of your favorite shows are around Animal Kingdom and the other parks! But don’t say “It’s Tough to be a Bug,” because you’d be objectively wrong. To that attraction, I’ve got one thing to say (care of a very old Disneyland photo because I won’t go NEAR It’s Tough to be a Bug for a current photo):