Sensory-Friendly Frequently asked questions

The Lion King sensory friendly page header

About the Show

When and where is the show taking place?

Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis (910 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403). The production runs approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. This includes a 15-minute intermission.

What is Disney’s The Lion King?

Based on the animated blockbuster of the same name, Disney’s Tony-winning musical The Lion King has been experienced by more than 100 million people worldwide. It’s the story of Simba, an adventurous lion cub who is next in line to be king of the Pride Lands, a region in the African savanna. An unexpected tragedy forces him to flee but eventually he returns to claim his place in the circle of life.

What are the age recommendations?

Disney’s The Lion King is recommended for ages 6 and up.

How long is the performance?

The performance runs 2 hours and 30 minutes including a 15-minute intermission.

What content warnings are there?

  • At the start of Acts I and II, there is a large procession through the orchestra aisles, similar to a parade. Actors with large puppets will walk down the aisles while singing and dancing. Please note this when choosing seat locations.
  • There are scary moments in Act I, including an onstage stampede and Simba’s father Mufasa falling from a cliff.
  • There are ramps at the edge of the stage that only the actors are meant to use. Please note this when choosing seat locations.

How can I get tickets?

Tickets are on sale now, click here to purchase. You can also purchase in person at the State Theatre box office.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at [email protected] or call our box office at 612-339-7007.

State Theatre Box Office
(In person – No service fees)
805 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(Monday-Friday, noon – 5 p.m. Central Time)

About Sensory-Friendly Performances

What is a sensory-friendly performance?

Hennepin Theatre Trust is offering a sensory-friendly performance of Disney’s The Lion King. This performance is specifically designed for individuals with sensory, social and learning disabilities and their families. This special show provides families the opportunity to enjoy live theatre in a welcoming and supportive environment.

A sensory-friendly performance is a theatre production that is modified for individuals with sensory needs. A standard performance may be too loud, too bright or too busy for people with autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing differences, anxiety or other cognitive or physical disabilities. The show is adapted to allow for more audience movement, staff and actors are specially trained to accommodate the needs of this population, and the environment creates a judgment-free and more comfortable theatre experience.

Who should attend this performance?

The sensory-friendly performance is specifically designed for individuals with sensory differences, cognitive or developmental disabilities and those who benefit from a relaxed theatre environment along with their families and caretakers. This is a judgment-free, fun experience for the entire family. Whereas other audiences at public performances might frown upon a lot of movement or loud reactions, these behaviors will be fully embraced and even supported during this performance.

Please note: all children, regardless of age, must have a ticket and be accompanied by an adult. Caretakers and family members of individuals with sensory needs are encouraged to attend.

Disney’s The Lion King is recommended for ages 6 and up.

What changes can we expect for the sensory-friendly performance?

  • Lower sound levels, especially for startling or intense sounds.
  • Theatre lights on at a low level throughout the performance.
  • Standing and movement accommodated in spaces throughout the theatre.
  • Designated sensory break areas throughout the theatre.
  • Trained volunteers and professionals on hand during the entire performance.
  • Sensory supports (fidgets, earplugs, noise-canceling ear-muffs) available in the lobby before the show.
  • Online and printed guidance materials about the show experience.
  • Note: audience members are welcome to bring their own handheld sensory tools (e.g., fidgets), seat cushions, comfort objects and extra support items to the show.

What are sensory process sensitivities? 

(Source: Fraser website)

Sensory processing difficulties can cause people to react with extreme discomfort to loud noises, bright lights, strong smells, crowds and other stimuli. Some individuals may experience sensory overload in these situations, and others may emotionally withdraw.

This makes ordinary experiences, like going to the dentist, getting a haircut or attending a sporting event very challenging. Because of this, individuals and families sometimes miss community events and shared experiences.

For sensory-friendly events, the environment is welcoming and more relaxed. It should still feel like a standard event, but with more supports to make it a positive experience for all. The social norms that might keep someone from going to an event, like needing to be quiet during a theatre performance, are relaxed so everyone can be their true, authentic selves and not need to “mask” who they are.

Attending a show

What will the security process look like?

The sensory-friendly performance will have modified security procedures for the event. Accessibility tools and aids will be permitted, including electronics for accessibility purposes. Please note, all bags, regardless of purpose, will be searched upon arrival. And for the comfort of your party, other than mobility aids, we recommend only bringing items that can be comfortably stored under your seat when not in use.

Our staff is committed to creating a safe and pleasant entertainment experience for all guests. All patrons are electronically screened using walk-through metal detectors. Bags are searched for prohibited items, so please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes in advance. Prohibited items include weapons, selfie sticks, cameras with external flash, audio/video recording devices, outside food and beverages (unless required because of a disability or medical requirement) and more. See a complete list along with our Guest Code of Conduct. If you arrive with any prohibited item, we will ask you to secure it elsewhere before entering the venue.

Does the theatre have elevators?

Yes, the Orpheum Theatre offers access to all seating levels via both elevator and stairs.