It's Tough to Be a Bug!

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It's Tough to Be a Bug!
Its Tough to be a Bug Sign (2598576385).jpg
Entrance marker at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
AreaDiscovery Island
Coordinates28°21′28″N 81°35′26″W / 28.35787°N 81.59060°W / 28.35787; -81.59060
Opening dateApril 22, 1998
Disney California Adventure
AreaA Bug's Land
Opening dateFebruary 8, 2001
Closing dateMarch 19, 2018[1]
Replaced byWeb Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure
(Avengers Campus)
Ride statistics
Attraction type3D film
ThemeA Bug's Life
Audience capacity428 per show
Duration9 minutes
Show hostFlik
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Available
Disabled access Wheelchair accessible
Assistive listening icon.svg Assistive listening available
Closed captioning available

It's Tough to Be a Bug! is a 9-minute-long 3D film based on the 1998 Disney·Pixar film A Bug's Life, using theater lighting, 3-D filming techniques, audio-animatronics and various special effects. Flik, a character from the movie, hosts the show and educates the audience on why bugs should be considered friends. It was the first Pixar attraction to open in a Disney park.

The attraction opened in Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort on April 22, 1998, a full seven months before the actual feature debuted in theaters, and is housed within the theme park's icon, the Tree of Life.[2] A second version of the attraction debuted at the opening of Disney California Adventure on February 8, 2001.[3] The version at California Adventure closed permanently on March 19, 2018, and was replaced by Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, an interactive screen ride based on the Spider-Man films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[1]

At Disney California Adventure, the Bug's Life Theater was located in A Bug's Land. There, the queue passed through a replica of Ant Island before heading underground, where the queue appeared the same as the one at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It was originally part of the Bountiful Valley Farm area of the park until A Bug's Land was built around it.


About a year before the opening of Animal Kingdom, Disney Imagineers had decided to place a show inside the park's centerpiece Tree of Life, but struggled to find an acceptable concept. Disney CEO Michael Eisner suggested a tie-in with the upcoming Pixar film A Bug's Life, and the creative team developed a story based around the characters from the film. Visual effects studio Rhythm and Hues was brought in to produce the 3-D animated portion of the show, while Disney special effects teams created the rest of the experience, including animatronic characters, wind, water, and foul smells.[4][5]



At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life theater is located inside the Tree of Life. As the queue winds around the tree, visitors can glimpse animal carvings on the tree that aren't visible from other vantage points. The "underground" lobby area features posters of various bug acts from the show, as well as those for all-insect parodies of Broadway musicals, such as Beauty and the Bees, Web Side Story, Little Shop of Hoppers and My Fair Ladybug.[6] The lobby music overture consists of insect renditions of Broadway musical numbers.


After the theater doors close, an announcer advises the audience not to buzz, sting, pollinate or chirp during the show. Flik the ant, in audio-animatronic form, emerges from a hole in the theater's ceiling and welcomes the audience and tells them to put on their bug eyes (3D glasses). The show begins with butterflies, in formation as curtains, flying away. Flik now appears on screen to present the acts of the show after the title card is presented. Jungle music begins to play, and a Mexican red knee tarantula (referred to as a Chilean rose tarantula in the show) named Chili makes his appearance. A pair of acorn weevils, along with Weevil Kneevil, place a slingshot on the stage and launch acorns from it (triggering hidden air cannons). Chili shoots the first acorn with a quill but fails to shoot the second due to Weevil holding on to it, then taunts Chili who chases after him. Flik presents the second act as a "soldier termite who defends his mound by spraying intruders with acid". A piece of the set falls with a rumble and the "Termite-nator" steps out, then shoots at a taunting flea, then the audience, sensing more intruders (which triggers hidden water sprayers), despite Flik's protests, until he runs out of acid and leaves, saying that he will be back. Flik reappears and hopes the audience isn’t allergic to acid. The next act Flik introduces is a stinkbug named Claire de Room, who walks onto the stage. The acorn weevils place a flower as a target, Weevil re-enters the scene and crashes into the flower, causing it to move towards the audience. Claire then passes gas, which affects and disgusts both Weevil and the audience (which triggers hidden smell cannons in the theater).

An explosion is heard as Hopper the grasshopper, in audio-animatronic form, appears. He orders a stag beetle chase Flik off the stage and four wasps hold up an advertisement flyer for "Knock 'em Dead" exterminators. The wasps turn over the ad and uses it as a makeshift movie screen to show movie clips from old monster movies featuring giant bugs (Earth vs. the Spider, Beginning of the End and Empire of the Ants). Hopper wants to make humans experience the same "medicine" and a giant fly swatter attempts to flatten the audience. After Hopper discovers the audience is still alive, he declares war on them. The screen goes black as a hand appears with a can of bug spray and sprays it at the guest (which triggers a hidden fog machine above the screen). Hornets sting the audience (which triggers a small piece of rubber tubing that pokes each guest's back) and several black widow spiders go up and down, trying to capture and scare the audience. Hopper, now on screen, boasts nothing can stop him, but a chameleon appears and tries to eat him, making Hopper flee.

Flik reappears and says that he forgot to mention the reptiles, which segues into the finale. Bees, dung beetles (The Dung Brothers), dragonflies and other bugs sing about how insects help humans and about how "it's tough to be a bug". Weevil returns, holding a moldy cupcake and the bugs chase him. The butterflies come back to form a curtain and Flik reappears in audio-animatronic form from the ceiling, to wrap the show. After the theater is lit up again, the announcer requests the guests to remain seated so the beetles, maggots, and cockroaches may exit safely. The bugs start to talk all at once as they exit (which triggers hidden rubber wheels to roll at the bottom of the seats). The announcer then tells the audience to gather up their personal belongings and take their "small grubs" by their "grubby little hands" as they exit.


The cast includes:[2]


The attraction's titular theme song was written by George Wilkins and Kevin Rafferty and is included in the disc "Theme Park Classics" of the Disney Classics compilation box set. The show's score was composed and conducted by Bruce Broughton, while much of the queue music was arranged by Wilkins. The queue features parodies or renditions of songs from famous Broadway shows using bug sounds.

See also


  1. ^ a b Glover, Erin (March 20, 2018). "Avengers and Other Super Heroes to Assemble in New Themed Areas at Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland". Disney Parks Blog.
  2. ^ a b "It's Tough to Be a Bug". IMDb. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  3. ^ Malloy, Betsy (2002). The Everything Family Guide to the Disneyland Resort. Adams Media. p. 170. ISBN 9781605502410. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Sklar, Martin (2013). Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms. Disney Book Group. ISBN 9781423184522. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  5. ^ Joseph Kleiman (March 27, 2013). "It's Tough to be a Bust: The Rhythm and Hues Bankruptcy". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  6. ^ "It's Tough to be a Bug". Magically Digital. Retrieved May 6, 2017.

External links