Friday, November 18 2016 09:40

Holiday Wish Guide: Disney Junior's The Lion Guard

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It's been exactly one year since The Lion Guard made its debut on Disney Junior, and in that time a whole new generation has been introduced to the characters and world first explored in Disney's 1994 classic, The Lion King. Appropriately, The Lion Guard focuses on a new generation as well, with Kion, the son of King Simba and Queen Nala, tasked with leading a team that serves to protect the Pride Lands and the Circle of Life. Together these youngsters, including Bunga (honey badger), Fuli (cheetah), Beshte (hippopotamus) and Ono (egret), must work to solve problems and learn respect and compassion for the diverse inhabitants of the Pride Lands. Families wishing to make their own adventures off-screen now have several options, including a few that have become among 2016's hottest holiday toys - easily securing a slot in my annual Holiday Wish Guide. What should you get for your little Lion Guard fan this season? The Rock Father has some suggestions!

The Lion Guard

The Lion Guard Pride Lands Deluxe Figure Set (Just Play): If you want to get all the main characters from The Lion Guard (along with a few classics from The Lion King), this Target Exclusive is absolutely the way to go. With an MSRP of $39.99, this 10-figure set is a great value, and it's also important to note that these are the articulated figures scaled to work with the popular Lion Guard playsets. Included are Simba, Kion, Beshte, Fuli, Bunga, Ono, Rafiki, Timon, Pumbaa and Janja.

The Lion Guard

If you see this set for sale anywhere but Target, it is likely being sold by a third-party seller, and probably for an increased cost.

The Lion Guard Training Lair Playset Review

The Lion Guard Training Lair Playset (Just Play): The absolute pinnacle of any Lion Guard collection, Just Play continues to impress by creating high-quality, very sizeable playsets at an affordable cost. The Training Lair has landed on numerous Hot Toy Lists this Holiday season (including this one and The Toy Insider), and has been a near-unanimous "kid pick" as well. MSRP on this one is $59.99, but you should be able to find it on-sale as low as $39.99 (try Walmart for this one).

The Lion Guard Training Lair Playset Review

Standing over 3' tall, there's multi-level, double-sided play that includes a working elevator, zipline, boulder launcher, lights and sounds, moving cave paintings, a rock-climbing wall, perch for Ono and more! Includes Kion and Janja figures. This has been one of the most-played-with toys here at Rock Father HQ this fall.

Wonder Forge Protect the Pride Lands Game

The Lion Guard Protect the Pride Lands Game (Wonder Forge): The kids will need to share in some heroic teamwork to help Kion reach the top of Pride Rock in this great new family board game. With evil villains from the Outlands threatening to infiltrate the Pride Lands, it's a race to unleash the roar and send them on their way! MSRP is $19.99, but I've seen this as low as $14.99.

The Lion Guard clothing for kids

Lion Guard Apparel (Disney Store): We get asked all the time where Finley got her Lion Guard shirt, and the answer is simple: Disney Store. I brought hers back from a visit to Walt Disney Studios in Burbank (the have a store on the lot), but now there's several styles available at Disney Store locations and online. There's often some good sales, too, so keep an eye out!

The Lion Guard Pride Land Brawlers (Just Play):

The Lion Guard Pride Land Brawlers

These larger scale figures are unique in that they're interactive, and there's only three to collect. Kion, Bunga and Beshte will talk to each other when their Mark of the Guard is activated.  Around 6" in scale, these figures are poseable and fun, but keep in mind that they're not compatible with the playsets as they're more than double the size of those figures.

The Lion Guard Pride Land Brawlers Review

With The Lion Guard already greenlit for a second season on Disney Junior, you can bet that kids will be immersing themselves in new adventures for some time to come, and this Holiday season is the perfect time to get them ready.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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