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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 an ant, from A Bug's Life, 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.[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.[4]

Setting

At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Bug's 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" pre-show 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.[5]

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 Farms pavilion of the park until A Bug's Land was built around it.

Production

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.[6][7]

Plot

The lobby music overture consists of insect renditions of "One" from A Chorus Line, " Beauty and the Beast", "Tomorrow" from Annie, "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story, " Hello Young Lovers" from The King and I, and "Flight of the Bumblebee"/"Tonight" from West Side Story.

The doors close, and the announcer tells the audience not to buzz, sting, pollinate, or chirp during the show. Flik the ant welcomes the audience in audio animatronic form from the ceiling and tells them to put on their bug eyes (3D glasses). The show begins with butterflies formed as curtains flying away. The title card, a leaf that says "It's tough to be a bug!", appears. Then, jungle music begins to play, and a Mexican redknee tarantula (referred to as a Chilean Rose Tarantula in the show) named Chili makes his appearance, surprising Flik. A pair of acorn weevils, along with Weevil Kneevil, place a slingshot on the stage and launch acorns from it (which triggers hidden air cannons in the back of the seats). Chili shoots the first acorn with a quill, but fails to shoot the second due to Weevil holding on to it. Weevil then taunts Chili, who chases after him. The next guest is a soldier termite who defends his mound by spraying intruders with acid. A piece of the set (wood) falls with a rumble and the "Termitnator" steps out. The termite shoots at a taunting flea. Sensing more intruders, the termite shoots at the audience (which triggers hidden water sprayers in the back of the seats), despite Flik's protests, until he runs out of acid and leaves, saying that he will be back. Flik next introduces a stink bug 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 a grasshopper, in audio animatronic form, furious that Flik has allowed humans into the insect world, appears. A stag beetle chases Flik off the stage and four hornets hold up an ad for "Knock 'em Dead" exterminators. The hornets turn over the ad and use it as a makeshift movie screen to show movie clips from old monster movies featuring giant bugs. Hopper thinks that it's time for humans to have a taste of their own medicine, and a giant fly swatter attempts to flatten the audience. The screen goes black as a hand appears with a can of bug spray. Hornets sting the audience (triggering hidden leg ticklers underneath the seats), and several black widow spiders go up and down, trying to capture and scare the audience. Hopper, now on screen, says that nothing can stop him, but a chameleon appears and tries to eat him. Hopper, afraid of the chameleon, retreats.

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 as curtains and Flik, back in audio animatronic form, wraps things up, saying that magnifying glasses are for looking at little things, not for burning little things, and the show ends. The bugs start to talk all at once as they exit (which triggers the hidden leg ticklers underneath the seats again). 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.

Soundtrack

Queue music

The queue features parodies or renditions of songs from famous Broadway shows using bug sounds.

Track Name Parody / rendition of
1 "One" (A Cockroach Line) "One" (A Chorus Line)
2 "Beauty and the Bees" (Beauty and the Bees) "Beauty and the Beast" (Beauty and the Beast)
3 "Tomorrow" (Antie) "Tomorrow" (Annie)
4 "I Feel Pretty" (Web Side Story) "I Feel Pretty" (West Side Story)
5 "Hello Dung Lovers" (The Dung and I) "Hello Young Lovers" (The King and I)
6 "Tonight" (Web Side Story) "Tonight" mixed with Flight of the Bumblebee (West Side Story)

The show's score was composed and conducted by Bruce Broughton.

Theme song

The theme song, "It's Tough to be a Bug," was written by George Wilkins with lyrics by Kevin Rafferty, and is available on Music from Disney's California Adventure.

Cast

Other characters include Claire De Room and Henry the Bee.

Movie clips

  • Beginning of the End-Stock footage of giant grasshoppers is recycled from this film.
  • Empire of the Ants-During the part where Hopper takes over the show, he shows a clip from Empire of the Ants (although in black and white) to show how humans depict insects as "monsters".

Trivia

Hopper DP

Gallery

Queue posters for the show's acts

References


v - e - d
Disney's Animal Kingdom logo
The Oasis
The Oasis Exhibits
Discovery Island
Tree of LifeIt's Tough to Be a Bug! • Discovery Island Trails
Africa
Festival of the Lion KingKilimanjaro SafarisPangani Forest Exploration TrailsWild Africa Trek
Rafiki's Planet Watch
Wildlife Express Train • Conservation Station • Habitat Habit!Affection Section
Asia
UP! A Great Bird AdventureExpedition EverestKali River RapidsMaharajah Jungle TrekRivers of Light
DinoLand U.S.A.
DINOSAURFinding Nemo - The MusicalFossil Fun GamesPrimeval WhirlThe Boneyard PlaygroundTriceraTop Spin
Pandora – The World of Avatar
AVATAR Flight of PassageNa'vi River Journey
Resorts
Disney's Animal Kingdom LodgeDisney's Coronado Springs ResortDisney's All-Star Movies ResortDisney's All-Star Music ResortDisney's All-Star Sports Resort


v - e - d
Disney California Adventure logo
Buena Vista Street
Red Car Trolley
Hollywood Land
Animation AcademyDisney Animation BuildingDisney Junior - Live on Stage!Frozen: Live at the HyperionGuardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!Sunset Showcase TheaterTurtle Talk with Crush
Grizzly Peak
Grizzly River RunRedwood Creek Challenge TrailSoarin' Over California
Pacific Wharf
The Bakery TourWalt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar
A Bug's Land (Closing in Summer 2018)
Flik's FlyersHeimlich's Chew Chew TrainFrancis' Ladybug Boogie • Princess Dot Puddle Park • Tuck & Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies
Cars Land
Radiator Springs RacersMater's Junkyard JamboreeLuigi's Rollickin' Roadsters
Paradise Park
Goofy's Sky SchoolSilly Symphony SwingsGolden ZephyrJumpin' JellyfishThe Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Pixar Pier (Opening in Summer 2018)
IncredicoasterJessie's Critter CarouselPixar Pal-A-RoundToy Story Midway Mania!Games of the Boardwalk
Current Entertainment
Paint the NightWorld of ColorDisney's Celebrate America
Resorts
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & SpaDisney's Paradise Pier Hotel


v - e - d
A Bug's Life logo
Media
A Bug's LifeSoundtrackVideo GameClassic Storybook
Disney Parks
A Bug's LandBountiful Valley FarmDisney Animation BuildingFlik's FlyersFrancis' Ladybug BoogieGames of the BoardwalkHeimlich's Chew Chew TrainIt's Tough to Be a Bug!Princess Dot Puddle ParkStitch and Friends Summer SurpriseTuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies

Entertainment: One Man's Dream II: The Magic Lives On!
Restaurants: Farmer's MarketSam Andreas Shakes
Shops: P.T. Flea Market
Parade: Disney on Parade: 100 Years of MagicPixar Play ParadeTokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: DreamLights
Firework: Together Forever: A Pixar Nighttime SpectacularWorld of Color

Characters
FlikAttaDotThe QueenAphieDr. FloraMr. SoilThornyCorneliusHopperMoltThumperAxel and LocoGrasshoppersP.T. FleaDimRosieHeimlichFrancisSlimGypsyMannyTuck and RollCircus BugsThe BlueberriesBirdThe Fly Brothers
Songs
The Time of Your LifeA Place You've Never Been
Locations
Ant IslandP.T. Flea's CircusBug CityBug BarHopper's Hideout
See Also
The Science Behind PixarPixar in a Box