Are you and your family ready to make some bug eyes at the beautiful atmosphere and set up within the Tree of Life as you enter the show that plays hommage to “A Bug’s Life”?
“It’s tough to be a bug” is a show to be enjoyed by young and grown-up visitors. But to be entirely sure whether it is worthwhile to visit during your time at the Walt Disney World Resort, read our ultimate guide about this show below.
We have put everything there is to know about this show into this article. We will walk you through accessibility, honorary bugs, and any other information you might need.
Without going into too much detail just yet, get ready to be poked, misted on by some dung lovers, and smell a stink bug – sounds exciting, right?!
About “It’s Tough To Be a Bug”
It’s Tough to Be a Bug is a 3D and multi-sensory show inspired by the Disney Pixar film A Bug’s Life. Visitors are led through a 9-minute-long show about the life and importance of bugs. All of this is narrated by the show’s main character Flik (the famous ant and protagonist of the original movie).
During the show, visitors will learn about the daily lives of bugs and that it is indeed tough to be a bug. This will be narrated with the help of a 3D screen as well as audio-animatronics, lots of bug sounds, and other effects (water, wind, and even smells!).
The show stars in Disney Animal Kingdom’s centerpiece, the Tree of Life. It is the first Pixar attraction that opened on 22 April 1998, after the Disney CEO suggested a tie-in with the movie A Bug’s Life. The movie was released and received incredibly well by a wide international audience.
Disney California Adventure used to host a second show at Bug’s Land. This setup featured an Ant Island replica before entering the “Bug’s Life Theater.” The show has, however, now been closed and replaced by a Spider-Man-themed show.
The show is set inside the Tree of Life’s base. The built-in theatre house is host to the 4D show “It’s tough to be a bug.”
To enter, guests have to follow a winding path around the Tree. Here, they can enjoy the scenery and try to spot some of the 325 creatures. Among those are the soldier termite, the dung brothers, and many more friends from the movie. They all have been brought to life by the Disney Special Effects teams.
Guests can also glimpse animal carvings on the infamous tree while winding in the queue.
The pre-show area features gimmicks, and the queue features parodies of famous Broadway shows with bug acts. For instance West Side Story aka. Web Side Story or My Fair Lady, aka. My Fair Ladybug.
After entering the dark caverns sitting on the roots of the Tree, guests will enter a 430-seater theatre. You will receive a special pair of “bug eyes” – 3D glasses to wear during the show. The show rotates every 8 minutes, so once you enter the foyer, you will not have to wait exceptionally long before the next show.
Get ready for audio-animatronics, a 3D movie, and lots of 4D surprises (including foul smells!).
Once the doors close, the announcer’s voice will advise guests not to sting, buzz, chirp, or pollinate during the entirety of the show.
After the “curtain” lifts in the form of butterflies flying away, Flick the ant emerges (in audio-animatronic form). He then introduces his bug friends while educating the audience on why bugs should be considered friends and not pests.
Some famous bugs and special effects that are featured during the show:
- Chili, the Mexican Red Knee Tarantula
- Acorn Weevils, including Weevil Kneevil
- Soldier Termite (with hidden air cannons)
- The Termite-nator (triggers hidden water sprayers)
- Stink bug Claire de Room (expect some foul smells)
- Hopper the Grasshopper
- Wasps with advertisement flyer for Knock ’em Dead exterminators
- Famous Giant bugs featured in movie clips of old monster movies
After a giant fly swatter attempts and fails to flatten the audience, Hopper declares war on the guests. A giant bug spray can appears and is pointed at the audience. A fog machine then releases fake bug spray onto the audience.
A Hornet swarm arrives to “sting” the guests. This triggers a rubber piece of tubing in the back of the guest’s seat to poke the guest’s back. On top of that, a group of black widow spiders (also audio-animatronics) emerges in an attempt to scare and capture the audience.
After a chameleon tries to eat Hopper, he suddenly flees, and the bugs chase after him before Flik reappears.
The show ends with a group of bees, dragonflies, and dung beetles, along with a bunch of other bugs singing about the importance of insects.
The butterflies reappear as closing curtains while Flik wraps up the show.
The theater lighting goes back on, and the announcer’s voice tells the guests to please stay in their seats so that cockroaches, maggots, and beetles can exit first. This is followed by another special effect in the seats, where rubber wheels roll around the backs of the seats to make visitors believe small bugs are crawling underneath.
After being reminded to take their personal items guests are advised to take the “grubby little hands” of their kids while they exit.
Some of the special effects during the show might be too intense or scary for small children. We recommend visiting the show beforehand to gauge whether it is something for the whole family to enjoy.
Most of the queue area around the Tree of Life will not be shaded. We recommend bringing a hat, sunscreen, or an umbrella on hot days to stay out of the sun as much as possible.
Fastpass/ Lightning Lane: Yes
Time: 9 Minutes
Height Restrictions: None
Age Restrictions: None, but very small children might be scared because of special effects.
- Tree of Life is wheelchair accessible
- Assistive Listening Devices are available
- Language Translation Devices are available
- Reflective captioning is available
Service Animals: Check with Cast Members at the attraction
- The Tree of Life itself offers lots of interesting carvings to enjoy.
- The show “It’s tough to be a Bug” was released before the actual feature debuted.
- The storyline was inspired by “It’s Tough to Be a Bird” by Ward Kimball.
- The Termite-nator is a reference to the Terminator movies.
- A clone of the attraction was planned for Hong Kong Disneyland Resort but never happened.
At what age can kids view “It’s tough to be a bug”?
There are no age restrictions. But, for some small children (and even some adults), the darkness in the theatre, as well as the animatronic bugs (especially the spiders) and other special effects, can be frightening.
We recommend someone from your group to have watched the show prior. This way, they will know whether you or your children might be scared or able to enjoy the show.
What is the theatre like for “It’s tough to be a Bug”?
The theatre accommodates many guests, and each seat has a good view of the makeshift movie screen and stage.
The seats have built-in special effects that will make visitors feel as though bugs are crawling around and underneath them.
Does the weather have an impact on “It’s tough to be a Bug”?
Unlike other attractions in this Disney Park, “It’s tough to be a Bug” is entirely indoors. So the weather does not have an impact on the show.
During what time of the day should we watch this show?
Because it is only an 8-minute show with a large theater capacity, “It’s tough to be a bug” is rarely ever crowded.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
Featured in Travel articles such as Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy and SFGate, you know you're reading some of the best vacation tips online.