The Lion King includes several continuity, factual, and possibly deliberate errors. They are documented below.
During the presentation of Simba, several Pride Landers bow. However, in the wide shot, none of the Pride Landers are bowing, and their positions have shifted.
When Scar is playing with a mouse, the size of the mouse relative to Scar changes between shots. When he first dangles it before him, it appears to be smaller than his finger. However, it grows in size when he lets it climb along his paw and when it escapes.
As Scar walks out of the cave in Pride Rock, he is about to take a step with his right paw. However, once the shot changes, his left paw takes the step instead.
When Mufasa confronts Scar after Simba'spresentation, Zazu hides behind Mufasa's leg. However, when Mufasa lunges after Scar, Zazu disappears from the cave, then reappears behind Mufasa's leg in the next shot.
Zazu changes position between Mufasa's paws. At first, he is standing right between Mufasa's paws. However, in the next frame, he's significantly farther away from them.
When Rafiki paints Simba, the paint he uses is a different color than what appears on the painting itself. The filmmakers admit to this mistake on the film's commentary.
When Mufasa and Simba are on Pride Rock, one of the handwritten sequence markers on the gel print is not removed. In the shot that zooms in on Simba just after the camera pans around them, there are two frames where the number "45" appears just to the left of Simba's tail.
When Simba pounces on Zazu, Zazu has his back to Simba. However, when they land, Zazu is facing front. For the 2003 DVD rerelease of The Lion King, Zazu sings a song called "The Morning Report", which was deleted from the original film. Zazu's change in position comes from the deleted material.
When Nala tells Simba that she is taking her bath, Sarabi tells him, "And it's time for yours," and picks him up in her mouth. Her head is animated, but not her body, which remains in a sitting position, so her neck appears to stretch several feet to reach Simba.
As Zazu is coasting above Simba and Nala on their way to the water hole, his head changes between cuts. At first, he's looking left, but in the next shot, he's looking right.
When Zazu is leading Simba and Nala to the water hole, he swoops out of the sky and begins talking about their future as a married pair. Initially, Zazu's tail is resting near the ground. However, in the next shot, it's sticking straight up in the air.
As the animals begin to form a tower during the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" musical sequence, the giraffes appear to circle outside of the anteaters. However, the anteaters soon appear in the circle of giraffe necks.
When the animals begin to form a tower during the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence, the elephants are close to the bottom of the tower, while the antelope are close to the top. However, when the animals fall, an elephant somehow ends up falling on top of an antelope's antlers, which should not be possible.
During the last notes of "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", a rhinoceros lands on top of Zazu. At first, the rhino's front feet are resting at its side. However, in the following shot, they're planted firmly on the ground.
When Nala pins Simba, her paws are on his chest. However, in the next shot, they are on his upper arms.
The hyenas are consistently shown to have three toes on each paw. However, when a hyena grabs Zazu during the Elephant Graveyard chase, the paw has four toes instead.
When Simba and Nala fall through an elephant carcass, some small rocks tumble down near them. However, after Banzai says, "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty," it cuts to Simba roaring, and the rocks are gone.
When Mufasa pins the hyenas, his left paw is initially right beside Ed's ear. However, in the next shot, his paw is positioned by Ed's feet.
In the 1994 theatrical and 1995 home video releases of The Lion King, the end of the Elephant Graveyard sequence showed Scar with a shadow that did not match his body's position. This was corrected in the 2003 Platinum Edition release.
After the Elephant Graveyard incident, there is a very wide shot of Simba and Nala trailing behind Mufasa and Zazu in the open field. Nala looks over at Simba, but in the next frame, she is staring at the ground instead.
In the open field where Simba gets scolded by Mufasa, Simba steps into his father's pawprint. An overhead view reveals several blades of grass near the impression, but as Simba begins walking again in the following shot, no blades of grass can be seen in the vicinity.
When Scar starts circling Ed during "Be Prepared", Ed's tongue is hanging out. However, in the next shot, it's back in his mouth.
The hyenas are consistently shown to have three toes on each paw. However, during "Be Prepared", Banzai is shown to have four toes instead.
When Scar appears atop a ridge to give the signal to start the stampede, there is no scar on his eye.
When Simba tries to intimidate a nearby chameleon with his roar, he stands near a rock. However, the rock disappears in the next frame.
During the stampede, Simba climbs up a dead branch and leaves distinct claw scratches behind. However, in the following shots, they are gone. Other marks and details on the branch remain.
During the stampede, Simba is flung into the air, and his whiskers briefly disappear.
During the stampede, Mufasa's whiskers disappear frequently, including when he falls to his death.
When Simba tries to convince Scar that Mufasa's death was an accident, Mufasa's paw changes position. At first, it is in front of Simba. However, once the angle changes, it has moved behind Simba.
When Scar informs Simba that Mufasa is dead, Simba has tear stains on his cheeks. However, when Scar tells Simba to run away, the tear stains have vanished.
The hyenas are consistently shown to have three toes on each paw. However, when Banzai claws at Simba, he is shown to have four toes instead.
When Simba is fleeing the Pride Lands, he jumps off a cliff, and the sun is seen setting on his left side. However, as he walks into the sunset, the sun has shifted position to be in front of him.
When the hyenas chase Simba out of the Pride Lands, Banzai lands in a thorn patch. When he comes out, he is covered in thorns. However, when he walks over to a ledge to join Shenzi, the thorns are gone.
When Simba lies unconscious in the desert, his paws are not on his face. However, when Pumbaa finds him, one of his paws is covering his eye.
When Timon and Pumbaa save Simba, Timon falls off Pumbaa's snout and lands on a large section of cracked earth. However, the ground's shape changes between shots.
After Timon and Pumbaa revive Simba, he gets up and leaves, walking a fair distance from a nearby tree's shadow. However, a few shots later, Simba is seen to be closer to the tree's shadow than before.
After cracking a joke about the food chain, Timon bursts into laughter and starts poking Simba with his elbow. He goes missing for the length of the next shot, but then reappears in place.
During Pumbaa's flashback in "Hakuna Matata", there is a wide shot of the watering hole that shows several animals, including a cape buffalo. However, in the next wide shot, the cape buffalo is gone, and a rhinoceros has inexplicably appeared.
During Pumbaa's flashback in "Hakuna Matata", he pauses at the water hole's shoreline for a drink. At first, he's standing on dry ground, but in the next shot, his front paws are submerged in water.
During Pumbaa's flashback in "Hakuna Matata", an elephant with notches on its right ear gets a whiff of him and dashes away. Just before the elephant runs off, its ear appears with no notches.
During "Hakuna Matata", Timon hoists Pumbaa high into the air with a vine. The excess length of vine gathers up on the ground at Timon's side, only to vanish just two shots later at the point where Simba sings his piece.
During "Hakuna Matata", Timon raises Pumbaa high into the air with a vine. From below, Simba watches, with the sun casting a long shadow behind him. However, in the following shot, his shadow is beneath him instead.
While walking through the jungle with Simba and Timon, Pumbaa belches and says, "I'm starved." However, between shots, he disappears from Simba's left side.
During "Hakuna Matata", Timon bites off half of a grub and holds the other half in his left hand. At first, one of its hind legs is noticeably intact. However, it suddenly vanishes while Timon is enjoying the flavor.
When Timon collects a leaf full of grubs for Simba, the leaf initially casts no shadow on the ground. However, in the next shot, it does. The shadow then disappears again in the next frame.
During "Hakuna Matata", right after Simba grows into an adult, Timon is seen standing on Pumbaa's head in front of his mane. However, in the following shot, Timon is standing behind Pumbaa's mane instead.
When Rafiki dips his fingers in the orange paint to put a mane on Simba's painting, the paint is not on his thumb. However, when he raises his hand up close to the painting, there is paint on his thumb.
When Pumbaa flees from Nala and gets trapped beneath a large tree root, there is a large weed growing near the root on Pumbaa's left side. However, in later shots, the weed vanishes.
During Simba and Nala's reunion scene, Nala changes position between shots. When Simba denies being the rightful king, he walks offscreen to the left, with Nala standing several feet away from Timon. However, in the next shot, one of her paws is suddenly inches behind Timon.
After Pumbaa kisses Simba's paw, Timon says, "Don't! He's not the king," and puts his hands on the middle of Pumbaa's snout. However, in the next shot, one of Timon's hands is now on top of Pumbaa's snout.
When Rafiki halts Simba, he sticks out his left hand with his thumb horizontal to the ground. However, when the shot changes, Rafiki's thumb is vertical to the ground.
When Rafiki shows Simba where his father is, he shushes Simba and pulls the grass apart. Though he pulls away one side of the grass, the other side parts without him moving it.
When Simba approaches the water's edge, expecting to see Mufasa, the reflection of a ledge on the right disappears between shots, only to be replaced with the reflection of tall grass.
The sclerae of Simba's eyes change frequently throughout the film, from yellow to white. They are yellow up until the scene where Pumbaa, Timon, and Simba are stargazing. Afterward, they change back and forth frequently. During the scene where Mufasa appears to Simba in the sky, and Simba asks, "How can I go back?", they change from yellow to white and back within three frames.
After Mufasa's spirit tells Simba to "remember," Simba runs toward the retreating clouds that had formed Mufasa's image. However, in the 2011 Diamond Edition release of The Lion King, the retreating clouds were removed by mistake. They were restored and added back in for the 2017 Signature Collection release and onward.
When Nala rouses Timon, he shifts position on Pumbaa's back. At first, his back is to the tree trunk, but in the next shot, his back is to Nala.
During Timon'shula dance diversion, Pumbaa sits on a leaf with an apple next to him. As soon as the act is over, the apple and leaf vanish.
When Simba returns to Pride Rock, he is illuminated in a flash of lightning, with his mane rippling in the wind. However, the shadow of his mane remains stationary.
When Rafiki makes short work of the hyenas with his staff, he alternates from using one hand to hold the stick to both between shots.
When Zazu is screaming to be let out of the bone cage, his wings are holding different ribs between shots.
When Banzai and Shenzi corner Timon and Zazu in the bone cage, Banzai's left paw jumps from the cave floor to the top of the cage between frames.
During Simba and Scar's showdown, Simba gets smacked to the ground. Upon landing, his right paw comes to rest beside his head. However, in the next shot, his paw is no longer near his head.
When Mufasa is showing Simba the kingdom from Pride Rock, they are facing the sun and have shadows behind them. However, a few seconds later, when Simba asks about the shadowy place, their shadows are in front of them, while you can see part of the sun to their left side. They would be facing south when the sun is east. How are their shadows in front of them?
When Mufasa is initially showing Simba the Pride Lands, they are facing the rising sun, i.e. east. Simba asks about "that shadowy place," which is off to the right, and is told he must never go there. When Simba is later telling Scar about seeing the whole kingdom, Scar says, "He didn't tell you what's beyond that rise on the northern border." It is the same place that Mufasa was talking about, as Simba says he isn't allowed to go there, but if it was to the right as they faced east, it would have been the southern border of the Pride Lands.
During the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence, when animals begin to tower up on each other, there are anteaters on the tower, flicking their tongues out. Anteaters are restricted to South America, meaning that none exist in Africa. A more appropriate choice would have been aardvarks or aardwolves, which both have long tongues.
When Simba and Nala meet as young adults, they rub heads and begin to purr. In reality, lions cannot purr.
While this film popularizes the representation of hyenas as whimsical, jesting scavengers, this has proven to be factually incorrect. Hyenas, unlike their film representation, are talented and dangerous hunters, hunting over 90% of what they consume. Statistically, lions are more responsible for scavenging and stealing the kills of hyenas rather than the other way around. In addition, the hyenas in the film are misrepresented as constantly joking and laughing over trivial matters, when in reality, the infamous "laughter" of hyenas is nothing more than a nervous reaction as well as a sign of submission.
Possibly deliberate errors
Rafiki is supposed to be a mandrill, but mandrills do not have tails. In the film's extended version DVD, there is a commentary by an animator, who specifically admits that he knew that mandrills do not have tails (at least not like the length that Rafiki sports throughout the movie), but he put one on him anyway to make him more monkey-like.
When Rafiki comes to Pride Rock for Simba'spresentation, he seemingly climbs Pride Rock from the front. This is impossible, as there are no steps leading to the peak of Pride Rock. This is likely a deliberate mistake, as his arrival would have been much less impressive if he had had to climb from the side rather than the front.
At the Elephant Graveyard, Simba claws Shenzi in the face. A few seconds later, when Mufasa saves Simba from the hyenas, the cuts are gone. This may have been done intentionally, as Disney does not linger on scars for too long.
Banzai is shown to sport a scar from Mufasa on his rear. However, the cuts vanish for the rest of the film, likely because Disney does not linger on scars for too long.
When Scar digs his claws into Mufasa's paws, he leaves behind red gashes. However, the marks disappear for the rest of the film, likely because Disney does not linger on scars for too long.
When Simba starts the final verse of "Hakuna Matata", he, Timon, and Pumbaa dive into the water. When Timon dives into the water, there is a splash. Ironically, when Pumbaa dives into the water, there is no splash, though he clearly has a larger body mass. It is possible that this was deliberately done for comedic effect.
When Scar digs his claws into Simba's paws, much like he did with Mufasa's, he leaves behind red gashes. However, the marks disappear for the rest of the film, likely because Disney does not linger on scars for too long.
As the rain extinguishes the fire at Pride Rock, Simba passes Zazu, who bows to him and mouths words to Simba. The words, "Your Majesty!" were cut out of the film in order to have a poignant moment of silence. This is also confirmed in the commentary.