Magic Behind the Music: Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Discovery Island – It’s Tough To Be A Bug

It's Tough to Be a Bug
Credit: Disney Parks

As guests swarm into Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World, they can’t go far without seeing the grandeur and magnificence that is the Tree of Life at the heart of the park. What is not so apparent is that at the roots of that tree is a collection of bugs in their not-so-grand habitat, living in not-so magnificent circumstances which they show to you in a not-so-humble fashion.

“It’s Tough to be a Bug” was part of the original design of the Animal Kingdom theme park and opened with it on April 22, 1998. In fact, the idea of putting a 3-D show under the Tree of Life made the design of the Tree of Life a can of worms. How do you design a large tree that can also house a theater with a show for over 400 guests at a time? The answer was an oil rig! The large pipes of the rig can also support tremendous amounts of weight and provide a stable and large shelter for such a show. For the Imagineers, that was one part of the design process that wouldn’t be a fly in their ointment.

The real web weaving went into the show itself. Through a combination of 3-D effects and Audio-Animatronics©, Flik from “A Bug’s Life” brings fellow bugs on the stage and combines education with fun to show how important and unique bugs can be. Imagineers made sure the stink bug in the show was a real gas by regularly smelling actual stink bug odor to duplicate the scent for part of the show. In another part, the villain Hopper appears and terrorizes the guests with spiders, hornets, bug spray, and a giant fly swatter! Hopper, with his 6 limbs, wings, head, and eye movements, was the most intricate Audio-Animatronics© character to have been developed at that point in Disney history!

D-COT added the audio for this attraction to the Jukebox early in its history on May 12, 2009. Since then, it has been played 16,671 times! “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” has been around now for over 21 years. An attraction that has that kind of staying power with Disney must have guests all abuzz. An average rating of 4.6/5 with 34 votes on our Jukebox is a good indicator of that popularity. The crickets agree the show is a Favorite for 99 of our members and Supporters have added it to 10 Custom Playlists.  Just listening to the show can be a lot of fun, but if you’re going to Walt Disney World and haven’t seen it yet, don’t beetle around the dung heap! Crawl on over and check it out!

RocketEAR99 is one of our contributors that specializes in Disney music in the series we call "Magic Behind the Music". You will find some fun and exciting information about the music you can listen to in the jukebox.


  1. I wonder is the stink bug ever asked, Pull My Antenna……?

  2. Ah, love this show!!! Unfortunately, no one else in my family does… :( It’s got such cool animatronics! And I love Chili and the Termite-ator! Oh and the song at the end! I just love this show so much!!!! LOL :heart:

  3. It’s a fun show ! My dad who went with us saw it for the first time and that’s all he talks about still to this day four years later LOL

  4. I haven’t sat through this show since the last time we went with friends’ kids. I need to go again, I forget how funny it is! and 21 years???? I feel so old right now, we went the Fall after it opened. I was so used to the other Disney parks and not needing a map, I felt like a fish out of water in AK, not knowing where anything was. and now look at the place! but the classics like this one, just so much fun!!

  5. My favorite part of these articles is the puns – they just keep getting better! LOL :clap: Hopper is a seriously amazing animatronic! I love surprising newbies with the bugs leaving the theater ;)

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