Series: The Lion King
Release date: 1994
Size: +/- 25 cm
Made in: Thailand
Main distribution: Europe / United States of America
These are a duo of purring plush made for the release of the Lion King by Mattel.
Two plush got made with this mechanic; Simba and Nala.
Simba is in a sitting position with his head turned to the right. He is a dark orange with brown ear and tail tips, and white muzzle, chest and toes. He has longer, fluffy hair on top of his head, his chest and tail tip. He also wears a green collar with a leaf attached to it. His eyes are plastic buttons, layered to give a dimensional effect.
Inside his stomach is the purring mechanism. If you squeeze his belly he will purr. I believe it’s some sort of balloon with balls in it, and when squeezed the air will push the balls which will create a rumbling noise as they tumble. He has tush tags on his right bottom. It shows “Authentic The Lion King”, as well as a second and third one with all the legal informations. He used to have a hang tag on his collar saying “HUG ME! I really purr!” and sit on top of a jungle themed box, with the iconic sunrise on the front and the character image on the right.
Nala is in a laying position with her head slightly turned to the left. She is a light pink with a brown tail tip, and white muzzle and chest. She has longer, fluffy hair for the tail tip. She wears a green collar with a pink flower.
Inside her stomach is the purring mechanism. If you squeeze her belly she will purr. I believe it’s some sort of balloon with balls in it, and when squeezed the air will push the balls which will create a rumbling noise as they tumble. She has tush tags on her right bottom. It shows “Authentic The Lion King”, as well as a second and third one with all the legal informations. She used to have a hang tag on her collar saying “HUG ME! I really purr!” and sit on top of a jungle themed box, with the iconic sunrise on the front and the character image on the right.
The Lion King Mattel plush has got to be my favourites! Although when it comes to Disney I usually prefer the Disney World / Disney Land / Disney Store plush, Mattel is the exception to the rule. There is something nostalgic about them.
Simba’s beautiful eyes and white paws and belly are so iconic of Mattel and the Lion King’s plush range back in the 90’s. I have a weak spot for the white pawed Simba that are out there. The orange used for Simba is also a nice shade (darker than the Disney store ones which are usually very yellow) and seems a closer fit to the movie, which I like a lot. Nala is very light pink, almost a grey or brown pink, which is nice and less bright pink the Disney Store uses.
The tags state 1993 but the plush released in 1994 with the film. I wonder if they were produced early, and that’s why the plush don’t look much like their animated counterparts. I wonder what they had to work with? There’s concept art with white muzzles and bellies so I’m guessing that’s where that came from.
No clue about the collars though. I’m guessing to give it a play factor, so you could have the cubs as pets?
Purring Nala was giving to me when I was a kid in the mid 90s (I think by my aunt?) as I had the talking Simba but no Nala yet. So this is my childhood Nala. Purring Simba I found in a charity shop when I had moved to the UK sometime in 2015~2017. I was so lucky he was in purfect working condition and cheap! And now I finally had the duo. I also often see images online where the leafs have discoloured yellow, which neither of mine have. These may not be the best plush of the lion cubs out there, but these are super nostalgic to me. I will probably keep them forever.
I’m sure many Disney / Lion King / Simba / Nala collectors would love these plush. However, if you want something closer to the movies (no white) and have no nostalgic feelings for this line, you might want to opt for the Disney Store ones instead.
Got any more details / information you think I should add? Or did I get something wrong? Do you own the same plush? Do you agree or disagree with my findings? Let me know in the comments below!