The Lion King Laserdisc box set

Unboxed: The Lion King Deluxe CAV Letterbox Edition Laserdisc

The new remake affords me an excuse to pull another Disney classic off my Laserdisc shelf. People seemed to enjoy looking at my Toy Story LD box set, so here’s a peek at how The Lion King was treated on the big, shiny discs.

It truly cannot be understated what a cultural phenomenon The Lion King was in 1994, captivating both children and their parents. In addition to the standard video editions on VHS and LD, Disney was savvy enough to cater to adult fans with this Deluxe CAV Letterbox Edition box set, released in September of 1995 at a hefty retail price of $124.99.

Inside the thick cardboard box, a tray slides out from the right side to reveal the contents. Housed within are two Laserdisc jackets and a folder holding concept art lithographs.

The Lion King Laserdisc - Box Contents

The movie is spread to four sides across two discs, which means three side breaks during viewing. Even in CAV format, which could only store a half-hour of video per side, the 88-minute movie could have easily fit on three sides. I imagine that the disc authors were either very selective in choosing natural pauses for the breaks, or simply needed an excuse to fill both discs without leaving a side blank.

The movie discs are stored in a jacket with the same front and back cover art as the standalone CLV edition, but with the addition of a nice gatefold for a classier presentation.

The Lion King Laserdisc - Movie Gatefold Front & Rear

The Lion King Laserdisc - Movie Gatefold Interior

The two supplement discs are loaded with bonus features, but are held in a simple jacket with no gatefold.

The Lion King Laserdisc - Supplements Front

The Lion King Laserdisc - Supplements Back

Finally, here’s the lithograph sleeve and the artwork inside. Click any of the images in this post to enlarge.

The Lion King Laserdisc - Lithograph Sleeve Front

The Lion King Laserdisc - Lithograph Sleeve Back

The Lion King Laserdisc - Lithograph Sleeve First Page

The Lion King Laserdisc - Lithograph Sleeve Second Page

The Lion King Laserdisc - Lithographs

I feel like this box set really could have used an art book similar to what Toy Story came with, but I do like the lithographs.

Unfortunately, many copies of the Lion King CAV LD were prone to Laser Rot, a manufacturing defect that caused the discs to deteriorate over time. I haven’t checked any of these discs to verify their condition (nor have I watched any Laserdisc in years), but even if they’re unplayable today, I still appreciate keeping this set on my shelf as a handsome physical collectible.


    • Julian

      I have an HLD-X9, just like Josh, the second best player in the world. The player is connected to a 1080p EPSON projector. The reference discs (‘The Phantom Menace’, ‘Sleepy Hollow’) hold up very well. Comparable to DVD quality. Especially considering how much the image is blown up (9,8 feet or 3 meters width) with PQ that was meant for a normal TV in the 90s, the results are amazing. I love my LD player, I use it on a weekly basis.

  1. william henley

    That’s odd, I have the other cover, and could have sworn it was CAV, although I have not dug out my laserdiscs in years. I did just check the laserdisc database, and it is only showing two US releases, the two that you show. So IDK, I guess I must have the CLV release

    You know, now that I think of it, I got into Laserdisc after the format has died, and almost all of my discs are CLV as they were bought second, third or fourth hand. I am thinking that Fantasia and Jurassic Park might have been the only CAVs I have. Was Beauty and the Beast WIP CAV? I honestly do not remember. I actually thought it was CLV, but LDDB says its CAV. Eh, whatever.

    The player is in my entertainment rack, but it is not even hooked up. Been debating on hooking it up for years. I lost the remote long ago, and its RF, and I cannot get anything to control it (I know Harmony has a remote that supports RF, but it is honestly not worth it). Mainly now, I keep them around as talking points – most people think they are LPs at first.

    As for how the discs holds up, unless a disc has laserrot, Laserdiscs hold up fairly well, especially if you have a display (or converter) that has a decent comb filter in it. But, considering that I am at 4k now, and am taking old SD material and deinterlacing, upconverting, denoising and sharpening (yeah shoot me – I don’t want it to look like it did when it aired, I want it to look good), I rarely hook up the LD anymore.

    • William Henley

      Ha! I looked over this article multiple times in the past two weeks, and just now saw this paragraph:

      “The movie discs are stored in a jacket with the same front and back cover art as the standalone CLV edition, but with the addition of a nice gatefold for a classier presentation. “

  2. I own this one. And when I got it and watched it, I was absolutely pissed with how riddled the video is with dropouts. I even emailed Disney and Pioneer, and they both agreed that many of the dropouts were at the same frame locations that I pointed out and agreed it was a widespread issue. Ultimately they decided not to do a damn thing about it, leaving us people that paid $80 for a movie high and dry. The CLV version had dropouts as well, but they present themselves as herringbones going vertically through the picture. A CAV drop out looks like a horizontal worm that grows in size, then drops in size (pixel size) , example – — — —- —– —- — — –

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