The image is pretty iconic if you’re a child of the 90s: A searing red sun peering over the African horizon, then the chant, “nants ingonyama bagithi baba.” It’s The Lion King, but in Panama City, it’s the way a Holiday Inn hotel wakes up its bevy of spring breakers.
The Panama City hotel has been waking up spring breakers with the “The Circle of Life” at 11 a.m sharp for since 2012. Though waking up before noon may be a little early for spring breakers, the tune is now a ritual. Many of them were little kids when The Lion King came out.
“We actually had kids that after the first couple days they showed up and they had stuffed lion king dolls doing the whole pose at the top of the mountain with Simba,” Holiday Inn Marketing Director, Philip Corvin told WJHG.
It’s so popular, in fact, that people make sure the hotel is still waking up its guests with the Circle of Life before booking a room, added the Christian Science Monitor.
The ritual began in 2012, when the hotel’s DJ wanted to wake up its hefty crowd of spring breakers with something other than hip hop or pop music. The point was to give them a great memory of their time in Panama City. And it worked, Corvin said.
“The morning that he did it that he had more kids out on the balconies and more kids that came up to him afterwards and said, ‘dude you gotta do that again that was awesome.'”
Though to spring breakers the unique wake-up call may be all in good fun – something to laugh about before you head back out to the beach for some sunbathing and drinking – for Corvin, his motivation is a bit more philosophical.
“It was a song that worked real well as a wake up call because of the loud beat in it and it also works real well because of the message of the song. It fits with the kids and the mood and what they’re going through right now.”