As impressive as the characterizations are, the grand visual scale of the movie is perhaps even more stunning, suggestive of the epic sweep of, say, Lawrence of Arabia. Africa becomes an unspoken character in the film. From the vastness of the savannah to the delicate symmetry of raindrops falling on a pond, The Lion King uses nature as a canvas to pull the audience in. The stylized realism achieves its desired effect. You can feel the dust in the air during a drought, or the thick, acrid smoke from a fire. The composition, staging, design, and dynamic light sources bring the film to life.
In the end, then, it would seem that Mufasa's promise to his son applies to the Disney animation team as well. Everything the light touches is their kingdom.