I saw The Lion King in IMAX in Houston, TX. That was the closest city I could go to from New Orleans to see the movie in that large-screen format. TLK was the first Disney IMAX movie I have ever seen. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in this format now! Incidentally, Christmas 2003 will have Aladdin given the IMAX treatment, if the trailer shown before TLK comes true.
The IMAX format, although HUGE, is more square-shaped than TLK's original wide-screen theatrical release format. And yet, I couldn't really tell that I was missing anything that might have been cut off at the edges of the screen. I think Disney did a lot of reshooting of the elements to make TLK work in the IMAX format, perhaps using more of the background sky areas than originally used, for example. I noticed one pan-and-scan that I don't remember in the original release: when Simba, Timon and Pumbaa look out at the home countryside during the "Hakuna Matata" scene.
I had heard that Disney cleaned up/fixed up the wildebeast sequence because what was state-of-the-art computer graphics animation back when the film was released has been surpassed long ago in this age of computer hardware and software advances. Supposedly Disney felt that the wildebeasts wouldn't look good when projected on the huge IMAX screen. Well, perhaps they cleaned things up and/or reanimated these in some way, because they looked great to me.
That scene reminds me of another feature IMAX has: very impressive sound. I just wish the sound level would be a bit lower, not as loud as it was (at least in that Houston theater) but louder than a standard stadium-seating theater. Please, just not as loud as it was! Sometimes it was almost painful to me, and I noticed by son covering his ears sometimes. That being said, when you combine the gigantic screen with the multi-channel sound you get a very submersive theatrical environment. In other words, it is almost like being there for real.
My recommendation: even if you've seen TLK many, many times on video or originally when it was in the theaters, go see it in IMAX. It is a wonderful movie experience seeing it in this format and the film itself is truly better than most of what is out there today. Even after all these years, this lion has "legs!"
RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator