Continuity mistake: The whites of Simba's eyes change frequently through the movie, from yellow to white. They're yellow up until the scene where Pumbaa, Timon, and Simba are stargazing; after that they change back and forth frequently. During the Mufasa-in-the-sky scene, when Simba asks, "How can I go back? I'm not who I used to be," they change from yellow to white and back within three frames.
Continuity mistake: During the stampede in the gorge, when Simba jumps up on the dead branch, he leaves very distinct claw scratches. Then in the following scenes they're gone, although other marks and details on the branch remain.
Continuity mistake: At the beginning when Rafiki puts the paint on the picture of Simba (on the tree trunk) the paint goes on a different color than it is. The film makers admit this mistake on the commentary.
Continuity mistake: When Timon rides Pumbaa through the vultures that are crowding around Simba, they run right over where Simba should be, but he's not there. 2 seconds later, after all the vultures are gone, Simba is back.
Other mistake: (May only apply to the original VHS release.) When Scar has Zazu locked up in a cage, Zazu mentions Mufasa's name and Scar yells at him, "What did you say?" Right before Scar's actual line, whilst Zazu is talking, you hear Scar's "What did you say?" line very faintly in the background, even though Zazu has not even mentioned Mufasa yet.
Factual error: When Simba and Nala meet as adults, they rub heads and begin to purr. Lions can purr, but they only purr when they exhale, and Simba and Nala were purring when inhaling and exhaling, like house cats.
Deliberate mistake: Rafiki is supposed to be a mandrill, but mandrills do not have tails. In the recently released extended version DVD, there is a commentary by an animator who specifically admits that he knew that mandrills don't have tails (at least not like the length that Rafiki sports throughout the movie), but he put one on him anyway to make him more monkey-like.
Continuity mistake: Throughout the movie, every hyena is drawn with three toes on each paw. But in one shot when an off-screen hyena grabs Zazu in mid-flight to place him in the "birdie boiler", it has four toes instead. Also when the hyenas chase Simba out of the Pride Lands, Banzai has four toes when he tries to grab Simba with his claws.
Continuity mistake: When Simba walks away from the jungle and Timon says "He looks blue," Simba is at a fair distance from the shadow of the tree. But a few shots later, Pumbaa comes to Simba and asks, "Kid, what's eating ya?" but Simba is now closer to the shadow of the tree.
Continuity mistake: When Simba and Nala fall through the dead elephant, there are some small rocks near them. But after the hyenas say, "Here kitty kitty kitty," Simba makes a small roar and the rocks are gone.
Factual error: When Mufasa is showing Simba the kingdom from Pride Rock they are facing the sun, yet Pride Rock's shadow is visible below them. Also in the same position, you see that they have shadows behind them. Then a few seconds later when Simba sees the shadow area the shadows are in front of them while you can see part of the sun to their left side. They would be facing south when the sun is east. How are their shadows in front of them?
Continuity mistake: When Rafiki is showing Simba where his father is, Simba is following Rafiki through the trees and they arrive at a river/lake. Rafiki says 'shh' and pulls the grass apart. In the shot facing him and Simba, Rafiki is only holding the grass on the left back, but the grass on the right is bent back the exact same way, without anyone holding it back.
Continuity mistake: When Simba and Nala are in the elephant graveyard, Simba goes to see if "it's brains are still in there" and he's past the base of the trunk. But when Zazu pops up in front of him, he hasn't passed the base of the tusk yet.
Continuity mistake: When Simba is running from the trio of hyenas that Scar sent out to kill him, he's forced to stop in his tracks at the foot of a steep cliff. Down at the bottom are thorn patches, and the sun casts a shadow on their right sides. Obviously this implies that it's setting on the left hand side of the cliff - and it's visible on that horizon moments later as he tumbles down the face. Once Simba clears the bushes and heads off into exile, Banzai shouts "If you ever come back, we'll kill you!" At this point notice how Simba is chasing the sunset, but now it's in an entirely different location - opposite the cliff face.