The Pride Lands, despite the name, pertains to the three main parts of Africa that Simba explored during the events of The Lion King and seems to correspond with the later events in the film. The setting includes the Pride Lands itself, as well as the Jungle and the Elephant Graveyard.
The Pride Lands was originally going to appear in Kingdom Hearts, but was removed due to time constraints; programming Sora's four-legged movements and fighting style proved too much for the game system to handle.
Settings and Areas
Sora and company enter the world at the Gorge (峡谷, Kyōkoku?) and discover their new forms, which take some getting used to. The only exit out of the Gorge takes them to the Elephant Graveyard (象の墓場, Zō no Hakaba?). Going out the other end of the Elephant Graveyard takes the party to the dried up, dying Savannah (サバンナ, Sabanna?), which serves as the world's main junction.
Going north through the Savannah takes Sora and the party to the famous Pride Rock (プライド・ロック, Puraido Rokku?), which can be seen in the distance. A small entrance at the base takes them to Rafiki's hideout, the Stone Hollow (岩穴, Iwaana?, lit. "Stone Hole"), while going in the entrance at the top of the rock leads to The King's Den (王の間, Ō no Ma?, lit. "King's Chamber"), and eventually Pride Rock's Peak (頂上, Chōjō?), which is transformed into Scar's Darkness (スカーの闇空間, Sukā no Yami Kūkan?, lit. "Scar's Dark Space") while Scar is fought. After the second visit to the Pride Lands, a massive swarm of Rapid Thrusters can be found here.
Towards the southeast of the Savannah lurks the entrance to another set of areas. Wildebeest Valley (ヌーの谷, Nū no Tani?, lit. "Gnu Valley") is the first of these, full of giant rocks and loads of Heartless. Further on is a twisty, curving path through the Wastelands (荒地, Arechi?); a pleasant change of scenery comes at the end of the Wastelands at the entrance to the Jungle (ジャングル, Janguru?). It is in these areas that a change of day can be noticed by the changing from day to night. Finally, the path through the Jungle takes the party to the Oasis (オアシス, Oashisu?), home of Timon and Pumbaa, as well as the world's Moogle shop.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts II
Sometime after Terra-Xehanort's descent into darkness, his Heartless, Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, attacked many worlds, including the Pride Lands, and swallowed them into the darkness. Like most worlds that had the same fate, it was restored after Sora defeated Ansem and destroyed the End of the World.
Kingdom Hearts II
When Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive, in the forms of African animals, they realize that they have landed in the property of the hyenas and almost become dinner to Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed; however, they hear a roar from Scar and so leave them alone. In the Elephant Graveyard, Sora and the others run into Nala, who is being targeted by Heartless and come to her aid.
They follow Nala to Pride Rock where they ask shaman Rafiki if they have the right qualities to go up against Scar and become the next king. Right after Rafiki decrees they are not qualified, much to Sora's dismay, they are surrounded by hyenas and Scar, and Pete in lion form. With some help from Nala, they manage to escape with their flesh still intact.
Sora asks Nala if they have anyone else who may have the right qualities to become the new king of Pride Land. Nala mentions to them that only the son of Mufasa, the last king, could be qualified to go up against Scar, but she also tells them that he died when he was a cub. Because Sora and the others knew Simba from their last journey, they tell her that Simba is alive and well, and so wander around the world of the Pride Lands to find him.
Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Nala reunite with Simba in the Oasis and befriend his best pals, Timon and Pumbaa. Nala tries to talk Simba into going back to Pride Rock so that he could take his place as the king of the Pride Land, but he refuses. The same night, Simba looks up to the sky and remembers what his father told him about how the past kings of the Pride Lands will always be in the sky to guide him as stars. He then tries to call out to his father, and Mufasa appears before him and convinces him to take his rightful place as king. After talking to his father, Simba tells his friends that he will return to Pride Rock to face his past. Then, the sun rises up behind him.
Simba comes back to Pride Rock and challenges Scar, but Scar reminds him of Mufasa's death and claims that Simba is his own father's killer, which lands him into despair. When he is about to fall from the edge of Pride Rock, Scar tells him that he was the one who killed his father and not Simba. Knowing that it's not his fault and angered by his words, Simba jumps up from the edge and lands on Scar, who confesses his crime to the others on Simba's command. Right after he confessed, the hyenas make their move on Simba and Scar runs up to the peak.
After Sora, Donald, and Goofy chase away the hyenas from Timon and Pumbaa, they make their way to the peak and watch the fight between Simba and Scar. Simba manages to push Scar off the cliff, but then Scar climbs back up and has his body filled with dark energy, and Pete states that he has become a Heartless and will rule the Pride Lands as the land of darkness. Sora, Simba, Donald, and Goofy then join forces and defeat Scar, and Simba becomes the new king of the Pride Lands. Mufasa's star appears in the sky and reveals a Keyhole for Sora to open up so that he can continue his journey.
Prior to Sora and his friends' return, Nala is already pregnant with Simba's cub.
During Sora and co.'s second visit, they find out that the kingdom is being haunted by the ghost of Scar and go to Pride Rock to ask Simba of the matter. A lioness there tells them that Scar's ghost is an omen of the end of their pride and that Simba is not as qualified as they had hoped. Sora and the others visit Simba, whose heart is troubled by the ignorance of what his father would have done as king, but they manage to convince him that he needs to do things his own ways instead of following his father's footsteps. They visit Rafiki to ask him about Scar's ghost, but all he gives is that Simba is going through a test and that he needs to find the strength to go up against his own fears before he could become the real king.
Sora, Simba and co. come to the Elephant Graveyard to visit the three hyenas. After they catch them, they ask them about the ghost of Scar. Just then, Scar appears in front of them and Simba becomes so troubled by his heart that he runs for the hills.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy then return to Pride Rock and have a talk with Rafiki and Nala. Rafiki tells them what Simba needs to do is figure out how to do things his own ways instead of letting others tell him what to do.
Knowing where Simba might be, Sora, Donald, and Goofy go to the Oasis where they find him endangered by Scar's ghost and come to his rescue. Though they try to make Simba realize that he needs to find his own path, he still hesitates. Sora and the others then pretend to leave and, with Donald's magic, conjure up a fake ghost of Scar and provoke Simba enough to make him realize that he has something his father didn't; those who stand close beside him. Just then, Timon arrives and tells them that Scar's ghost is haunting the Pride Lands and Nala is in danger.
Simba, Timon, Sora, Donald, and Goofy make their way back to Pride Rock and Simba scares away Scar's ghost. A large number of the ghosts of Scar fuse together to form a gigantic "Groundshaker" Heartless, and Sora, Donald, Goofy and Simba join forces to defeat it. After it is defeated, peace is restored to the Pride Lands. When Simba asks Sora if his quest will ever be over, Rafiki warns him that the battle will never end, but also assures him as long as his heart remains strong, he will succeed and overcome any problem. Sora, Donald, and Goofy then leave the Pride Lands to further their journey and their endless battle.
While visiting Pride Lands, Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Pete change their forms into the forms animals native to Africa in order to blend in, but while Donald, Goofy, and Pete still have their original facial features, Sora's appearance changes more so. Sora is transformed into a lion cub, Donald into a tropical bird, and Goofy turns into a tortoise. Because of this, Sora cannot use any of his Drive Forms, Summons, and Limits used with Donald and Goofy. Pete is also transformed into a large, dark blue lion while visiting this world.