Not at all like THE LION KING, which was a blockbuster straight out of the gate and immediately displaced RAGTIME and CABARET as the hottest tickets in town and was the show the beat for Best Musical from the moment it opened.
I remember having a "gentleman's bet" with a friend over that. We both wanted Ragtime to win, but whereas she really thought Ragtime would in fact win, I knew Lion King would. Even though I think that Ragtime is in many ways the better show, there was no way that the grand scale result of Taymor's transformational work was going to go without a win.
(That said, and I'm sure I've said this out here before - when I saw Lion King, I found myself utterly bored by mid Act 2. I don't know how all the kids all sit through it. It could be probably a good half-hour shorter and actually be a much better show. But maybe that's just me.)