The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride is mostly beloved by fans of the original Lion King, even though everyone agrees that it's far from perfect.
But there is no consensus on The Lion King 1 ½. Some fans like it, but it seems like more fans would rather pretend it doesn't exist. It certainly doesn't get much attention here on DA in the Lion King Fan Club. In the Nostalgia Chick's recent top 5 list of "least awful" Disney sequels, she mentioned TLK 1.5 only to contrast it to TLK 2. She didn't like it because it "***** all over the original." Then she went on to praise Cinderella III for being self-aware.
But TLK 1.5 is the most self-aware Disney movie ever made. It's satire, so the entire point is to rip apart the original. It gives TLK the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, and there's nothing wrong with that. Some commenters have called TLK 1.5 the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to TLK's Hamlet. I haven't seen Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, but now I want to.
As someone who is an obvious fan of TLK 1.5, I figure there are two requirements for enjoying it. First, you have to like Timon and Pumbaa, and not just in small doses. Second, as with Simba's Pride, you have to turn your brain off while watching it. You can't think too much about how Simba seems to age a few months in a day or two, or how Timon and Pumbaa arrived at the Oasis only about a day before Simba did.
The first time I viewed TLK 1.5, I went into it with low expectations, so I enjoyed it for what it was, and laughed quite a lot. There are funny moments in the movie proper, and also in the silhouettes of Timon and Pumbaa viewing the movie. One of my favorite parts was when Pumbaa left to get snacks and Timon started singing to himself and picking his nose. Yes, I'm six at heart, sometimes.
Besides making me chuckle, it also made me say "awww." There are some extraordinarily cute moments between Simba, Timon and Pumbaa. I dare you to watch the scene where Timon uses Simba's paw as a blanket without cracking a smile.
I like Timon's mother and uncle, too. The voice actors give their characters life and humor. Ma is warm with a feisty side (humorously hitting Rafiki on the head with his own stick). For some reason she sounds Jewish, but it works. Uncle Max is a cowardly jerk, but deep down, he does care about Timon. His "scurry, sniff, flinch" routine is hilarious. I wish these two characters were half as popular as Kopa and Ahadi, but it's hard for meerkats to compete with any lion. Let's face it, no one outside of sub-Saharan Africa had heard of meerkats before TLK (the Word program I'm using to type this essay/rant doesn't even recognize the word "meerkat." What the hell, Word?).
Even the new songs are decent. "Digga Tunna" is like a more energetic version of the seven dwarves' song. "That's All I Need" was originally written for TLK, but it was replaced with the superior "Hakuna Matata." That doesn't mean it's a bad song, though: in my book, "That's All I Need" is better than "Upendi" and "Love Will Find a Way."
And hell, the animation is brighter and more fluid than TLK 2 although not as impressive as TLK, of course.
TLK 1.5 and TLK 2 are the only direct-to-video cheapquels I've willingly watched more than twice. I kept coming back to them because I loved the characters and wanted to spend more time with them. But one of TLK 2's failings is that several of the characters from the first movie don't have anything to do: most notably Timon, Pumbaa, Nala, and Zazu (Rafiki at least gets to hold Kiara over the cliff and play matchmaker). TLK 1.5 gives Timon and Pumbaa a lot to do: it's Timon's story and Pumbaa helps him get where he needs to be. My only real complaint about this midquel is that we never see where Pumbaa came from or what his family was like. But I still appreciate TLK 1.5 for what it is.