One of the next new attractions to debut in Epcot's ongoing transformation at the Walt Disney World Resort will be the Beauty and the Beast Sing Along in World Showcase's France pavilion. This afternoon, Disney showed off the new, 13-minute film to invited reporters.
Along with the new Remy's Ratatouille Adventure ride, the Beauty and Beast Sing Along triples the number of attractions in the pavilion, which is doubling in size. Fans will have to wait until next summer for the Ratatouille ride and land expansion, but the Beauty and the Beast show will begin running January 17, 2020.
Disney promises that the new film will run with instead of replacing Impressions de France (the greatest movie ever filmed for a theme park, IMHO), so I'm counting this as an additional attraction rather than a swap. But Disney has yet to reveal what the schedules for the two shows will be.
As for the show itself, this is not simply a Beauty and the Beast version of the Frozen Sing Along familiar to Disney's Hollywood Studios visitors. With this production, Disney is trying to pull off two things: a Sing Along for the family (the show's narrator even says at one point, "Kids, make them sing along!"), as well as a twist on the familiar Beauty and the Beast story.
Produced by Disney veteran Don Hahn - who produced the 1991 animated original - this new show is, as Imagineering's Tom Fitzgerald said in introducing it, "a twisted tale as old as time." Stop reading now if you don't want to know the twist.
Ready for the spoiler? Okay, let's proceed.
The twist here is that LeFou is actually the hero in this "true story" of how it all happened. Beauty and the Beast Sing Along positions Gaston's beleaguered sidekick as a matchmaker responsible for bringing the Beauty and the Beast together.
It's a stretch worthy of Elastigirl, but Hahn's team incorporates original animation with familiar scenes from the movie to spin this twist. "The coolest thing about this was finding animators who could still work with a pencil," Hahn said.
As Angela Lansbury narrates the explanation of how LeFou pulled this together, we pause to sing along with a few verses of the original Howard Ashman/Alan Menken songs: "Belle," "Be Our Guest," "Something There," and "Beauty and the Beast." ("The Mob Song" gets a line, but no sing-along treatment.)
The twist distracts from the party spirit that a sing along needs to be successful, but the twist at least should amuse a few parents (and let's face it, grandparents) who long ago grew tired of Beauty and the Beast video replays.
The new show debuts at Epcot on January 17, along with the new Canada Far and Wide Circlevision movie, starring Catharine O'Hara and Eugene Levy, and the new Awesome Planet movie in The Land pavilion.Tweet
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