On Nov. 7, the release of video and images from the under-development “Beauty and the Beast” attraction, coming to Tokyo Disneyland, caused quite the commotion on Twitter. The 3-minute long video features glimpses of sets, animatronics, and sketches for the new ride, along with interviews of Imagineers and crew currently working on the project.
(Sneak Peak at “Enchanted Tale of ‘Beauty and the Beast’” | © Disney Parks)
Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, as the new ride will be called, will be the first Disney Parks ride to be based on the hit 1992 animated film. The new attraction was revealed to be a trackless dark ride, using state-of-the-art technology to pay homage to Disney’s classic storybook dark rides. Guests will ride in a 10-person “teacup” to experience moments directly from the movie, such as the iconic “Be Our Guest” sequence.
(Screencap of the ride vehicle for Tokyo Disneyland’s new “Beauty and the Beast” ride | Video © Disney Parks)
One of the highlights of both the video -and likely the ride - will be the motion and interaction of the ride vehicles themselves. Liana Zorn, Creative Technical Director at Walt Disney Imagineering, explains the goal is, “to have [guests] get that sensation of dancing, or ice skating, or interacting with the figures...so the vehicle feels like it’s alive.” The video shows sequences of multiple cars “dancing” in circles around both each other and what appears to be an animatronic of Belle waltzing with the Beast, which itself seems to move around the room. Other clips showcase the fluid motion of these new-model animatronics, including Belle interacting with her horse, Philippe, and Belle carrying a lantern.
(GIF created from Disney Parks video on YouTube,using freegifmaker.me)
The new attraction is slated to open as part of the huge new Fantasyland development at Tokyo Disneyland. This project will include a 98-foot tall Beauty and the Beast castle that will house the new attraction and the Fantasyland Forest Theater, an indoor performance venue expected to fit 1,500 people.
On Dec. 6 Disney Parks Blog released additional details, including concept art featured in the video. Many instantly called for the technology to be used stateside in either existing attractions or in a totally new build. Whether or not the US Parks see these state-of-the-art animatronics in the next few years remains to be seen, but it’s a sure bet that this new ride will be the belle of the ball at Tokyo Disneyland in 2020.