Today in Disney History, 1991: Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage Opened in Disney World

by | Nov 22, 2023 | Disney History

Today in Disney history, the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage show opened at what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Disney World? For many, it’s the innovative and one-of-a-kind attractions. From rides like the classic Peter Pan’s Flight to the new technology featured in Cosmic Rewind, attractions take center stage for many visitors. Throughout my childhood, I definitely fell into this camp. The only thing I cared about doing at Disney World were rides, rides, and more rides.

Some may gravitate more towards the food and restaurants, while others think of the beautiful and unique hotels. As I’ve grown older, my focus has definitely shifted more towards these. But if you ask my 3-year-old, the first thing he would mention would be Disney transportation. He loves the Skyliner and seems to be the only person on the entire planet who absolutely adores the Disney buses.

But one aspect of Disney World that I personally didn’t truly appreciate until I became an adult was the live shows. And that brings us to this article.

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage Opens for the Audience

On November 22, 1991, a live stage adaptation of the beloved classic Disney animated film Beauty and the Beast opened in Hollywood Studios, then known as (and will forever be known in my heart as) Disney-MGM Studios. 

Does that date seem familiar? If so, then you definitely need to consider entering some Disney trivia contests. That is the date the film Beauty and the Beast was released in U.S. theaters. This makes it the first time that a stage show and the movie that it is based on opened on the same day. Like other live shows at Disney World, you can expect world-class performances in this Broadway-style musical. From singing, dancing, and acting, there is no shortage of professional talent here.

The Story

As a 25-minute adaptation of an hour-and-a-half-long movie, there are going to be some notable omissions from the plot. But it essentially follows the same overall story. A selfish prince decides not to allow a beggar woman to take shelter in his castle. However, the woman turns out to be an enchantress who transforms the prince into a hideous beast as punishment. He will only be able to turn back into a human if he learns to love another person, and in turn, also earn their love back.

beauty and the beast live on stage

Photo by Brett Svenson

Belle is a young woman who is constantly turning down the advances of Gaston, a local hunter. She eventually ends up in the Beast’s castle, and the other inhabitants (who have been transformed into household items by the enchantress) realize she may be the one who can break the curse. Belle and the Beast of course eventually begin to fall for each other. A jealous Gaston leads a mob to kill the Beast. He is nearly successful, but not before Belle confesses her love for the Beast, which breaks the curse. The Beast then transforms back into the human prince and the performance ends with a celebratory number.

The Characters

In addition to the main characters and the dance ensembles, viewers will also be able to see many fan-favorite side characters. These of course include Lumiere the candelabra, Cogsworth the clock, Mrs. Potts the teapot, and her son Chip the teacup. 

beauty the beast live on stage

Photo by Cliff Wang

The Music

One reason why Disney films have such staying power and dedicated fans is because of the amazing soundtracks. When presented with a Disney movie, many people have specific songs that come to mind first before characters or plotlines. This applies to stage adaptations as well. In the show, you’ll hear plenty of classic tunes, including “Gaston”, “Be Our Guest”, and of course, the title track “Beauty and the Beast”.

Other Versions of Beauty and the Beast on Stage

Prior to the current version at Hollywood Studios, there were two other versions that had been performed. The current one has a few changes that were made to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as some additional distancing between dancers. 

The show had also opened at Disneyland in California, as well as Disneyland Paris. However, both versions are no longer running. The Disney Dream cruise also has a Beauty and the Beast show that was inspired by the 2017 live-action version of the movie.

Live Shows at Disney World

As I mentioned earlier, these live shows weren’t even on my radar when I was younger. However, as an adult, not only do I appreciate the talent more, but they’re also a great way to get a nice break during the middle of a hectic theme park day. You get to sit, get out of the hot sun (depending on what time of year you visit), and enjoy some high-quality performances. 

Some of my other favorites include the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! also in Hollywood Studios, as well as The Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo The Musical, both in Animal Kingdom. Be sure to add some of these shows to your next visit!

 

Posts by David Lee

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David is a corporate operations leader by day and a travel writer by night. He is a lifelong Disney fan and a self-proclaimed Dole Whip enthusiast. There's a good chance you'll find him planning the next trip to take his family on, whether it's to Disney World, a National Park, or some remote island halfway across the world. You can follow his other passion (Disney World and travel photography) on Instagram at @smallworlddavid.
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Authored by
David Lee

David is a corporate operations leader by day and a travel writer by night. He is a lifelong Disney fan and a self-proclaimed Dole Whip enthusiast. There's a good chance you'll find him planning the next trip to take his family on, whether it's to Disney World, a National Park, or some remote island halfway across the world. You can follow his other passion (Disney World and travel photography) on Instagram at @smallworlddavid.
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