Disney’s beloved Beauty and the Beast is coming to life.
The company’s Imagineers and skilled animators are set to unveil a new, immersive ride at Tokyo Disneyland in Spring 2020 that lets viewers interact with ultra-realistic animatronic versions of their favorite characters from the iconic 1991 film.
A new sneak peak of the ride shows that the Beast, Belle and her horse Philippe all make an appearance and, thanks to advanced animatronics, look strikingly real.
The ride, called ‘Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast,’ has people traveling through a series of animated vignettes in giant, autonomous teacups that tilt, swivel and glide as if they’re dancing along with the music.
In one vignette, the film’s heroine can be seen singing and holding a lantern up in the dark, presumably searching for her father, Maurice, who is locked away in the Beast’s castle.
Another vignette recreates the memorable ballroom scene from the film, where Belle and Prince Adam waltz along to ‘Tale As Old As Time.’
In what will likely be a highlight of the ride, its creators say they’ll let visitors dance along with the animatronic characters in the ballroom.
The ride will also reimagine the iconic dinner table scene, wherein Chip the teacup, Mrs. Pott, Cogsworth the clock and Lumiere the candlestick sing ‘Be Our Guest.’
Once the ride is complete – and it’s currently unclear when it will open – it will mark the first ‘ride-through attraction of Beauty and the Beast anywhere in the world.’
‘Beauty and the Beast is a classic, timeless film that many around the world continue to love and watch, especially here in Tokyo,’ said Ted Robledo, executive creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering, in the video.
‘The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast is a unique ride attraction that really immerses guests in that story and we’re doing it in a brand new way that’s never been done before.’
A number of large-scale and small-scale animated props and characters are situated throughout the ride, according to Disney.
Imagineers worked with artists and animators from Walt Disney Studios – some of which worked on the original Beauty and the Beast film – to bring the characters to life.
They used advanced technology and robotics to ‘bring the characters to life off the screen and actually have people experience them,’ said Megan Nowikowski, senior show mechanical engineer at Walt Disney Imagineering.
First, the Imagineers received the models and animations from Disney artists, which served as the foundation for when they actually programmed and built the figurines.
It all comes together with the spinning teacups, which the Imagineers say gives the sensation of dancing or ice skating along with the music as the figures move around, so much so that the vehicle ‘feels like it’s alive.’
Eventually, the ride, which is meant to take place in the Beast’s castle, will become part of a larger Beauty and the Beast attraction at the theme park.
The attraction will stretch over more than 11.5 acres, with towers that are as tall as 108ft, according to the Japan Times.
The area will also include an indoor theater and an upcoming ride based on animated superhero film Big Hero 6.