Fascinated by Walt Disney's "Fantasia"?

By: Carolyn Brooks Fleming
Image: TMDB

About This Quiz

Who is Yen Sid, who is Hop Low, and where do iguanas fit into the picture? Explore the characters, the art, the drama, and the music that make this movie great!

In "Fantasia," who is Yen Sid?

Yen Sid was the animators' name for the Sorcerer in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," but the name is never mentioned in the film. Yen Sid is Disney spelled backward!

Which Disney character played the role of the Sorcerer's Apprentice?

Mickey Mouse played the role of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Mickey had been losing popularity to Donald Duck, and Disney creatives hoped this cartoon would restore his popularity. At one point, however, Dopey from "Snow White" was considered for the role!

Why did Disney decide not to follow through with his original plan to pipe scents into theaters during certain scenes in "Fantasia"?

Disney scrapped the idea of injecting scents into theaters because he couldn't find a way to clear one scent quickly, before spraying the next one. Proposed scents included cereus (cactus), jasmine, incense, and gunpowder.

During the creation of "Fantasia," how many times was the "Ave Maria" sequence shot?

The "Ave Maria" sequence was shot three times. The first time, the sequence was shot with the wrong lens on the camera. The second time, an earthquake disrupted filming. The third time, all went well and the footage was spliced into the final film only hours before its debut.

During the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies," what do the fairies in do?

During the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies," tiny fairies sprinke droplets of dew on all of the flowers at dawn. The fairies are each about the size of a dandelion flower.

In "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," what sort of spell does Mickey Mouse cast, in his role as the Apprentice?

Mickey commands a broom to take over his chore of carrying buckets of water to fill a giant cauldron. When he sees his spell is successful, Mickey falls asleep and the broom overperforms, overfilling the cauldron and flooding the room. Mickey wakes and chops the broom into bits, but the bits just turn into more bucket-carrying brooms.

"Fantasia" was Disney's third feature film - what were the first two?

"Fantasia" was released in 1940. Before that, "Snow White" was released in 1937 and "Pinocchio" was released in 1940.

In the "Dance of the Hours," which animals dance during the four times of day?

Ostriches dance in the morning, hippos dance in the afternoon, elephants dance at sunset, and alligators dance at night. At night things get really crazy, when alligators ride ostriches and an elephant rides an alligator.

Who conducted the musical score for "Fantasia"?

Leopold Stokowski conducted the musical score. In the film he appeared in silhouette. Originally he offered to conduct for free, before he understood the scope of the project.

In what year did "Fantasia" debut?

"Fantasia" had its theatrical debut in 1940. World War II disrupted plans to show the film in Europe, cutting into the already dismal initial box office total.

The initial 1940 release of "Fantasia" contained how many musical segments?

The eight segments of "Fantasia" are "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor," "The Nutcracker Suite," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," "Rite of Spring," "Symphony No. 6," "Dance of the Hours," "Night on Bald Mountain," and "Ave Maria." All pieces are classical.

Who performs the "Chinese Dance" in "The Nutcracker Suite"?

Mushrooms perform the "Chinese Dance" in "The Nutcracker Suite." Their red mushroom caps resemble coolie hats. The littlest mushroom, named Hop Low, is always out of step with the others.

What is the name of the demon who appears in "Night on Bald Mountain"?

Chernabog is the demon who appears in "Night on Bald Mountain." He was named for the god of night in Slavic mythology. Over the years, parents have complained that this film sequence is too scary for children.

During "The Pastoral Symphony," who interrupts the festival honoring Bacchus?

During "The Pastoral Symphony," Bacchus, god of wine, is being honored. Zeus interrupts the festival by creating a storm. Vulcan forges lightning bolts to throw at the centaurs in attendance.

"Fantasia" narrator Deems Taylor says that there are three kinds of music: music that tells a story, music that paints a picture, and what third kind?

Deems Taylor said that the third kind of music is absolute music - music that exists simply for its own sake. The first musical segment in the film, J.S. Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor," is an example of absolute music. The accompanying animation is abstract.

Which part of "Fantasia" was used in some schools to help teach the concept of evolution?

"Rite of Spring" was used in some schools to help teach the concept of evolution. In this segment of "Fantasia," the Earth is formed and primitive life progresses to the rise and fall of the dinosaurs. It's a mix of fantasy and scientific fact as understood in the late 1930s.

In "Night on Bald Mountain," what ultimately causes Chernabog, the ghosts, and the demons to retreat?

Chernabog and his evil companions retreat when they hear the bells that signal the coming of the dawn. Chernabog folds his wings and becomes the peak of the mountain during daylight hours.

What is Fantasound?

Fantasound is a multi-speaker sound system that was used only for the movie "Fantasia." To create a full orchestral sound, nine channels were used: seven for different sections of the orchestra; one for the orchestra as a whole; and one to carry a beat so the animators could synchronize their images to the music. Special speakers were installed in theaters, but they cost a great deal. As a result, the movie lost money during its original release.

In "The Pastoral Symphony," what is Bacchus wearing?

In "The Pastoral Symphony," Bacchus wears a white robe, a red cape, and a headpiece made of purple grapes. He also carries a golden goblet. He is, after all, the Roman god of wine.

Which segment of "Fantasia" is the longest?

In "Fantasia," Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" segment is the longest, clocking in at 22:28. Stravinsky was still living when "Fantasia" was created. He initially approved of the project, but later expressed some dislike.

Just after the Intermission in "Fantasia," who does the narrator introduce?

Just after the Intermission, narrator Deems Taylor introduces the Sound Track. He describes this character as "shy and retiring." The vibrating vertical line morphs into many shapes as different musical instruments play sound samples.

A giant Sorcerer's Hat, complete with a gloved Mickey hand and ears, was the icon of which Disney park?

A giant Sorcerer's Hat, along with a Mickey Mouse gloved hand and Mickey ears, stood as the icon for Disney's Hollywood Studios, originally known as Disney-MGM Studios, from 2001 to 2015. The structure was torn down in 49 days. In the original plan, Mickey's ears were going to be Ferris wheels.

Which segment of "Fantasia" is the only one that features vocals?

"Ave Maria" is the only segment of "Fantasia" that features vocals. The processional is the longest scene ever produced using the multi-plane camera technique.

What real-life animals did "Fantasia" animators study, to help them create convincing dinosaur movements?

Animators studied iguanas and an alligator, to help them imagine the movements of dinosaurs. The iguanas and alligator were filmed from a low angle, to make them seem larger and more menacing. The dinosaurs are remarkably accurate, given mankind's limited knowledge of dinosaurs at the time "Fantasia" was created.

Which segments are featured just before and just after the 15-minute Intermission in the original "Fantasia"?

"Rite of Spring" is featured just before Intermission, and "Meet the Soundtrack" just after. The Intermission is announced by the narrator, then members of the on-screen orchestra leave their seats during the fifteen-minute break. When the musicians return, they have a jam session.

What is the name of the pink-loving ostrich who leads her students in a ballet in "Dance of the Hours"?

Madame Upanova wears a pink bow and pink slippers while she leads her ostrich students and feeds them fruit in "Dance of the Hours." They argue over some purple grapes and drop them in a fountain, causing it to bubble over.

When Disney considered adding scents to the "Fantasia" theatrical experience, what scent did he plan to spray during the "Waltz of the Flowers"?

During the "Waltz of the Flowers," Disney wanted viewers to smell jasmine. Branches of jasmine are often used in religious offerings, and the scent is popular in perfumes.

Who composed the symphony, "Night on Bald Mountain"?

Modest Mussorgsky composed "Night on Bald Mountain." He was a member of The Five, a group of Russian composers dedicated to creating a school of Russian music.

How long was the original version of "Fantasia"?

The original version of "Fantasia" ran for 124 minutes, as did the restored version which was released in 2000. Other versions, shown throughout the years in between, varied from 81 to 115 minutes.

Dancer Marge Champion, who performed for the animators of "The Dance of the Hours" in "Fantasia," also modeled for which famous Disney character?

Marge Champion's dance moves were filmed to inspire the animators of "The Dance of the Hours." In particular, she inspired the movements of Hyacinth Hippo. Years prior, when she was known as Marjorie Belcher, she served as the model for the title character in Disney's "Snow White."

Which orchestra recorded most of the music for "Fantasia"?

The Philadelphia Orchestra recorded all of the music used in "Fantasia," with the exception of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." That track was recorded by a handpicked group of 100 Los Angeles studio musicians, conducted by Leopold Stokowski.

What was the original working title of "Fantasia"?

The original working title of "Fantasia" was "The Concert Feature" or "Musical Feature," but the film distributor wanted a catchier name. A naming contest was held, inspiring nearly 1,800 ideas.

Why was the "Pastoral Symphony" in the original "Fantasia" controversial?

The original version of "Pastoral Symphony" contained brief scenes with nude centaurs, which were later edited to show strategically placed flowers. The musical segment also included a black half-human, half-donkey named Sunflower, as well as black half-human, half-zebra servants to Bacchus. They were later edited out of the film, using creative zooming and panning.

In the "Dance of the Hours," which animals swing the alligators by their tails?

The hippos swing the alligators by their tails. They also attend to the needs of Hyacinth Hippo and take her to her couch when she tires of dancing.

Which Disney character shakes hands with the musical conductor of "Fantasia" during a break between musical sequences?

Following "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," Mickey Mouse runs to thank conductor Leopold Stokowski and shake his hand. When Mickey exits, the conductor says, "Goodbye."

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