On August 2, 2020, it was replaced by a new show, Disney Society Orchestra and Friends. On July 21, 2021, following Walt Disney World Resort's reopening, Disney's Hollywood Studios announced that an updated version of the show will return on August 15, 2021, in time for Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary celebration.
The show changed considerably from the original version to the currently running version, causing it to more closely resemble the film. However, because the show is condensed to approximately 25 minutes, many cuts and edits are made.
The show opens like the Broadway musical: An old beggar woman asks the spoiled and selfish Prince Adam if he will allow her to stay in his castle for the night from the bitter cold, in exchange for a single rose; to which he turns her away. Because his heart is cold, she turns into a beautiful enchantress who punishes him by transforming him in to an ugly, scary, and hideous Beast. Everyone in his castle gets a punishing transformation as well. He can only break the spell by learning to love another, and earning their love in return, and failure to do so will cause him to "remain a beast for all time".
Years later, Belle is walking in the quiet little French village where she lives. The other villagers agree that she is beautiful, but she is also no ordinary character. Gaston, the handsome young hunter of the town, boasts how he loves her and asks her to marry him ("Belle"/"Gaston"). She politely refuses. Soon though, "under a series of mysterious circumstances", she finds herself inside the Beast's enchanted castle. She is confronted by the magical inhabitants, Cogsworth the clock, Lumiere the candelabra, Mrs. Potts the teapot, and her son, Chip the teacup. Cogsworth thinks that they made a mistake by allowing Belle inside, but the others believe she could be the one to break the curse. So they throw her a feast and, simultaneously invite her to "Be Our Guest". The Beast abruptly ends the celebration and expresses his fear that she could never learn to love him. She, on a tour through his castle, enters the West Wing and discovers the rose. The Beast is furious at her, because he told her never to enter there. All of this causes them to argue. But the others advise him to be a gentleman, because she could be the one to break the curse. The castle's charming inhabitants discover that there is "Something There" that wasn't there before ("Something There"), and they fall in love.
Meanwhile, Gaston declares that Belle has rejected him for the last time. He convinces the villagers that the Beast is a monster, and the village is not safe until he is dead. So they decide to kill him ("The Mob Song"). They take over his castle, ruining everything in sight. Gaston fights him, and Belle appears just to see Gaston make his final blow. Seeing the Beast nearly dead, she admits she loves him just as the rose's last petal falls. This breaks the curse, and he is magically transformed back into his true self. The entire cast returns for a final dance, and declare that the love of "Beauty and the Beast" will thrive forever. Instantly, Belle and Prince Adam reappear in their traditional costumes. ("Beauty and the Beast")
During the curtain call, Belle and Prince Adam give a lucky person in the audience a rose similar to the one in the film.
Original version (1991–2001)
The original version opened for the film's 1991 wide release. Its first performance was at 1:30pm on November 22, 1991, the same day the film was released. At the end of the show, doves flew from the stage and fireworks were fired from the ceiling. The Theater of the Stars was moved in September 1993 to make room for the construction of Sunset Boulevard, the show was temporarily moved to the Backlot Theater on New York Street. It reopened in July 22, 1994, in the now covered and newly rebuilt Theater of the Stars on Sunset Boulevard. Over time, a prologue was added before the start of the show, and smoke also flew during this scene.
The second version of the show debuted in March 2001 and now features the songs much nearer to the order in which they are presented in the film. Some new scenes were added, some scenes were changed, and soundtracks from Disneyland's version of the show were added. It is currently the longest-running stage show at a Disney theme park. The doves were removed in Summer 2002, because they were eaten by the bigger birds in the area; the fireworks also were removed from the show earlier that year. The show also included changes to set and some costumes in 2004, 2006, 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The show's exit music after the final curtain is dropped features the pop version of the title song performed by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson.
The stage version was shown on various television shows.
The show was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, when Oprah went to Walt Disney World. She and some of her audience members got to see Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson perform the title song. Characters such as Belle, Prince Adam, Chip, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, and Cogsworth also appear.
In 2005, the cast appeared on the Christmas Day Parade again, only this time featuring John O'Hurley, fresh from Dancing with the Stars, singing "Be Our Guest" with the cast.
A similarly titled show with a different script, sets, and costumes opened at the Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland on April 12, 1992. It was extremely popular, appearing over 4,300 times in just over three years, and served as a development platform for an adaptation of the film which ran on Broadway from April 18, 1994 – July 29, 2007. Stephanie J Block (later a 2013 Tony Award nominee) was the original Belle. This version of the show was more similar to the original film than the Walt Disney World version. The show gave its final performance on April 30, 1995.
Disneyland Paris version
A similar show sharing the Florida production's script, sets, and costumes (the costumes were slightly different to the Florida version) appeared for several seasons at Disneyland Paris with the actors lip-syncing to a prerecorded vocal track (in French). However, during the first shows, Belle and Gaston still sang live. This version used lasers, and a prologue is displayed on the screens before the show starts. In 1996, the ending of the show was changed slightly. It played from 1993 through late 1996 at the Videopolis Theater.