This segment is an adaptation of the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk by Benjamin Tabart, with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as peasants who discovered temperamental Willie's castle in the sky through the use of some magic beans.
Mickey and the Beanstalk was narrated by Edgar Bergen in live-action sequences, who, with the help of his ventriloquist's dummies Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, told the tale to child actress Luana Patten at her birthday party.
Mickey, Donald, and Goofy live in a place called Happy Valley, which was plagued by a severe drought after a Golden Harp who sang to make people happy was stolen from a nearby castle in Happy Valley. The residents had nothing to eat except one loaf of bread; in a memorable scene, the bread is cut into paper-thin slices. Donald, who is driven to the verge of insanity by starvation, then goes into a rage, complaining that he can't stand it anymore. He makes a sandwich out of plates and silverware, but Mickey and Goofy stop him. He then sees an axe and attempts to kill their cow for beef with the axe, but they stop him again and Mickey decides to trade the cow for money to buy food. Goofy and Donald are excited that they'll be able to eat until Mickey comes back and reveals he traded in their beloved bovine for magic beans. Thinking that Mickey got tricked, Donald furiously throws the beans and they fall through a hole in the floor.
However, it turns out the beans were magic, as later that night with the light of the full moon, a beanstalk sprouted, and it carried their house upward as it grew all through the night. the next morning, climbing the gigantic beanstalk, they enter a magical kingdom of equal scope, and entering the castle, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy help themselves to a sumptuous feast. This rouses the ire of Willie the Giant, who is able to transform himself into anything. When they are spotted by Willie, Mickey spots a fly swatter and asks Willie to demonstrate his powers by turning into a fly. Willie initially suggests turning into a pink bunny, but when he agrees to their request, he turns into a pink bunny anyway, and spots Mickey, Donald, and Goofy with the fly swatter. Disappointed, Willie captures Mickey, Donald, and Goofy and locks them in a box. Mickey, however, escapes. It was up to Mickey to find the key and rescue them, with the help of the singing Golden Harp. Once freed, the hapless heroes kill the giant by chopping down the beanstalk and return the Golden Harp to her rightful place and Happy Valley to its former glory.
There have been several alternate versions of Mickey and the Beanstalk, each with a different narrator.
The first alternate narration was that of Sterling Holloway, which originally aired on a 1955 episode of Walt Disney's anthology TV series, replacing Edgar Bergen's scenes and narration. As such, the ending scene was altered: the scene with Willie, alive and well after falling off the beanstalk, lifting up the roof to ask the occupants inside where Mickey is was retained, but this time, he lifts up the roof not of Bergen's house, but of the Disney Studios, to ask Walt Disney this question. This particular episode later reaired as part of the "Disney's Wonderful World" season during 1979-1981, but without the interaction at the end between Walt and Willie, which can currently be viewed at the Paley Center for Media. During the 1980s, this version was often accompanied with (and preceded) Dumbo on TV airings of said movie. It also aired as episode #76 of the TV show, Good Morning, Mickey!.
The second and most common alternate version aired on a 1963 episode hosted by Ludwig von Drake and his companion Herman the Bootle Beetle. Additionally, this version has been used for all home video releases of the standalone cartoon (with an 8-second opening title and ending credits added).
A third version of Mickey and the Beanstalk was hosted and narrated by Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop in a 1973 episode of The Mouse Factory. A portion of Beanstalk was also narrated by Lynsey McLeod as Belle in the episode "Problem Solving: Ingenuity" from Sing Me a Story with Belle.
Interestingly, for both the Ludwig Von Drake and Shari Lewis/Lamb Chop versions, the segments and narration follow a bit more closely to the 1947 film version (albeit with Ludwig Von Drake or Lamb Chop replacing the sassy comments of Charlie McCarthy). Also, like Fun and Fancy Free, the Von Drake and Lamb Chop versions end with the narrator (be it Ludwig Von Drake or Shari Lewis) finishing his/her story and comforting his/her companion (be it Herman or Lamb Chop), who was crying for the assumed death of Willie. Just as the narrator says that Willie is a fictional character and not real, Willie himself appears, alive and well, tearing the roof off the narrator's house. Willie inquires about Mickey's whereabouts, but the narrator faints in shock, while the companion bids Willie goodnight. However, the only difference is that the Ludwig Von Drake also closes with Willie stomping through Hollywood looking for Mickey (again, like Fun and Fancy Free), whereas the Shari Lewis version just ends with Lamb Chop talking to Willie. (Also, the Shari Lewis version has Willie's dialogue redubbed in that ending scene).
- In the Sterling Holloway version, the entire story begins and ends from inside of a book and there are no narration sequences. (Therefore, the extra ending scene with Willie searching for Mickey is cut.) Also, the opening scene where "Happy Valley" is shown being developed as a vision is absent, so the narrator begins the story by mentioning only the valley, the castle and the Golden Harp.
- Additionally, when the giant falls to the ground at the end, his landing causes the entire book to suddenly close.
- The moat dries up right after the big fish's big splash.
- In the Shari Lewis version, the story begins with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy in their desolate home, therefore cutting the entire beginning sequence with the introduction of Happy Valley, "My, What a Happy Day", the Harp getting stolen, and the valley falling into despair.
- In the Ludwig Von Drake version, the Harp's scream is edited out when the giant abducts her.
- In the Shari Lewis version, the clip with Donald noticing the axe is cut; the scene transitions from Donald panting "I'll be all right" to Mickey yelling, "Donald, no!" when he notices the axe is gone.
- In the 1980s TV edit of the Sterling Holloway version, the scene with Mickey, Donald and Goofy walking through the giant's footsteps is cut.
- In the Ludwig Von Drake version, the dragonfly scene was shortened to the part where the fish eats it. The reason is unknown, but probably due to references to World War II.
- In the Shari Lewis version, the entire journey with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy walking through the giant kingdom is cut; the scene transitions from them noticing the beanstalk to them immediately at the castle doors.
- In the Ludwig von Drake version, the clip of Goofy diving into the gelatin, trying to retrieve his hat, was shortened to him diving into the walnut bowl.
- Part of the clip with Goofy trying to retrieve his hat was also cut in the Shari Lewis version.
- The Sterling Holloway version had some additional music added to some parts.
- In the theatrical version, when Willie wakes up from his sleep to chase after Mickey and the others, Luana is heard saying, "Oh!" This was edited out of the Sterling Holloway version, but the Ludwig Von Drake version accidentally leaves it in.
There was also another edited version of the short dubbed into German in 1966. This particular edit is based on the Ludwig Von Drake narration and uses the same edits of said version, except without any narration sequences (similar to the Sterling Holloway narration). Likewise, these additional changes occur:
- Unlike the Sterling Holloway version, the short begins with Happy Valley being developed as a vision. However, the brief bit where the red barn appears is cut.
- The second half of "My, What a Happy Day" (with the cows and crows singing) is cut, ending after the Harp's verse.
- The scene with Happy Valley falling into despair is edited, cutting out both the fields of golden corn and the laughing brook crumbling to dust.
- The cartoon ends with a "The End" title card.
- In the particular dub itself, there is no narration heard while Mickey, Donald, and Goofy travel through the giant kingdom (save for one sentence when they reach the castle). Plus, all of Donald's dialogue is left in English, which was common in Germany until the 1980s.
This original German dub was released on home video during the 1980s, but ceased to exist when a re-dub was made to the entire Ludwig Von Drake version in 1993.
A similar edit of the 1966 German cut was used for international TV airings (or at least, the Czech Republic and Germany) and accompanied after The Prince and the Pauper. The Ludwig Von Drake version was used, although his narration is re-dubbed by Corey Burton, replacing Paul Frees. Like the 1966 German edit, there are no narration sequences, although this time, "My, What a Happy Day" is entirely cut, so the cartoon begins with the Harp getting stolen, after a brief introduction of Happy Valley.
- Disneyland, episode 2.5: "The Adventures of Mickey Mouse"
- Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, episode #10.7: "The Truth About Mother Goose"
- The Mouse Factory, episode #26: "Mickey and the Beanstalk"
- Good Morning, Mickey, episode #76
- Donald's Quack Attack, episode #49
- The Ink and Paint Club", episode #1.10: "Mickey, Donald & Goofy: Friends to the End"
- Fun and Fancy Free
- Walt Disney Mini Classics: Mickey and the Beanstalk
- Disney Favorite Stories: Mickey and the Beanstalk
- Walt Disney's Fables: Volume 6
- Fun and Fancy Free
- Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume 2
- Walt Disney's Fables: Volume 6
- Walt Disney Animation Collection: Classic Short Films, Vol. 1: Mickey and the Beanstalk
- A level based on Mickey and the Beanstalk appears in the video game Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse.
- The first transitional level in Epic Mickey is themed to Mickey and the Beanstalk.
- The scene where Donald tries to chop up their cow with an axe has been cited as one of many scary Disney moments.
- Most home video releases of the Ludwig Von Drake version use the same home video print from the 1987 Mini Classics release, but the Netflix edition has it remastered (with redone ending credits).
- Adam Szalinski watched Mickey and the Beanstalk in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.
- Mickey and the Beanstalk was one of the featured segments in the Disney On Ice show "Mickey's Diamond Jubilee", created for Mickey's 60th birthday in 1988 (it ran until 1993). This was the only "live" appearance of Willie the Giant, albeit in the form of a giant hand and arm.
- Mickey and the Beanstalk is the only separate Fun and Fancy Free segment to be marketed on latter home media release as the distributors of the Walt Disney Studios felt that this featurette alone would be appropriate for the younger audiences, completely ignoring Bongo as the lone featurette for having some mature references involving relationships. Although, Bongo is still marketed with this segment as Fun and Fancy Free.
- During the approach to Willie's castle, Charlie theorizes that the castle doesn't belong to Cinderella, making the first mention of the fairy tale three years prior to an actual film being made.