- “These drawing boards have been the birth place of some of the most beloved animal characters of all time. So it's no surprise that the artist chose for our next segment, The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns. Here the sensitive strains of impressionistic music combine with the subtle artistry of the animator to finally answer that age old question: "What is man's relationship to nature?”
- ―James Earl Jones[src]
The Carnival of the Animals, written by Camille Saint-Saëns, is the fifth and shortest segment in the 2000 Disney animated film Fantasia 2000; it is based on the "Finale" segment of the piece. The segment has also been used in the first 1 minute and 50 seconds of the closing credits.
A flock of flamingos does about their business until they notice a slapstick member who enjoys playing with a yo-yo going about his own idea of fun. They immediately try to force him to engage in their "dull" routines. The member tries to escape, engaging in a mad chase that includes pecking, dashing, and kicking. Finally, one of the flamingos catches the yo-yo and throws it into a nearby tree. He is congratulated by the others, but then the slapstick member emerges with multiple yo-yos in several colors and swings them verbatim. A question in this segment's host sequence leads into its story, "What would happen if you gave a yo-yo to a flock of flamingos?" as opposed to a duller and more realistic question, "What is man's relationship to nature?"
"Carnival of the Animals" began life as a pitch by Joe Grant in 1991 for a sequence in "Fantasia Continued" that served as a sequel to "Dance of the Hours", focused on Madame Upanova and her ostriches discovering a yo-yo and fighting over it, much like the grapes from their first appearance. During a story meeting, Michael Eisner suggested replacing the ostriches with flamingos. The concept was then brought to Eric Goldberg to direct.
To achieve the look of a moving watercolor painting, each animation drawing of the flamingos was copied onto watercolor paper and hand-painted before being scanned back into the computer, cleaned up to restore the lineart's edges, and placed onto the watercolor backgrounds.
- Culhane, J. (1999). Carnival of the Animals. In Fantasia 2000: Visions of Hope (pp. 101-117). Disney Editions.