Fantasia (1940) was one of Walt Disney's most personal projects. He had intended Fantasia to be a recurring show featuring different segments along with old favorites. However, this was not to happen as the movie was a box office failure. Roy E. Disney would honor Walt's original idea with the release of Fantasia 2000 in 1999. Roy was continuing to work on Fantasia as evidence by some pre-production work for Fantasia 2006, a project that was later abandoned. Some of these shorts were released as DVD extra and include: The Little Match Girl (2006), One by One (2004), and possibly Destino (2002).
The movie promiently features Leopold Stokowski conducting The Philadelphia Orchestra.
The segments from Fantasia are as follows:
- Footage of the orchestra itself and abstract imagery to Johann Sebastian Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor"
- The changing of the seasons with fairies, flowers, mushrooms, etc. to selections from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite"
- Mickey Mouse as an apprentice to the sorcerer Yen Sid who misuses his master's power to complete his chores set to Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
- The history of earth, particularly the time and fall of the dinosaurs to Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring"
- A jazz piece is played during "Intermission" along with visualization of a white line.
- The mythological figures of ancient Greece celebrate spring including unicorns and satyrs frolicking in the field, pegasi learning to fly, centaurs pairing up, and a wine festival with Bacchus himself in attendance when the festival is interrupted by Zeus. Set to Ludwig van Beethoven's "The Pastoral Symphony"
- Ostriches, hippopotami, elephants, and aligators dance ballet, with a focus on the lead hippopotamus (Hyacinth Hippo) and alligator's (Ben Ali Gator) romance, set to Amilcare Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours
- The devil, Chernabog summons spirits of evil to Bald Mountain during the night, but all of the evil activity is halted by the church bells at dawn and the scene fades to a line of monks holding candle, the first half is set to Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain: while the second is set to Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria"