Review: Beauty & The Beast Sing-Along

Review: Beauty & The Beast Sing-Along

Plus Impressions de France

“Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” has taken over the main marquee slot at the France pavilion. Of the three films released at Epcot in January 2020, this is the work that is more related to a Disney intellectual property.

The new film is directed and produced by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action Beauty and the Beast films, and invites guests to participate in a twist on a tale as old as time that involves LeFou. It also features welcome narration from Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film. The two elements combined help to reduce this full-length animated feature to around 15 minutes in length.

Here is my review:

A New Lobby Experience

One of the nice features of this new film being released is that the foyer now has a new exhibit: Tales as Old as Time: French Storytelling on Stage and Screen. It includes some great props, drawings, costumes and insights not just from popular Disney films like Beauty and the Beast, but lesser remembered features such as The Three Musketeers, and non-Disney films/stage productions such as Phantom of the Opera.

Cinderella and the Three Musketeers. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Costumes and props found in the film version of Beauty and the Beast. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
La Boeheme and La Traviata is captured by this display. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Les Miserable and Phantom of the Opera. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Display showcasing Hunchback of Notre Dame. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Close up of the gargoyle puppet used in the original New Jersey production of Hunchback. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This new exhibit is a great time to remind you that this is one of seven museum-style exhibits found in Epcot. You can find other great showcases in Mexico, Norway, China, American Adventure, Japan and Morocco. If you feel that there is too much Disney IP in Epcot, then be sure to check them out, as they offer educational and insightful showcases.

Impressions de France Renewed

While Beauty and the Beast is about a “tale as old as time” Impressions de France is about a “film as old as time”. Well it’s not that old. But it has a 40 year history, and there’s something to be said about that. As mentioned in a previous podcasts we’ve shared with Tom Morris, Imagineer, attractions have to survive a “shadow” period where they look/seem dated before they are embraced as iconic. Unlike other Epcot films, this may have survived.

When you visit the theater you will likely note the marquee showcases both shows side by side:

The new film poster is impressive, but the images on it are not from the film. Case in point, the biker has a helmet and equipment you won’t find in the film. In fact, it’s quite humorous how “unsafe” the downhill bike ride seems in the film. But that’s part of what makes the film so great. It is simply imagery captured in time. Imagery that captures a France lost in time. And isn’t that what makes France so appealing?

By the way, did you know there was an original poster art for the film? It’s surprisingly timeless as well.

Impressions de France received an upgrade to 4K projection.  It looks beautiful. And did I mention that unlike the other film it shows on 5 screens instead of one? That’s because I accidentally stated 3 screens in the podcast. I had forgotten that it was actually 5 screens, because when I went to the Beauty & The Beast Sing-Along show the curtains had only opened up to 3 screens to show the one screen film. It wasn’t until I came back later that night that I remembered it opened to 5 screens.

Long and short, be sure to visit both. Currently Beauty & The Beast plays the greater part of the day, with Impressions de France playing after 7:30 at night. But that may change after people see the new film.

Want to see and know more? Check out my unique treatise on this terrific park, available only on iBooks. It’s called Lessons From Epcot: In Leadership, Business & Life. To learn more, visit the Apple Store:

J. Jeff Kober

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