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Audio Guide

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Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts


Inspiring Walt Disney


Welcome to Inspiring Walt Disney: the Animation of French Decorative Arts. I’m delighted to introduce you to a special guest, with something of an insider’s perspective…

I'm Angela Lansbury, and you might recognize my voice from my role as Mrs. Potts in the beloved 1991 Walt Disney Studios film, Beauty and the Beast. During my career, I've had the privilege of working on several Disney movies. Along with Beauty and the Beast, I appeared as Miss Eglantine Price in the 1971 Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and more recently as the Balloon Lady in Mary Poppins Returns.

And I’m Paige O’Hara. I still remember when I auditioned to voice the character of Belle in Beauty and the Beast and how much fun it was to play the part! I’ll be your guide today.
This exhibition brings together two creative worlds that may seem very different at first: 18th century decorative works of art created for a small European elite and 20th century animated films cherished by millions around the world. But they share a great deal.

Animating the inanimate was the guiding principle of The Walt Disney Studios and the French Rococo craftspeople making furniture, porcelain, and other beautifully designed household objects in 18th century Paris. In the galleries ahead, you will encounter the magic of these objects brought to life.

Young Walt was about to turn 17 when he first set foot in France in December, 1918, right after the end of World War I. He would return to Europe frequently throughout his life, and the buildings, the art, and the atmosphere he came upon had an extraordinary influence on the animated world he would go on to create. What unites these worlds above all is an insistence on the magic of human connection and the awe-inspiring power of art, of artisanship, of humor, and of the universality of emotions. Art as a means of connecting us all, it is truly a tale as old as time.

Now run along. There's a lot to see ahead and enjoy yourself when visiting Inspiring Walt Disney: the Animation of French Decorative Arts.

This audio tour is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.


  1. Introduction
  2. A Miniature Rococo Boudoir
  3. 2296. The Magic Lantern
  4. 2297. The Vultures
  5. Mary Blair’s Concept art for Cinderella
  6. Cinderella’s transformation
  7. Prop storybook from Sleeping Beauty
  8. 2298. The Swing
  9. The Swing Music Box
  10. 2299. The Sofa
  11. The Beast’s Transformation
  12. 2325. Meissen Lion
  13. Concept art—Belle and Gaston
  14. Cogsworth
  15. 2326. Meissen Teapots
  16. 2327. Candlesticks and Lumiere
  17. “If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it”
  18. The Ballroom Scene
  19. 2328. Still Life with Silver
  20. Disney Castles
  21. Bird’s-eye view of Disneyland
  22. 2329. Sèvres Tower Vases
  23. Seven Arts City