Schooling with Walt Disney’s Fantasia – Part 2

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Walt Disney’s Fantasia movie poster


In my previous post, Walt Disney’s Fantasia – Part 1, I gave a quick background of the movie and then covered the first three segments of the film, which included Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johannes Sebastian Bach, The Nutcracker Suite by Pytor Illyor Tchaikovsky, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas.
There are eight total segments and in Part 2, I will complete the last five segments.

The Rite of Spring

This is the fourth segment and is based on the musical score by Igor Stravinsky. The Disney version depicts the Earth’s beginnings from an evolutionary point of view. The piece begins with the formation of the Earth and ends with the extinction of the dinosaurs.

In the beginning, the narrator tells us to “imagine yourself out in space billions and billions of years ago.” We are treated to a view of the Milky Way galaxy from a distance, volcanoes erupt, and life develops in the sea which leads to the eventual development of life on land. The life on land evolves into dinosaurs. We watch as the dinosaurs roam the earth, both plant, and meat eaters. Eventually, there is a drought. With no food or water the dinosaurs begin to die off. The stronger ones survive, but even they die off until all that is left is a land without dinosaurs.


Whether you are an evolutionist or a creationist, your children should learn what other people believe and the arguments for and against both theories. The only way to have an intelligent debate and open dialog is to educate yourself and your children.


Creation versus evolution. Read the following books: Creation: The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bibleby Paul Taylor and Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be by Daniel Loxton.

Volcanoes and Lava:
Make a volcano with your child. There are many different ideas to creating volcanoes with objects you have around the home including food items. Check out this website – Ten Ways to Make a Volcano.
Landforms: Learn about how various landforms were created.

Carnivores, omnivores and herbivores are depicted in this film. Discuss and teach the differences of each. For older children, the differences can be expanded upon to include the teeth and stomachs of each type of eater.

Dinosaurs: Study the different dinosaurs in this film.


Study the life of Igor Stravinksy; Stravinsky was born in Russia.


Study the major landforms and where they occur (Largest mountain, the deepest part of the ocean, major volcanoes both past and present, active volcanoes). Study where dinosaur bones have been unearthed.


Make a mosaic collage of a volcano.


Make lava cakes with the kids.
Drink: lava flow with strawberries, pineapple juice, and coconut milk.

Segment 5 is called Intermission/Meet the Soundtrack.

In this segment, the audience is given a brief description and view of how sound waves “look.”



Demonstrate how sound is produced. Use a slinky and experiment to see how sound waves travel. Demonstrate sound using cornstarch and water on a subwoofer. I know this experiment is a little more involved and requires extra equipment, but it really is awesome!


Study the ear and its parts. Conduct experiments to see if you can match sounds.
Play Disney song trivia. Who can guess the song in the least number of notes?


Research different “sound” devices such as the telephone and phonograph. Find out more about the inventors. Research the history of records, tapes, videos, CD’s and DVD’s.


Study the meaning of the words telephone, phonics, phonograph.


Slinky apples

The Pastoral Symphony

The sixth segment comes from Symphony No. 6 in F, Op 68 “Pastorale” by Ludwig van Beethoven. Disney’s version depicts mythical Greek characters such as Pegasus, Cupid, centaurs, and various Greek gods. The centaurs men and women pair off and have a happy time. The creatures then gather for a festival to honor Bacchus, the god of wine. Zeus interrupts the party by creating a storm.


Character Training/Health:

Bacchus is seen drinking and he appears to be drunk. Some of the animals seem to be drunk also. Discuss alcohol and the effects of alcohol.


Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer. Study Beethoven and his life.
Study Ancient Greece including architecture, life, and Greek mythology.


Study Greece and its major cities.


Study Greek mythology.


Make grape juice. Prepare or buy a Greek meal with gyros, hummus, and baklava.

The next segment is Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchiello.

This is one of my favorite segments of this film. Various animals dance to this ballet. In the morning, ostriches dance in blue ballet shoes. In the daytime dance, Hyacinth Hippo dances in her tutu and is helped by hippo servants. Evening dancers are bubble blowing elephants, and the nighttime dancers are alligators. The final segment has all the animals chasing each other until they all dance together.



Amilcare Ponchiello was born in Italy.


Animals and their natural habitats, including hippos, elephants, and alligators.


Have your child draw/paint their own dancing animal.

Physical Education:

Act out the dancing along with the film.
Blow bubbles.

The final segment includes two musical selections. Night on Bald Mountain is by Modest Mussorgsky and Ave Maria is by Franz Schubert.

This is my least favorite segment due to its dark nature. It begins, “Bald Mountain is the gathering place of Satan and his followers”. The demon, Chernabog, summons restless souls from their graves. There are witches, imps, demons, skeletons, and general evil that dances about until the bell tolls. Then robed figures carrying torches march to Ave Maria as they walk to the ruins of a cathedral. I have read 2 different interpretations of this. The first one is by Modest Mussorgsky and is as follows: Witches assembly on top of a barren mountain; Satan comes; the witches praise Satan, and then the Sabbath comes. With Disney’s arrangement and adding Ave Maria at the end, we see good triumphs over evil. However, the implication is that at night, these horrible things occur and it isn’t until morning that good comes once again which is a little scary for children going to sleep at night!

My choice is to not watch this segment with my children. I don’t like the visual imagery and my younger children seem more affected by it. I don’t even particularly like the music itself, but probably because I still associate the imagery with it.


Mussorgsky was a Russian composer and Franz Schubert was from Austria.

Coming next: One of my very favorite early movies by Walt Disney, The Reluctant Dragon!

Thanks, Patty @ A Mother’s Random Thoughts
Sources: Wikipedia and

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