Fun Facts You Didn't Know About 'Beauty and the Beast' in Honor of the 30th Anniversary

Be our guest as we celebrate the 1991 Disney classic with 10 interesting facts about the tale as old as time

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, l-r: Belle (voice: Paige O'Hara), Beast (voice: Robby Benson) in 2012 3D re-re
Photo: Everett

Once upon a time...

In 1991, Disney created an animated adaptation of a tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast, and in honor of the enchanting film's 30th anniversary on Nov. 22, we gathered some fun facts to celebrate.

Disney's fairytale tells the charming love story between the confident heroine, Belle, and a cursed prince-turned-beast while exploring the themes of love, appearances, sacrifice, and identity. Considered a childhood classic for many, Disney's 1991 version was inspired by a story told long before.

"Beauty and the Beast was a story that was shared through an oral tradition throughout the world," which experts say dates back as far as the 2nd century, according to Vogue France. French author Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve decided to publish a book in 1740 after hearing a servant tell the story, but it wasn't until "fairytale writer Marie Le prince de Beaumont republished it in 1756 for an educational manual" that it became famous, the publication adds.

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It's no surprise the story has been retold time and time again — and the tradition continues to this day! Who can forget Disney's 2017 attempt at a live-action take on the tale? Starring Emma Watson, it was a monster at the box office "with a total $541M after eight days in worldwide release," according to Deadline.

The House of Mouse also recently announced a Beauty and the Beast prequel, centering around the arrogant and chauvinistic antagonist Gaston. Luke Evans and Josh Gad are slated to reprise their roles of Gaston and LeFou, respectively, in the eight-part series on Disney+.


Now, be our guest as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the childhood classic with these Beauty and the Beast fun facts!

1. Belle is one of the few Disney princesses in her 20s.

The strong-minded, independent heroine may always have her head in a book, but it's definitely on straight – and with that comes maturity. While many of the Disney princesses were created to be in their teen years, Belle is slightly older.

Paige O'Hara, who voiced Belle in the 1991 film, told Vanity Fair, "I love the fact that Belle's independent. She wasn't looking for a man and she's highly intelligent. I also love that she's the oldest Disney princess. She's the only one who they ever created to be in her 20s. All the other princesses have been teenagers. So there's maturity about her."

beauty and the beast
Walt Disney Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

2. The Beast doesn't have a real name, although fans think so.

Producer Hahn told Glamour that while fans believe the Beast's name to be "Adam," that isn't entirely true. "As filmmakers, we never named him because there was never going to be a sequel where he turns back into the Beast. A lot of the fans came up with Adam, but we didn't name him. To us, he's not Adam. Had we named him, we would have named him a French name because the fairy tale takes place in France. So he would have been Francois or something. But if he's Adam to you, he can stay Adam!"

3. Mrs. Potts was originally going to be named "Mrs. Chamomile."

The producer of the animated adaptation, Don Hahn, spilled the tea in an interview explaining the reason why they chose the name Mrs. Potts. "We originally tried to find the most soothing possible association and we came up with Mrs. Chamomile," Hahn said in an interview. "Chamomile is a very, soothing herbal tea, but nobody could pronounce it."

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Mrs. Potts (right, voice: Angela Lansbury), 1991. ©Buena Vista Pictures/Courte
Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett

4. Lumiere had the name "Chandal" for a while.

Similar to Mrs. Potts' pronunciation situation, the late Howard Ashman (the film's lyricist and executive producer) thought the name "Lumiere" would be too hard to pronounce. "Chandal" was the name of the enchanted candlestick for a long time, as it was reflective of the word "chandelier," but it didn't stick (pun intended).

5. Belle is the only townsperson who wears blue.

A common trend between notable female characters in cinema is that many of them sport the color blue – and there's a reason why! Note Cinderella, Elsa from Frozen, and Alice from Alice in Wonderland, for example. The executive director at the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, told Allure that it's partially attributed to the sky: "It's something to look forward to, to see that blue sky," says Eiseman. "It's dependable. It's reliable. It might cloud up, but we know it's there."

beauty and the beast
Walt Disney Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Jacqueline Durran, the costume director for the 2017 live-action Beauty and the Beast, decided to stay true to the blue 1991 dress and told the outlet, "It is a practical color, and a color that you can work in. In that sense, it is full of active strength." She adds, "Belle is distinct within the town as the only one who wears a column of blue... She stands out as different than her environment."

O'Hara, who voiced the 1991 Belle, told PEOPLE that she was also committed to the color: "I made sure I wore blue. I wore blue to audition for Belle. I wore blue for both premieres, and she ended up in blue in the movie, so it's kind of a lucky color."

paige o hara
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

6. Belle's yellow ball gown was decided over a pizza outing.

Blue is not the only color that was well thought out. Hahn explained to Vanity Fair that the color gold has significance as well. "By the time you see her in the ballroom, she's warmed up, and her colors represent that," explained Hahn. "She becomes no longer this blue character, both physically and emotionally." He continued, "We came up with it one night over a box of pizza."

7. Chip was only supposed to have one line.

Bradley Pierce, the actor who voiced the miniature teacup, told Glamour that the character was originally meant to speak a single line throughout the entirety of the film, while "the rest of the character was supposed to be done by a chiming music box that just played music as it related to the scene."

beauty and the beast
Walt Disney Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

However, production didn't end up going through with this plan because Hahn said "they really didn't have a way for children to connect with the story, and so they wanted to increase the only child presence, which was Chip!"

8. Beauty and the Beast made history at the Oscars in 1992.

Following the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it took the Academy 54 years to recognize a feature-length, animated film for the Best Picture category. Beauty and the Beast was the first-ever animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars in 1992. Although it lost to Silence of the Lambs, it set the stage for future animated wins that followed.

beauty and the beast
Walt Disney Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

"Beauty and the Beast was a big turning point," Hahn told Entertainment Weekly. "Getting the Best Picture nomination was like the U.S. hockey team beating the Russians. That's what it felt like. Disney Animation was in a warehouse in Glendale, Calif., with broken glass in the parking lot and barbed wire. We were trying our best to make good movies, and in many ways, we didn't know what we were doing. But we had amazing talent there, and we had nothing to lose. So it did feel like an unbelievable upset just to get nominated."

9. The title song was recorded in one take.

The song "Beauty and the Beast," sung by Angela Lansbury who voiced Mrs. Potts, is the iconic title song of the film. Did you know that every line in the song has 5 syllables? The scene is a timeless sequence that signifies a pivotal moment between Belle and the Beast. During their waltz, the audience really starts to see their love for each other take a turn (and a spin, and a dip).

beauty and the beast
Walt Disney Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Lansbury told CBC Music an interesting tidbit that you'd be surprised to know regarding the recording process. "We recorded it in New York, and we were recording with [a playback of] the New York Philharmonic. I think we were all excited and I had an interesting time getting to New York, actually, on that occasion. Our plane had been forced down due to there being a bomb [threat], which is sort of frightening, and we had to make a forced landing. And then we started off again and I got to New York just in time to do the recording of course, and that was thrilling."

She continued, "And thank goodness, and with God's help, I was able to record the song in one take, which is kind of exciting. And I hadn't really thought about doing that, but as it turned out, the take that they accepted was the first take, the first and only take that I ever did as the song. That's the take you hear in the movie [laughs]."

beauty and the beast
Walt Disney Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

10. Belle is the first princess with brown hair.

All of the Disney princesses that came before Belle have either black, blonde, or red hair, including Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.

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