Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! A 4K Restoration of Disney’s ‘Cinderella’ Is Coming to Disney+

a before and after image for the 4K restored version of Disney's 1950 animated feature
© 2023 Disney

As part of the celebration leading up to the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney Animation Studios this October, the company has announced that a stunning new restoration of one of its most beloved titles from their golden age of animated feature films — 1950’s Cinderella — will be available to stream on Disney+ beginning Friday, Aug. 25, 2023 (near the end of Disney’s World Princess Week, which runs Aug. 20-26).

This marks the first time the film will be available to stream in 4K.

When it was first released, Cinderella was hailed for its stylish and experimental look, sophisticated and expressive animation, and delightful storytelling. It was a major hit, earned three Oscar nominations — including Best Original Song for the classic tune “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” — and rescued the studio from a dire financial situation brought on the challenges of the war years.

poster art for the 1950 Disney animated feature "Cinderella." It is a horizontal poster. Taking up most of the upper right hand side is a scene from the movie depicting the prince kissing Cinderella's gloved hand on the dance floor of the ball. He is dressed in a royal military style uniform; she is wearing a blue gown with white gloves. At the top of the left, in mid-size red lettering, reads "Walt Disney's" and then, in larger red lettering beginning slightly below that and running diagonally down toward the right, is the title "Cinderella." At the bottom right, in a black box, in yellow lettering reads: "Greatest Since Snow White"

© Walt Disney Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

That success came thanks to directors Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske and Clyde Geronimi; supervising animators Marc Davis, Eric Larson and Les Clark; songwriters Mack David, Jerry Livingston and Al Hoffman; and a voice cast led by Ilene Woods as Cinderella (Helene Stanley served as the live model for the character), Eleanor Audley as Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, and Verna Felton as the Fairy Godmother.

Given how important it was for Disney when it was released, as well as its enduring legacy as one of the company’s most iconic achievements, it’s fitting that Cinderella gets this lovingly produced restoration, which Disney says brings the classic back to its original grandeur, is more authentic to the artistic ambitions of the studio’s creative team, and has the movie looking and sounding better than ever.

The restored film had its festival premiere earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it had won a Golden Bear Award 52 years earlier in its international debut.

Kevin Schaeffer, director of Restoration for Walt Disney Studios, explained a bit about the technical aspects of the restoration.

“We began the process by pulling the original nitrate negative from the Library of Congress, and scanning the successive exposure color records in 4K.  We then did a cleaning pass to remove dirt and as many artifacts as possible.

“The current available restoration tools allowed us to produce a sharper and higher quality image than previous efforts. To make sure we didn’t lose any of the detail or artistic choices of the filmmakers, we turned to Disney Animation legends and authorities, including Michael Giaimo and Eric Goldberg.”

The input from seasoned Disney artists and animation experts Giaimo and Goldberg proved to be a winning combination.  Working with Dorothy McKim (special projects and 2D animation producer for Walt Disney Animation Studios), and Bob Bagley (digital imaging manager for Disney Animation), the team was able to restore and preserve the rich colors, contrast, and accuracy of the original cels and artwork.

Giaimo, production designer on the upcoming 2023 Disney animated feature Wish, as well as the two Frozen films and Pocahontas, noted, “It was an honor to work on this restoration with Eric, and to really celebrate the original intent and classic Disney aesthetic of those great artists who worked with Walt, notably the great Mary Blair, and to get that right level of depth and saturation.”

Goldberg, a veteran Disney directing animator, director and mentor to new generations of artists, added, “Working with Mike to restore this film was really a labor of love. We both really love the film, and felt strongly that we had to preserve it.

“Viewers watching this restoration will see more clarity, but they will also see more subtlety. They’ll see differences in color from shot to shot, and discover how one color works with another. Mike and I knew what the film was supposed to look like, and it took a lot just getting back to Cinderella having dusty blonde hair and a silver dress.

“I’m proud that the studio felt it was important to get this restoration right and trusted a handful of us to do that.”

The restored Cinderella will be available to stream on Disney+ beginning Friday, Aug. 25, 2023.