Fantasia begins with the curtains being opened to reveal an orchestra stand. Musicians take their places, and tune their instruments. Stokowski begins conducting the first strains of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, by Johann Sebastian Bach. The first third of the Toccata and Fugue is in live-action, and features an orchestra playing the piece, illuminated by abstract light patterns set in time to the music and backed by stylized (and superimposed) shadows. The number segues into an abstract animation piece set in time to the music.
The Nutcracker Suite depicts the changing of the seasons; first from summer to autumn, and then from autumn to winter. It features a variety of dances by animated fairies, fish, flowers, mushrooms, and leaves.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice tells the story of an apprentice who cannot control the magic that he has tried to use, with Mickey Mouse in the role of the apprentice. Afterwards, Mickey and conductor Leopold Stokowski, seen in silhouette, congratulate each other.
The Rite of Spring is a condensed version of the natural history of the Earth from the formation of the planet, to the first living creatures, to the age, reign, and extinction of the dinosaurs.
There is a fifteen-minute intermission following The Rite of Spring. Musicians are seen departing the orchestra stand, and the doors close to reveal a title card. After the intermission there is a jam session of jazz music, followed immediately by the brief Meet the Soundtrack sequence which gives audiences a stylized example of how sound is rendered as waveforms to record the music for Fantasia.
The Pastoral Symphony depicts a mythical ancient Greek world of centaurs, centaurettes (a Disney studio creation), a pegasus and his family, the gods of Mount Olympus, fauns, cupids, and other legendary creatures and characters of classical mythology. It tells the story of the mythological creatures gathering for a festival to honor Bacchus, the god of wine riding his horned donkey, Jacchus, which is interrupted by Zeus, who decides to have a little fun by throwing lightning bolts at the attendees.
Dance of the Hours features comic ostriches, hippos, elephants, and alligators all attempting to perform the actual ballet.
In Night on Bald Mountain, the nocturnal Chernabog summons restless souls from their graves, until he is driven away by the sound of a church bell. The camera tracks away from Bald Mountain to reveal a line of faithful townfolk walking through the forest and ruins of a cathedral to the sounds of the Ave Maria.