On April 23 2021, a Reddit user shared a post (“Disneyland Tokyo is making a Beauty and the Beast ride, the animatronics look insane”) to r/gifs, including a short looping clip of the highly realistic attraction features:
Within a few hours, the post was upvoted more than 50,000 times and appeared on the site’s r/all subreddit. However, the only information available in the post was contained in the looping GIF seen above and in searches for “Beauty and the Beast animatronics,” which spiked in response on Google Trends.
Commenters largely focused on the impressive visual quality of the short clip, and contrasted its realistic elements with animatronics of the past:
“This looks like cgi it’s crazy.”
“We’ve come full circle. For the last 30 years we tried to make CGI look as close to real as possible and now we’re trying to make real look as close to CGI as possible.”
“It’s just newer animatronic technology, not specific to Japan or anything. They were all engineered and animated in Glendale in the US, after all. You can see the same level of animatronics in the Na’vi ride in Animal Kingdom Orlando. All of the animatronics going forward will probably be like this or better.”
“Looks amazing, though with any of these things it’s true test we’ll be how well it stands up to the wear and tear of time. It’s a major issue in animatronics for rides and shows.”
“We’ve come so far from creepy ass Chuckie Cheese[.]”
A quick search led to a September 2020 article by theme park news site WDW News Today (WDWNT) with the headline, “VIDEO: First Look at Incredible Waltzing Belle and Beast and Stunning Transformation Animatronics on ‘The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast’ Ride at Tokyo Disneyland.”
As indicated by the headline, the item described (and included video of) a Beauty and the Beast ride at Disneyland Tokyo:
September 28  marks the opening of Tokyo Disneyland’s long-awaited New Fantasyland, including the e-ticket attraction “The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast.” A soft opening for the attraction has already taken place and we now have a first look at the incredible animatronics on the ride.
An embedded tweet illustrated a separate elements of the ride:
— Kurt Norby (@Kurtnorby) September 21, 2020
Older footage of the ride (which was then still in development) was shared by the verified Disney Parks YouTube account in December 2018, including close-up detail of similar animatronic creations for the attraction. A description blurb indicated the ride was slated to open in early 2020:
We’re thrilled to share with you a sneak peek at the new Enchanted Tale of “Beauty and the Beast” attraction coming to Tokyo Disneyland as part of a large-scale development plan bringing new attractions, entertainment, shopping and dining to the park in spring 2020.
At 1:43 in the three-minute and 20-second long video, the horse seen in the GIF image was visible. At 1:49, footage of the character Belle (in the same outfit) appeared in the clip.
As such, the Beauty and the Beast animatronics seen in the GIF accurately reflected elements of a Disneyland Tokyo Beauty and the Beast themed attraction. Although footage published by Disney Parks in late 2018 suggested the ride would premiere in early 2020, the WDWNT item suggested that — as with many events planned for early 2020 — the attraction’s launch had been delayed.