It is split into 5 programs- including the headlining Sorcerer's Apprentice - each with an animation backed by a different famous musical piece and introduced by the master of ceremonies (Deems Taylor).
By today's standards, Fantastia would still be a bit of a risk by Disney. There is very little story in the film - albeit a small one in each of the programs - and instead focuses solely on the audience's ability to imagine and react to the moving picture show. This is all laid out in Deems Taylor's introduction so if you don't like it, switch off now.
Initially, it feels like watching Windows Media Player's visualiser, which aims at creating a picture that reacts with the music. It is very successful at this and at parts it felt as though it was me moving the image to suit the music. I was watching this film with my girlfriend and her family and we all sat in deathly silence before the nonsensical animation - almost in a trance by what Disney had created.
Eventually, following the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky, Mickey Mouse appears on screen (which, if I'm honest, is what I was expecting in the first place) and plays out the infamous Sorcerer's Apprentice sketch. This was an animation I had seen before, but putting it in Fantasia gave the piece a whole different look and feel as I was far more focused on reaction of the image to the sound.
Another program in Fantasia has the story of evolution so I thought I'd shoehorn in a quick reference to Cirque du Soleil's fantastic show Totem which I was fortunate enough to see a couple of months ago. Like Totem, Fantasia has very little obvious scientific preaching behind it (although, when you think about it, this is what it's about!) but instead performs it in a fantastic interpretative demonstration.
Only after the film has ended did I sit back and wonder what on earth it was all about. There is very little point to Fantasia - in animation form anyway - but it's success comes from merging together artists from different backgrounds which is really what all cartoons do anyway. In Fantasia though, you'll appreciate it far more.
Different, but entrancing.