In a grand palace the King and Queen are preparing for the christening of their only child, their daughter Aurora.
The King tells his Master of Ceremonies, Catalabutte, to invite the fairies of the kingdom as godmothers to the baby princess. Catalabutte does not want to invite Carabosse, the Fairy of Wisdom, who has not been seen for years. He tears up her invitation.
The Lilac Fairy leads the fairies to the christening. The fairies give gifts to their goddaughter: grace, joy, a musical voice, a serene temperament and beauty.
Just before the Lilac Fairy gives her gift, Carabosse arrives in a rage at not receiving an invitation.
She curses Aurora: on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger on a needle and die. This horrifies everyone.
The Lilac Fairy cannot undo Carabosse’s curse, but she weaves her own spell. The Princess will not die, but fall into a deep sleep. When a Prince who loves her wakes her with a kiss, it will break the spell.
Carabosse is furious and she disappears. The King banishes all needles and sharp objects from the kingdom.
Carabosse disguises herself and tempts three peasant women to try some knitting needles. She invites them into the palace for Princess Aurora’s 16th birthday.
Catalabutte comes past and sees the peasant women with the needles. The King and Queen arrive and sentence the women to death.
Carabosse hides a needle in her cape, and because she is in disguise the King and Queen invite her to the party.
The King and Queen want Aurora to choose a husband, and she is presented with four princes to choose from. She wins each of them over as they present her with roses they brought from their kingdom.
Just as everyone is enjoying the party Carabosse steps forward and presents Aurora with the spindle she smuggled in. Aurora is fascinated and dances with it until she pricks her finger and collapses!
Carabosse laughs wickedly and disappears.
The Lilac Fairy reminds the King and Queen that Aurora is only sleeping. She puts a spell over the kingdom and everyone falls asleep.
A hundred years later the grounds and gardens of the palace have turned into a forest.
A hunting party arrives at the palace, led by Prince Desire. The Prince is more interested in reading his book of fairy tales than hunting with his friends.
The Lilac Fairy, who is Désiré's godmother as well as Aurora’s, appears and shows him the image of the sleeping princess. He is overwhelmed, and the Lilac Fairy calls on her woodland nymphs to bring forth the spirit of Aurora to dance for him. The Prince falls in love with this beauty, and resolves to find her.
Carabosse tries to tempt him from his quest, but the Lilac Fairy gives him the key that will unlock the glass casket where Aurora sleeps.
After a final struggle with Carabosse, he opens the casket and kisses Aurora, waking her and breaking the spell. The whole court awakes, Désiré and Aurora fall in love, and she chooses to marry him. She offers him a rose, which he joyfully accepts.
The King and Queen give a magnificent ball to celebrate Aurora’s wedding.
Désiré's friends arrive dressed as characters from his beloved fairytale book. Aurora’s fairy godmothers bring lavish wedding gifts: gold, silver, sapphire and diamond.
With much dancing and merriment, Aurora marries Désiré and the Lilac Fairy blesses them.
Aurora and Désiré will rule over the kingdom in peace and happiness.