Cinderella attends to her chores while enduring the torment of her two wicked Stepsisters. A moment alone with a portrait of her long deceased mother and father reminds Cinderella of happier times. Just as the Stepsisters enter the room and become violent with Cinderella, the door swings open and an old beggar woman saunters into the house. The Stepsisters are repulsed, but Cinderella is kind and generously offers the beggar a crust of bread, which the old woman accepts with gratitude before departing into the fog. A Messenger from the Palace arrives with an invitation to the ball where the bachelor Prince Charming will dance with all of the refined maidens of the kingdom. The Stepsisters are beside themselves with excitement, pulling dresses from dusty trunks, and shunning Cinderella's interest in going to the ball with them. Dressers enter to assist the Stepsisters in preparing for the ball. A Dancing Mistress also arrives, attempting the impossible task of coaching the Stepsisters in the fine art of dancing.
They depart for the ball, leaving Cinderella alone and saddened; she dreams of what the world is like outside the confines of her suppressive home. With all hope fading, Cinderella begins to weep when the door swings open and the beggar woman returns, magically transforming into a beautiful Fairy Godmother. The Fairy Godmother takes Cinderella to the forest outside the house where other fairies join her: Spring offers Cinderella glass slippers for her feet, Summer a radiant crown, Autumn a magical pumpkin, and Winter a beautiful cape. A giant and twelve gnomes representing the hours before midnight warn Cinderella that she must leave the ball before midnight; as the clock strikes twelve, Cinderella will change back into rags and everything else will be as it was before. The Fairy Godmother twirls her magic with beautiful Stars, turning the pumpkin into a magnificent coach and sending Cinderella off to the ball.
Royal Pages light candles in the ballroom as the stylish guests dance. The Stepsisters and Prince Charming arrive; the former vie for the Prince's attention, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Cinderella. All eyes are upon her as she enters the ball, in awe of the beauty in which she is surrounded.
Upon seeing her, the Prince falls in love with Cinderella, and she with him. The ball is full of magnificent dancing until the clock strikes midnight. Cinderella in her joy has forgotten the Fairy Godmother's warning and at the last moment rushes from the ballroom in her rags. In her haste she loses one of her slippers on the stairs. The Prince finds it and determines to somehow find the mysterious young woman whose dainty foot fits the glass slipper. Cinderella has returned home and remembers the Ball as if it were a beautiful dream. She is brought back to reality by the return of her Stepsisters. Soon the Prince arrives in search of the owner of the glass slipper. He is welcomed eagerly by the Stepsisters who try desperately to force their feet into the slipper—but to no avail. In the commotion, Cinderella is cast to the ground and the matching glass slipper falls from her pocket. The Prince is overjoyed to find his true love in Cinderella; together they return to the Palace where the stars align for a life lived happily ever after.