Troubled by a strange recurring dream, nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsleigh attends a party where she is faced with the expectations of marriage and of the society she lives in. Unsure of how to reply and increasingly confused, she runs away to chase after a rabbit in a waistcoat, and accidentally falls into a rabbit hole. She is transported to a world called Underland where she is greeted by the White Rabbit, the Dormouse, the Dodo, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and several talking flowers. They argue over her identity as "the right Alice," who it is foretold will slay the Red Queen's Jabberwocky on the Frabjous Day and restore the White Queen to power. They consult Absolem the Caterpillar, who decides that she is "not hardly Alice." The group is then ambushed by the Bandersnatch and a group of playing-card soldiers led by the Knave of Hearts. Alice escapes and flees into the woods.
The Knave informs the Red Queen that Alice has returned to Underland and is a threat to her reign. The red army is ordered to find Alice immediately. Meanwhile, the wandering Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat, who takes her to the Mad Hatter and March Hare. On the way to the White Queen's castle, Hatter relates the terror of the Red Queen's reign, and comments that Alice is not the same as she once was. The Hatter helps Alice avoid capture by allowing himself to be seized instead. Later, Alice is found by Bayard the bloodhound, who wishes to take her to the White Queen, but Alice insists upon helping the Hatter, so they go to the Red Queen's castle.