One of the great mysteries of the nucleolus surrounds its disappearance during mitosis and subsequent reassembly at late mitosis. Here, the relative dynamics of nucleolar disassembly and reformation were dissected using quantitative 4D microscopy with fluorescent protein-tagged proteins in human stable cell lines. The data provide a novel insight into the fates of the three distinct nucleolar subcompartments and their associated protein machineries in a single dividing cell. Before the onset of nuclear envelope (NE) breakdown, nucleolar disassembly started with the loss of RNA polymerase I subunits from the fibrillar centers. Dissociation of proteins from the other subcompartments occurred with faster kinetics but commenced later, coincident with the process of NE breakdown. The reformation pathway also follows a reproducible and defined temporal sequence but the order of reassembly is shown not to be dictated by the order in which individual nucleolar components reaccumulate within the nucleus after mitosis.