What I Love About Disney

When I was a kid, I did read fairy tales (I don’t really remember being read to, I remember reading myself a lot more clearly), but I loved the Disney movies so much more. Even now, I’m not very well-versed in fairy tale retellings (apart from Angela Carter’s stories from The Bloody Chamber, which have more likely scarred me for life), but I am aiming to change that this year and introduce myself into the world of retellings (especially since my first venture didn’t go too well because I wasn’t too impressed with Maleficent). So as a part of this challenge, I’m going to talk about my main gateway to fairy tales: Disney movies! And I mean, come on, who doesn’t love Disney movies? (i will admit to leaning further towards Studio Ghibli these days because their movies are beautiful, but Disney is in charge of their English dubs, so…)

While it makes me incredibly sad that Disney don’t do any traditional hand-drawn animation in their feature films anymore (they do upload traditional cartoons to the DisneyShorts channel on YouTube), I can still go back to their 2D movies and just be blown away by how beautiful and inventive the animation is. Even when they were starting to bring in 3D techniques to make the animation look more life-like, it’s just amazing to watch. I watch a lot of cartoons, and it’s always interesting to see how an animation style develops over time, and while Disney’s didn’t really change much until they stopped making fully traditionally-animated films *shakes fist at John Lasseter*, it’s still pretty cool to see all the different techniques that have been used throughout time, starting from traditional cells, to Xeroxing (you can really tell which movies using Xeroxing), to using 3D effects, and then onto full-blown CGI animation (which, in all honestly, just doesn’t impress me that much, although Get a Horse! is an exception because a lot of it is still traditionally animated). If I’m ever in need of a total animation nostalgia rush, I can watch any of the older Disney classics. Or I could just watch Tarzan another fifty-million times.

Disney stories are awesome because they’re adapted not only fairy tale (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty), but they’ve also made movies from novels (Tarzan (i get irrationally irritated when people call Tarzan a fairy tale. it’s not. it’s not even a story that you would read to any child under the age of 10.), Bambi, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Oliver and Company), legends (Robin Hood, The Sword in the Stone, Mulan), real events (Newsies, Cool Runnings, Pocahontas), their own TV shows and movies, and even two of their amusement park rides. And the best part is that they all remain completely timeless and classic. I’m one of those kinds of people where I can very easily get bored of a movie if I watch it enough, but that never happens with Disney movies because there are so many to watch. Also, out of all the fairy tale-based movies, my absolute hands-down favourite is Sleeping Beauty, with The Little Mermaid coming in very close being (I watched the absolute shit out of that and the sequel when I was little).

If you can’t sing it dramatically either in a group or alone, then it’s just not a Disney song to me. And because I couldn’t list every single song I like, I made the best playlist ever for you (and yes, every single song from Tarzan is in here. Also, my favourite Disney song ever is Strangers Like Me, in case you were wondering. You really want to hear me and my dad sing it in the car. We’re awesome.):

And while we’re at it, you have to watch this video of Jackie Chan singing ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ in Mandarin Chinese (he played Shang in the Chinese dubs of Mulan). It’s just so beautiful (he sang it in Cantonese too). And no, I’m not being sarcastic or ironic.

I spend a lot of my time watching animated TV shows and movies, so I’m pretty good at identifying somebody from just their voice. And even though Disney has really moved away from casting almost exclusively voice over actors (Peggy Lee was the first celebrity to act in a Disney movie, which was Lady and the Tramp. She played Darling, Si & Am (the cats), and Peg, and on top of that, she wrote the songs!), I still love how even if I don’t know the cast list before going in, I know who plays who straight away. Some of my favourite voice performances are:

  • Peggy Lee in Lady and the Tramp
  • Robin Williams in Aladdin
  • Danny DeVito, Charlton Heston, and James Woods in Hercules
  • Leonard Nimoy and Michael J. Fox in Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  • Billy Joel (yes, that Billy Joel) in Oliver and Company
  • June Foray (aka the best voice actress of all time because she’s almost 100 and still plays Granny in Looney Tunes) and Eddie Murphy in Mulan (and also Donny Osmond who sings ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’)
  • Sterling Holloway in Winnie the Pooh (I do like Jim Cummings too because he does an excellent job of mimicking Sterling’s voice)
  • James Earl Jones and Jeremy Irons in The Lion King
  • John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman in Wreck It Ralph (actually, nearly everybody in this movie)
  • Chris Sanders and Kevin Michael Richardson in Lilo & Stitch
  • Mary Costa in Sleeping Beauty
  • Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, and David Spade in The Emperor’s New Groove
  • Pretty much everybody in Tarzan (Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Glenn Close, Lance Henriksen, Rosie O’Donnell, Wayne Knight, Brian Blessed, Nigel Hawthorne, and Alex D. Linz)
  • Walt Disney and Clarence Nash,  as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (because duh)
Here’s a little factoid: did you know that Mickey Mouse’s first spoken words were “hot dogs”? Well, now you do!

(argh, choppy gif)

I’m going there again this year! I’M SO FUCKING EXCITED!!!
I have been to Disneyland Paris a grand total of either seven or eight times. Yup. The first time I went I was only a year old so I don’t remember it at all, and I did go through a phase where I’d been so many times that I just didn’t want to go back (tbh, they didn’t add any new attractions during that time), but I went for my 18th birthday a year and a half ago, and it’s just as amazing as I remembered it. And that’s probably all down to the fact that I was finally big and brave enough to go onto the bigger rides (especially Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, and the Rock N Rollercoaster because they all go upside down), and had the patience to endure 1 hr waits in line (my brother and I didn’t go on Crush’s Coaster though because it had a 90 minute wait). I haven’t been to any of the Disney parks other than Disneyland Paris because it’s way too expensive for me to travel any further than Europe, but for now I’m okay with that. Why? Because Paris has Sleeping Beauty’s castle and there’s a dragon underneath it. They also got rid of the Tarzan show, which I’m still incredibly bitter about.

Disney is by no means necessary a perfect company. They’ve slipped up numerous times in the past (especially back when they were producing WWII propaganda movies), but they’ve made tremendous progress in making their movies more diverse and bringing in themes that differ from “get true love’s kiss from the prince and get hitched” in their fairy tale movies (not that I don’t like those stories though). Along with seeing the animation techniques develop, seeing what Disney stands for is important to me too and I love how they continue to grow along with their fans.

It’s just a fact: Disney fans are the best! I’ve never seen anybody get into an actual fight over what they think the best Disney movie is, or anything like that, because there is no wrong answer. (unless you’re going to tell me how much you hate Tarzan, then please get away from me because you’re wrong in every sense. nah, i’m just kidding.) For me, there are very few Disney movies that I don’t like (I will admit to being absolutely terrified of Pinocchio as a child, though), but there are a very select few that I either haven’t seen or just feel indifferent towards, so I’m very easy to watch them with. I still have yet to have an actual Disney day either alone or with my friends, but hopefully that’ll change very soon.

Do you like fairy tales and Disney movies? If so, what’s your favourite? What retelling should I jump into and read straight-away?
The Daily Prophecy

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