Disney Urban Legends

Disney Animation

The Legend: Animators doing research for Bambi dissected real animals.

Behind the Legend: Now that's just gross. While it's true that real animal skins were used in the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland, Jungle Cruise, and it's a small world attractions at Disneyland, Walt Disney never allowed animals to be killed for non-culinary "off-stage" purposes. Besides, it's particularly difficult for an animator to study how an animal moves and behaves after it has been dissected.

The Legend: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' dwarfs represent the 12 stages of addiction recovery.

Behind the Legend: This is true, and begs the question of why Disney didn't just go ahead and make twelve dwarfs. The answer is that extra dwarfs meant extra animating expense (this is the same kind of accountant-based thinking that forces so many cartoon characters to go through life with only four fingers or, in the case of characters from really cheap production houses, two).

The dwarfs and the steps they represented are:

  • Dopey: Step 1 -- Admit that you are powerless against your affliction
  • Doc: Step 2 -- Believe that a power greater than you can restore your sanity
  • Happy: Step 3 -- Decide to turn your life over to your higher power
  • Grumpy: Step 4 -- Make a deep, fearless moral inventory of yourself
  • Bashful: Step 7 -- Humbly ask your higher power to remove your shortcomings
  • Sneezy: Step 10 -- Continue to make your moral inventory and promptly admit when you were wrong
  • Sleepy: Step 11 -- Use prayer and meditation to improve your relationship with your higher power (the use of sleepy for this step is a little obscure, but it's probably related to the fact that step 12 involves a "spiritual awakening")

The Legend: Donald Duck was banned from Finland for not wearing pants.

Behind the Legend: On the contrary, cartoon pants are, by law, optional in Finland. Donald Duck was banned from the country for having three illegitimate sons (even though they are referred to as his "nephews") and the appearance of an "unnatural" relationship with Goofy.

The Legend: The Emperor's New Groove was based on a true story

Behind the Legend: True. The film was loosely based on the life of Donald Trump.

The Legend: In Aladdin, the title character tells teenagers to take off their clothes.

Behind the Legend: Not true. Aladdin merely suggests that Jasmine take off her clothes.

The Legend: The Beast in Beauty and the Beast has a tattoo.

Behind the Legend: In the bathing scene, Beast can clearly be seen to have a Smurf tattoo on his backside.

The Legend: Letters spelling "SEX" are formed by a cloud of dust in The Lion King.

Behind the Legend: Almost but not quite -- the dust letters actually spell out "STYX" in honor of the ‘80s band, and a few notes from their hit song "Mr. Roboto" can be heard when the letters appear.

The Legend: The minister "gets a little frisky" during the wedding scene in The Little Mermaid.

Behind the Legend: Careful viewers will notice that the minister isn't (ahem) "just happy to see Arial." He does, in fact, have a cat in his pants.

The Legend: A disgruntled artist drew a phallus as part of The Little Mermaid's poster art.

Behind the Legend: The artist wasn't "disgruntled" at all -- the undersea castle with the spire reminiscent of a phallus was part of the artwork's master plan all along. For a number of years, Disney experimented with subliminal advertising in a bid to draw adults and teenage boys to their films. Take a really, really, really close look at the poster for Newsies for another example (after getting your parents' permission, of course). An additional bit of trivia, it has been suggested that the palace with the phallus was inspired by the Danny Kaye film The Court Jester. (Don't ask us how.)

The Legend: The name 'Wendy' was invented by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie.

Behind the Legend: Correct, and when Disney obtained the rights to the play so that they could make the animated film, they also obtained the rights to the name Wendy. If you know anyone named Wendy and they don't have a little "birthmark" that looks like a "c" with a circle around it, then they owe Disney a licensing fee.

The Legend: There's a photo of a topless woman in The Rescuers.

Behind the Legend: There are photos of topless women everywhere in Disney films. It's a mystery to us why people keep picking on The Rescuers.

The Legend: Jessica Rabbit doesn't wear underwear.

Behind the Legend: And that's a problem why?

The Legend: In the first draft of the screenplay for Cinderella, the title character's slippers were made of fur.

Behind the legend: The slippers were changed from fur to glass because it was decided that glass would be easier to animate. Today, using 3-D animation techniques, very realistic fur slippers could easily be made, and there is talk of doing this for a future "director's cut" DVD release.

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