66 Surprising Facts About Your Favorite Disney Movies

Subliminal messages, MC Hammer’s pants, 9.4 million party balloons, and more than 75 years of Disney history.

1. 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and Mulan are among the only animated Disney films where both parents are present and don’t die during the course of the movie.

2. Pixar credits its success to going against Disney’s standard narrative elements: No songs, no “I want” moments, no happy village, no love story, no villain.

3. The words sung at the beginning of The Lion King are Zulu for “Here comes a lion, father” and “Oh, yes, it’s a lion.

4. When it was released, The Lion King came under fire when people thought the word “SEX” could be read in a puff of dust during one scene. Animators claimed that the dust actually spells “SFX,” which is a nod to the film’s special effects team.

5. A hyena biologist sued Disney for portraying hyenas as villains in The Lion King.

6. The group Abba was originally intended to do the music for The Lion King, but they weren’t available, so Disney went with Elton John.

7. The “asante sana squash banana” song that Rafiki sings in The Lion King is an old nursery rhyme in Swahili.

8. The creators of The Lion King have been accused of lifting elements from an anime series from the 1960s called Kimba the White Lion.

9. Beast’s appearance in Beauty and the Beast is an amalgamation of several animals. It’s said he has the head of a buffalo, the brow of a gorilla, the body of a bear, the mane of a lion, the tusks of a boar, and the legs and tail of a wolf.

10. Jackie Chan provided the speaking and singing voice for Beast in the Chinese version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

11. Aladdin’s appearance was almost based on Michael J. Fox, but was later changed and modeled after Tom Cruise.

12. It’s claimed that his movements were partially modeled after MC Hammer.

13. Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled can be seen in Frozen.

14. The names of the main characters in Frozen sound out the name of the author of the original story the movie is based on. Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven = Hans Christian Andersen.

15. Frozen is the first animated Disney film directed by a woman.

16. Ursula from The Little Mermaid is said to be inspired by the drag queen Divine.

17. It’s believed that the movement of Ariel’s hair while underwater was based on footage of the astronaut Sally Ride in zero gravity.

18. Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck can all be seen making a brief cameo in The Little Mermaid.

19. If the events of Finding Nemo actually happened, and Nemo’s mother and siblings got eaten, Nemo’s father would have developed female sex organs and bred with Nemo.

20. Finding Nemo harmed clownfish populations after people started buying tons of pet clownfish after seeing the movie.

21. The character Lots-o’-Huggin Bear was supposed to appear in Toy Story but Pixar didn’t have the technology to realistically animate his fur, so he didn’t make his first appearance until Toy Story 3.

22. Also, Andy didn’t have a dad in Toy Story because human characters were expensive and difficult to animate.

23. Joss Whedon co-wrote Toy Story. The character Rex the dinosaur was among his contributions to the film.

24. It’s claimed that Woody’s full name is Woody Pride. It’s never actually been mentioned in any of the movies.

25. While Pixar was working on Toy Story 2, an employee accidentally ran a Unix command that deleted all the work they had done on the film. Luckily, one pregnant animator had a copy of the data on her home computer so she could work on the movie while caring for her new baby.

26. The Edinburgh Trader from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest sank off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy.

27. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is the most expensive film ever made.

28. Tangled is the second-most expensive movie ever made.

29. That means that Tangled cost more to make than James Cameron’s Avatar.

30. The character Sid from Toy Story is said to have made an appearance in Toy Story 3. He’s the garbage man.

31. Sulley from Monsters, Inc. originally had tentacles instead of legs. They were changed because it was thought tentacles would be distracting. The second version of the character was designed with legs, but no arms.

32. Boo’s real name is Mary.

33. When a 10-year-old girl with cancer was too sick to see Up, Pixar flew an employee to her house with a DVD of the movie. She died seven hours after her private screening.

34. It would take about 9.4 million balloons to lift Carl’s house in Up.

35. Russell from Up is modeled after a Pixar employee.

36. Young Ellie from Up is voiced by the daughter of the director, Ellie Docter.

37. In a 2003 poll in Empire magazine, Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney accent in Mary Poppins came in second in a list of the worst accents.

38. Dick Van Dyke’s accent coach during Mary Poppins was Irish, and according to Van Dyke, “didn’t do an accent any better than I did.”

39. The author of the Mary Poppins books was not a fan of the film adaption of her books. She spent most of the premiere in tears and refused to let Disney adapt the rest of the series.

40. The first use of animatronics was the robin that whistles a duet with Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins. A series of wires going up her dress were used to animate the bird. Its movements were so realistic that critics were baffled as to how it worked exactly.

41. The word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” actually predates its use in Mary Poppins.

42. The Disney songwriter Robert Sherman, who helped write “It’s a Small World After All” and the Mary Poppins soundtrack, was one of the officers who led the first American troops into Dachau during World War II.

43. Disney’s Robin Hood has loads of recycled animation from The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and other previous Disney films.

44. Sleeping Beauty was a huge flop in 1959, resulting in massive layoffs at Disney. It was the last Disney princess movie until The Little Mermaid came out 30 years later.

45. The name Mulan uses while disguised as a man – Fa Ping – is a pun on the Chinese term for “eye candy.

46. The creator of Peter Pan gave the story’s rights to a children’s hospital, so they could always collect royalties to fund their operations.

47. The first use of double tracking in music was in Cinderella. Walt Disney asked the singer Ilene Woods if she could sing harmonies to herself. The technique has become a staple in the music industry.

48. The Disney character WALL-E is named after Walt Disney. (Walter Elias Disney.)

49. The same guy who designed the iPod, iMac, and iPhone, helped design the character Eve from Wall-E.

50. The voice actress behind Lilo in Lilo & Stitch, Daveigh Chase, also played Samara in The Ring.

51. The actor who did the voice for Bambi as a young boy, Donnie Dunagan, went on to become the youngest drill instructor in Marines history. Technically, Bambi served three tours in Vietnam.

52. In an early draft of the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? script, Judge Doom was revealed to be the hunter who shot and killed Bambi’s mother.

53. Walt Disney received one regular Oscar statue and seven smaller statues when Snow White and the Seven Dwarves won an honorary Academy Award.

54. The vultures from The Jungle Book were intended to be voiced by the Beatles.

55. Disney planned to produce a wine to market the release of Ratatouille. The California Wine Institute warned them not to advertise alcohol with cartoon characters, and the plan was scrapped.

56. Development of Wreck-It Ralph started in the 1980s. The film was almost called High Score and Joe Jump.

57. Disney actually made several “Fit-It Felix, Jr.” arcade games to promote Wreck-It Ralph. The machines come complete with wear and tear to make it seem as though they were made in the 1980s.

58. The author Aldous Huxley was hired by Disney to write a script for Alice in Wonderland. Walt Disney rejected the script because he said he could only understand every third word.

59. Disney once hired 11 little people to dress up as Pinocchio and greet children. After being left with an entire day’s worth of food and wine, the actors ended up naked and screaming obscenities at the crowd at the film’s premiere by mid-afternoon.

60. Technically, alcohol and the resulting hallucinations are what unlock Dumbo’s potential in Dumbo. Go booze.

61. Pocahontas originally had a talking turkey character named Redfeather. He was going to be voiced by John Candy, and was scrapped after John Candy’s death.

62. Production on Dreamworks’ Antz was sped up so that it would release before Pixar’s A Bug’s Life after the head of Pixar, John Lasseter, told his friend Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Dreamworks, about his film, which had already been in production for years.

63. Pixar’s John Lasseter was fired from Disney after pitching The Brave Little Toaster as a film that featured both traditional and computer animation.

64. The Emperor’s New Groove was originally a much more serious and dramatic film called Kingdom of the Sun.

65. Over 50 children were hospitalized with salmonella after the release of The Princess and the Frog. They all became ill after kissing frogs.

66. Marc Okrand, who created the Klingon and Vulcan languages for Star Trek, create an entire Atlantean language for Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

update

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