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    25 Surprising And Very Random Disney Facts You Might Not Know

    Before Julie Andrews was Mary Poppins, she actually inspired the design for another Disney character.

    1. To say Walt Disney had a lot riding on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be an understatement. Not only had he borrowed money to complete the film, he also mortgaged his home to help finance it.

    The original 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs poster
    Disney/ Courtesy Everett Collection

    Obviously, the film was an absolute hit. But before its release, most of the Hollywood press thought the film would be a box office bomb (in fact, Walt's wife, Lillian, thought it would bomb too).

    2. Snow White was the first film to release an accompanying soundtrack.

    CD cover for the early 2000s release of the Snow White soundtrack

    3. But Snow White wasn't the first time Disney released music from its films to the public. A few years earlier, in 1933, the 78 rpm record for "Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" from The Three Little Pigs was a big seller (FTR, it was just a single and not a soundtrack).


    In fact, The Three Little Pigs was so popular that Disney released lots of different merchandise of the characters.

    4. In 1930, a Mickey Mouse writing tablet became the first Disney character merchandise. Walt Disney agreed to license the character to a company in New York (for $300) because he needed the money at the time:

    Mickey Mouse Writing Tablet First Licensed Piece of Disney Character Merchandise 1930 #DisneyArchives50

    Twitter: @DisneyD23

    The writing tablet license made the studio realize they could increase their revenue through merchandise.

    5. "When You Wish Upon a Star," from Pinocchio, was the first Disney song to win the Oscar for Best Original Song.


    6. During World War II, 90% of what Walt Disney Studios produced was for the Allies' war effort (i.e. propaganda films, training films, print campaigns, etc.).

    Galerie Bilderwelt / Getty Images, Lmpc / Getty Images

    7. Cinderella was the first time Disney shot the entire film in live-action first, and then used it for reference to animate the movie.

    A 1950 lobby card for Cinderella with the greatest since Snow White written on it
    LMPC / Getty Images

    Disney in the past had shot certain scenes for its animated films in live-action (for references purposes for the animators). But it chose to do it for Cinderella because they not only wanted the characters to move as humanly as they could, but also because it would help cut costs since it would be the template for exactly how the finished product should look.

    8. The narrator for Cinderella — whose voice you hear at the beginning of the movie — is voice actor Betty Lou Gerson, who was also the voice of Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians.


    9. Both Lady Tremaine and Maleficent are voiced by the same actor: Eleanor Audley.


    10. Eleanor Audley is also the voice of Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion ride.


    Eleanor is the voice, but not the face you see in the crystal ball — that is Imagineer Leota Toombs Thomas.

    11. The Haunted Mansion has the distinction of being placed in a different land in every Disney park that has it.

    Screenshot of the outside of the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom

    At Disneyland, the attraction is located in New Orleans Square; at the Magic Kingdom, it's in Liberty Square; at Tokyo Disneyland, it's located in Fantasyland; while at Disneyland Paris, it's located in Frontierland.

    12. Sleeping Beauty took a long time to make. It first went into production in 1951 and wasn't released into theaters until 1959.

    A photo of Walt Disney sharing background paintings from Sleeping Beauty
    Disney/ Courtesy Everett Collection

    Reportedly, one of the reasons why it was in production for so long was because Walt Disney was distracted, as he was building Disneyland at the same time.

    13. The design of Anita in 101 Dalmatians was partly based on Julie Andrews.


    At the time, Julie was famous for playing Eliza Doolittle on Broadway in My Fair Lady.

    14. According to Jeffery Sherman, son of Robert Sherman (of the famous Sherman Brothers), he inspired the Mary Poppins song "A Spoonful of Sugar" after he told his dad that he had gotten his polio vaccine on a sugar cube.


    When I was a kid we got the polio vaccine. My dad, working on Mary Poppins, asked how my day was. I told him about the vaccine. “Didn’t it hurt? I said they put it on a sugar cube and you ate it. He called my uncle Dick and the next day they wrote “A Spoonful of Sugar.” (1 of 2)

    Twitter: @jsher88888

    15. Dick Van Dyke’s notorious Cockney accent was partially to blame on his Irish vocal coach Pat O'Malley, who, according to him, "didn't do an accent any better than I did."


    16. Julie Andrews was not the first person to play Mary Poppins on screen. It was Mary Wickes, who played the character in 1949 in a one-hour TV adaptation that was part of CBS’s Studio One series.

    A photo of Mary Wickes holding a doll dressed as Mary Poppins
    Bernard Hoffman / The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

    So, yup, technically Disney was not the first to adapt Mary Poppins for the screen.

    17. Coincidentally, Mary Wikes has a role in another classic Disney film — she played Sister Mary Lazarus in the Sister Act films.

    A shot from Sister Act 2
    Disney/ Courtesy Everett Collection

    18. Disney wanted to get the Beatles to cameo as the vultures in The Jungle Book, but they turned them down. Reportedly, John Lennon was the one who did not like the idea and refused to be a part of it.

    A screenshot of the vultures and Mowgli

    Jon Favreau (who directed the live-action adaption) tried to pay homage to that by trying to get Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to appear as vultures in the 2016 film, but said he was unable to get in contact with them.

    19. Disneyland's King Arthur Carousel is older than the park itself. It was built in 1922 for the Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto.

    A photo of King Arthur Carousel during the day
    Peter Bischoff / Getty Images

    Although, when Walt first got the carousel, it featured other animals besides horses (like deer and giraffes). So they had to locate more horses to fill out the carousel.

    20. The Enchanted Tiki Room (which opened in 1963) was the first attraction at Disneyland to have air-conditioning.

    A photo of the outside of the Enchanted Tiki Room during the day with a crowd
    Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

    They needed to install an air-conditioning system in order to keep the computer system that ran it cool.

    21. The Black Hole was Disney's first movie to receive a PG rating.

    Poster for The Black Hole movie
    Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    According to the film's director, Gary Nelson, they went out of their way to not get a G rating.

    22. Early in the development of The Little Mermaid, both Joan Collins and Bea Arthur were approached to voice Ursula.

    Walt Disney Television via Getty Images/ Disney/ Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

    The film's writer-directors, Ron Clements and John Musker, envisioned Bea in the role and approached her agent, who rejected it after seeing the description of the character as having a "Bea Arthur-type basso voice" and was angry that they would think of their client as a witch.

    Howard Ashman, who on top of writing the lyrics for the film was also a producer, was a fan of Dynasty and envisioned Ursula as a glamorous Alexis Carrington–type character. However, Joan was reportedly blocked from even auditioning by her boss Aaron Spelling, who thought that it would ruin her credibility as an actor to voice a cartoon character.

    23. The ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast features an only gold and blue color scheme — that was chosen because those colors represent Belle.

    A publicity image of Belle and Beast from the ballroom scene
    Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

    Belle was in blue during the beginning of the movie because she is colder and reserved, the gold dress represents that she is now warmer and no longer the same person she was during the start of the film.

    24. The version of "Beauty and the Beast" that Mrs. Potts sings in the film was the very first take Angela Lansbury sang.


    What's more surprising is that she had been up all night the night before and actually almost didn't make the recording — she had been on a flight to get to the recording in New York, when a bomb threat was called on the plane she was on. They were forced to make an emergency landing and had to wait around for hours before they could take off again. But she came in to the studio and knocked it out of the park.

    25. And finally, the 1993 teaser trailer for The Lion King was the first time Disney ever released an entire scene as a trailer:

    View this video on YouTube


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