36 Magical Facts About Your Favorite Disney Films

Updated on January 11, 2019
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.

Whether you're young or old or somewhere in between, Disney films will always have a special place in the hearts of moviegoers everywhere. They provide an escape from the stressful and hectic reality of every day life, and truly make you feel like a kid again. Here is a list of 36 magical facts about some of your favorite Disney films and trivia.

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1. Mortimer Mouse was the name originally meant for Mickey, but Walt's wife convinced him to change it to Mickey because Mortimer sounded pompous.

2. Though it has since become a cherished Disney film, Sleeping Beauty was a huge flop in 1959 and resulted in massive layoffs at Disney. It was also the last Disney princess movie until The Little Mermaid was released in 1989.

3. The names of the main characters in Frozen sound out the name of the author of the original story the film is based on. Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven when put together sounds out Hans Christian Andersen.

4. Aladdin's appearance was initially going to be based on Michael J. Fox, but was later changed and modeled after Tom Cruise.

5. P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, was not a fan of the film adaption of her novels. Though she was an adviser during production, Travers extremely disliked the Disney adaption. She spent most of the premiere in tears and refused to let Disney adapt the rest of the series.

6. During the recording sessions for Genie in Aladdin (1992), Robin Williams ad-libbed so much that the producers ended up with 16 hours of recordings.

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7. The alligator in The Princess and the Frog (2009) is named Louis as an homage to jazz legend Louis Armstrong.

8. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938) received a special Academy Award consisting of an Oscar and seven smaller sized awards, in honor of the dwarfs.

9. Two of the Gargoyles in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) were named after the writer of the original novel, Victor Hugo. The third gargoyle, Laverne, was named after the director's wife.

10. At one point during the development of Hercules (1997), the Spice Girls were considered for the roles of the muses. Interestingly, the vultures in The Jungle Book (1967) had the physical and vocal resemblance to The Beatles (even their signature mop-top haircut). It was planned to have the members voice the characters, but John Lennon refused.

11. Walt Disney's last film he worked on before he passed away in 1966 was The Jungle Book (1967). After his passing many studio employees were wondering if the studio would survive, but when The Jungle Book performed well at the box office, its future was cemented and secure.

12. Pocahontas originally had a talking turkey character named Redfeather. He was going to be voiced by John Candy, but was ultimately scrapped after the actor's death. Meeko the raccoon and Flit the hummingbird were therefore created.

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13. The tremendous success of The Little Mermaid (1989) kicked off a new era in animation, often referred to as the Disney Renaissance. This highly lucrative period in Disney history would produce many blockbuster hits including Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994).

14. The wildebeest stampede scene in The Lion King took three years to animate using computer animation. It was one of the first to go into production and one of the last to be completed.

15. Walt Disney's live-in housekeeper, Thelma Howard, served his family for 30 years. He ultimately gave her Disney shares as holidays bonuses and after she passed away in 1994, her estate was worth more than $9 million. She donated half of it to help homeless and disadvantaged children.

16. Contrary to popular belief, Tinkerbell is actually based on model Margaret Kerry, not Marilyn Monroe.

17. Alicia Keys auditioned three times for the role of Princess Tiana in The Princess and the Frog. Beyoncé refused to audition for the role and expected to be offered it; she lost the part to her Dreamgirls co-star Anika Noni Rose.

18. One minute of The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) required an entire week of filming.

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19. Dwarf names that ended up not making the cut in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were: Jumpy, Dizzy, Deafy, Hickey, Wheezy, Gabby, Baldy, Sniffy, Nifty, Lazy, Swift, Puffy, Tubby, Stuffy, Burpy and Shorty.

20. Beauty and the Beast (1991) was the first ever animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film.

21. Walt Disney had a strict no facial hair policy. Disney employees weren't allowed to grow facial hair until 2012. However, they still must keep their facial hair shorter than a quarter inch. This strict policy used to even extend to guests and until 1970, you could actually get kicked out of Disneyland Park for having a mustache, beard or long hair. Strangely enough, Disney himself had a mustache since the age of 25.

22. The characters of Timon and Pumbaa were only put into The Lion King because Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella auditioned so well together. They initially auditioned for the voice role of hyenas but were so funny that the characters were created especially for them.

23. Most of the experienced Disney animators opted to work on Pocahontas instead of The Lion King because many people at Disney had little faith in the project; this left mostly first-time animators working on The Lion King.

24. Thousands of families adopted Dalmatian puppies after the release of 101 Dalmatians in 1996. Within a year there was a 25% increase in Dalmatians at shelters and rescue organizations.

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25. Merida (Brave) is the only Disney princess to not have a love interest, sing in the movie, or come from an official Disney film.

26. The Beast, from Beauty and the Beast, is a chimera with the head of a buffalo, eyebrows of a gorilla, body of a bear, jaws, and mane of a lion, tusks of a boar, and legs and tail of a wolf.

27. Before "Let It Go" was written for Frozen, Elsa was the main villain of the film; however, the song was so uplifting that her character was changed instead of the song.

28. After Disney released The Princess and the Frog, over 50 children were hospitalized with salmonella from kissing frogs.

29. Ariel is the daughter of Triton, who is the son of Poseidon. Poseidon is the brother of Zeus, who is father to Hercules. That would essentially mean Ariel and Hercules are related.

30. The little piece of hair that constantly falls in Belle's face is an intentional character detail added in order to show that she wasn't perfect.

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31. Elsa from Frozen is the first official Disney princess that isn't a teenager. She's 21, while Snow White is the youngest, at only 14 years old.

32. Disney renamed Rapunzel to Tangled and Snow Queen to Frozen because they blamed feminine titles for underperforming box offices.

33. About 3.4 million copies of the animated Disney film The Rescuers, were recalled in 1999 because it contained two frames where there was a naked woman in the background.

34. A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Monster’s Inc. and Wall-E were all conceived on a napkin during lunch.

35. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became the first film to ever release a soundtrack.

36. The moment when the Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella’s torn dress into a beautiful gown is said to be Walt Disney’s favorite piece of animation ever.

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    © 2019 Rachel M Johnson

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      • Rachel M Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel M Johnson 

        2 days ago

        I hoped you enjoyed the hub Umar!

      • Umar Arshad7 profile image

        Muhammad Umar 

        4 days ago from Pakistan

        Thanks

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