Growing Up In The Golden Age Of Disney

Disney.

What comes to mind?

For me, it’s the plethora of characters that I grew up watching in movies. It’s the songs. It’s the feelings I had watching the stories unfold. It’s my childhood.

Now that I look back, I can see that, as far as Disney goes, I’m lucky to have been born when I was. 1985. I was able to experience all the classics right away and to be a part of all the “golden age” movies as they were released. I’ve been able to see animation styles evolve. It’s awesome.

In fact, I was surprised when I saw on the extras section of my dvd of The Little Mermaid that Disney’s animation department was almost shut down until The Little Mermaid was released and saved it. That movie signaled the beginning of the “golden age of Disney.”  You see, as long as I can remember, Disney has been THE brand to turn to for creative, fun, and memorable movies packed with songs that everyone knows and loves. How could it have almost been shut down? But it was. Of course, I wouldn’t remember those rough patches Disney went through; I was only 4 when The Little Mermaid hit theaters. I’ve been hooked on Disney since. (Pun intended; that bad joke is a result of being related to my dad, sorry.)

As I think back over some stand out animated Disney movies that have come out since I’ve been alive, their themes pop up. You know that list that starts with “Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten”? Well, forget school. We have Disney. And here are some things I took away from some of my favorite animated stories that have come out since 1985:

The Little Mermaid (1989)

*Overprotecting your kids might keep them from what they’re meant to be.

*Think about what your choices will cost others. (Hello, Ariel, don’t make a deal with stinkin’ Ursula!)

*The one you love might not have everything in common with you, but that’s okay.

Beauty and The Beast (1991)

*Beauty is within each person, even if we have to dig deeper to find it.

*Don’t judge someone by their looks.

*Nerdy bookworms can be pretty heroines too.

Alladin (1992)

*Relationships will never work if you hide who you really are.

*We don’t have to be who our parents expect us to be.

*You’re not crazy for talking to your pets; sometimes they get you more than humans do.

The Lion King (1994)

*JTT was super cute. (Just threw that one in there for Tom to make sure he’s paying attention. hahaha)

*The way we interpret things as children can affect how we behave as adults. So it’s important to be sure kids really understand what is happening. (If that one’s a bit confusing, I’m referring to Simba acting out of what he THOUGHT happened to Mufasa rather than what DID happen. Darn you, Scar.)

*Sometimes, the most unlikely people make the best of friends.

*Let go and enjoy life.

*A good family will take you back, ugly past and all, and try to be understanding.

Pocahontus (1995)

*We should respect people because they are people, not because they are like us.

*We’re stewards of this earth and have a responsibility to take care of it, not just take over it.

*Befriending someone who is unaccepted can make a huge impact. In this case, helping a nation get its footing.

Mulan (1998)

*Even the clumsy, accident-prone girls have a place and can be great. (This was a huge relief for me.)

*Trying to live up to everyone’s idea of who you should be is a sure-fire way to feel like a failure. Finding your own place is a sure-fire way to feel self-worth.

Finding Nemo (2003)

*Acting out of defiance is likely to land you in a place you never meant to go.

*Being insanely strict with your kids is likely to make them want to know what you’re trying to keep them from experiencing.

*A good parent will go wherever they have to go to save their child.

*A story of hope and love will inspire people around the world and does make them want to help. (Think of the scene where the sea creatures are telling Marlin’s story all over the world in the different oceans.)

UP (2009)

*We will all get old eventually, and we’ll have an entire life’s story that we’ll want people to care about.

*It’s never too late to follow your dreams or to befriend someone new and play a role in their lives.

*If I could hear what my dogs think, I would have no end of amusement.

A theme that I think almost everyone has seen, though, is that Disney movies just keep magic alive. They make us sure that in every boy, there is a prince, a hero, someone who can save the day. They make us believe in every girl, there is the chance to be a princess, a heroine, a force to be reckoned with. It doesn’t matter that every Disney princess or hero starts out unhappy with something about his or her life or himself/ herself or just wants something different from the world, something more. Because we can all relate to that at some point. What matters is that they aren’t afraid to go for it. And when they do, something great happens.

Disney movies just make me happy. When I see a little girl who wants nothing more than to be a princess, who is sure that someday her prince will come, it just makes me smile. Because I know the secret that Disney knows. That those dreams do come true. For every woman who is happily married, she’s the princess with her prince charming, whatever that may be for her. And that’s pretty magical.

SO, those are some of my favorite animated Disney movies and what I took away from them.

What are yours?

~Meghan

12 thoughts on “Growing Up In The Golden Age Of Disney”

  1. 1. Aladdin – No debate. This is the best Disney movie ever and always will be. Music is fantastic. It’s imaginative and has great visuals for its time. Plus, it’s hilarious and has a little monkey in it.
    2. Lion King – The music makes this one. Love this movie.
    3. Jungle Book – see Lion King
    4. Sword in the Stone – Just one of those movies I loved as a kid.
    5. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad – I had to go super old school on this one. Mr. Toad is still one of my favorite Disney characters.

    All the Pixar movies are in a different class in my opinion, but they are stellar movies.

    1. I love your 3 and 4 also! I only listed the animated movies that have come out since we have been born or I could have gone on for days. I love all the Winnie the Pooh ones, Lady and the Tramp, Robin Hood and 101 Dalmations and Aristocats and more and more and more from the classics. I also liked The Black Cauldron, but I’ve only seen it once.

      For some reason, Cinderella and Snow White (esp. her) have never appealed to me the way they do to most girls. And I’ve only ever seen Sleeping Beauty once. Don’t love Dumbo or Bambi either. And, I know people will hate this about me, but Toy Story just doesn’t do it for me like it seems to for everyone else.

      But almost all the animal ones plus the two you mentioned are awesome. I haven’t seen your number 5 though. I’ll have to check it out.

      I have to agree that the Pixar movies are very different. I almost didn’t include them, and I know not all the movies I listed are part of what Disney counts as the “golden age” movies. But I decided to go ahead because they are by Disney and have come out since 1985, and I love them.

      1. Dumbo is just aight, Bambi is BORING…zzzzzzz. However, I’m not sure I can be friends with you since you don’t like Toy Story. 😉 I guess some hang out time and a Chick-fil-a platter will make up for it though.

        This is going to make me sound like a mega-nerd, but this making me want to go back and play Kingdom Hearts again. It’s basically a Final Fantasy video game, but all the levels are set in worlds made from Disney films.

        1. I’ve never heard of that! It sounds cool though. =) I can match your nerdiness: The other day I decided I’m going to reread (oh yes, I’ve already read them once) the stories from King’s Quest. Can’t wait to see y’all Saturday and to devour some chicken nuggets!

  2. I definitely agree that we were lucky in the age of Disney we grew up in. Brian and I have been collecting every one of them for our future children for the past few years. If you asked my mom my favorites, the first that would come to her mind would be, hands down, 101 Dalmatians. I watched that movie at least 500 times and had the bed sheets and almost every puppy to watch it with me. I was also a Cinderella girl, but mostly because I loved all the animals, especially Gus. I can’t believe you missed the appeal! Although I’ve been called Snow White, I never really liked the movie either. Aladdin and The Lion King were next in line for me. My top 5 would have to be: 1. 101 Dalmatians 2. Cinderella 3. The Lion King 4. Aladdin 5. Anastasia!

    1. It’s not that I dislike Cinderella…it’s just that her story wasn’t a favorite the way that Belle and Jasmine and Ariel’s stories were. I really don’t like Snow White though. She gets on my nerves. haha Gus used to annoy me some…I thought the scenes with Lucifer where he makes funny faces were hilarious when I was little. Jordan and I used to imitate it all the time.

      You know, I NEVER saw Anastasia! I need to watch it!

  3. Big fan of a lot of the Disney movies, but there are two that are always going to be my favorite…

    Aladdin. This is one of the first times that I really remember laughing at a the content in a movie. The Genie is hilarious. The music’s great and I distinctly remember loving some of the way they presented flying on the carpet (first-person perspective leaving the volcano).

    The Lion King. So many great things. The music has gotta be at the top of the list for me – Elton John and Tim Rice owned it. I loved a lot of the ‘scenes’ – the opening with the sun coming up over the African horizon along with that opening chant for Circle of Life, Scar assembling his army (marching much like the Nazi’s did), the epic fight at the end on Pride Rock (with the fire, the weather, and the music).

    Granted, there’s a lot of lessons and themes to pick up from Disney but this is some of the stuff that vividly sticks out in my mind.

    ..I mention music too much.

    1. You don’t mention it too much! Music is a HUGE part of what made these movies so amazing. If it weren’t for the songs, we might not love them so much!

  4. Elizabeth’s favorite is Cinderella. First one she saw, and also there is no big scary monster villain (like the hag in Snow White or the dragon/Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty). She isn’t big on Aladdin (no fancy dresses), but she likes Belle ok. Once someone mentioned that Belle had Stockholm Syndrome, and I can’t get that idea out of my head to like it anymore. 😛 E does like the music a lot in all of them. One of the first cds I bought was Aladdin.

    1. ahahahaha! I’ve never thought of it like that for Belle. That’s so funny. Have you ever seen John Q? I bet your friend would have a field day with that one! haha

      Disney does have some of the best music. I wish I had the same claim. The first cd I ever bought was the “My Way” single by Usher. Um…What?! lol

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