Do “Disney” Dreams Come True?

April 2, 2010 - Leave a Response

“All you dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney (“ThinkExist”).  

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney World

     I would argue that everybody dreams young and old. We all have dreams about love, the present, and the future. I believe that our dreams come from the societies in which we live in. In my Western view of the world, I am conditioned to dream about having a successful career, to get married and to raise a family. In addition, I think that Disney has affected my life and the lives of others. Disney culture has and continues to impact people of all ages because of the ways it is engrained in our society. Disney films I think play a role in our development and what we would like to achieve in our lifetimes.

     At my age, I can reflect on Disney movies that I have watched as a child, I think that these films have played a role in my ideas and beliefs about love. In a book, called Walt Disney World: Then, Now and Forever, Walt Disney is quoted with stating this, “… Walt himself believed, “Too many people grow up… They don’t remember what it’s like to be twelve years old… they treat children as inferiors. I won’t do that. I’ll temper a story, yes. But I won’t play down, and I won’t patronize” (Gordon and Kurtti 10). Walt Disney’s beliefs demonstrate that a category of people have grown up with Disney however, we are quick to forget about our childhood. I agree and disagree with this because I do think that we grow up and forget about our childhood dreams but, these dreams are still very present in our lives as we mature. I believe that we carry what we have learned and use it in our futures. The versions of stories and fairy tales that Disney revitalized have become part of our lives in new ways. Most people are looking for their “love story” and I believe as a child one may think it is going to happen like a Disney movie. Therefore, Disney films allow for the young and old to form ideas and attitudes or to experience parts of their childhood that they forget.

     In addition, as Disney is an active part in Western culture, individuals learn and grow up on the ideals which it creates. In an article, called “Simulations of Culture: Disney and the Crafting of American Popular Culture” Trifonas discusses the influence of Disney on American culture he states, “Disney is hard to resist. We have known that since we were children. Sometimes, Disney has shown us a representation of the world as we have experienced it both realistically and allegorically. At other times, it has revealed a vision of the world as we would like it to be, a place of innocence and enchantment where all is well that ends well” (28). Trifonas makes the point that Disney is embodied in our culture, and has been for many years. Disney has taught people something about the world that they want to live in. However, this allows people to get unrealistic expectations because the world is a lot harder and problematic then pretty much any movie. Disney films give I think people hope and a way for them to escape to a world that may not be possible or tangible.

Cinderella and young "princesses"

     Gordon and Kurtti believe that, “ “The Disney fantasy is not so much about the superficial symbols of princess and dragon… as it is about the underlying notions that make the stories and their characters resonate across the generations: imagination, hope, aspiration, persistence, honesty, loyalty, bravery, and enduring power of dreams” (10). Disney continues to impact people of all ages because of I think the meanings and beliefs are evident in their movies. In our culture, Disney has provided an audience with stories that will live on for generations because of the implications that they convey. In addition, as Disney has created movies about princesses and princes it is the meanings understood that are significant. Although Disney has conformed to the norms of society and has not provided audiences with strong and independent female characters; movies, characters, products, parks, and live events continue to be successful. I believe this is because Disney has influenced our culture so greatly that we associate our dreams with Disney.

     Do “Disney” dreams come true? I believe that they do. I think that I am optimistic but, the only way for your dreams to come true is yourself. Characters like, Cinderella, Ariel or Snow White are helpless princesses who just want to get married however, their dreams come true. We look up to these characters for guidance and support. However, I think they teach people and especially girls what they want in life. Each character has their flaws but teach people to follow their dreams (even if it is to get married and live happily ever after).   

     This is a combination of Disney films created by an individual on YouTube. It shows famous Disney characters as well as their love stories and happily ever afters timed very nicely to Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”. Enjoy!  



Happily Ever After

April 1, 2010 - Leave a Response

Is this what happily ever after looks like?

     After my posts on Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs I have decided to examine the notion of “happily ever after”. This is an idea that is presented in numerous Disney movies. The audience is consciously aware of what is going to happen at the end but, each movie presents a similar yet different ending. Although Cinderella, Ariel and Snow White share similar character traits their stories are unique, as each displays a new character that people can identify with and grow to love. In addition, all three princesses receive the happily ever after that they always dreamed of. As all three movies are versions of earlier fairy tales, the ending is an element that needs to take place in the movie or the meaning or purpose would not have the same effect. I believe that people like the ending of these movies because it provides closure for the audience as each princess lives in a castle with her prince.

     I think that Disney films and fairy tales are related in numerous ways because they present similar meanings and implications. For example, in an article written by Hermann Bausinger called, “Concerning the Content and Meaning of Fairy Tales” he argues that, “As adventurous as their paths might be, most fairy tales head toward a final happy ending… after the joyous marriage – he who does so is consistent with reality, but misses the genre, fairy tale”(81). Disney films fit into this genre of fairy tale as most character’s stories have a happy ending. These movies impact individual’s lives because I think that we forget about reality and just focus on the story. Further, I believe that people wish and long to have a happy ending. This can come in all different ways however; individuals need to feel happy and complete. Fairy tales and Disney films provide this feeling for people of all ages. Bausinger also states that, “The fairy tale is from the very beginning ruled by its ending” (81). While watching movies like Cinderella the audience knows that Cinderella is going to marry to the prince but people still watch the movie in its entirety because of the story and the characters. Therefore, Disney movies gives people unrealistic expectations about love because into order to get a “happily ever after” is going to be more difficult but more importantly, the relationship has to be equal.   

     I received an e-mail from a close family member a little while ago, it was cleverly titled, “The Truth About Fairy Tales” (Guiga). It depicts some of the most famous Disney princesses and puts not only a modern twist of their stories but also what happens after their fairy tale ending. These images are parodies of Disney movies and display a possible explanation for what came after the princesses “happily ever afters”.

     This picture is of Cinderella. I see this image as way that Cinderella is depressed after marrying the prince. She is a bar and drinking what looks like alcohol which could be a sign that she has turned into an alcoholic. 

Cinderella's possible drinking problem?

     The next image is of Ariel. This picture shows the reality of Ariel’s story; even though this is funny it shows how Ariel and Prince Eric do not belong in each other’s worlds. I think that this shows something more about cultures and how differences could lead to hardships or in this case violence. As Ariel is a mermaid, she is turned into sushi by a dominant human power.

Ariel turned into sushi

     The third picture is of Snow White. This image shows a very stereotypical perspective of marriage and raising a family. As in the film, Snow White takes on a maternal role,  it is after she gets married that her life changes. She has four children that are shown in addition, the prince is not helping her. 

Snow White as a mother

     I believe that these pictures support how Disney gives people false expectations about love because they show that not everything in Disney films may end up perfect or magical. These images bring in aspects of the characters but depict them through a modern and realistic perspective. Numerous individuals have romantic, magical and wonderful marriages and relationships but I would argue, all have their own difficulties and problems. Disney however, only presents one view point that everything is perfect and there are no problems or struggles in relationships as well as life. Furthermore, these images help people  to understand that they may have a “Cinderella” type romance but that everthing might not be so magical.

“Someday My Prince Will Come”

March 31, 2010 - Leave a Response

“Some day my prince will come

Some day we’ll meet again

And away to his castle we’ll go

To be happy forever I know

Some day when spring is here

We’ll find our love anew

And the birds will sing

And wedding bells will ring

Some day when my dreams come true”

(“ST Lyrics”).

     Disney’s 1937 (“ImDb”) film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an excellent example to show how Disney films and characters give people unrealistic expectations about love. For instance, the song, “Someday My Prince Will Come” is from the movie where Snow White is singing about how she wants her true love to come and find her. The song is problematic because it presents how Snow White does not want to take on any role in society except for a domestic one. Snow White is watchfully waiting for her husband or in her case prince, “And the birds will sing / And wedding bells will ring/ Some day when my dreams come true” (“ST Lyrics”). This part from the song shows how she wants to get married and all her dreams will come true but does not want to accomplish anything else.

     “Someday My Prince Will Come” can be seen as a song that stays with people as they mature. I believe that the song embodies dreams of young girls everywhere and their childhood dreams of getting married and meeting the perfect man. Anne Sexton’s poem, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs presents an alternative to Snow White’s story. Similar to Cinderella Sexton uses elements of the story and Disney movie,

“And thus Snow White became the prince’s bride. /

The wicked queen was invited to the wedding feast… /

Meanwhile Snow White held court /

rolling her china-blue doll eyes open and shut /

and sometimes referring to her mirror /

as women do” (Sexton 148-166).

Sexton’s poem uses the same charactertics as the Disney movie, as Snow White gets married and lives happily ever after. However, I think that Sexton is commenting on how a number of women lead a life similar to Snow White. In addition, women get married, take on domestic roles, and grow older. I believe that Sexton’s poem is a valuable poem in the way that it shows a substitute to Disney’s version but still uses elements from the story as well as film. This allows for people to get another perspective of Snow White’s story and come up with their own interpretations.  

     This clip is from the movie, with Snow White singing “Someday My Prince will Come”. I think that it is interesting to note that while Snow White lives with the dwarfs she takes on a maternal role. Also pay close attention to the animals and how they look like they are in love.

     “The great “magic” of the Disney spell is that he animated the fairy tale only to transfix audiences and divert the potential utopian dreams and hopes through the false promises of the images he cast upon the screen” (Zipes 428). This is a brilliant quote from Jack Zipes’ article “Breaking the Disney Spell”, I think that he is right in the way that Disney uses people’s dreams which allows for Disney films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to create false expectations about love and life. Using Snow White as an example, the dream of falling in love is altered because it does not happen exactly like it does in the movie. Snow White’s life is a false promise (Zipes 428) because it is not realistic, but rather idealistic because all she wants in life is to fall in love and get married. This impacts the younger audience who receives somewhat false images of love and relationships.

     In addition, as Snow White’s story has been around like many other fairy tales for centuries, Disney’s version is just one of them. However, the Disney version presents a story that can be found in the real world. For example, Vanessa Joosen’s article, “Disenchanting the Fairy Tale: Retellings of “Snow White” between Magic and Realism” she argues that, “… the kiss of the prince is transformed in this story to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by a handsome doctor a clear shift of the magic… The absence of the poisoned apple and Snow White’s long, deathlike sleep signal that this story takes place in the real world, not in the fairy tale setting of the Grimms’ tale” (234-235). I thought that Joosen’s discussion was very interesting as Snow White’s story is a fairy tale yet could possibly take place in the real world. This furthers the false ideas that people receive from Snow White because there is the chance that it could happen in reality. Furthermore, this allows for the audience to put magic aside and believe that the prince could actually save Snow White.    

Snow White’s kiss from the Prince

      Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs gives people unrealistic expectations and interpretations about love because it presents a helpless female figure that waits for her prince to find her. The character of Snow White I believe impacts people of all ages because like many other Disney films, people fall in love with the story. I believe that Snow White also influences people’s lives because her story is something that a lot of individuals dream of. This influences lives of young girls, because they grow up believing that being somebody’s “wife” is the only option in life. I think that individuals who want to find love and companionship must take control of their own lives. Snow White is still my favourite Disney character but I think that it is important to look how she has and continues to influence that lives of people young and old.

     This is a clip from the movie, displaying how Snow White is waiting for her Prince to come and find her.

Is Love More Powerful Than Evil?

March 30, 2010 - Leave a Response

Disney's Princess Ariel and Prince Eric

            The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “fairy tale” as,              

a. A tale about fairies. Also gen., fairy legend, faerie.          

b. An unreal or incredible story.         

c. A falsehood. Also attrib. Hence fairy-tale-ish (“OED”).         

     I think this definition of a “fairy tale” can be applied to numerous Disney films. The second definition struck me the most because many Disney movies fall into this category of an “unreal or incredible story” (“OED”). As many Disney films have a similar story line, the plot usually is extremely unrealistic. A good example of this is the 1989 (“ImDb”) film The Little Mermaid. This film presents a young female mermaid who sells her voice to an evil sea witch to win the love of a human prince. It can be considered a fairy tale because of the “unreal” characteristics that it entails.      

     This is a clip from the film of Ariel singing “Part of Your World” showing how she wants to belong to the human world.      


     The film version of The Little Mermaid is an adaption of Hans Christian Andersen’s of the same title. Andersen’s version is a fairy tale as it presents the similar story of a young mermaid who falls in love with a human. In addition, Andersen’s is more dark and violent but more importantly, does not reach the same conclusion as the Disney film. The ending of the story is sad and how the little mermaid did not get what she wanted, “Again she looked at the prince; her eyes were already glazed in death. She threw herself into the sea and felt her body changing into foam. The sun rose out of the sea, its rays felt warm and soft on the deathly cold foam” (Andersen 237). Disney’s version of The Little Mermaid is similar to Andersen’s as it uses the same fairy tale type story. The film version is more idealistic and happy and Ariel gets what she always wanted. It is important to compare these two versions because Disney has dramatically changed the story into a modern reworking of Andersen’s but more importantly, created a story that is perfect. Ariel and all the supporting characters work together to make sure that the prince falls in love with her. As a result, Ariel receives her happy ending.      

     In addition, in an article by Laure Sells titled, ““Where do Mermaids Stand?” Voice and Body in The Little Mermaid”, she discusses the film version and the cultural implications surrounding the characters in the movie. She argues that, “Undoubtedly, feminists have criticized The Little Mermaid’s Ariel because she seems to have little ambition beyond getting her prince… The message of The Little Mermaid is more insidious and also more liberatory” (Sells 176). Like Andersen’s version Ariel goes on a mission to the sea witch to get a pair of legs. In both versions, Ariel is independent and follows her own voice and does not listen to the people around her. This can be seen as a form of liberation because Ariel does not conform to the norms that are set out for her by her community but also family. As Sells states that Ariel has little ambition except for marrying the prince (176) I believe that the Disney version provides the audience with a stubborn and powerful female figure. Ariel is determined as she works to towards her own goal. She is powerful in the way she is in independent in making her dreams come true. The Little Mermaid is also dangerous in the ways in which Ariel goes against her father’s wishes and does what ever she wants. However, I think that the character that Disney created is significant because she does not wait for the prince to find her but accomplishes her own wishes.   

     Disney’s version of The Little Mermaid, I believe gives individuals unrealistic expectations about love because the story draws in people’s attention and I think you want to see Ariel and Prince Eric succeed and live happily ever after. As the story is extremely hard for an older audience to believe the movie has a huge older and younger fan base. This film is further a good example of how people receive unrealistic expectations from Disney because it presents two characters that are destined to be together. Ariel and Prince Eric are completely different people who do not belong in each other’s worlds but their love is stronger than magic and/or evil. I think that people and especially women fall more in love with the story and forget about reality. I believe that Ariel and Prince Eric are figures that people look up to and how they would like to meet their own prince or princess.     

     This is another clip from the movie and how Ariel and Prince Eric received their fairy tale ending.      


Is “Cinderella” Just A Story?

March 25, 2010 - Leave a Response


“Cinderella and the prince /   

 lived, they say happily ever after, /   

like two dolls in a museum case /   

 never bothered by diapers or dust /   

never arguing over the timing of an egg, /   

 never telling the same story twice, /   

 never getting a middle-aged spread, /

their darling smiles pasted on for eternity. /   

 Regular Bobbsey Twins. /   

 That story” (Sexton 100-109).     

      This is an excerpt from Anne Sexton’s, Cinderella, her poem presents Cinderella and Prince Charming’s life after their “happily ever after”. I think that this poem is an excellent in the way it shows how Cinderella and her prince never experience parts of real life. Sexton showcases elements of reality and how they both were not affected by children, fights, or even old age. I believe that this poem further demonstrates how Cinderella’s life is just a fairy tale and how it is hard for it to come true or be believable. In addition, Sexton’s poem is an alternative to traditional versions of  the story.  

      The “Cinderella” story has been around for centuries and many different versions have been created and reworked. It can be argued that one of the most famous versions is of course Disney’s. Disney’s Cinderella was made in 1950 (“ImDb”) and illustrates the classic story with Cinderella, the evil Step-Mother, Step-Sisters and of course Prince Charming. I think that Disney’s version is so popular that it is still around today but more importantly, present in the lives of young girls everywhere. I believe that Cinderella is a character who embodies what is to be a female and femininity. I was an example of this. I watched Cinderella as a child and loved it, Cinderella’s beautiful dress, gets to go to the ball, and marries the prince in the end – what’s not to love right?   

A picture with young girls and Cinderella

      Cinderella I believe works on the emotions and feelings of young girls everywhere. She is beautiful, elegant, charismatic and gets to live in a castle with her prince. Karen Rowe’s article, “Feminism and Fairy Tales” states that, “Few women expect a literally “royal” marriage with Prince Charming; but, subconsciously at least, female readers assimilate more subtle cultural imperatives. They transfer from fairy tales into real life those fantasies which exalt acquiescence to male power and make marriage not simply one ideal, but the only estate toward which women should aspire” (344). Rowe discusses that women don’t necessary believe that they will live in a castle with Prince Charming but rather the idea of a fairy tale ending. In addition, that women’s only goal in life is marriage.  Cinderella also presents traditional gender roles. Cinderella is the helpless princess while the prince is her saviour to take her away from her mediocre life. Cinderella uses this idea as in the film she takes on a domestic role and becomes the wife of a Prince. I think that this also can be seen in the lives of young girls because they fall in love with the idea of meeting their dream prince and perhaps not being successful,  living their own lives by making their own choices or more importantly, being independent.   

     Cinderella is an example of a Disney film that I would argue has given females of all ages unrealistic interpretations about love. The movie provides the audience with a female character who embodies idealistic ideas about life.The “Cinderella” story is embodied in our culture as not only Disney but different types of literature, movies etc. have use Cinderella as way for young girls to look up to her and what they should try to achieve in their lives. Therefore, Cinderella and her prince get married and live happily ever after, but what comes after the “ever after” is a mystery. Sexton’s poem provides an option for what may have happened to Cinderella and Prince Charming, as it reads, “their darling smiles pasted on for eternity… / That story” (107-109). Is Cinderella just a story?  

     This is a clip from Cinderella and illustrating how her life is fairy tale. I think that the ending of the movie shows how Cinderella’s dreams come true but also how the prince rescues her from her life.

“Disney Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Love”

March 24, 2010 - Leave a Response

     My inspiration for this blog, came from a Facebook group that I joined a couple of years ago. I am a big lover of anything Disney and this group came to my attention, called Disney Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Love. When I joined this group, I did not realize the importance of such an idea. I thought that it was cute and true, but never thought about it critically. This group has an interesting concept because of the value that it holds in society and how Disney films, princesses, princes etc. have taught and impacted people of all ages.

     The information section of Disney Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Love is also very intriguing because of the way it which the creator has cleverly combined aspects from popular Disney movies it states,

“For the young of heart who believe that:
Glass slippers and pumpkin carriages are comfortable,
Swapping your voice and family for a pair of legs is a good deal,
Love transforms haughty beasts into Princes,
Pretty girls fall for hunchbacks,
Kissing a sleeping Princess with 100 years of morning breath is pleasant,
All boys grow up, stop fighting pirates, and fall in love,
Gods give up their hard earned immortality for commoners,
Princesses fall for street urchins,
And that falling in love with an explorer does not risk a nasty smallpox infection.
This group is for you!” (“Disney Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Love”).

This description speaks to individuals who have grown up with Disney films, and looks at the realistic elements of popular movies. This group is very cute and fun however; holds value in relation to people’s perceptions of relationships but also love. I think that this group targets both males and females and their connection to Disney as children. This group allows for individuals to express their feelings and how Disney has affected their outlook on love as well as life.

     This is a clip from the 1959 (“ImDb”) film, Sleeping Beauty with Princess Aurora singing the famous song, “Once Upon a Dream”. It presents Princess Aurora’s desire to find her “dream prince”. This clip shows Princess Aurora’s dependence on finding the perfect man. It further presents an idea about love and how easy it is to find a partner but more importantly, the ideas of affection and adoration.