When one talks about Disney, all we picture in our heads is fairy tales. However, not all of the legendary animation company’s releases have been a case of smooth sailing. The studios have gone through lots of ups and downs ranging from racial controversies to box office bombs.
There’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to your favorite Disney characters. Given what we have seen over the years, it may come as no surprise to you that they are often far more complex than they appear.
Did you know that everyone’s favorite rubbish-compactor, Wall-E, was named after Walter Elias Disney? Scroll down for more interesting trivia and little-known facts about some of our favorite very well-known Disney friends
1. Saying Walt Disney had a lot riding on his shoulders during the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be an understatement. To complete the film, he had borrowed funds from various parties to finance it and even mortgaged his own house
2. While Disney is known for the classy and catchy soundtracks they put in their films, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first film ever to release an accompanying soundtrack
3. However it wasn’t the first time Disney delivered music from its films to the public. Back in 1933, the 78 rpm record for “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” from The Three Little Pigs was a big seller (It was only a single and not a soundtrack).
4. A Mickey Mouse writing tablet was the first official Disney character merchandise ever. Walt Disney agreed to license the character to a company in New York for just $300 because he was in dire need of money at the time
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5. The first Disney song to win the Oscar for Best Original Song was “When You Wish Upon a Star,” from Pinocchio
6. During the times of World War II, 90% of the content that Walt Disney Studios produced was for the Allies’ war effort (i.e. propaganda films, training films, print campaigns, etc.).
7. The first time ever Disney shot a film in live-action and then used it for reference to animate the movie was for Cinderella. 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. It was Betty Lou Gerson who voiced the narration that you hear at the beginning of Cinderella. She 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 also happens to be the voice of Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion ride.
11. What makes the Haunted Mansion distinct is that it is placed in a different land in every Disney park that has it.
12. Can you believe it took near about 8 years to make Sleeping Beauty. Apparently, Walt Disney was distracted as he was working on building Disneyland at the same time. The film first went into production in 1951 and wasn’t released into theaters until 1959.
13. If you look observe closely you can see that the design of Anita in 101 Dalmatians is partly based on Julie Andrews.
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)
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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 wasn’t the first person on screen to play Mary Poppins. Back in 1949, Mary Wickes played the character in a one-hour TV adaptation that was part of CBS’s Studio One series.
17. Coincidentally, Mary Wikes has a role in another classic Disney film — she played Sister Mary Lazarus in the Sister Act films.
18. The Beatles were in talks for a cameo as the vultures in The Jungle Book back when it was being voiced. However, the band refused the offer. Reportedly, it was John Lennon was disapproved of the idea and refused to be a part of it.
19. Disneyland’s King Arthur Carousel is older than the park itself. It was constructed in 1922 for the Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto.
20. The Enchanted Tiki Room (which opened in 1963) was the first attraction at Disneyland which had air conditioning in it.
21. The first Disney movie ever to receive a PG rating was the 1979 release titled The Black Hole
22. In search for the voice of Ursula during the early development period of The Little Mermaid, Disney approached both Joan Collins and Bea Arthur
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.
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. Angela Lansbury’s very first take in Beauty and the Beast was singing the title track as Mrs. Potts
25. The first time Disney ever released an entire scene as a trailer was the 1993 teaser trailer for The Lion King
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