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Walt Disney: 5 Common Movie Tropes

Walt Disney is truly an icon both in the film and animation industry. His genius creation of stories coming to life have been passed down from one generation to another. These works have stood the test of time and still remain a classic favorite. Popular titles such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty have been around for many years and are loved by audiences of all ages.

Disney has firmly engraved its name as one of pop culture’s most celebrated industries in the world. Its distinct trademark and style have helped establish its name among many other studios in the field. Here are the most common Walt Disney tropes that are found in almost every film:

Storybook Opening

Storybook Opening

Fairytale adaptation is one of the most popular Walt Disney creations; hence, the use of a storybook at the beginning of a movie seems appropriate. This technique helps establish the mood of the film as well as give a lingering magical effect on the viewers.

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Most popular Disney fairytale movies have storybook openings and they all start with the famous line, “Once upon a time…” This spiel is also very characteristic of a Walt Disney production. Viewers immediately know what kind of film they should expect to see.

Orphaned Protagonists

The Lion King Walt Disney

Disney uses this popular trope in a lot of its movies. There is no certainty around the stigma that parents in a Disney movie usually never make it to the end. Walt Disney had his reasons, but this technique propels a more character-driven plot. It gives room for the protagonists to ground their motivations.


Sympathy is a powerful element in creating films; the purpose of this is to drive emotional investment from the audience. They will become more understanding of the characters and will root for them towards the end.

One Memorable Song

Frozen Elsa Walt Disney

For sure, as a Disney fan, you watch a movie and suddenly, a song or two get stuck in your head all day long. The next thing you know, you are jamming to it with accurate lyrics. It’s both a creative and marketing style, which is indeed a wonderful trademark of Disney.

Remember when Frozen’s “Let It Go” dominated the airwaves for a very long time? Now we have Encanto’s “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” topping the UK charts!

Animal Sidekicks

Mushu Mulan Walt Disney

This is a very iconic Disney trope that anyone could easily recognize. Animals as the protagonist’s sidekick just hit differently. Perhaps because they add certain comic relief that human characters can’t provide. Or, maybe because it’s just awesome to have talking animals on screen.

We have Mushu from Mulan, Sven from Frozen, and The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, to name a few. Somehow, this has become a standard in any Disney production.

Happily Ever After

Cinderella Walt Disney

Indeed, Walt Disney established happy endings in animated films. It always helps the audience put on a great mood after they leave the theater. Endings are not always great, but in the world of Walt Disney, the good always triumphs, and everyone lives happily ever after.


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Written by Ariane

Ariane, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.