6 Mixed Messages In Disney Movies

Ah Disney, how could you lie to us about so many things? Here are 6 mixed messages in Disney movies.

Mixed Messages From Disney Movies
Source: Disney, as is all media throughout

Have you ever gotten mixed messages from someone before? When I’m in work meetings and someone will be presenting something crucial, they’ll often ask, “are you paying attention?”. It’s always the person who’s been on their phone the whole time yawning who gets guilty and says “yes”. Their words said yes, but by their actions they’ve proven they weren’t. How about when someone RSVPs “Maybe” on Facebook? There’s no telling what that means sometimes. My brother always says people RSVP maybe so they can appear like they have a life outside of whatever you’ve invited them to but will rock up anyway. He’s right about 85% of the time on that one. Is it really that hard to lock in a yes or no?

I feel like I’ve come to expect this sort of behaviour from some movies I watch sometimes, too. However, if there was a movie studio I would not expect to lie to me or deceive me or give me mixed signals, it would be Disney. You know, the magical one? Full of amazing stories and unforgettable moments of movie magic? Unfortunately, Disney frequently resolves storylines with morals that aren’t held consistently by the story of the film. 

Here are 6 times we got mixed messages in Disney movies. Also… I do love Disney movies. Especially these ones. I just think too much.

“I choose you, Aladdin” / Prince Ali – Aladdin

Prince Ali

Oh boy. This one.

Okay, so the premise of this Disney immortal classic is that Aladdin, the street rat kid with a pet monkey, has been overlooked his whole life. One day, as all Disney princesses do, Jasmine leaves her land of expectation and encounters him on the street where he saves her losing her arm. They hit it off and it’s all swell. Next minute, Aladdin uses the powers of the genie to wish himself into a prince so he stands a chance with the princess. The movie resolves with Jasmine choosing Aladdin because he’s Aladdin, and not because he’s a prince.

But hold the phone a second. Would Jasmine have actually gone for Aladdin as Aladdin? She actually didn’t. She actually only went after him when he was dressed up in the prince outfit. Okay sure, “the law” said that she must be married to a prince, but she didn’t even make a case of it to her father at all. It was his deception and his amazing magic carpet ride that got her to start to pay attention properly.

So the movie that resolves with a message of being valued as yourself actually centers completely around the plot point of Aladdin pretending to be something he wasn’t in order to get the princess’ attention. A case could be made that this is actually how a lot of people do notice or consider each other in real life, but ho hum Disney, why you mess with your own moral?

Beauty is/isn’t skin deep – Beauty and the Beast


Belle’s discovery of Beast’s heart is a touching little story. I love Beauty and the Beast for sure. But no matter how many times I see the story wherever it is, I always get slightly disheartened by one scene in particular.

The transformation.

Fortunately for Belle, who actually fell for Beast while he was a beast, Prince Adam turns out to be a young Fabio with a hot French accent.

Beauty and the Babe, more like it.

Hakuna Matata / Take responsibility – The Lion King & Peter Pan

Real Timon and Pumbaa

Disney is brilliant at creating a whole cast of likeable characters. Timon and Pumbaa, for instance. Hilarious, innocent, jovial, even able to be in good spin offs besides the main Lion King storylines. Or the Lost Boys in Peter Pan, forming a similar function. Or even Peter Pan himself.

Unfortunately, they all suffer from the aptly named “Peter Pan” syndrome. They are characters who shirk their responsibilities and do whatever they want. This is usually done in song or dance and is positioned to the viewer as desirable, fun, light hearted behaviour.

But to defeat Scar and Captain Hook, the mainstays have to grow up and actually take responsibility. They’re both conveyed to be just as good as each other from their tone and presentation.

I don’t think a song about taking responsibility would move as many movie soundtracks, though. Except maybe Go The Distance.

You’re my prisoner / We’re in love – Beauty and the Beast

Belle Prisoner

Another B & B one. I dunno, there is something really weird about how Belle and Adam get together. She’s her prisoner. That means she’ll fall in love with him. He’s no monster Gaston, you are. Really? Taken from your father, locked in a castle… there’s something very Stockholm Syndrome about it from an adult perspective. B & B does have a lot of layers to the love story and it’s actually masterful how it’s been put together, but I definitely still get some mixed vibes about the request for dinner.


Let It Go / Actually… don’t – Frozen


I loved Frozen. The only thing more enjoyable than Frozen in English was seeing it in Japan in Japanese. Twice. Those voice actors and singers are just as talented as their English speaking counterparts.

I heard the title song Let It Go playing somewhere a few days ago, and I actually started thinking about its lyrics. I mean, they do perfectly capture what the character Elsa is feeling at that point in time, but the song seems to be carried on as the main message of the film in any discussion about it. I dunno if it actually is. The consequences of Elsa letting it go was actually that the entire kingdom was frozen and the eternal winter was shutting down their way of life.

This is more the fault of marketing I think. Frozen was ultimately a love story about working out your own power and ability… just don’t blindly let it go and let it destroy everyone you know and love, k?

Maybe Elsa is just a bit of a fixer upper.

When you wish upon a star / the plot of every Disney movie ever – Every Disney movie

Upon A Star

Pinocchio is famous for having one of the most famous Disney songs of all time – When You Wish Upon a Star. All you have to do after all, is wish upon a star, and then all your dreams will come true.

Unless you’re Simba. Then you need to deal with your psycho family issues, stop running from responsibility, stop avoiding Nala, and go be the king she knows you are.

Or unless you’re Mulan. Who needs to fight for the honour of her family and kingdom, defeat the Huns, and protect the man she loves.

Or unless you’re Snow White. Then it’s actually up to Prince Phillip to fight the dragon form of Maleficent and almost die trying to wake you up.

Or unless you’re Giselle from Enchanted. Then you have to fight Maleficent Round 2 and build a relationship like a normal person.

Or unless you’re Rapunzel who has to find freedom from her situation in the tower.

Bit more involved than wishing upon a star, as is the reality of seeing our own dreams come true.

Yes, I am that guy who psycho-analyzes every character in the movies I watch. Sorry if I’ve ruined some of your Disney faves. Just to clarify, I do enjoy them too, I just think it’s interesting how the main messages put forward in these classic tales don’t actually entirely ring true with the circumstances and actions of their characters.

How about you? Have you ever felt lied to by Disney?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from Walking the Shoreline

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading