Disney, a place where all your dreams come true. What if I told you that your favorite cartoons have some pretty interesting backstories. Walt Disney Studios is famous for many of the most well-known cinematic characters of all time, from the classic to the brand-new.
However, there’s more to many of these Disney characters than meets the eye. Here are some interesting facts that you may or may not know.
Fact 1- Mickey Mouse was almost named Mortimer
Walt Disney suggested the name ‘Mortimer’ to his wife Lilian but she didn’t think that the name is suitable for the character’s personality. Walt Disney later came up with the name Mickey Mouse and the rest was history. Since 1936, Mortimer Mouse has occasionally appeared in papers and short films as Mickey’s taller, more boastful enemy.
Fact 2- Robin Williams almost said no to the role of Genie
Voice actors used to be slightly underwhelming. But today, film studios cast big stars as their voice actors. If there was a single cast that brought a shift, it was the casting of Robin Williams as the Genie in 1992’s Aladdin. Disney felt Williams was the right guy for the job, but he was apprehensive about becoming a cog in a massive merchandise-selling entertainment corporation. However, Disney was so desperate to cast him in the role that they created animations of the Genie performing his stand-up routines. He agreed on the condition that his voice not be used in any of the film’s marketing—or, worse, in dolls and other “things.” Disney then refused to comply with his requirements, resulting in a quarrel between William and Disney.
Fact 3-Anna and Elsa are technically not Disney princesses
Confusing but people commonly refer to all princesses in Disney films as “Disney princesses,” although there is an official, recognized list. Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and Moana are the 12 “official”. There are no Anna and Elsa to be found. But how can that be since Frozen and its sequel are by far the most successful and the top Disney princess films? It’s because of that success, to be sure. Frozen was profitable enough to become a franchise of its own. Anna and Elsa don’t need the official Disney princess branding as they’re already successful Disney characters of their own. Besides, in Frozen 2, Anna is a queen and Elsa is a spirit. So they are way pass the princess title.
Fact 4- Maleficent and Cinderella’s stepmother are the same people
Both Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, and Maleficent, the villain in Sleeping Beauty were voiced by Actress Eleanor Audley. Before her death in 1991, Audley had a successful television career, appearing on series such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Fact 5- Pocahontas is the only Disney princess based on the true story
According to Smithsonian Magazine, Pocahontas’ real name was Amonute. Pocahontas was only a nickname that meant “funny one” or “naughty child.” She met John Smith when she was a youngster, not an adult, and they did not have a romantic connection. As a result, it’s made our list of the most historically incorrect films. However, this doesn’t mean that Disney accurately film what occurred in real life.
Fact 6-Only two Disney princesses have supernatural powers
Can you guess the only two princesses with power? Yes, Rapunzel and Elsa. While most Disney princess films have a magical element to them, the main leading ladies rarely have magical talents themselves. Except for these two. Rapunzel, with her healing, radiant hair, and Elsa, with her ice abilities.
Fact 7-The Beast has features of many animals
And here we thought he was just ONE beast. Animator Glen Keane said he created the main character from Beauty and the Beast with the legs of a wolf, the tail of a dog, the body of a bear, the head of a buffalo, the eyebrows of a gorilla, the muzzle of a wild boar, and the mane of a lion.
Fact 8- Jackie Chan played two popular Disney roles
Famous actor Jackie Chan voiced the Beast in the Chinese version of Beauty and the Beast, and Captain Li Shang in the Chinese version of Mulan. For both parts, he sang. Impressive isn’t it!
Fact 9- Lady from Lady and the Tramp is based on a real dog
That dog was also named Lady, and she was a Springer Spaniel that belonged to Joe Grant, a Disney writer. Walt Disney instructed Grant to make a storyboard with the dog after viewing sketches of it, but he ended up rejecting the concept. Disney didn’t revisit the tale with Grant’s initial illustrations until he heard a storey called “Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog” about a dog “from the opposite side of the rails.”
Fact 10- Winnie the Pooh name has an adorable origin
This Silly Old Bear has an unusual, even amusing, name. But there’s a reason he’s referred to as “Pooh.” The narrator in A. A. Milne’s first Winnie-the-Pooh novel recounts that Pooh would often have flies buzzing about his nose. He’d try to puff air at them, making a pooh! sound, to pull them off.
Sources: Reader’s Digest