Disney – the literal definition of heaven on earth. The company has built and grown a wide-scale brand since 1923, with their brilliant animation design, entertainment value and diverse movies that suit all ages. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a big Disney fanatic, and their films played a huge role in my childhood. Not only did Disney spark my imagination (which is probably where my love of writing comes from), it also taught me some valuable life lessons. There were plenty of them, but here are just 10 of the life lessons I’ve learned from Disney movies. Enjoy!
1. Family will always be there.
Family is one of the main themes throughout any Disney movie, whether it be associated with conflict or love. However, in the end, family always comes back together, which is still very true in real life. I have found that, just like in Disney movies, no matter your arguments, no matter your actions, and no matter the situation, family will always be there for you (even if you run away from them to be with a human that you’ve known for 0.5 seconds, which causes a series of disastrous events including the almost death of yourself, your dad and your kingdom). And you must always be there for your family.
2. Learn from the past.
A very important quote throughout my life has been “the past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it”. Although soul-crushing, the Lion King provided some very wise teachings. One of those being the quote above (the other being to never trust the sarcastic sibling). Events that have happened in the past can hurt and leave emotional scars, but like Rafiki said, there are only two ways to go from there. You can either run from your problems and forever be stuck in the past, or you can learn from it and move on.
3. Girls can heroes too.
Growing up, there weren’t many Disney heroines for girls to look up to. However, nowadays that has changed and the girls of this generation are seeing more and more Disney heroines onscreen. Whereas we only had Mulan and Pocahontas, young girls now have role models such as Tiana, Merida, Anna and Elsa, and more recently, Moana. Having these kinds of role models teaches young girls that they can be strong, adventurous and brave, and that they can be the heroes of their own story. Even though I watched these heroines when I was a young adult rather than a child, they still left the same impact, which just proves that you can always learn from Disney, no matter your age.
4. Love is possible to find.
Even though, now that I’m older, I find those Disney princess movies kind of sappy and cliché, they did teach me one thing; that love is possible to find. Whether you’ve been outcast by your step-family and forced to be a maid, or whether you’re trapped in a tower with weird magical hair qualities, you will be able to find your prince. This notion gives me hope that no matter the struggles I have faced or will face in the future and no matter my personal qualities, someday my prince will come (here’s hoping he’s tall with brunet hair and green eyes).
5. If you work hard, you can reach your dreams.
My favourite thing about the Princess and the frog is that Tiana is depicted as a strong, independent woman with real life goals (that initially don’t involve a charming prince). The movie shows a realistic, hard-working girl who has her sights set on a good life and career, and who in the end, successfully achieves her dreams. It gives you hope that whether you want to travel across the land to see some floating lights or whether you want to own your own restaurant in New Orleans, if you work hard, your dreams will come true.
6. Be true to yourself.
I learnt one of the most important life lessons of all through Disney movies – the best way to achieve full happiness is to be true to yourself. Disney movies like Aladdin, Tangled, Frozen, Mulan, and many more were great examples of all the magical things that happen when you stay true to yourself. Without these positive influences earlier on in life, I wouldn’t have as strong self-confidence as I do today, nor would I have had the courage to fully accept myself (flaws and all).
7. Listen to the sidekick!
The fault of almost every Disney hero/heroine is that they never listen to their sidekick, which usually leads them into some serious trouble that others eventually have to help them out of. The lesson I learnt from this is to always listen to the sidekick because they can usually spot danger before you see it (in real life terms, listen to your family and friends).
8. Go on your adventures before it’s too late.
If there’s one thing that I learnt from ‘Up’ (besides that the creators at Disney are evil) is that you should always seek out your adventures. Don’t leave them for a time that’s more convenient, or for a time where you have built up enough savings in the bank. Do it all now before it’s too late! Go skydiving, learn another language, buy a house, travel the world, just live life.
9. Don’t judge someone from first appearances.
Despite having mixed views, Beauty and The Beast is a historic love story and undoubtedly a Disney classic. Admittedly, the Beast (aka Prince Adam) was aggressive and beyond rude to Belle when she first arrived (likewise, Belle wasn’t as charmed to be in his presence either), but after spending time together, they both discovered likeable qualities and soon developed a romantic connection. This time old tale is a good lesson to not judge people based on first appearances and impressions because you never know what may be hiding behind the beast.
10. You never have to grow up.
Besides being my favourite Disney movie of all time, just like Peter, I hate the thought of growing up. I mean, who would want to continue to grow old and stop having fun? Not me! But the best thing about Disney is that you never have to as their movies expands over all ages. No matter how old and wrinkly I become, I’m still going to be able to enjoy the magic of Disney movies and forever remain a child at heart. This is perhaps the most valuable of the life lessons I’ve learned from Disney movies.
Which Disney movie was your favourite growing up? Did Disney teach you any other important life lessons? As always, let us know in the comment section below!
Featured photo source: singsnap.com and fanpop.com
19. Australian. Aspiring journalist with a passion for the creative arts.