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5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Disney Cartoons

Updated on September 10, 2015

Walt Disney’s popular cartoons are not only interesting at face value – it’s also fun to look under the surface and take a glimpse at the unusual things that happen behind the scenes. If you’re the average Disney fan, there is a chance that you will find the following facts interesting, and there’s an even bigger chance that you are not aware of them before reading this hub:

#5. Mulan’s Mushu Was Originally Intended to Be Large and Scary

When Mulan was still being conceptualized and written, the diminutive and smart aleck eastern dragon Mushu was intended by the writers to be gigantic and scary. The idea was shot down by the powers that be, on the reasoning that a giant fire-breathing lizard sidekick might be too scary for the target demographic. There’s also the fact that a gigantic Mushu could mess with the narrative, because many of Mulan’s problems in the movie would have been solved easily if Mushu were in his intended size.

Fortunately for the writers, Chinese mythology had a place for small dragons. Mushu fit right in, and they addressed the size issue by having the character state that he’s currently “travel size” for Mulan’s convenience, and that if he was in his real size, her cow would die of fright.

#4. Tarzan’s Acrobatic Moves Were Based on Tony Hawk

You wouldn’t imagine a vine-swinging jungle man to be something that’s based on something as modern as skateboarding, but that’s exactly what happened with Disney’s Tarzan. It is said that the animators for the movie were in need of a model for Tarzan’s moves while swinging on vines and jumping between trees in the jungle, so they watched videos of pro skateboarder Tony Hawk. Most fans might have unintentionally made the connection during the scenes where the king of the jungle slid down tree branches much in the same way Tony Hawk would grind on rails and ledges.

#3. Minority Princesses Weren’t as Successful as Their Peers

It may seem like a joke meant to infuse a certain amount of racial politics into harmless kids’ films, but the truth is that the least popular princesses on Disney’s library were the Native American and Asian ones. Based on merchandise sales, both Mulan and Pocahontas’ total revenue is easily eclipsed by Aurora from Sleeping Beauty – and that’s a character who wasn’t even in her own movie that much (Aurora was present for a mere 18 minutes and spoke a total of 18 lines throughout the whole film.) And let’s not even mention Snow White and the truck full of money that she keeps shoveling into Walt Disney’s doors.

#2. The Real Reason Why Mickey Mouse Wears White Gloves

Mickey Mouse has become so entrenched in our popular culture that people no longer question or think about why he looks the way he does now (even though he used to look vastly different during his original black and white cartoons.) This is a shame because there are a lot of interesting reasons for his design. For example: the white gloves.

It is said that Walt originally designed Mickey to wear white gloves because showing actual mouse fingernails would be too disturbing for children, and many of the other characters based on animals with icky fingernails/claws were outfitted with their own gloves. We’re guessing Walt doesn’t have any qualms about duck feathers, because Donald doesn’t have any gloves on him.

#1. Disney Forgot that there are Left Handed People in the World

Before Disney got their hands on the Peter Pan fairy tale, the antagonist Captain Hook has always been depicted in plays as having his hook on the right hand. Disney changed it to a left hook in the movie because they thought that losing a right hand would have restricted the pirate captain’s movements too much and prevented him from being efficient at the things that a pirate does, like sword fighting.

Doesn’t really explain why they didn’t think of all the left handed people functioning normally day in and day out, and the fact that Hook was meant to lose his right arm because losing one’s “good arm” is a bigger tragedy, which would have given him more reason to fear and hate the croc.


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    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 2 years ago from Illinois

      Interesting hub! I'm a huge Disney fan and I only knew the one about Tarzan and that was because they promoted that fact so heavily on the Disney Channel when the movie was going to come out. You know, as it turns out now that I think about that movie, the story was just mediocre but the surfer/skater movements in the jungle setting was a truly original concept that made the movie better.