A lot of people dismiss Disney movies (especially the animated ones) as “kids” movies. But the truth is, there are a lot of valuable life lessons embedded in all these Disney films. You may have to be an adult to appreciate them, but the values taught in Disney films stay with you from childhood.
Real talk, though I may not have known the exact quotes, I have been repeating some form of the following sayings since I was young.
Here are a few of my favorite Disney lessons, in no particular order:
“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” The Lion King
This is one of my favorites. Who hasn’t made crappy mistakes in their past that they just want to run away from and forget? Sometimes we just need a whack on the head to remind us that, no matter how much of a mess we think we’ve made, we need to learn from our mistakes and move on. Go into the future wiser, more confident, and defeat the demons you left behind.
“Go. Live your dream.” Tangled
Such a simple quote, but this is also something we don’t hear nearly as often in life as we should. What do I always hear? “Be careful.” “Save money.” “Keep working.” Very rarely do I hear, “Just go and do what makes you happy.”
Of course, if I do what makes me happy, and it turns out to be successful and earns a lot of money, then of course everyone is all “Congrats!” Sometimes, however, our dreams can be as simple as going on vacation, or having a family, or taking a personal day off work, or I don’t know…moving away from your family to do a Disney internship that pays very little (cough, cough). This life lesson is a great one- just go and live your dream.
“Have courage and be kind.” Cinderella (2015)
Anyone who knows me knows that this is my favorite quote of all time. It really does see you through all the trials that life can offer. If you face anything with courage and kindness, then you can conquer the world. It’s hard to find someone these days who is genuinely, purely kind. It’s hard to find courage, especially when it seems like everyone is against you.
So, be that person. Go against what’s normal, and don’t be so quick to respond to a rude person with a sassy remark (no matter how much you may want to). Breathe, be kind, and be brave. It will pay off.
“A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” Hercules
I think what I take away from this is, it’s on the inside that counts. Everyone has different abilities and strengths. It doesn’t matter how you act- what matters is that your heart is brave and good. Anyone can do daring and heroic deeds; a true hero doesn’t need to wear a cape. A true hero can show their strengths in many ways.
For instance, I consider Cinderella a true hero, though most people see her as an anti-feminist icon. She is brave and kind, and even though she doesn’t fight actual monsters, she fights against adversity and saves herself. Leave it to me to drag Cinderella into a quote from Hercules, but they are both true heroes, in my opinion.
“She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.” Beauty and the Beast
Another quote about believing in your inner qualities more than your outer abilities; however, this one pertains more to others rather than to ourselves. We, as humans, are so quick to judge others. It’s natural, and we all do it. What this quote, and what Beauty and the Beast teaches us, is that sometimes, looking at someone beneath the surface can show you how beautiful they truly are. It’s so hard to put this belief into practice, but we can start with the little things.
I try to look at the beauty within by picking up a book I may not have chosen just by the cover alone, or by choosing something off the menu that at first looks gross, but is actually delicious. Try not judging things for a day, and it will soon become second nature.
I felt bad leaving out my favorite quote from Beauty and the Beast, which is “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere.” I always dream of adventure and vacation, and usually, it’s not what others have in mind, or it’s “so much more than they’ve got planned.” This isn’t necessarily a life lesson, but it’s a cool reminder than you should never give up on your dreams of adventure, even if it’s not what others approve of.
“Keep moving forward.” Meet the Robinsons
This is a really underrated movie, but it has the best words of wisdom. “Keep moving forward” is actually an excerpt from a longer quote by Walt Disney. It has the same message as the one from The Lion King, and it’s so simple. Make a mistake? Keep moving forward. Have a bad day? Keep moving forward. You can’t go back, so why dwell on the past?
Of course, all of this is easy to say in theory. But just keep repeating it, and try to remember this mantra on those bad days.
“I never look back, darling, it distracts from the now.” The Incredibles
Edna Mode from The Incredibles has great advice, and she is a little bubble of amazing wisdom. I won’t keep repeating myself with advice about leaving the bad parts of the past behind, but yeah- focus on the present as much as you can.
This is hard for me, as someone with anxiety, because I am constantly dwelling on the past. And you know what? It does distract me from what’s currently going on in my life. So yes, listen to Edna, darling.
“Some people are worth melting for.” Frozen
I am biased with this one as, I’ve said before, it’s the quote my husband picked to have engraved on the inside of my wedding band. He doesn’t even like Frozen that much. But it’s true- some people are worth melting for. Some people are worth everything, and it may not be the person you thought it would be. This goes for family and friends as well. The ones you love will always be worth it, whatever “it” is.
“I don’t want to survive. I want to live!” Wall-E
I feel like I don’t watch Wall-E as much as I should, and that’s sad, because it resonates so much with where the world is at right now in terms of technology. We have all become complacent, spending the day behind screens and “interacting” with others via social media platforms. We are surviving, since our basic needs are being met. But are we really living?
“Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.” Pocahontas
Pocahontas is not my favorite movie, but this lesson is one of the best. The hardest path in life is usually the most rewarding. It’s so easy to always do whatever everyone else is doing- but is it right for you? For me, blogging about Disney is fun, but it’s certainly not easy. Wanting to be a writer is not easy, nor is it a feasible career choice. But for me, doing anything else would feel wrong.
This is a great lesson when it comes to the world in general. Standing up for others when no one else will is not easy; speaking out against world issues is not easy; I could keep going on, but you get my drift. Seek the right path in your life, and not the easy one.
What are your favorite Disney lessons? What are some good quotes that I’ve left out?
Hugs and Fishes,