Disney Cartoons: 50 Details That Change the Way We See Them

21 Mar 2023

It is difficult to find an adult or a child who would not like at least a few cartoons from the American company Walt Disney.

However, there are tons of little nuances in these great movies that you might not have noticed. Here are some of the coolest aspects of Disney's animated movies that will change the way you think about them.

Based on The Rock's grandfather, Maui

It looks like Dwayne Johnson had a lot more creative input into his character in Moana than previously thought. The successful actor was able to convince the filmmakers to model Maui's appearance after his late grandfather. Talented Samoan wrestler Peter Maivia. Maivia helped The Rock become a WWE Superstar, which eventually opened the door to his acting career with Dwayne Johnson's father, Rocky Johnson.

Based on The Rock's grandfather, Maui.jpg?format=webp@TophCookie/Reddit.com

Only once did Pinocchio's nose grow!

One of the first things that comes to mind when you think of Pinocchio is that his nose grows every time he tells a lie.

However, his nose grows only once in the entire film! On the way to school, he claimed to have met "two large creatures with large green eyes", but this was not true. 

Only Once Did Pinocchio's Nose Grow! (1).jpg?format=webp@Pinocchio's Lie/Disney Movies/YouTube.com

There are so many black spots in 101 Dalmatians

Have you ever wondered how many black spots there are in 101 Dalmatians? Given that dogs are visible almost all the time, that must be quite a number.

It turns out that the entire movie contains an impressive 6,469,952 dark spots. Who exactly counted each location from frame to frame is unknown. However, it definitely helps that Perdita has 68 slots, Pongo has 72 slots, and the puppies have 32 each.

There Are So Many Black Spots in 101 Dalmatians (1).jpg?format=webp@101 DALMATIANS Clip - Watching TV (1961) Disney/JoBlo Animated Videos/YouTube.com

Optimus Prime and Eeyore are “the same”

Disney is full of prime examples of how different voice actors can be when it comes to the roles they play. Outstanding voice actor Peter Cullen created perhaps one of the most interesting contrasts between the characters.

The experienced actor voiced the beloved donkey Ea in the animated series Winnie the Pooh. But he played Optimus Prime in the Transformers movie series.

Optimus Prime and Eeyore are “the same”.jpg?format=webp@Quiet-Living8975/Reddit.com

Elvis Is Lilo and Stitch's biggest love

The Disney film Lilo and Stitch is a prime example of one that contains some of the odd pop culture allusions. Although the King was known for including music in his films, the well-known animated film includes several of his songs.

Ironically, Lilo and Stitch was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002 for Best Animated Feature Film while Elvis's films were rarely well-received by reviewers. Not to note that Stitch wore an Elvis costume throughout the film!

Elvis Is Lilo and Stitch's biggest love.jpg?format=webp@lunarae_eclipse/Reddit.com

There were only 18 lines in Sleeping Beauty

The classic Sleeping Beauty Disney film contains more than 18 lines. Aurora, the primary character, has the fewest lines in the entire film—just 18.

Although we were aware of how little she spoke, that is still a little bizarre. Aurora reportedly has the second-fewest lines in any Disney film. Number one is Dumbo. But to be fair, he is an infant elephant.

There were only 18 lines in Sleeping Beauty (1).jpg?format=webp@An Unusual Prince/Once Upon a Dream (From "Sleeping Beauty")/DisneyMusicVEVO/YouTube.com

The Beast is an amalgam of various animals

Perhaps, as a child, you did not think about what kind of animal the monster from "Beauty and the Beast" was. At first glance, you might think that he is a feline creature.

The terrifying character's appearance turns out to be a combination of several other species. However, he does have a lion's mane.

The Beast is an amalgam of various animals (1).jpg?format=webp@Beauty and the Beast - Best Memorable Moments/Movies online/YouTube.com

Apple Car in Automobiles

Naturally, the Disney/Pixar Cars movie is full of cars. All the fantastic racing cars featured in the movie have outrageous personalities and come in a variety of shapes and colors.

However, the white racing car with the recognizable Apple logo and the number "84" (the year of the first Apple computer) will catch your eye. This makes sense since Steve Jobs was Disney's largest shareholder at the time.

Apple Car in Automobiles (1).jpg?format=webp@Lightning McQueen Apple Mac i Car (Pixar Cars Explained)/Osmic Tech/YouTube.com

The Emperor's New Groove often features a Mickey Mouse head

It's only fitting that Mickey Mouse, the Disney character who started it all and who received many references in future films.

But there are other instances in The Emperor's New Groove where Mickey's head's outline is discernible. The food on Kuzco's plates, Yzma's earrings, and even certain shrubs contain it.

The Emperor's New Groove frequently features Mickey Mouse's head.jpg?format=webp@lavenderultra/Reddit.com

Hercules is wearing Scar's pelt from The Lion King

Disney films are known to be self-referential, meaning they often make playful allusions to other Disney films. However, some of these callbacks are more obvious than others.

Think of the movie Hercules, in which the main character dons the skin of Scar from The Lion King. It is implied that the Scar was allegedly the object of a trophy hunt.

Hercules Dons the Pelt of Scar.jpg?format=webp@MooxBoi/Reddit.com

The Rescuers' Dirty Reference

In a few select cases, Disney movies have offered sly jokes, to put it mildly, more adult-oriented. Many people fail to notice one of the most graphic details in the movie The Rescuers.

Miss Bianca and Bernard fly past what appears to be a topless woman standing by a window. Amazingly, after receiving countless complaints from horrified families, Disney chose to take down 3.4 million videos.

The Rescuers' Dirty Reference.jpg?format=webp@The Rescuers (1977) - Uncut - Controversial images scene restored/TheRetroMike/YouTube.com

Ariel and Belle

In some ways, Charmed may not be fully animated. However, it has a fascinating relationship with the old animated classics. It highlights two of the most famous Disney princesses or rather the actresses who played them.

Voices of Ariel from The Little Mermaid by Jodi Benson and Belle from Beauty and the Beast by Paige O'Hara. Both appear in the 2007 film as a secretary and soap opera actress respectively.

Are in Enchanted Ariel and Belle.jpg?format=webp@Jodi Benson (Princess Ariel: The Little Mermaid) in Enchanted (2007)/ The Sparkle Girl (aka Caitlin Sparkle)/YouTube.com

Cinderella is Walt Disney's favorite animated film

It's always interesting to hear Walt Disney's thoughts on the films he made during his lifetime. We can understand why the man who started it all said in an interview that his favorite animation of all his films was the dress transformation in Cinderella.

Cinderella is Walt Disney's favorite animated film (1).jpg?format=webp@Cinderella ~ Full Movie In English/Little Golden Spoon/YouTube.com

The only princess with green eyes is Rapunzel

Rapunzel is the only Disney princess with green eyes, the other princesses typically have brown or blue eyes.

The only princess with green eyes is Rapunzel.jpg?format=webp@goblud/Reddit.com

In Snow White, false teeth helped to create the witch's voice

Disney has a history of creating innovative sound effects for its films. And sometimes the actors in these films bring their original ideas, changing the way we perceive this hero.

Actress Lucille La Verne had a brilliant idea for the role of the queen/witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Before reading her lines, she removed her false teeth, which made room for that recognizable, nasty voice.

In Snow White, false teeth helped to create the witch's voice (1).jpg?format=webp@Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937 Full Movie/ThePopDiva93 3.0/YouTube.com

Luxo Ball is often seen

Fans will remember the iconic Luxo Ball or that yellow ball that Buzz Lightyear jumped from.

But do they know that countless other Pixar movies have featured the same ball in different scenes? Among them, for example, references to the films Monsters Corporation, Finding Nemo, and Cars.

The Luxo Ball is frequently seen.jpg?format=webp@SmartKnow/Reddit.com

The shortest Disney film is Dumbo

Most Disney animated films are quite short. The duration of Dumbo is 64 minutes! Management offered Walt Disney to lengthen the film, but he refused, saying that "you can stretch the plot, but then it will not be interesting."

The shortest Disney film is Dumbo.jpg?format=webp@darkespeon64/Reddit.com

Merida has very long hair

The young heroine Merida, who has naturally wild, curly, red hair, is the focus of the film. If she straightened her hair, it would be even longer. Experts estimate that Merida's hair would be at least four feet long if it were straightened.

Merida Has Very Long Hair (1).jpg?format=webp@Merida and Her Family Supper Shenanigans | Disney Princess/Disney Princess/YouTube.com

Hans from Frozen Appearances in Big Hero 6

Disney movies are much more often referenced than one another. For example, often use references to previous works or omit subtle hints that they all operate in the same universe.

Take Big Hero 6 as an illustration. A "wanted" picture of Hans from Frozen can be seen in the backdrop of a brief scene.

Hans from Frozen Appearances in Big Hero 6.jpg?format=webp@Did You Know That In BIG HERO 6 | @neo.spirit #shorts/Neo Spirit/YouTube.com

The Beatles inspired the Jungle Book Vultures

There have been many times in Disney's history when you've noticed something familiar about a character from one of their films. This is because Disney often bases its characters on real people.

Vultures from The Jungle Book come to mind. They are obviously inspired by The Beatles. Disney actually wanted a group from Liverpool to do The Four Birds, but at the time John Lennon adamantly refused to act in an animated film.

The Beatles inspired the Jungle Book Vultures.jpg?format=webp@DID YOU KNOW THAT IN JUNGLE BOOK #shorts #disney #junglebook #beatles #ytshort/All About Cinema/YouTube.com

The years-long production of The Lion King scene

One scene from The Lion King that often comes to mind when people think of the movie is the stampede scene. In this poignant scenario, young Simba confronts his now downtrodden father. Although the script was only two and a half minutes long, the animation took almost three years.

To create the scene, the animators combined conventional hand-drawn animation with digital effects. To accurately recreate the look of this landscape, they also studied the herd dynamics of real wildebeest and visited the African savannah.

The years-long production of The Lion King scene.jpg?format=webp@BunyipPouch/Reddit.com

Hades became a Greek drama

In Disney's 1997 animated blockbuster Hercules, it's hard to imagine anyone other than James Woods voicing Hades, lord of the underworld. However, before casting Woods, the filmmakers set their sights on Jack Nicholson, another lead actor.

Unfortunately for the studio, Nicholson refused because his salary demands were much higher than they were willing to pay.

Hades' casting was a Greek Drama.jpg?format=webp@AliceTheMagicQueen/Reddit.com

The creepy movie connection to Lilo & Stitch

In the story, Lilo & Stitch, an extraterrestrial joins the family of a little Hawaiian girl. It's difficult to believe that the actress behind Lilo Pelekai's cheeky voice could also be Samara in the horror film The Ring.

Daveigh Chase, a teenage actor, provided the voices for both roles despite their stark differences. 

The creepy movie connection to Lilo & Stitch.jpg?format=webp@What the hell will happen in seven days?? #shorts #facts/Fun with Facts/YouTube.com

There was almost no spaghetti scene

It would be hard to imagine Lady and the Tramр without the famous spaghetti-eating scene. The film, which tells the love story of two very different dogs, is still a favorite of the public.

The cutest and most often mocked moment in the film is the dogs sharing a bowl of pasta. This scene was not a favorite of Walt Disney, and it was removed from the storyboards of the film. Fortunately, the film's animator in charge, Frank Thomas, changed the scene to create the iconic moment.

The Spaghetti Scene Nearly Never Occurred (1).jpg?format=webp@Lady and the Tramp Bella Notte - Spaghetti Scene/Roel71/YouTube.com

Jackie Chan's unexpected Disney performance

Jackie Chan is most known in the United States for his stunt skills in action movies, but he also has a musical side that he has displayed in several Disney movies.

Actually a vocalist with operatic training, Chan has created over 20 CDs in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Taiwanese. He not only portrayed Captain Li Shang in the Chinese remake of the 1998 movie Mulan, but he also Cantonese and Mandarin versions of the song I'll Make a Man Out of You.

Jackie Chan's unexpected Disney performances.jpg?format=webp@Mulan | I'll Make A Man Out Of You | Disney Sing-Along/Disney/YouTube.com

Not a lion, but a tiger

Adult Simba's scream at the end of The Lion King was created using sound effects rather than actual animal sounds.

It turns out that Disney replaced the roar of the tiger. Contrary to what the MGM lion might imply, the typical lion roar is considered too subdued.

Not a lion, but a tiger, Simba roars.jpg?format=webp@The Lion King (1994) - Ending Scene ● (12/12) [4K]/NM/YouTube.com

An expert on hyenas sued Disney

Three spotted hyenas serve as evil henchmen of the villain Scar in the 1994 animated film The Lion King. Because of this inaccurate portrayal, one biologist sued the movie studio for defamation of character. In fact, hyenas are top predators with exceptional intelligence and adaptability.

An expert on hyenas sued Disney.jpg?format=webp@Why were the hyenas so NERFED In The Lion King/Alteori/YouTube.com

Aladdin was inspired by Tom Cruise

Disney often bases its characters on well-known personalities that it believes have star power, which is why.

Aladdin is a good example. As the character is based on Tom Cruise, he is a short daredevil who likes to perform his own stunts all over the city of Agrabah.

Aladdin was inspired by Tom Cruise.jpg?format=webp@Tom Cruise and Aladdin: Surprising Similarities You Never Knew #TomCruise #Aladdin #Disney @Disney/
Shorts Story Inc/YouTube.com

The gas passing of Pumbaa in animation makes history

A warthog named Pumbaa experiences bouts of flatulence from time to time, much to the chagrin of the other animals.

Pumbaa's tendency to gas is the first time a character has done so in a Disney film, in addition to being a cute and humorous character trait. Perhaps the problem wasn't Pumbaa's smell, but the fact that he was interacting with animals that had incredibly sensitive olfactory glands (the meerkat and the lion).

The Gas Passing of Pumbaa in Animation Makes History (1).jpg?format=webp@Timon & Pumbaa - S1 Ep4 - How to Beat the High Costa Rica/Timon & Pumbaa/YouTube.com

The only character based on real events is Pocahontas

You might be surprised to learn that Pocahontas is essentially the only Disney heroine who was based on an actual historical figure. The genuine Pocahontas was a member of the Powhatan tribe of Native Americans who was taken prisoner by colonists in 1613.

After being coerced into becoming a Christian, she later married and gave birth to a kid. Mulan's existence as an actual person is likewise disputed by some. She was only a character in old Chinese poetry, according to some, nevertheless.

The only heroine based on real-life events is Pocahontas.jpg?format=webp@The Messed Up TRUE Story of Pocahontas/TheThings/YouTube.com

In the final scene of Gaston

Gaston is one of Disney's least popular characters, given his behavior with Belle and his arrogant demeanor. Gaston exclaims, "Time to die!" as he beats the Beast to death.

The dialogue was later changed in the finished film to "My Belle!"

The final scene of Gaston was darker (1).jpg?format=webp@Beast Vs. Gaston/Wilcochuckle/YouTube.com

The only Disney princess with a real job is Tiana

Tiana from The Princess and the Frog was the first African-American princess in Disney history.

Other than that, Tiana, a waitress who aspires to be a chef, was practically the only one with a real job.

Disney princess with a real job is Tiana (1).jpg?format=webp@Best of Tiana! | Disney Princes/Disney Princess/YouTube.com

The sidekick of Pocahontas was a turkey

The animators considered including a turkey in the 1995 Pocahontas animated film because turkeys are common in the Virginia region where the film was supposedly set. The first assistant of the Indian princess was a turkey named Red Feather.

Unfortunately, Redfeather was replaced by Miko, a raccoon, after the actor who voiced him died.

The sidekick of Pocahontas was almost a turkey.jpg?format=webp@BACKWARDS THANKSGIVING/Animation Domination High Def/YouTube.com

Alyssa Milano was used as the model for Ariel

Yes, despite not being a redhead, the company wanted to model Ariel after both Alyssa Milano's appearance and personality as she was the talk of the town when the movie was being filmed.

Alyssa Milano was used as the model for Ariel.jpg?format=webp@Ok-Atmosphere-5474/Reddit.com

Originally, Ursula was Ariel's aunt

Ursula the Sea Witch from the 1989 cartoon The Little Mermaid is one of the most famous Disney villains. Ursula gives Ariel a chance to become human in the movie so she can fall in love with Prince Eric.

Ursula was originally supposed to be Ariel's aunt, as she was supposed to be King Triton's sister. The film follows their relationship as Ursula describes how she lived in Triton's palace before she was banished, even though the suggestion that she was a fallen member of mermaid royalty was finally abandoned.

Originally, Ursula was Ariel's aunt (1).jpg?format=webp@The Little Mermaid(1989) - Ariel Meets Ursula/MOV Clips/YouTube.com

Remy "Prefigures" The Dog

Disney movies also make frequent references to other movies. Ratatouille provided a fantastic example.

As Remy the rat snoops around, he's spooked by a shadow that resembles The Dog from Above, which was still in development at the time.

Remy Prefigures The Dog was dug up.jpg?format=webp@PlamenDrop/Reddit.com

The Real-Life Inspiration for Tinker Bell

When the fairy-tale character Tinker Bell first graced the screens in the animated version of Peter Pan in 1953, the audience was delighted with her cute actions and appearance. It turns out that Margaret Carrey, the actress, was a real person.

To accurately recreate movements for the action sequences in the film, the animators researched her.

The Real-Life Inspiration for Tinker Bell.jpg?format=webp@Tinker Bell Live-Action References by Margaret Kerry for Walt Disney’s Peter Pan (1953) #tinkerbell/Axel Malibu/YouTube.com

The Spice Girls almost became the muses

Most of the music in the 1997 animated film Hercules is performed by five women who are modeled after various Greek gods.

Alan Menken, the song's composer, originally envisioned the Spice Girls as the inspiration for I Won't Say, one of the film's most famous songs. However, due to the discord in the band, the girls refused to voice their voices.

The Spice Girls almost became the muses.jpg?format=webp@Hercules 1997 - Fun Fact | The muses were going to be the Spice Girls/Nerd Supreme/YouTube.com

First pregnant actress in a Disney movie

Chicha made Disney history by becoming the first pregnant character to feature in one of the studio's movies, even if she merely had a supporting part in the 2000 animated picture The Emperor's New Groove.

First expecting actress in a Disney movie.jpg?format=webp@_Raines_/Reddit.com

The Toy Story Connection and the horror classic The Shining

One of the biggest examples of this can be seen in Toy Story. The creepy baby rug in the hallway in the scene where Woody is at Sid's house is similar to the hotel rug in the classic horror movie The Shining.

In fact, production designer Ralph Eggleston wanted to pay homage to Stanley Kubrick's film because he admired it so much.

The Toy Story Connection and the horror classic The Shining.jpg?format=webp@The shining references in toy story comparisons in order/ThatCreepyCoolKid/YouTube.com

The French connection in The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Although many animated films often take place in remote locations, they are generally produced in one location. The 1996 cartoon The Hunchback of Notre Dame is based on real events, and Disney tried to recreate Paris as accurately as possible. The filmmakers also visited the French city to capture the architecture and history of the area in detail.

The French connection in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.jpg?format=webp@The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) Scene: "Out There"/Quasimodo's Song./John Maverick/YouTube.com

Walt Disney inspired the name of WALL-E

Not many Disney movies make direct references to the man who started it all, Walt Disney. There's also WALL-E. The main character of the movie of the same name is this wonderful tiny robot.

And it's pretty obvious where the nickname "WALL-I" came from, given that Disney's full name was Walter Elias Disney. While it's a cute little allusion, most viewers probably missed it when they first saw the film.

Walt Disney inspired the name of WALL-E.jpg?format=webp@Couragethebravestdog/Reddit.com

Hercules's Six Planets

The Fates have the ability to see into the past, present, and future in the Hercules movie, which is based on Greek mythology. They depict a scenario when the planets will align and a prophecy will come true in one scene.

However, viewers will notice that the animated scene only features six planets. This is because, historically speaking, the ancient Greeks could only see six planets in the night sky, not eight. Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, and Earth would have been those six planets.

Hercules's Six Planets.jpg?format=webp@Disney's Hercules Fates Predict the Future/ kermitTHEdinosaur93/YouTube.com

Tarzan makes a cute reference to Mulan

As the professor approaches the gorillas in this shot, a stuffed animal falls out of his backpack, seen from above. In fact, he is designed to resemble Mulan's Little Brother in every way.

Tarzan makes a cute reference to Mulan.jpg?format=webp@RedSparxxx/Reddit.com

Tim Burton was the actual set of Nightmare

The Nightmare Before Christmas viewers often recall the scene where Oogie Boogie's fate is sealed as the threads keeping him together fall apart. Tim Burton was not happy with Henry Selick's original vision for the film, which called for Oogie Boogie to be revealed as Sally's (the protagonist's love interest) father.

Burton even punched a hole in the wall out of rage during their altercation. To be honest, Burton was quite passionate about the original plot and had been planning the movie for years before it was ever made.

Tim Burton was the actual set Nightmare.jpg?format=webp@MrManlySir/Reddit.com

There are eleven smart Disney Horse Companions

If you've seen enough Disney films, you'll probably start to notice certain common themes. Characters like the Disney princesses and others who have similar appearances are among them.

However, it appears that a particular species also frequently appears in movies, and they all exhibit identical behaviors. Many of the heroes and heroines have cheeky horse sidekicks. Maximus, Pegasus, Angus, Phillipe, Samson, Major, Sitron, Bullseye, Khan, Achilles, and Buck are the 11 horses in question.

There are eleven smart Disney Horse Companions.jpg?format=webp@LoganDeLuca2004/Reddit.com

The Source of Maleficent's Inspiration

Although Mistress of All Evil is based on many well-known fairy tale characters, her on-screen portrayal stood out from previous portrayals of evil female characters.

There have been stories about the influence of actress Myla Nurmi since the release of the cartoon Sleeping Beauty in 1959. Nurmi was known for her skin-tight clothing and glamorous gothic take on vampires. Nurmi's diary entries from 2014 revealed that she actually served as the inspiration for the cartoon's antagonist.

The Source of Maleficent's inspiration.jpg?format=webp@blackdeviljohn/Reddit.com

The Sword in the Stone's changing voices

When Disney's The Sword in the Stone, an animated version of the King Arthur tale, cast young actor Ricky Sorensen, he soon noticed a change in his voice. And all because of puberty and physiological changes of the guy.

Fortunately, the film's director, Wolfgang Reitermann, had two boys about the same age as Sorensen. The character's voice was clearly different in different scenes and segments of the film, but the director's improvisation allowed the shooting to continue.

The Sword in the Stone's changing voices.jpg?format=webp@noconnostalgia/Reddit.com

A CEO who motivated Ratigan

The original Sherlock Holmes story was animated in Disney's The Great Mouse Detective, which featured mice and rats in Victorian-era London. The animators used historical images of Londoners from the 1800s in their creation of the figures.

They turned to former Disney CEO Ron Miller to create the villain of the movie, Ratigan. Miller, who was a former professional football player and stood 6'6", had Ratigan's huge and intimidating build. 

A CEO who motivated ratigan.jpg?format=webp@MulciberTenebras /Reddit.com

The ego of Beyoncé cost her a role

Stars may feel that they do not need to go through the audition process. Pop icon Beyoncé thought she'd landed the lead role when Disney's The Princess and the Frog began filming.

Turns out "Queen Bey" was wrong. She still had to audition to play Tiana alongside other famous celebrities like Alicia Keys. Anika Noni Rose, one of the stars of the movie Dream Girls auditioned and got the desired role.

The ego of Beyoncé cost her a role.jpg?format=webp@ChestGloomy5681/Reddit.com