The Lion King, Aladdin, the Little Mermaid: Hidden Messages in Disney Movies: Fact or Fiction?

We’ve all been there before. You’re sitting in a theater with a bunch of kids laughing at a kiddie joke. Suddenly, an adult joke is dropped in and now the adults are laughing while the kids aren’t. However, there is a fine line between entertaining adults and influencing the kids. During the Disney Renaissance, Disney made several films that were beloved. However, many of these films also served as urban legend starters.

The Little Mermaid
was plagued by not one, but two scandals. (We’re not even talking about her costume.) The first issue dealt with whether or not the minister in the marriage scene was having an erection. The second issue dealt with an oddly shaped thing on the castle on the VHS cover that resembled a penis. Disney’s response was that the minister’s knee was the bulge and that the artist made a mistake when he was trying to finish the cover late at night. While I don’t believe that a film should be plagued by a mistake, (whether accidental or not, somebody at Disney should’ve had more coffee while they were viewing the film and approving the cover. The same thing applies to the nude model on The Rescuers VHS cover. Seriously, who at Disney let that VHS hit your local video store? Aladdin was probably the most hair raising of all of the urban legends. Aladdin’s words, “Good kitty, take off and go…” followed with Rajah’s growling became “Good teenagers, take off your clothes.” A stir erupted as many Disney viewers fast forwarded to that part of the movie to see if they could hear the urban legened. Most people found mixed results. Finally, Disney’s last Renaissance scandal came with the immensely loved The Lion King. When dust flies in the sky while Simba lies down, there was a mysterious message. Many people read the word “Sex” while Disney claimed that it was actually “SFX” (a shortened form of special effects). For now, these urban legends remain unsolved. However, Disney quickly edited all of the taboo scenes of their movies. Disney movies aren’t the only ones to use a lot of adult humor (cough, cough,Shrek). Adult humor successfully works in children’s movies when the humor is in good taste. In the Disney movie (yes, Disney) Mulan, Mulan disguises herself as a male soldier to save her father’s life. She finds herself in a very awkward situation when she decides to bathe and fellow male soldiers decide to join her. Funny, not overly obvious and in good taste, there is a successful example of adult humor in Disney films.


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