If there’s one thing people can’t seem to get enough of, it’s Disney and their movies. No matter your age, there’s a good chance Disney was part of your childhood, or you’re sharing everything again with your own kids (or grandkids), or – considering everything that now falls under the Disney umbrella – you’re deeply invested in a new series of your own.
My point is that there aren’t many people out there who wouldn’t like to know a bit more about their favorite production company, so below are 12 facts that might be new to you.
12. Alice (in Wonderland) and Wendy Darling are voiced by the same girl.
Kathryn Beaumont was just 10 when she voiced Alice, but studio heads brought her back at age 14 to be the voice of Wendy Darling in Peter Pan.
You knew you’d heard that voice somewhere before!
11. The director of Lilo & Stitch was extra invested.
Director Chris Sanders was just doing the voice during test animations, but the rest of the filmmakers agreed it was a winner and he continued for the duration.
10. Tinker Bell’s “twinkle” isn’t a bell or a chime.
You’re not going to believe this, but the signature twinkling sound that accompanies Tink “speaking” or shaking?
It’s aluminum foil pieces cut up and strung together.
9. Tina Turner couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sing on the Brother Bear soundtrack.
Tina Turner had retired in 2000, but when the opportunity came up to record the opening track on Brother Bear she came back with a bang.
Anything for the kids, right?
8. It took over a year to make Pinocchio “cute.”
Walt Disney kept rejecting drawings of Pinocchio because he wasn’t cute enough (I mean, huge wooden dolls are naturally terrifying, so these animators were really up against it), but a year and a half in, they had a breakthrough.
Milt Kahl finally had the idea to draw him first as a real boy, then switch out his joints and add some screws. Voila!
7. Cinderella was a make or break moment for the studio.
If the transition back into making animated features had gone badly – or even just not as well as it ultimately did – Disney may have been dead in the water.
That’s an alternate universe I don’t care to live in.
6. Ariel’s fins were a never-before-seen color.
The Disney Paint Lab mixed a brand-new hue – forever know as “Ariel,” of course – for her fins in The Little Mermaid.
5. The teenager voicing Wart in Sword and the Stone had to be recast.
It took three years to produce The Sword in the Stone – so long that voice actor Rickie Sorensen’s voice began to change.
The director had to replace him with his own young sons, Richard and Robert Reitherman.
4. Paul McCartney was inspired by Bambi.
He was inspired to become an animal rights activist afterward, saying in an interview that “I think that made me grow up thinking hunting isn’t cool.”
3. Walt Disney came up with the idea for Snow White when he was just 15.
The story is obviously much older than Disney, but he was inspired to remake it his own way after viewing a silent film adaptation of the fairytale in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.
2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was considered “too scary” for kids when it was first released.
If you were under the age of 16, you had to have a parent or guardian with you to watch the film.
It’s crazy to think about it now, but there are a ton of early Disney films that could be considered frightening to young eyes.
1. Audrey Hepburn was the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s appearance.
You can definitely see the film star’s classically beautiful face in Briar Rose, even though the hair color is different.
Animator Tom Oreb took his inspiration for Briar Rose’s peasant persona from Hepburn’s early work.
This one, I will never be able to unsee (nor would I want to!).
These are fast and fun tidbits, and I am here for more like them.
If your favorite short Disney fact isn’t here, share it with us in the comments!