I was thinking about my favorite Disney movies the other day and I decided that they all say a little bit about who I am as an individual, so I decided to write a fun blog today and talk about them. Disney movies were always my go-to entertainment as a child, whenever I was sick or having a bad day. Even now I still adore them and cannot wait to see the live-action Beauty and the Beast next week! My sense of creativity and wonder, like any child my age, seemed to stem from these magical movies.
1. Peter Pan
Without a doubt, Peter Pan was my favorite Disney story as a child. I collected Disney books, which were thick volumes, packed to the brim of retellings of the movies. The first one I collected had Peter Pan in it and there was a time in my life when I would have my siblings or parents read it to me every night before I had the ability to read. This continued for so long that I eventually memorized the story, without even comprehending the words on the pages. The boy who never grew up further emphasizes my love of childhood and simplicity. I have never been too keen on growing up and I think Peter Pan contributes to this fact. Peter Pan also incorporates a great deal of imagination, which is one of the biggest reasons I love to write fiction. I love how creative our minds can become if we only open ourselves up to create. We all have the power to develop entire worlds and characters that are all our own. How cool is that?
2. Big Hero Six
Even though Big Hero Six just came out in 2014, it is now my second favorite Disney movie. All of the characters are so lovable, and more importantly, suffer and rejoice more realistically than many early Disney movies. The characters take on superhero roles because of their unique scientific gifts (or just being Fred, the school mascot) and they are able to use their creative gifts to thrive in a new way. Creativity, like imagination, is something I value because we all have something unique to offer the world. Even if we pursue a career that does not utilize creativity as often, we naturally approach it in our own individual ways and no one works quite the same way, which I think makes humanity beautiful.
Another important component of Big Hero Six and my values is friendship. Especially in light of a recent tragedy at school, I have remembered caring and being in community with one another is the most important thing in life, especially as a Christian. Hiro, the main protagonist, has to suffer through the death of his brother throughout the movie and his friends are right beside him to ease the pain the whole time. It is so easy to become caught up in selfish agendas and the weight of classes or work, but in doing so we neglect those around us who desperately need the love we can all uniquely offer others.
I was never well-acquainted with this Native American Disney princess growing up and it wasn’t until middle school that I really watched the movie for the first time. However, over the past couple years I have come to decide Pocahontas is by far my favorite Disney princess, even if she doesn’t wear fancy dresses, live in a castle or end up with John Smith… in fact those are all reasons why I love her so much! She defies princess stereotypes and is a truly independent woman, who knows that there is more complexity to love than having a shoe fit and living happily ever after.
My favorite aspect of this movie and something that matters to me immensely is how she stuck up for John Smith and tried to create peace between the two races, not just the people like her. Growing up as a Christian I was honestly a bit judgmental towards people not like me and always strayed away from anyone who didn’t agree with me to a T. But the older I become the more I realize that we need to engage with people different than us and not just that, but we need to love on them, especially when it is difficult. I see so many peers who have Education majors and love working with kids, which is great! But lately I’ve felt like I want to be there for adults, because it seems like too often we overlook them. We would rather let them do their own thing, but they need just as much care and love as kids do! I think when we’re all stressed out about our own problems it’s easy to forget that.
4. Oliver & Company
I love Oliver & Company and I always thought Dodger was the coolest character ever. Animal movies were always my favorite as a child. For whatever reason, I always preferred them over people movies and Oliver & Company, with its eclectic group of characters and warm sense of belonging, was right up my alley. I think this movie is incredibly underrated, as far as Disney goes. Similar to sticking up for humanity, I think it’s vital to love people different than you, like Oliver and his dog friends. As silly as it may sound, working at Biggby last summer truly showed me how many different people are on the planet. When you grow accustomed to a small Christian school, it can be easy to live in a bubble and forget the true diversity throughout the real world. Oliver and his friends, similar to my coworkers and I, showcase that sometimes you will run into people different than you. Maybe some people might not live the same way you do and maybe they’ll be really difficult to deal with sometimes, but they still have great things to offer the world in their own way. Even the most difficult people to handle are deserving of love.
These movies also have music I adore, so to finish, I will include my favorite lyric from my favorite Disney song:
“Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver, just around the riverbend?”