What does disneyfied actually mean?

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Adeline Gruen, Memorial Staff Writer

For hundreds and thousands of years fairytales have been passed down and changed over and over again. Often these stories have a deeper meaning but overtime the meanings can seem like they have vanished into thin air.

Some of the earliest versions of these stories are written by the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen. The main thing that makes these versions stand out are all the gory details present throughout the stories. In the original Cinderella, the stepsisters cut off their heels and toes so that the glass slipper will fit. When Anderson originally wrote “The Little Mermaid,” instead of just taking her voice, the sea witch, Ursula cuts off Ariel’s tongue. While “Cinderella” and “The Little Mermaid” are what they are known for, they have many other dark and horrifying stories. These include cannibal fiancés, daring quests and gory, brutal deaths. 

Walt Disney came out with his first film, “Snow White” in 1937, it was based on the Brothers Grimm story of a beautiful young woman who is hunted by her jealous stepmother. In his version the stepmother is killed falling off a cliff, and the princess goes off to live “happily ever after.” Since then, they have also remade Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Rapunzel (Tangled).

Many people associate this new genre of fairy tales that Disney has made where everything is a “happily ever after” as babified or dumbed down. But is it really? Oftentimes the Disney versions add characters like the Snuggly Duckling members and Timon and Pumba as comedic relief to keep things light hearted and funny. However this helps to flesh out the plot more and these characters can even have their own serious moments that can shine the light on problems in society. The members of the Snuggly Duckling sing about how they are often stereotyped as big scary evil men when all they want to do is live out their different dreams. Meanwhile, Timon and Pumba also have their own song where they talk about having no worries and not focusing on things that you have no control over. 

Disney didn’t dumb down anything that the Grimm Brothers or Hans Christian Andersen wrote. Instead they developed it and made it engaging to both young and old audiences alike.

Contact Adeline Gruen at [email protected]