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Disney Movies Terrible Lessons

Animated movies are all good. Isn't that true? Many movies can draw children in and teach them lessons both positive and negative.

collage image of Disney Movies with text: "Disney Movies Terrible Lessons"

In today's world, many parents plop their kids in front of a television, plug in a Disney movie, and walk away. Disney appears to be the cheapest babysitter around. However, while children watch those movies with no parental interaction what are they really learning?

Disney Movies Terrible Lessons

The Lion King: The Walt Disney Signature Collection (Theatrical Version)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones (Actors)

The Lion King

The much-loved movie “The Lion King” is the perfect example. Children watch as an evil lion kills his brother, and then allows his nephew to blame himself for the death. Ultimately Simba wins and takes his rightful place as king.

So, what do children learn when they watch this movie? Perhaps they learn that we all have a responsibility in life and sometimes taking care of that responsibility is not easy. Or perhaps they learn that in order to get ahead in life you must step on other people and that is okay.

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Related: Disney Trivia: The Lion King

Cinderella (Signature Edition)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton (Actors)


“Cinderella” is a movie about the poor little stepdaughter (first lesson, stepmothers are evil) who works for her stepmother while hating every minute of it and gets nowhere until the amazing fairy godmother gives her what she wants. Then she loses what she wants until he finally finds her.

Good lesson – dream and you may achieve.  Bad lessons – stepmothers are bad, good comes only from magic and if you wait a long time you will just be given everything you want.

Related: Disney Trivia: Disney Princesses

The Little Mermaid
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Rene Auberjonois, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Jodi Benson (Actors)

The Little Mermaid

“The Little Mermaid” is one of the most interesting lessons of all. In this film, Ariel makes a deal with the evil Ursula just so she can be what she is not. She takes the consequences of the deal and when the handsome prince rescues her the deal is off.

Positive lesson – love conquers all. Negative lesson – love conquers all. Making a deal with evil is never okay and love will not conquer all.

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Related: Disney Trivia: The Little Mermaid

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The Fox And The Hound
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey (Actors)

The Fox and the Hound

Racism is found in two Disney movies. First, Song of the South which many people have never heard of and probably never will as it is in the Disney archives specifically because of the subject matter.

The other is the revered “The Fox and the Hound.” Who doesn't love the little fox and the puppy as they play and grow and learn about each other?

About three-quarters of the way through the show when the hound has to be the hunter that all changes. In the end, the fox and hound are friends but they must always keep their distance because they are “different.”

Good lesson – friends can be different and still get along. Bad lesson – even if you have friends who are different staying with your own kind is better.

Related: Animal Movies on Disney+

Beauty and the Beast
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White (Actors)

Beauty and the Beast

Finally, an awful beast takes a young woman hostage, almost gets killed by the town's folk, changes his heart, and falls in love. Positive lesson – treat others as you would like to be treated. Negative lesson – it doesn't matter how abusive someone is, deep down inside there is a loving heart.

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Related: Disney Trivia: Beauty and the Beast

So, should Disney movies be banned from the babysitter list? Probably as should all movies. Parents need to be parents. If your child is going to watch a movie, Disney or otherwise, a parent should be watching too that way there can be a discussion leading the child's attention to the positive aspects of the film and explaining why the other side is bad.

Children take in so much more than adults give them credit for. People want to believe that kids only see the positive, rosy parts.

On the surface that may be true but without adult guidance all of those negative messages filter in and remain until they are angst-ridden teenagers when all things negative rear their ugly heads. Parents, please be parents.

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