Exploring the Original Snow White

We always think of the Grimm fairy tales as darker than their Disney updates, and for the most part that is true. But in reading and watching the two versions of “Snow White” together, I was surprised to find they’re not that much different. The Evil Queen asks for Snow White’s heart as proof of her death in both stories, though at least Disney withholds the part where she proceeds to consume the organ to symbolize her triumph over her enemy. However, one could argue the Disney film is darker than its source for a different part: the fate of … Continue reading

Underappreciated Disney Films: The Rescuers Down Under

“The Rescuers Down Under” doesn’t stand out as much as other films in my underappreciated series.  When looking at the full catalog of Disney feature-length animated films, I can understand why RDU and its predecessor don’t get as much attention.  I could have chosen either of them for this column, but given that “The Rescuers” was popular enough when it came out to warrant one of Disney’s only three theater-released sequels, I picked the latter film.  RDU is also hurt by the fact that its release came between that of Disney powerhouses “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.” … Continue reading

The Two Bambi’s

“Bambi, A Life in the Woods” was published by Austrian Felix Salten in 1923. It topped bestseller lists in Europe and received an English translation five years later. In 1933 MGM studios purchased the film rights to the book, hoping to make a live-action version. They decided that the logistics for such a production were insurmountable, however, so they sold the rights to Walt Disney in 1937. Disney loved the book. He was excited to make his first adaptation of a recent work, and had plans to turn the novel into his second feature length animated film. However, he realized … Continue reading

What’s Your Dream Pet?

A topic I’ve been playing with for a while on the families.com pets forums is: what’s your dream pet? As an animal lover since childhood I’ve gone through many species I’ve wanted to keep as pets, and it’s always fun to hear what other people dream about as well. My dream pets are usually wild species; there’s actually a chance of me getting to keep a teacup pig, for example, but I’ll never get to have a tiger as my personal friend and protector like Jasmine did in “Aladdin.” I know better than to actually try to keep any sort … Continue reading

Mary Blair’s Disney Legacy

Last year for Women’s History Month I introduced the women of the Pen and Ink Department in the Golden Era of Walt Disney Animation. Today, on the 100th anniversary of Women’s History Day, his year I want to take a look at a woman who stands out in the following generation of Disney work in the 1940s. One of the most notable of these female Disney animation trailblazers is Mary Blair. Inducted into the Disney Legends Hall in 1991, Mary Blair revolutionized the artistry of the Disney Company. Her biography on the Legends website has the scoop on Mary Blair’s … Continue reading

Conservation at the Animal Kingdom

One of the Animal Kingdom’s bats For all my from-childhood into-adulthood love of the fantasy worlds of Disney, the Animal Kingdom is rapidly becoming my favorite Disney World park. I know I haven’t actually visited Disney World yet, but just based on the things I’m learning about the Animal Kingdom’s dedication to conversation, the environmental and animal activist in me joins with my love of Disney to make me a huge fan of the Animal Kingdom. Recently the official Disney parks blog posted a round-up of all the ways the Animal Kingdom has in the past year promoted conservation, education, … Continue reading

Walt Disney Family Museum Video Contest

Pictures like this, of Walt Disney with Dr. Wernher von Braun of NASA, are the sort of non-Disney-company photo you’ll see at the Walt Disney Family Museum If you’re a real fan of Disney history, particularly as it relates to famous founder Walt Disney, then you’re in luck, because there’s a new museum out there tailored for you: The Walt Disney Family Museum. Just a year old, the museum was founded with the goal of preserving Walt’s history. Its mission is to separate the story of Walt Disney the man from information about the brand his name has become. The … Continue reading

Disney Scientists Learn the Language of Elephants

I expect a lot of things from Disney, but science isn’t one of them. Well, I should amend that statement. Disney’s known for innovation in artistic fields, and sometimes that bleeds into the sciences with the architectural and other advances made by the Imagineers or at Pixar/the Animation Studio. But I never expect to hear of new scientific discoveries made, and published in professional scientific journals, by Disney employees. That’s just what happened this past year, however, as scientists from Disney’s Animal Kingdom teamed up with Oxford University and the zoological group Save the Elephants to study a herd of … Continue reading

Disney’s Plans to Broaden its Appeal

I’ve written a lot about the Disney Princess culture, and how it’s experienced some backlash lately. Though Disney makes truckloads of money off its Princess brand, it also takes a hit from the brand due to how alienating it supposedly is for boys. While Disney is in the midst of expanding its Princess line, adding a larger fairy tale section and brand new Pixie Hollow to the Magic Kingdom, it’s also got some elaborate plans to draw young male interest. Some of these plans are already in place. For a few years now the Hollywood Studios at Disney World has … Continue reading

Intro from a Lifelong Animal Lover

As the new pet blogger at families.com, I thought I’d take a post to introduce myself. My name is Angela Shambeda, and I’ve been with families.com since November 2009. You can also find me over at the Disney blog. I thought I’d tell a story from my childhood as part of my introduction. When I was in fourth grade I wrote my very first research paper on harp seals. While working on the paper I learned that conservationists would often spray stripes of bright paint over the coats of harp seals, particularly the babies. They would do so to protect … Continue reading