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11 Times Disney Taught Us Valuable Lessons

Let’s face it, Disney was as present of a force in our lives as our parents.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not only has Disney captured our attention with colorful animation and filled our heads with catchy tunes, but Disney has resonated in the hearts of many for its powerful messages.

Whether you’re 6 or 60, it would do us all some good if we took a look back at some of the valuable lessons Disney shared with us.

1. ALL humans deserve love and respect

In her song Colors of the Wind, Pocahontas informs John Smith that even when people are different from him, they are still human beings that deserve the same basic and equal rights he (as a white male) has. This is a seemingly obvious standard,  yet it is often forgotten or ignored, especially in today’s political climate. For the man who needs a little reminder of how the lyrics go – we all know who I’m talking about – you can find Pocahontas on Netflix.

2. Sisters before misters

Take a seat Frozen, Lilo and Stitch did it first. Nani is not only Lilo’s older sister, but also her surrogate father, mother, financial provider, and friend. And she’s doing it all without a man in the picture. Talk about girl power!

3. Work hard for your dreams

Working two jobs for almost 24 hours a day like Tiana may be a bit too much for those of us who actually need sleep to function, but the message is still there: work hard for what you want, and you will achieve your goals in one way or another (even if one of those ways involves kissing a frog).  

4. It’s okay to be sad

You’re lying if you say you didn’t cry during Inside Out. Now if you are one of the very, very, very few that didn’t shed a single tear during the entire film, then you can learn a little something from Sadness. It’s okay to be sad! It’s okay to be vulnerable! It’s okay to honest about your feelings! Sadness is a natural human emotion to experience in times of trial and tribulation. It’s not healthy to bottle in your emotions, even the seemingly negative ones. Don’t forget that Joy still exists, but let Sadness have her time to do the important job of healing.

5. Don’t be afraid to be different

If Belle can be ridiculed/outcasted by an entire town because she enjoys reading, and still be a boss ass bitch – then I can wear what I want and not care what others think of me. Belle is a perfect example of a woman ahead of her time.

6. It’s never too late to make the right choice

I’m aware that not everyone is familiar with Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The movie didn’t do too well in the box office, which is a shame because this movie is an absolute gem. So for those of you nerds (I’m including myself in this group) that watched the iconic film, remember when the crew originally was originally in on the evil plan to steal from Atlantis for the money, but then changed their mind to help out their friend Milo? Sigh. Me too. Anyways, it’s a perfect example how you can change your ways and do the right thing.

7. Girls can do anything guys can do (and sometimes better)

Mulan happens to be my ultimate feminist icon. She proves her ability to be strong, independent, intelligent in a culture where men are seen as superior. Everything she does is for the benefit of others, even when it means putting her life at risk. Oh, and she looks like a badass while she’s doing it all.

8. Take time to relax

Life can be overwhelming at times (trust me, I know, it’s Midterms week). The key is to take Timone and Pumba’s advice and relax a little. One of the best ways to combat anxiety is through mindful meditation.

9.You determine your future

Have you ever felt like someone other than you was calling the shots in your life? A parent, a sibling, a significant other? If you’ve been in that position before then you have a lot in common with Princess Jasmine. If you are struggling with what to do, follow her lead and say, “No. I decide what I do with my life.”

10. Hair isn’t everything

For those of us frizzy, curly haired girls out there, when Rapunzel cut her gorgeous thick and shiny golden locks, we died a little on the inside. Society has always told us that type of hair equates to beauty, so we feared if she cut her hair then she would no longer be seen as beautiful by Eugene. Boy were we wrong. A real man not only loves you for your soul, but finds you beautiful no matter what kind of hair day you’re having.

11. Persevere through tough times

When something seems impossible, when you feel like you can’t go on any longer, when you lose faith in yourself, take Dory’s advice and “just keep swimming.”


Maddie is a freshman at the University of Kansas studying Psychology and Philosphy. Maddie is originally from Chicago but most recently lived in a small town of southern Illinois. While she has ambitions to pursue a Ph.D in Counseling Psychology after her undergraduate, Maddie is passionate about both reading and writing poetry. Maddie loves pizza, Italian greyhounds, and spending time with her friends and family. 
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