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Within an hour and a half, Disney Pixar movies are able to encapsulate a myriad of lessons focused around a central theme or motif. It’s impressive in the way that mature lessons in these animated films are able to be disguised with talking cars, cooking rats, and sentient toys. I still laugh at the same punch lines and cry at the same scenes that I did when I was little (when Andy gives his toys away…that one gets me every time). 

Recently, the little boy I was babysitting wanted to watch something on Disney+, to which I responded by recommending a plethora of my favorite Pixar movies. He and I agreed we had both seen those movies too many times and that the only reasonable conclusion was to binge all of the Pixar shorts (a remarkably mature verdict made between a 7 and 20-year-old, may I add). I thought that I wouldn’t get much from a 10 minute animation, but those shorts proved me wrong. I found myself tearing up and gaining valuable lessons within a few short minutes rather than an entire hour and a half. Here are just a few of the lessons I learned after watching the Disney Pixar shorts.

Our parents are getting older too – Boa

Getting older is really fun! We gain new experiences, freedoms, and get to spread our wings and leave home, ready to venture out into the world. With all that said, don’t forget who you are leaving behind when you fly away. Each year we grow older, our parents do too. This short reminded me how important it is to never take a moment with them for granted.

Your person will find you – The Blue Umbrella & Lava

If you’re not in a relationship, there can be moments where you wonder if you will ever find “your person.” This feeling is super discouraging and lonely. These shorts reminded me that somewhere out there, someone is waiting to be with you, too. There is a strong possibility that while we are daydreaming about finding “Mr. Right,” they may already be searching for us. Corny, I know, but Disney tends to make me sentimental about life. It might not happen this year, and it might not happen in the next five years, but you will meet your person, or maybe you already have and you don’t know it yet! Either way, pick yourself back up — it’ll all work out.

Let everyone float – Float

You may have to watch this short to understand the reference, but to give a brief synopsis, the child in this short has the ability to fly. He’s the happiest when he’s in the air, but his father is always trying to catch him and bring him back down, fearful of other people’s judgment. In the end, the dad finally realizes that his child’s ability to fly is nothing to be stopped, but rather, it should be celebrated. This short reminded me how vital it is to encourage others around us to do what makes them the happiest. What is equally as important is to cut the people out of your life who pull you down when you’re trying to float.

Don’t lament so much about growing up – Twenty Something

This short is all about embracing growth, and it gave me a new perspective on getting older. The woman in the short is turning twenty-something (hence the name of the feature), but the whole time she is out celebrating, her metaphorical younger selves can’t seem to accept that she is getting older. In the end, all of her past selves realize they don’t have to disappear forever, they will always be a part of her. When I’m really upset, my 2-year-old self comes out with a temper tantrum. If I like a boy, my thirteen-year-old self appears and I get awkward. I find that each year I get older, my life gets better. Being a kid was fun, but as long as I remember that my younger self will always be a part of me, I don’t lament so much about growing up.

Don’t mold yourself to fit into the male-dominated society – Purl 

In this short, a pink ball of yarn named Purl starts a job in an office full of men. The guys don’t listen to her when she talks and often exclude her from meetings and office parties. Once Purl dresses in a suit and makes jokes against women to impress the guys, she is finally included. This all changes when another woman starts to work in the office. Purl becomes stuck between making the other woman feel welcome or excluding her like the men. Spoiler alert: Purl chooses to go back to her regular self and forces the men to accept her just as she is. This short reminded me that as long as women stick together, we have the power to change the narrative in a male-dominated society.

If you haven’t seen any of these Disney shorts, this is your sign to download Disney+ and binge! You don’t need the excuse of babysitting a 7-year-old to indulge in all that the Disney shorts have to offer. There are so many out there that I still need to watch, but I hope you got something out of my favorites!

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Caroline Roscoe

U Mass Amherst '23

Caroline is a contributing writer for the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she is currently a Junior studying communications with minors in business and Spanish. In her spare time, Caroline loves to go on long walks with her dog Daisy and spend time with her friends in Amherst! You can expect Caroline to write about all things beauty, politics, mental health, lifestyle, entertainment and college life!
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