6 Times Disney Films Perfectly Captured Valuable Life Lessons

Whether you’re five or fifty years old, Disney films  bring the perfect combination of adventure, emotion, and humor that is sure to entertain audiences of all ages. With lovable characters and enthrilling plots, it seems as though Disney has perfected the formula for marvelous movies that both reflect the realities of the everyday and embellish on the excitement of imagination. In addition to the hours of entertainment and excitement that these motion pictures provide, they teach moviegoers valuable life lessons and impart bits of priceless wisdom. These memorable moments within these films make the stories that much better, establishing a deeper meaning behind the exceptional animation. Here are only 6 (of the MANY) Disney moments that taught audiences exceptional life lessons:

1. Mr. Banks Loosens Up in Mary Poppins: This 1964 classic starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke has gone down in history for its memorable tunes and one-of-a-kind plot involving a flying nanny and an exceptionally cherry chimney sweep. Often overlooked is the importance of Mr. Banks, the children’s father, in the plot. While he yearns for his kids to grow up and learn the harsh truth of the money-centered workforce, his children simply want to spend some time playing with their dad. After a bit of intervention from Mary Poppins herself, Mr. Banks figures out the importance of fun and decides to take his children out to fly a kite. This emphasis on family and setting aside time for pleasure brings a smile to anyone’s face. With a closing song of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” the ending scene shows the need to just let loose sometimes and have some fun.

person standing on field facing a sunset

2. The Opening Montage of Up: Admit it, you ugly-cried. The opening montage of Up is single-handedly both the most heartwarming and depressing scene in any movie ever. Period. It starts off innocently with the early married life of Carl and Ellie, childhood friends who fell in love. With scenes that show the couple’s home renovation project and money-saving plan to get to Paradise Falls, the scene demonstrates the importance of dedication, persistence, and appreciation of loved ones. We get to see Carl and Ellie's beautiful love story unfold, but the story turns tragic with Ellie’s miscarriage and eventual death. This tear-jerking scene demonstrates the reality of life, emphasizing that life goes on after tragedy, but love always perseveres above all. Life is a funny thing. It’s unpredictable and flawed and full of adventure. It’s never too late to take a chance and learn to love.

3. Lewis Fails in Meet the Robinsons: In what is unfortunately one of the most underappreciated Disney movies of all time, Meet the Robinsons is a time-travel adventure that provides laughs as well as a key lesson: Keep Moving Forward. In fact, when Lewis tries out one of his inventions at the dinner table, surrounded by his family of the future, the invention explodes.  As he begins a profuse apology, the family counters by saying, "You failed! AND . . . IT WAS AWESOME! EXCEPTIONAL! OUTSTANDING! From failing you learn, from success? Eh, not so much." Each mistake is something to learn from, helping you move one step closer towards a future success.

Girls in the sunset

4. Andy Gives Away His Toys in Toy Story 3: Once again, a moment where the world collectively sobbed at a movie with an intended audience of children. From Andy’s days of make-believe play with Woody and Buzz in the original Toy Story to Andy moving away to college in Toy Story 3, we have been through a lot with the gang of Andy’s special toys. Our attachment only made the scene where Andy gives his toys to a little girl named Bonnie, only after telling her how special they all are, all the more poignant. It's a complicated bundle of emotions: sadness, nostalgia, happiness, and utter devastation. This scene highlights the inevitable passing of time, the terrifying certainty of growing up, and the need to let things go. It’s scary, and it’s sad, but it’s life.

5. Mulan Proves Herself strength in Mulan: “Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?” Li Shang asks ironically in the catchy tune, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” asserting women to be weaker than men. To Shang’s shock and surprise, Mulan, posing as a man, surpasses her peers in ability and skill. After risking her life to save the Emperor, she soon proves herself to be the mightiest warrior in China. The movie’s conclusion inarguably establishes that girls are just as capable as their male counterparts. Sexism has no place in society, and this scene in Mulan promotes a message of girl power and sexual equality, which is exceptionally needed in modern society.

Kayla Bacon-Carefree Fall 2

6. Joy Realizes the Importance of Sadness in Inside Out: This 2015 flick explores the unusual question: What if feelings had feelings? Centering on the emotions of Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear, the entire film focuses on Joy desperately trying to restore happiness into Riley’s life. However, the ending holds a surprise lesson that Joy learns: it’s okay to be sad. World culture, especially American culture, often conveys an antagonism towards feeling blue, emphasizing a need to feel happy all the time. What this fails to acknowledge is that sadness is such a vital part of being human. What makes “Inside Out” so incredibly important  is its potential to help this generation and those of the future realize the importance of experiencing all emotions, especially sadness.