Disney is known for happy endings so it makes sense that they would sometimes stretch the truth in order to make their characters live happily ever after. Unfortunately, in the real world, we don’t always get happy endings – but that’s why we have Disney.
Though many Disney movies are based on novels, fairytales, folklore, and myths, there are several that were based on real life–and they didn’t end as happily as Disney would like you to think. However, there are some other Disney movies that are obviously not based on a true story but there are some truths that had to be stretched or downright ignored in order to make sure that it ends happily. Disney movies will always get a happy ending –science and history be damned!
Of course, most Disney movies involve a fair amount of magic, talking animals, and the occasional evil witch, but just because a story isn’t based in our reality doesn’t mean that they should not still follow physics, biology, and a plausible narrative structure. Some Disney movies have pretty obvious plot holes, such as Ariel not just telling Eric of her situation through writing or how the fish in Finding Nemo understood addresses. However, there are some plot holes that are never explained in order to make the ending happy because if they tried to answer them, the villain would probably win which is a definite no-no for Disney. These are all of the things that Disney got wrong.
15. Colors Of The Historical Inaccuracies
Pocahontas is full of plot holes and we may be able to accept the fact that there is a talking willow tree, but we are not okay with how Pocahontas is somehow fluent in English. Let’s just put that aside for a moment and look at the historical inaccuracies in this movie which Disney conveniently changed to make it happy. For example, Pocahontas was actually only about 10 years old when John Smith first came to America and when she was about 15, she was taken away from her tribe and her husband, forced to give up her child, change her name to Rebecca, become a Christian, and marry a man named John Rolfe. She died when she was just 20 years old. Of course, Disney had to change all of these things in order to make the story have a happy ending, including the fact that the colonists murdered many of the people in her tribe. Nope, not a happy story at all.
14. Where Are The Farm Animals?
Besides the fact that Zootopia teaches kids that living in the city is superior to living in the country and that your neighbors who look differently than you used to be savages but aren’t anymore because they’ve changed their ways, there are some pretty big scientific inaccuracies. First of all, if a carnivorous animal such as a lion stopped eating meat, it would die of starvation so there is no way that they are surviving on plants. Sorry but carnivores can’t become vegan. Also, Disney forgets to mention why there are no farm animals in Zootopia. Are there humans somewhere in this world who eat anthropomorphic cows, chickens, and pigs? There are also no insects, birds, reptiles, and amphibians so what happened to them? Do they have their own city where they live in harmony and try to teach kids about institutionalized racism? We’ll never know.
13. The Princess And The Nuclear Explosion
The Princess and the Frog is one of the greatest Disney princess movies because Tiana is not only a princess, she is also an entrepreneur and how cool is that? Though the story is light-hearted and has a standard happy ending, things would have turned out much differently if Disney hadn’t ignored science. At the end of the movie, Tiana turned Prince Naveen back into a person and it turns out that it is actually possible to generate enough energy to turn a frog into a human but it takes A LOT. Basically, you’d have to take all of the energy out of the air which would cause everything to freeze and would create a vacuum that the atmosphere would then rush into, causing an explosion much like a nuclear explosion. If Disney hadn’t tweaked a few things, everyone’s faces would have melted off like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
12. God’s Honest Truth
Okay, the story of Hercules is definitely fiction but in Ancient Greece, it was taken very seriously. In the Disney movie Hercules, the demigod acts much differently than he does in Greek mythology. First of all, Hercules’ mother wasn’t Zeus’ wife Hera, but actually, a mortal woman whom Zeus seduced. Second of all, Hera (not Hades) tried to kill Hercules because he was her husband’s love child. Lastly, Hercules and Megara did not live happily ever after – he actually killed her and their three children because Hera cursed him with temporary madness. According to some sources, the reason he had to perform the Twelve Labours was to atone his guilt of murdering his family. Thankfully, all of this was left out the movie.
11. Finding The Truth
Obviously, fish don’t talk but we can look past that in Finding Nemo. What we can’t look past is the fact that clownfish behave a little differently in real life than they do in Finding Nemo. It turns out that clownfish are actually hermaphrodites and since Nemo’s mother dies in the beginning of the movie, Nemo’s father should have actually transformed into a female because that’s what they do when there are no other clownfish around to mate with. Then, you guessed it, Nemo’s new “mom” would mate with him. You may never be able to watch Finding Nemo the same way again but it’s the truth. Another dark truth that Disney hid was that clownfish almost went extinct after Finding Nemo was released because there were so many young children who wanted clownfish as pets. Oops.
10. A Whole New World… Of Lies
The scene in Aladdin where Aladdin takes Jasmine on a magic carpet ride and shows her “A Whole New World”, he actually shows her a little too much of the world – at least according to physics. The couple actually traveled from Cairo to Athens in only a few minutes and even if this were possible, the two wouldn’t survive the trip. According to Alejandro Garcia, Ph.D., an animation physicist (yes, that’s a real thing), the two would have to fly 621 miles per second in order for them to travel so quickly and it would generate so much heat through their motion through the air that they would not only be flattened by the force, but they would also be disintegrated due to the heat. In order for the leads of the movie to not die a gruesome death, Disney had to change the laws of physics.
9. Once Upon A Lie
All of the tragic events that happened in Sleeping Beauty could have been avoided if they had just invited Maleficent to Aurora’s birthday party but, because they were petty, she had to go into a coma for a hundred years. Typically, if a person goes into a coma, they would die within the first week due to dehydration and they would start to smell pretty bad. Her skin would also become dry and scaly and this means that, according to science, instead of Sleeping Beauty, she should have been called Sleeping Ugly or, more accurately, Rotting Corpse. Of course, Disney ignored science and just made her magically fall asleep for a hundred years. The idea of being a princess and being saved by a handsome prince may have been our dream when we were kids but we’ve grown up. Now, as adults, sleeping for a hundred years sounds like a real dream come true.
8. The Hostage And The Beast
First of all, according to The Beauty and the Beast timeline, the beast would have been cursed when he was only ten years old which is a cruel punishment for a preteen – but that doesn’t really affect the outcome of the story. There is, however, one big, glaring inaccuracy that was completely ignored by Disney: Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is when a hostage forms an emotional bond with their captor and it can even happen if the hostage is threatened, abused, and beaten. Considering that Belle was held captive by the beast in his cursed castle and he wasn’t very nice to her at first, she had every reason to dislike him. Captors often try to intimidate their hostages then will occasionally show them small acts of kindness in order to create this bond. Over time, the beast becomes nicer and Belle falls in love with him which is classic Stockholm syndrome. Of course, Disney ignores this creepy detail and pretends like it’s super romantic and totally normal. In reality, Belle is like the Patty Hearst of Disney movies.
7. Circle Of Lies
Out of all the Disney movies, The Lion King is probably the most accurate. Of course, lions don’t generally sing and dance but we’ll put that aside for a moment. There are a few minor inaccuracies such as Rafiki who is supposed to be a baboon but he looks more like a Mandrill and hyenas are not lowly, stupid scavengers. The real problem with The Lion King, however, is the fact that when a new male takes over the pride, he will kill all of the cubs that he has not fathered in order to eliminate his rival’s bloodline. This means that Nala and all of the other cubs would have been killed by Scar, and yes, that would also mean that Nala is one of Mufasa’s cubs which makes her and Simba brother and sister. So if Disney really wanted The Lion King to be 100% accurate, Simba would have come back to the pride and all of his siblings would be dead, including Nala.
6. Just Let It Go
For every kid who loved Frozen, there’s a parent who hates it because of how many times they had to listen to “Let It Go” after the movie came out. Frozen, of course, has a happy ending like all Disney movies but, according to science, it shouldn’t have ended so happily. At the climax of the movie, Anna is frozen in ice and she is saved by her sister in the end, however, this isn’t scientifically possible. So, according to physics, Anna would have died because there is no way to unfreeze a person. However, there are some who believe that unfreezing someone is actually possible and we will be able to do it in the future. Maybe Disney knows something that we don’t–this would make sense considering the rumor that Walt Disney himself was actually cryogenically frozen in hopes that this technology would be discovered in the future.
5. Let’s Get Down To Business
Like Pocahontas, Mulan is riddled with historical inaccuracies that, if Disney had included, would make the movie very, very depressing. Mulan is a character from Chinese folklore who was first written about in 386-534 AD who is said to have fought for over ten years, not just in a battle or two. After being a warrior for years, she decided to leave and live a life of peace–at least, that’s one version of the story.
There is another version of Mulan’s story in which she returns to her home to find that her father had died, her mother had remarried, and she was sent to Heshana Khan as a concubine. In this version, Mulan refuses to be a slave and kill herself. It’s understandable why Disney chose to leave out this part of the story. Another important part of the story that Disney left out was that female warriors were actually common in China during that time and she never had to pretend to be a man to be accepted.
4. There Is No Escaping From A Black Hole
If you know anything about black holes, you know that they’re pretty much the scariest things in the universe. The creators of the Disney movie Treasure Planet do not appear to know anything about black holes and if they did, they definitely ignored what they knew. In the movie, a star dissolves into a black hole and the ship begins to be sucked into it. If Disney cared at all about science, the ship and everyone on it (including our main character) would have been goners. However, because Disney movies require happy endings, some waves are somehow emitted from the black hole and they carry the ship to safety. Here’s the thing about black holes: they don’t emit anything. Not only is it impossible to escape from inside a black hole, they have a gravitational pull that is so strong that if you ever were to encounter one, you’d be sucked in immediately.
3. Glass Is A Bad Choice For Shoes
There are two things that don’t make sense about Cinderella: if all her clothes changed back at midnight, why didn’t her glass slippers, and how was Cinderella the only woman in the kingdom with that exact shoe size? Regardless, the real issue that we have with Cinderella is that it’s very hard to wear glass shoes without them breaking. However, if Disney had acknowledged this, it would have led to Cinderella taking one step and crushing the glass slippers underneath her feet, causing her to bleed out uncontrollably and she would miss her chance to meet the prince and she would go on scrubbing floors and talking to mice. Also, it should be noted that in the original story of Cinderella, her slippers were actually made of fur but there was an issue with the translation from German they ended up being glass instead.
2. Don’t Forget The Volcanoes
The Good Dinosaur tries to explain all of the obvious scientific inaccuracies with one simple answer: there was no prehistoric meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs which allowed them to exist along with humans. Even if the dinosaurs had not been wiped out, there would still be no way that the dinosaurs depicted in the movie would be alive alongside humans. Dinosaurs went extinct about 66 million years ago while human beings as well know them have only been around for about 13 million years. Also, many scientists believe that the meteor played a big part in the extinction of the dinosaurs but they also believe that the change in climate that happened after the volcanic eruptions from the Deccan Traps in India had something to do with it as well. Basically, if you want a good dinosaur movie to watch, you should just go ahead and watch The Land Before Time.
1. To The Nursing Home, You Go
The main scientific inaccuracy in Up is pretty obvious because it’s what the whole movie centers on: the balloons. In order to lift the house from Up off the ground, it would take about 1,500,000 cubic feet of helium which means you would need about 100,000 balloons. That’s a heck of a lot of balloons. So if they decided to use actual physics, Carl would have ended up going to a nursing home because he didn’t have enough balloons to lift his house and everyone would think that he was a crazy old coot. Though technically, Up is a Pixar movie (though it was released by Disney as all Pixar movies are), they still require a happy ending. According to the people at Pixar, they knew that, according to physics, Carl would need more balloons to lift his house but they went with what looked best for the movie.