Sofia Prieto Black

Disney movies are arguably the most iconic films to ever be made. From the incredibly detailed and beautifully drawn animations to the one-of-a-kind characters and their plot lines, the carefully crafted lessons in each story are what make the movies so unique and are what continue to keep them relevant among all generations. Disney movies have been criticized for including, what today would be considered, politically incorrect jokes and at times reinforcing stereotypes. But this doesn’t mean that we should completely disregard the good lessons to be learned from these classics. 

Here are five of the most pertinent lessons taught throughout a variety of Disney films.

1. Always tell the truth. (Pinocchio)

Pinocchio, a wooden puppet that suddenly comes to life when his father wishes upon a star, is tasked with making difficult life decisions that all individuals make as they are growing up. Pinocchio quickly learns that every time he fails to tell the truth, his nose will consequently get longer. Through this visual and many others to come, viewers of all ages learn that lying truly gets you nowhere, and doing so will, in the end, always have repercussions.

2. Don’t judge a book by its cover. (Beauty and the Beast)

Beauty is only skin deep: a phrase many have heard or been told at least once in their lives. Beauty and the Beast best demonstrates this theme as one of the protagonists is, himself, many times misunderstood based on his looks. As a society, we are often too quick to judge individuals for what we see at the surface. However, we must begin to take a deeper look inside a person and try to see them for who they actually are.

3. It’s never too late!  (Up)

In the film Up, Carl and Ellie, a young married couple, have used their life savings on life responsibilities which hindered their ability to travel the world and go on the adventure they had always dreamed of. After Ellie’s death, 78-year-old Carl is prompted with the chance to finally fulfill his dream in a very unexpected way. This story is a true depiction that age and time are nothing but a number. Although it may seem like you’ve run out of time to achieve your life aspirations, it is truly never too late! The amount of time it takes to get there isn’t significant, as long as you achieve it.

4. Just keep swimming. (Finding Nemo)

In the film Finding Nemo, Dory and Martin, the two main characters, face challenges that seem impossible to conquer. Despite the fact that when they make a wrong turn and find themselves surrounded by sharks, stuck in a dentist aquarium, and flying in the mouth of a pelican, they choose to persevere and in the end, come out stronger than they were before. This ultimately taught kids to never EVER give up on something you’ve set your mind to!

5. You don’t get something for nothing! (The Princess and the Frog)

Tiana, in The Princess and the Frog, shows children that hard work most definitely pays off! Tiana worked diligently every day for years on end to make her dreams a reality. So… if you keep your eye on the prize and truly remain focused on what you want to achieve, you’ll get there, eventually.

It’s important for young children to learn life lessons through films and stories they already love and spend so much time watching. The years children spend viewing Disney films are often the most developmental times in their lives. When kids see characters they aspire to be making genuine and kind decisions while following their moral compasses, they will most likely internalize the protagonist’s honorable values.