Disney is one of the biggest conglomerates in the world. They own multiple television stations with ESPN and ABC, radio stations, publishing and music companies, theme parks and major film and theater productions. Though they own all these companies the biggest way Disney influences us is through the many successful animated movies they have created for children and their families to watch. Many generations grow up on popular Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Toy Story Trilogy, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Finding Nemo and Cars.
Throughout these movies there have been reoccurring cultural themes or characteristics; some good and others not so good. One of the more positive themes is the good vs. evil fight. In all of Disney‘s movies there is always a main character with good traits and one with negative traits. At the end of the story the more positive character always wins though the other character may have a successful moment in the movie. This is a great theme and teaches children that the good guy always wins in the end so don’t be bad. But there are downfalls to this theme. The good characters are always portrayed as nice, successful, pleasant to be around, and really attractive while the bad characters are always unattractive, mean and greedy. These character traits give viewers the assumption that this is always the case for these types of people, in turn creating a stereotype and most stereotypes are not always true and end up being negative.
Another theme is the fairy tale romance, use of magic and mystical ideas and characters. The fairy tale romance usually falls in the “damsel in distress” category. If the main character is a female she is never fully happy until she falls in love and marries…a prince. These themes can manipulate children’s perception of how things are suppose to happen in the real world or lead them to disappointment in the future. Girls grow up wanting their fairy tale ending and get disappointed when things don’t happen like in the movies, and many feel that they will not be fully happy until they have a boyfriend. Magic and mystical ideas aren’t very relative to the real world either and for young children they may not be able to make the connection of what they really represent. One more theme is the loss factor, the main character is either raised by a single parent or loses something or someone in their life. This theme can be taken in a negative context or just be plain sad or as an unfortunate obstacle one has to get over.