Disney History: 20 Times Disney Movies Completely Avoided Real History

“Disney History” is often a term given to The Walt Disney Company when it comes to their films, which date back nearly 100 years – from their first Mickey Mouse cartoon short-film, all the way up to movies we see today. It seems Disney movies are known for being great for kids and even for adults, at times.

With their soon-to-be official acquisition of 20th Century Fox, things will only continue to be successful in the true Disneyland.

However, success aside, it seems that Disney has avoided the truth quite a few times in their movies. Sometimes, they have avoided straight up facts just because they either did not want to add them or did not do any research. While some of their older films can be forgiven for their mistakes due to lack of knowledge at the time or proper sources to speak with, this is not the case with others. If nothing else, they have the internet today. This should prepare anyone, right?!?

Disney has their own small world (after all), much like their theme park. This world or land, if you will, allows them to use their own “Disney History.” Inside Disney History, they are able to avoid key historical facts – not just small ones, but incredibly well-known material. While adapting a story and changing it up is understandable for creative reasons, they do not, in any way, have the right to change real history.

Obviously, in Disney films, you’re going to have random impossible things. A magical genie, a girl with freeze powers, a girl with magical hair, weird sleeping people, random singing out of nowhere….we know this. However, we’re not going to touch the fantasy world they have developed. Instead, we’re going to expose key historical facts their movies either ignored, covered up, or just did not think about. Disney History has issues, and it is time for real history to shake things up!

20. Tangled’s Disney History Does Not “Match” True History

Tangled Movie
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
One of the most common mistakes made by Disney is that they do not consider the objects or random things that exist in their movies. When it is a period movie, you MUST match it. If you avoid this, then what is the point, right? Tangled follows the tale of Rapunzel, the girl with the extra long hair that apparently has special powers. Ooohhh ahhh!!

While the movie is relatively good, and they do follow a lot of historical things accurately…they messed up. There is a period in which Rapunzel uses a match to light a candle. While candles have existed for centuries, matches have only been around a few hundred years. They were first invented, comparatively to the one used by Rapunzel, in the 1800’s. In fact, Europe would not really see these become relatively big until the mid-1800’s.

Yet Tangled apparently takes places in the late 1700’s, so she is a few decades from the first one. While China did invent something that could help them light things easier, which was a type of match, it was relatively large. This was first used around 400 A.D. But it was nothing like the one we see today. Matches have gone through a lot of change in that time.

Today, not only are they pretty cheap but they are also pretty easy to find and come in all types. Some are even waterproof, which is great for things like camping. But in Rapunzel’s time, none of this would have been available. So her using a match of any kind, not like the ones China would have had possibly or even glass to focus on something…she is using something out of her time period. The clothing is also off by about 50 years too.


19. Tarzan Seems To Show A Lot Of Bad Disney History

Tarzan & Jane
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
Tarzan’s book was first published around 1914. However, the time period of the book takes places decades before around the 1880’s. This is very key to know, as Tarzan makes reference to a number of famous people. At one point in the movie, Jane meets Tarzan and is completely infatuated with him. At the time, not in love but in curiosity.

She and her father are able to determine he has lived in this jungle environment for his entire life. He was raised by a family of Gorillas, with the mother protecting him like she would her own young. This is obviously something huge to discover, so Jane begins to tell Tarzan that she can take him to meet some of the most amazing people of the time.

She mentions huge names like Charles Darwin and Rudyard Kipling. While Kipling was alive, he did not truly make himself known in the writing world until 1889. His big story that made him a big star cameThe Jungle Book stories, not published until 1894. So this would have to be incredibly early.

Darwin also passed away in 1882, and he was not exactly in the major public the last few years of his life. So, a lot of this is out of its time and just completely missed by Disney History.

This took a simple search online, which could have been done by Disney when Tarzan was written for their animated movie. Just so you’re aware, this quote by Jane was not in the original book. Clearly, the author knew without the need for internet research, about the people both alive and passed on. If this writer from the early 1900’s could do so, why can’t Disney?


18. Beauty And The Beast’s Disney History Avoids French Architecture Knowledge By Over 100 Years

Beauty and the Beast
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
While Disney’s Beauty and the Beast storyline would be terrific in several ways, the overall aspect of the movie was attempting to sell a few things. First and foremost, they wanted to sell the near Stockholm Syndromed Belle falling for the Beast figure. Second, they wanted to show how nothing was technically as it seems due to a mystical being cursing the family of the Beast and much of the staff that lived there. It is truly a great children’s movie.

That does not make it without error, however. The story takes place in an interesting time period. We’re in the beautiful 1700’s era France. The story writers did not randomly choose France, as it was very much on purpose in that telling their story would hinge heavily on this location. While many stories revolving around royalty of any kind seemed to include an English influence, we see a French one here.

On top of this, it’s an era when a lot of change occurred in the area. The 1700’s saw France become an asset to the United States, The Seven Years War and ultimately the two Treaties of Paris and Versailles respectively. Near the mid-portion of the century, we saw the rise of one Napoleon Bonaparte and eventually the French Revolution close to the end of it.

All of this is critical to know because it is likely one of it not the BIGGEST time period in French history. Disney History still screwed things up. There is a scene in the movie, quite beloved, where the song “Be Our Guest” is used. There is an actual French character named Lumiere happens to be the lead singer of the song. Funny enough, he might be the only French character in a French setting. Yet he ignores his own nation’s history.

During this scene, we see the Eiffel Tower used. While it is not being used in the biggest amount possible, it is enough to know what it is. Obviously, France is well-known for this Tower and it’s obvious most know it for this if nothing else. Yet construction did not even begin on it until 1887. It would be shown at The World’s Fair in 1889 to make its grand debut. Disney History avoids the over 100 years after the movie’s set time to do this.


17. Disney History Alters Millions Of Years Of History In Dinosaur

Disney's Dinosaur
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
While the movie Dinosaur is a cute family movie that is fun for the entire family, it is also an interesting tale that can be a bit heartbreaking. Most of us know the story of the Dinosaurs. They lived millions of years ago and sadly the Ice Age ultimately wiped them all out. With the exception of your bird-like or aquatic types, which lasted for thousands of more years beyond this. Some even to this day, crocodiles anyone?

However, there are a number of eras for Dinosaurs. The four critical eras that lasted for quite a long time would be critical for the film to follow. They are the Mesozoic, Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods…in that order. The Mesozoic is the oldest at a little over 250 million years ago being the starting point of this era.

The Cretaceous period begins around 145 million years ago and ultimately ends about 55 to 60 million years ago. However, by the end of this era, we begin to see the first primates hit the Earth. This is not exactly the monkey or ape we know them as today. Rather, what would one day become them. We as humans come from this primate species, as we share a common ancestor in this hominid area. But we split from the other primate in Evolution.

This led to the monkeys and apes we have now, and what we see used in the Dinosaur film, the Lemur. This is absolute crap and Disney History did not bother to even consider checking into this. They may have seen a bit of info regarding a fossil found thought to belong to a Lemur from the Mesozoic time period. It turns out, it was a primate but an ancestor to the Lemur.

While Modern Lemurs were first seen a little over 2,000 years ago by humans, it is believed they are at least 40 to 50 million years old. That means, however, the movie Dinosaur is off base.

All non-avian/aquatic dinosaurs were gone by the time the first lemurs are believed to be present. That means a Dinosaur being raised by Lemurs, such as the case of this film, is nonsense. Disney History for this movie has to skip millions of years of known real history and puts Lemurs back in a time before primates were even a thing. They could not exist in the time for this movie to make sense.


16. The Huntchback Of Notre Dame’s Disney History Ignores Real French Knowledge Again

Hunchback of Notre Dame
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
The story of The Huntchback of Notre Dame is actually quite brilliant and happens to be written by the tremendous French writer known as Victor Hugo. It was published in 1831, and it would go on to become a beloved book. Hugo is also famous for his other works, in particular, a small story called Les Miserables. This book remains as one of literature’s best for good reason, as it is quite tremendous.

Hugo did not ignore a lot of known French material, but Disney History sure as heck did. First and foremost, Disney adapted their story from Hugo’s book that is originally known as Notre-Dame de Paris. It would be written in English later on and translated to the title we use today by Fredric Schoberl. This is when the title of the story changed to The Huntchback of Notre Dame.

Yet even he did not ignore the history of the time, as his story was published only a few years later in 1833. Overall, the story takes place in the 1400’s, about 1483 to be precise. This is critical to know, as the movie messed up with a ton of French knowledge…even about the freaking Notre Dame Cathedral itself. The Notre Dame Cathedral is known to still be amazing even today, but people who have seen it notice one very key thing.

All of those key French details do not matter to Disney History, of course. The steps that Quasimoto’s mother dies on, well, they are not really there. The real church is relatively flat on the outside before one steps into the building. So the mother could not have died on steps that were not present in the 1400’s or today. Seriously, did they even visit the place or ask any questions about this to literally any French person ever?

The other is one that can be forgiven a bit, though architecturally it is highly wrong. During this time, there would not have been any statues of the 12 Apostles. We see them often in the movie and though they do come to the building, they are not around at this time in history. This is not the only mistake made in the movie architecture-wise.

While it is possible the church or other buildings had trap doors, they were not exactly present on scaffolds. The reason for this is likely due to the fact that they were harder to add at the time. They’d need to be made with the building or not, and chances are the Notre Dame would not have made their church with this. It would take about 400 years before scaffolds were known to have them.

Going back to statues, the movie shows how they were made all out of polychrome. This did happen later, but it is actually insulting to many people to ignore the real facts. Every statue at this time, for the Notre Dame, was hand-crafted out of stone. It was incredibly hard to do and would take years of perfecting.


15. What A Brave Fashion Decision By Disney Historians

Brave
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
This might be a nitpicking type of thing, so we’ll be upfront about that here and now. It’s only right that we do so, ultimately. That said, we need to talk about what Brave does with their film. To be fair, this movie is absolutely terrific and very good for what it needs to be. It is comedic as well as dramatic and happens to be the first story that does not involve a Prince coming in and saving the day, then getting with a Princess.

For those wondering, Brave came out in 2012 and Frozen with a similar result came out in 2013.

In reality, there is no true male star or lead in the movie with Merideth. This is really cool to see and it is used as an example from Disney fans that the company did not have to somehow add a guy in to save the day. There are some errors, however. The story takes place in Medieval Scotland. The Medieval time period is quite large, so that leaves a lot open. It takes place from the 5th to 15th Century in Europe.

Brave takes place in what is said to be the 10th Century, which is right in the middle. This is quite crucial to know, as “Medieval Scotland” is a large time period, but the timing of the movie is precise. That means a lot would not be available at this time. First, people did not paint their bodies or faces in Scotland at this point in history.

It is said that men only did the paint thing in the late Iron Age. Meanwhile, women did not truly wear dresses the way they are portrayed in the movie. While dresses have existed for centuries truthfully, the ones of this period would have been vastly different. First, only royals could afford several colors like blue or green. This is due to the expense of it and dye was not exactly widely used as it can be today.

Second, the dresses that used the coifs and wimples did not come to the Scottish area specifically until the 14th to 15 Century. This is several hundred years after our supposed timeline. The reason people forgive it is that it still matches the Medieval time period. It simply did not get its correct history. Though Disney History is not too bad here, it’s still notably off and needs to be called out.


14. A Time When Disney History Conflicted With Disney’s Own History

Monsters University
[Image by The Walt Disney Company]
The movie Monsters, Inc. still ranks among the best movies Disney/Pixar has ever produced according to many. Though it does have some issues with it, such as it continuity error involving Boo. In that, her giggles are supposed to cause power outages, as we see in the movie. Yet she laughs a lot and we do not see it in every form, was it right to add this in?

Yet the story revolves around Mike and Sullivan. While Sully scares the kids, Mike is sort of his #2 guy. He is there to pull him back, get the doors ready for him to go through to scare kids, etc. Apparently, the two men did not just come about the scaring business. They had to attend a Monsters University, right?

Here’s the big problem with this. During the Monsters, Inc. movie, we see Mike and Sully get into an altercation, The two are arguing and all the sudden Mike tells Sully: “you’ve been jealous of me since the 4th Grade.”  This is not that big of a thing to think about. In reality, it is a blink and you miss that small portion from the movie.

Yet it is crucial to know. The movie Monsters University would be made years after Monsters, Inc. During this film, we are told right off that Mike and Sully first meet each other here. If this is supposed to be the case, then the line Mike delivered would be off-base completely. Either it was a massive exaggeration or Disney did not bother thinking things through.

They could have easily made a Monsters University movie with virtually the same outcomes. However, they simply could have instead claimed they went to the same schools growing up and simply split apart. Then by the time they attend college, they get back together again as friends. This would have tied up both movies without an issue. This is a case of Disney History avoiding itself. We cannot say we blame it…


13. Peter Pan’s Plainly Racist Song Needs Clarification

Peter Pan Native Neverlanders
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
Peter Pan is considered a Disney classic, loved by people all over the world. However, it is not exactly shy about its racism toward Native Americans. While Walt Disney himself has been accused of being racist for decades, this is not even the most horrific animated racial attempt he made. This is still terrible and follows Peter as he goes to Neverland. Yet it’s also avoiding key time differences.

While there, they meet up with a local Native tribe they are calling “injuns.” First and foremost, the story takes place in an interesting time period for London, England. This is the real universe that the children are in. The story was originally published by 1911 with its play soon following. They make the time period roughly the same as its publishing.

This means we’re likely in the 19th or 20th Century. This is key. While the Old West in the United States happened in the same time period, a lot was known about Native Americans at this time. One thing is more key than anything else, and that is location. The word “injuns,” said as “engines” is more of an American phrase for Native Americans, used by mostly Old West/Southern men to describe Indians. Because they were idiots apparently.

By the 1900’s, a lot was known about them on every side of the world. The New World had been discovered about 200 years before in Colonization form. Yet it was discovered for the European World hundreds of year before. Though the Vikings were the first to make it to North American land, Christopher Columbus’ run would be done memorably in 1492. However, it was soon forgotten.

When people began to colonize the American world, they ran into Natives and by then we knew India’s location. So calling them Indians made no sense. Heck, England technically owned India by the 1800’s!! They traded with them for decades prior to this. We knew where India was by this time, but Columbus was a freaking moron. Only he truly called the people here Indians, because he simply assumed he made it there. Despite common knowledge, he didn’t. He went to his deathbed assuming he discovered it. Yet he was not even the first to do that.

They were more often called “Natives” in America. Or they were called by the name of their tribe. That said, the word “Indians” did not come into true common language until the publishing and then novelization of Columbus’ BS storyline of how things went down. Only the South made this mistake, until later on.

Washington Irving wrote about Columbus and tried to make him come off as heroic, ignoring a great deal of actual history around him for his book. Irving, of course, was a famous fiction author. He is best known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The book he wrote did not get published until 1828. A later book by Samuel Elior Morison was published in 1942 and exposed a lot of Columbus’ crap. On top of the issues with Columbus that Irving covered up.

Why is all of this important? The English would not have used the word “injuns.” Even kids, as they would have no reason to call them Indians. The English owned India at this time, remember. Plus the known way of using it did not happen until the late 1800’s, but mostly in America…not England. It would have been confusing to them to use this describe the Natives. They were also in Neverland here, and would not make sense to be called Indians anyway.

As anyone with a brain knows, they were not in India while in Neverland. Would they not have called those people simply “Natives,” knowing this? Especially those from England who had no actual personal issue with the American Natives? They also ask what makes a red man, well, red? They go outside or use face paint, you moronic kid!


12. Disney History On Segregation Did Not Remember The True Titans

Remember the Titans
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
The movie Remember The Titans is a classic to most of us. While Denzel Washington is brilliant in a number of other films before this, it seems this movie put him on a map he had not been on previously. Disney happens to be behind this movie, which is pretty obvious. We should have known Disney History would creep up in there and mess with a lot of stuff.

The setting of the movie is Alexandria, Virginia. It is set in the time period of 1971 and we begin the film with the situation of the school T.C. Williams has to go through. They are now forced to desegregate, and it is not exactly beloved. Keep in mind, racist idiots are racist idiots. The key thing to know is the time given above, 1971. The Civil Rights laws were passed in the 1960’s.

In fact, several laws for minorities were passed during this time. It was actually forced upon many schools to desegregate. Memorably, the University of Alabama did so and it caused a bit of an uproar. Interestingly, Paul “Bear” Bryant wanted black players badly. So badly, in fact, that he’d take his team to states like California to play teams with black players that would ultimately destroy the Crimson Tide. He wanted them to show they deserved to go to AL.

This ultimately, with pressure from the federal government, forced Alabama to desegregate for sports. They even offered their first scholarship to a black player in 1971, the same year as this movie is set. Though the school accepted black students a number of years before this. They were one of the last few states to do this. In the 1960’s. Starting to see the problem? Disney History claims that in Remember the Titans, the school T.C. Williams desegregated in 1971. Yet it had actually done so in 1965.

The federal government felt things needed to continue and pressured things more, which resulted in more action taken. T.C. Williams would see 3 other high schools merge with it. The school would expand a bit due to this, simply to accommodate more students. However, Disney claims that full desegregation happened in 1971 for this school.

Clearly, the better story to Disney was to show how a school desegregated later than every school. Despite doing so several years before. Obviously, racism did not stop in Virginia as easily. A lot of what happened in this school did actually happen. So, Disney was not completely off with their story. Just because it is “based on a true story” does not mean it is completely accurate, however.


11. Disney History Must Be Frozen In One Time Period

Frozen w/Elsa, Snowman
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
Disney has been known to link their universes. We know that they are connected in some way with three films. Those are Tangled, Frozen, and Tarzan. The time period allows for all of them to be connected. Rapunzel and Elsa can be the same age in this. However, it is theorized that when her parents take a ship and apparently do not come back…they eventually have Tarzan. He is then raised by the apes and not seen until the 1880’s or so as an adult.

All of this means we’ll know the time period of Frozen by this. Rapunzel happens to see her movie set in the time period of the late 1700’s. We can even see her attend an event at the end of the Frozen movie. She might very well have aged a bit, so we’re assuming it could be the early 1800’s for all of this to interconnect.

Frozen does have an issue Tangled and Tarzan do not. This time period is supposedly 1800’s, and guns would have existed by then. So why did Frozen never see their use? It’s not like other kids movies did not have guns in them at the same time in 2013 or before. They mostly used crossbows. Keep in mind, you’ve got a girl with freeze powers basically making her coldhearted and thus, a bit evil. You don’t use a gun when they’re clearly available?

On top of this, Elsa uses the word “fractal” in the most played song by your niece or daughter, “Let It Go.” The word fractal was not coined until 1975, well over 100 years after the time period this movie takes place in. Oh, Disney History, you never let us down!


10. Pocahontas’ Disney History Gives Her Life Far Longer Than Her Real One

Pocahontas John Smith
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
The story of Pocahontas and its eventual sequel seems so lovely, doesn’t it? A great English explorer jumps into her life and protects her from the horrible issues around her, especially his commanding officer. They fall in love and he helps her escape her horrible life. Yet the entire story Disney used is a made up pile of crap. It is to be expected by now with Disney History, of course. How do we know this?

The male protagonist in the story, John Smith, wrote the story himself. We’re serious, people.

In truth, Smith and Pocahontas barely interacted. Smith really was kidnapped by the natives, but it is debatable if Pocahontas stepped in to stop her father from killing him. She was alive, but not in the age group we assume. She was the Chief’s daughter and her word was clearly powerful. So if she did interfere, it would have had some level of usage. Smith did not know her as he pretended, however.

This is for a number of reasons. The first is that while trying to smoke, he blew himself up. He did not look around to see the “no smoking” sign around explosive stuff, apparently. This caused him to go back to England to recover from his wounds. On top of this, by the time Smith arrived in the New World, Pocahontas was very young. In fact, the entire time Smith would have been in America…she was under 18.

She was around 11 or 12 upon arrival. Smith claimed the women were all over him in America when that was the furthest thing from the truth. Pocahontas is a real person, and her story is terribly tragic. The man from her tribe that she married was the love of her life, not an enemy to her or a forced marriage. It is speculated he was killed at one point.

The English would kidnap Pocahontas, force her into marriage with an Englishmen, and take her back to England as a propaganda tool. She would have a child and forcibly convert to Christianity. For some time, she was the most famous Native American in the known world. This is why Smith used her in his story, as she was so well known by this point that it would make sense he would have known her.

By the way, she passed away around the age of 21, believed to be due to disease brought on by her new surroundings. Disney spoke of none of these horrible tragedies in their two movies on her. But hey, they did have a fun song in the movie, right? Disney History blatantly ignored what was real and even aged up their star, just to make it work. All they had to do was ask any Native American historian ever if this was right.


9. Sleeping Beauty’s Real Story Is So Screwed Up We Might Prefer Disney History Changes

Sleeping Beauty
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
One of the worst things Disney has ever done must be their interference in the public domain. It is here that we get the various stories we know and love from the past and recreate them. Disney did just that with Sleeping Beauty, a story originally published in 1634 by Giambattista Basile, with a transcription in 1697 coming from Charles Perrault. Later, the Brothers Grimm do a nearly exact copy with the story known as Little Briar Rose.

Due to Beauty being public domain, Disney could use her story and alter it as they pleased. They kinda had to, honestly. As both versions of the story, even the lighter Brothers Grimm tale, was not exactly PC.

The story we know from the movie is that a handsome prince finds her and wakes her up due to his kiss. She is sleeping due to the touching of a spindle, which due to a curse puts her to sleep. The woman, Princess Aurora, then sleeps for some time before a handsome Prince eventually finds her and awakens her due to his kiss. However, this lovely story is not the original.

In fact, the original story involves a King who sexually assaults/rapes Aurora. Keep in mind, she is sleeping and in the original story too. But it takes about 100 years for her to be awakened. So most know who she is by now, one must conclude. The King finds Aurora and has sexual relations with her, obviously against her will.

She gets pregnant as a result of this. In this story, the spindle lodges something in her finger, and that is ultimately causing the sleeping. Due to this, she awakens in the story when her children(yes, more than one) are born and bite/suck on the area she was pricked..dislodging the apparent thorn that put her down.

Just so you know, she was not somehow given a hospital or castle to stay in during all this. She is left to rot by the King. He has no idea she is pregnant, of course. He then comes back, apparently to get his freak on again, when he discovers her awake. What makes matters worse is that he’s married. His wife and the literal Queen attempts to kill the children and feed it to them both. Disney has to take a few liberties, as you can imagine.


7. Mulan’s Disney History Avoids Thousands Of Years Of Chinese History

Mulan
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
The story of Mulan that Disney uses is filled with tremendous changes from the original. However, the actual poem, hundreds of years old, has Mulan lose the war. She then returns home to see her mother remarried and finds out her father died. She kills herself soon after this. However, this account that the Chinese believe to be a true story, has changes made to it by Disney beyond this.

There are a number of historical problems with the movie, and possibly with the original poem about Mulan. The story of Mulan takes place between the years of 386 to 538 A.D. This is crucial to remember, as the timing is important to show how Disney got so much wrong in one film. First, if the time presented from the original is present…the Great Wall of China would not be involved.

The Great Wall we know today did not occur until the Ming Dynasty, which ruled over China from 1368-1644. This is a difference of nearly 1,000 years of time. While there were various walls in China throughout the history of the nation…the one used by Disney presents the wall we know now. Which simply isn’t accurate.

To top it off, The Imperial City would not be built until the 1400’s. There wasn’t an Emperor at the time either, as again the Ming and of course the Qing Dynasty would rule by this point. That meant that The Huns could not assassinate an Emperor even if we fast-forward 1,000 years to fit Mulan’s Great Wall story. There wasn’t one to assassinate.

If that wasn’t enough, The Huns mostly existed between the 4th Century and 6th Century A.D. This is also crucial to comprehend because of the assassination of the Emperor that they were attempting in the movie. Interestingly, between Emperor Wu and Emperor Taizong….there isn’t another true and official Emperor of China. This is a problem, Emperor Wu ruled China from 141 B.C. to 87 A.D. while Emperor Taizong reigned from 626 A.D. to 649 A.D.

That means an official Chinese Emperor did not exist during the time period of Mulan’s story nor the bulk of the time period of The Huns. Disney History is off a lot in this, but it may not be completely on them. They went off of an old Chinese tale many insist is true. It’s really not fully true, but does have partial accuracy. However, Disney changed up a lot to make the story work. Then just added Chinese stuff in without thinking about it.


6. Aladdin’s Disney History Avoids Just About Everything You Learned In School

Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
The movie known simply as Aladdin is based on the Arabian Nights story. This is a very old book of stories that ultimately did make sense to frame a movie around. However, it was not going to completely work for Disney the way it was written. So the Disney writers ended up making it far more kid-friendly than they really needed to. However, this is not really the biggest problem with Aladdin.

The movie takes place around the year 800 A.D. and it is crucial we note the timeline of events, as the movie gets a lot wrong at one time. The first and primary among them happens to be noted right near the beginning. In the film, there is a man with the position of Grand Vizier. While this was a position within the Middle Eastern world centuries ago…it isn’t actually a think near 800 A.D.

In fact, it takes all the way up to the start of the Ottoman Empire for this area of the world to have a Grand Vizier in any form. Officially, we do not see them until at least the 1300’s, over 1,000 years after the timeline of Aladdin was set to be.

This is not the only historical inaccuracy in the movie. The second biggest happens to include The Great Sphinx of Egypt during the Magic Carpet Ride. Obviously, this is a magic carpet ride and future material would fit for present-day people. However, it is not accurate.

Since this takes place in 800 A.D. and the Sphinx by this point is over 2,000 years old, it’s already established. However, the Sphinx was buried under sand by this time. At least for the most part. In Egypt, shifting sands, as well as changes on the Earth, have occurred a lot over the last few thousand years. By this point, the Sphinx was nearly covered….if not completely.

It would not be until the 14th Century A.D. that a team would dig it out to be seen completely. It would be covered almost completely again until the 1920’s. That said, if Aladdin and Jasmine in 800 A.D. did happen to pass by it, he would not have really seen it. At least not in the position we saw it in the movie.

Also, what was up with their outfits? The film takes place in what is basically supposed to be a stand-in for Baghdad. All the clothing they have is inspired by Indian fashion, which was still a bit different from the timeframe the movie uses. Also, the Middle East to this day has a lot of control over the fashion of women, and many of them are forced to be covered.

This is 2018. Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jasmine never would have been able to wear something that allowed her belly to show. On top of this, she was a Princess and would have always been in a veil in public. You cannot expect Disney History to be on top of things like this, can you?


5. Sleeping Beauty’s Dancing Habits Force Disney History To Change The Real Stuff

Aurora and Prince dance
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
Sleeping Beauty might get some changes due to the nature of the original story, but it also has a pretty notable historical inaccuracy. The timeframe the story was written might have been the late 1600’s, but this is not the timeline of the story. We’re told literally during the movie that its the 14th Century.

Due to this, Disney made an error. It’s a small one that kids won’t notice by historians should, and it involves the dance that the Prince does with Aurora. During the 14th Century, dances were not exactly “close” in public forums. In this timeframe, men and women only touched hands during a dance and nothing more.

Yet in the movie, we see the Prince pull Aurora close where he also holds her by her waist. While this is not remotely considered too bad for a PG movie in the 1950’s and on, it would have been considered horrific in the 14th Century. In fact, dancing like they did though innocent was outlawed. Even the Prince possibly could have been thrown in the brig if felt the desire to do so.

Dances closer to your partner would come, but not for a little over 100 years. That means Disney was off in the dance for a long time. Though it is a small, nitpicky thing…it is notable to history.


4. Saving Mr. Banks Uses Disney History To Cover Up Its Own Horrible Action

Saving Mr. Banks
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
Likely the biggest sin by Disney according to many is the changing of their own history to look better in future projects. The movie known as Saving Mr. Banks did exactly this, and it’s quite appalling when you realize the truth. In the movie, we find out that Walt Disney is trying to convince P.L. Travers to let the company use her book to form a movie around it.

In real life, this did actually happen. He did do his best to sell her on the Disney image and how they’d take care of her story. The idea was that it would be better if the man himself convinced her, which is why Disney did not hand it off to an underling.

He’d convince the writer that her story known as Mary Poppins would be a smash hit that would be remembered forever. He was right, but that is about where the accuracy stops and the lies begin.

First and foremost, Walt Disney never once worked on the script for the movie with Travers. Instead, he tasked the Sherman Brothers to do that. They’d also help with songs for the movie. Overall, Travers never felt sold on the movie as she was very attached to her book and did not know if the movie would ever capture the vision she had for everything.

When the movie premiered, she is present on the very night. The movie notes that she is crying after its over, and this is very true. However, the movie claims it is tears of joy for how it all turned out. This is not even close to true, as we know today that Travers was so unhappy with the movie and how her story was portrayed, she could not control her upset nature. This caused her to cry. As she was very disappointed with how it went.

Interestingly, though Travers did work with the scriptwriters to make the best possible story…they took some liberties. The movie would not be a complete change from the book, nor would it be a change completely from the script she worked on. Though the changes were clear enough to her, and Disney lied about her loving it when she simply didn’t. Is Disney History messing with their own history? It must be true what they say, history is written by the winners.


3. Robin Hood’s Disney History Belongs In The “John”

Robin Hood Sheriff
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
Like Sleeping Beauty before it, the story of Robin Hood has been adapted several times over the years. Whether its live-action or animated, the story is well-known. The problem with Disney is that they did not bother doing any research on the original story or the time period it takes place. We know that the timeline has to be somewhere between 1189 to 1199.

This is due to the presence of King Richard. In case you’re wondering, Richard was a real King of England.

Due to this timeframe, we can accurately point out where Disney totally screwed up the timeline. First and foremost, we need to call out the fact that badminton was played during the movie. Even the oldest known Badminton players claimed the current version of the game (used in Robin Hood) only went back to the 1600’s, hundreds of years after the timeframe of the movie.

Likely the biggest problem historically revolved around Farthing Coins. These coins were very real and used in England as the story proclaimed. However, they would not come into play until the 1200’s.

This means they are decades away from the first ever Farthing Coin being minted for England’s use. Obviously, that means Robin Hood is using the wrong currency in the film. Disney History can be forgiven up to a point for these mistakes, as they aren’t huge. However, they are clearly important to get right. Almost all the other Robin Hood movies did just that. So what is Disney’s excuse?


2. Hercules Needs To Gets Its Mythology In Touch With Disney History

Hercules and Phil
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
The Disney movie involving Hercules takes more liberties than most other stories they use. The reason happens to be due to his overall story. While the movie involving The Rock at least attempted to be better about the real story, yet still made inaccuracies, Disney just insulted people.

First and foremost, Hades might control what is basically hell but he has not really been considered evil. Of course, he is not the most beloved God in mythology, but he’s no worse than the others truthfully.

This has been used because the Western thought of Hell is that of a terrible place. With the person controlling it, Satan, being evil. However, Hades is not a stand-in for Satan in Greek and Roman Mythology. He just happens to be The God of the Underworld. That’s it, full stop. No real evil needed here.

On top of this, both Roman and Greek Mythology types are continually against the idea of what Disney and others have done with Hercules’ parents. While he is the son of Zeus in the original mythology, his mother is not the God Hera. While Zeus might be Hera’s husband, the Goddess simply isn’t the mother of Hercules. It happens to be a human woman by the name of Alcmene.

Hercules is more of a representation of Jesus to the Mythological world. In that, a God impregnates a human woman to have a God-like child. However, the two differ when it comes to what happens after. Hercules was a bastard son that came as a result of one of Zeus’ many affairs.

This led Hera to absolutely hate the Demi-God. As the Queen of the Gods, she went out of her way to make his life a living hell. That said, not recognizing this completely ruins the story of Hercules honestly. Disney History is not known for its accuracy, but they can be forgiven for some mythological mistakes. It’s all Myth, to begin with. However, it’s also retold various ways and obviously known for being different in other forms. 

What should be noted is that the Athena/Hercules relationship has never changed in Roman or Greek Mythology. Disney changed it.


1. Princess and the Frog’s Disney History Is At Least Better Than Real History

Princess and the Frog
[Image via The Walt Disney Company]
One of the worst things in American history has to be the horrific background of racism. Racist issues happened to grow from slavery in the 1700s and 1800s, where rights were few. Even after the Civil War, they’d be limited and laws would be in play in the racist South to limit black Americans. These laws continued into the 1900’s, seriously.

While the Segregation and Civil Rights material in the 1960’s might be a notable time that helped to change things and give rights, this was not the case during the 1920’s. The Princess and the Frog take place during this period in American history. Tiana, the lead in the movie, claims she has a dream to open up her own restaurant.

This happens to be taking place in the Jim Crow-Era New Orleans territory. Both Black Americans and women were held back at this point. Black Women likely more than any other. With that in mind, it would have been very hard for Tiana to open a restaurant.

Even if she had the money, the city had to permit buildings going up and business licenses were in play by this point too. They could have chosen not to give her one.

Likely the worst thing Disney History overlooks is the horrible time period in which Americans were unable to marry a person of another race. While today people believe the passing of Gay Marriage took too long, it took hundreds of years for marriage between even a man and women of another race to be married. The movie actually tries to give us a marriage, which is impossible.

Prince Naveen marries Tiana in the movie, which would have been fine by the law if he was black. However, he wasn’t yet Tiana was. According to the racist law of the time, they could not get married at the time Disney presents. Thankfully we were given a chance to this law later on. The United States Supreme Court would vote on a law to change this called Loving vs Virginia in 1967.

Unanimously, they voted to abolish the law preventing interracial marriage, allowing people of any race to marry the person of their choice. So long as it was the opposite sex. This is the 1960’s, of course. Yet this new law for interracial marriage would not take place until around 40 years after the Princess and the Frog movie is set. We cannot lie, we’d rather see Disney History in play in this situation. It’s just simply not accurate.

More from Nerd Much?