I will admit it here and now. I’m a Disney tragic. My favourite time of the week when I was little was 6.30 on a Sunday night. That was the time that all noise stopped and when you’re part of a family of 12 kids, 2 parents and a grandmother all in the same small house, no noise is remarkable. The whole family went quiet and gathered as one to watch The Wonderful World of Disney. Mum made pancakes or something that we could eat in front of the television and we’d wait for the magic to happen. Walt would appear on the screen and we’d try to guess what land the night’s program would be coming from. I always wanted it to be from Fantasy Land. That was the happiest land of them all.
I was obsessed with all things Disney and this has never faded. I cut my reading teeth on Mary Poppins. As I’ve previously mentioned in another blog, her ‘read along with the record’ book, had me enthralled and eager to learn what the words were I was following, resulting in me being able to read well before I started school.
As I had my own family, I happily introduced them to the magic of Walt Disney’s vision. The best part is that doesn’t seem to have changed much. They still create magic for kids of all ages and do so without cutting corners. They offer a degree of excellence that is often reserved for adult entertainment, rather than children. This may possibly be the hardest favourite five I’ve done as nearly all their movies are my favourites but I’ll try to condense it down to the best of the best.
An honourable mention goes to Pollyanna who didn’t get mentioned in the top 5. I have to say I have a soft spot for her as she reminds me of my Mum. Mum always played the glad game throughout her life and I can remember how much she loved the scene where the light is reflected through the prism to make a rainbow. That was so my mum, ever the optimist, able to see beauty in everything. She encouraged and nurtured mine, and my children’s love of all things Disney.
The Little Mermaid
Something about Ariel captured my attention. The song, Part of your World, is, in my opinion, the greatest Disney song ever. I first saw this when I took my 3 children to the movies. Ursula terrified us all on the big screen, her black presence engulfing the cinema was unbelievably overpowering but having two red haired kids, the gorgeous red headed, underwater princess won all our hearts. Her innocence, her beauty, her voice, her sense of adventure and her penchant to lose track of time while daydreaming about the world out of the water all combined to ensure I not only wanted to protect her but I really identified with her.
Okay, so I’m showing my age but Cinders was the first Disney princess I fell in love with. She had such a sweet personality that even the animal kingdom worshipped at her feet. No wonder Prince Charming fell in love with her. It is the ultimate story and whilst I adore the Disney version, I watch nearly every other version that’s ever come out and I love Drew Barrymore’s Ever After. Do I think we as women have been fed an unhealthy serving of the Cinderella theory for years instead of being encouraged to love ourselves? Yes I do! But having said that, it takes nothing away from my love for Cinderella.
Disney Pixar just got this so right. Any film that has Tom Hanks and Robin Williams in it has to be good, but add the incredible animation and hilarious yet poignant story line and it had to be a winner. I knew toys really did come alive when I wasn’t in the room. I’ve always known this and finally, someone confirmed it for me. What’s more, they got the sequels right. 2 & 3 were every bit as good as the original. If only they could keep making them to infinity and beyond. Sadly, Buzz could never be the same without the manic but beautiful spirit of Robin Williams.
Mary Poppins taught me to read. Every time Tinkerbell rang the bell on my “read along” record, I knew the words had finished. I learned early to follow along with the words and started to recognise them. Of course I wanted her to be my nanny. I wanted her to take me to the chalk drawing carnival where I could ride the carousel and sing and dance with the penguins. Who didn’t want to laugh so heartily that you floated to the ceiling. Most importantly, I desperately wanted to feed the birds for tuppence a bag. Ah Mary, I am so thankful for your existence in my life. On a side note here I have to mention the incredible movie, Saving Mr Banks, which was based on Walt’s attempts to buy the rights to Mary Poppins. If you haven’t seen it, it’s must see viewing.
The Princess Diaries
The wonderful and talented Julie Andrews gets a guernsey in two favourites. Not only was she amazing as Mary Poppins (and don’t get me started on the Sound of Music but it’s not Disney) but as the Queen who wanted to retire and live happily ever after so had to train her unknown granddaughter, played so perfectly clumsy by Anne Hathaway, to be a princess and eventually queen. These two movies are delightful. They are funny, whimsical yet rely so heavily on the emerging relationship between these two women who have never known each other.
Now that I’ve written that, I might go and make a cup of tea, put my feet up and lose myself in a visit to Genovia to watch Anne Hathaway take her rightful place as heir to the throne.
Happy Viewing.. Livvy xxx