Claremore Daily Progress

Community News Network

March 19, 2014

Is there a Disney universe?

Casual fans accept that Disney movies take place once upon a time, in a land far, far away. But Tumblr users are not casual fans. And they want it all to Mean Something.

Welcome to the esoteric and frankly mind-boggling world of Disney fan theories, which posits that all of Disney's animated movies take place in the same universe and characters from different films interact - across the decades and centuries! - in ways you have to squint to see. Andy's mom in "Toy Story" is actually the cowgirl-doll Jessie's original owner. Belle, from "Beauty and the Beast," secretly loved Aladdin. The latest fan theory rocking this small-but-vocal corner of the Internet involves "Frozen" and 1989's "The Little Mermaid": What if, fans argue, the sunken ship Ariel explored 24 years ago. . . was actually the ship where Anna and Elsa's parents perished in "Frozen"?!

The evidence for this theory is, of course, scarce, despite the amazing effort that some people have pumped into researching it. Still, the idea isn't so crazy when you consider Disney's penchant for dropping similar Easter eggs over the years. Dogs from "Lady & the Tramp" surface in "101 Dalmations"; so-called "Hidden Mickey's" and subliminal messages, often sexual, show up in most films. At one point in Disney's "Aladdin", the sultan stacks a series of model animals that include the beast, from "Beauty and the Beast" - conclusive proof, fans argue, that Disney's creators intended for both films to live in the same "universe."

What that universe would look like, it's hard to say. It would have to include places as far removed as modern-day Australia and magical medieval kingdoms. (Which has led to another unified theory of Disney movies: They take place in the same universe, but non-chronologically, along a timeline that spans millions of years.) Further complicating things - some Disney movies are explicitly tied to real geographic locations, while others are not. Just try pointing to Atlantis on a map.

Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped many fans from trying to plot the Disney universe. An early effort by Redditor translucentfish controversially put "Aladdin" in Saudi Arabia, and "Tangled" close to Germany. Twenty-six-year-old Eowyn Smith's recent map, which she posted with extensive citations on Deviantart, racked up thousands of comments and dozens of media mentions within days. Smith told the Huffington Post that she re-watched all of the Disney movies, noting wildlife, backgrounds and landscapes, in order to make the map. She was helped by fan blogs like Finding Corona and Finding Arendelle, which exist solely to hypothesize where the movies would take place in real life.

All this begs an obvious question: why? Aren't Disney movies enough as discrete, self-contained little pieces of art? Do we have to seek out further meaning? With their clue-sifting and screen-shotting and arcanely labeled diagrams, die-hard Disney theorists share something with their zanier, more paranoid cousins in the conspiracy world: a belief that some greater power is orchestrating everything, and they are the only ones in on the plot.

Of course, there's a big gap between blogging about the New World Order's political machinations and Disney's creative ones. The latter is, obviously, more fun. (Also saner.) That said, it's pretty absurd to think some god-like creative at Disney is lurking in the wings, anonymously plotting the interacting story arcs of hundreds of films and characters.

Then again, if the Tumblr hordes have time for that . . . why wouldn't Disney?

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • New York to offer free lunch to all middle-school students

    New York's $75 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that began last week includes the first step toward offering free lunch for all 1.1 million students, expanding a program now reserved only for the city's poorest children.

    July 9, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.24.10 AM.png VIDEO: Pilot buys pizzas for storm-delayed travelers

    A Frontier Airlines pilot went above and beyond the call of duty when a recent flight from Washington, D.C. to Denver was diverted to Cheyenne, Wyoming due to bad weather.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why North Korean cheerleaders may soon descend on the South

    When you think of North Korea, "cheerleaders" may not be the first thing that springs to mind. The Hermit Kingdom is perhaps better known for less savory things like gulag-like labor camps and leadership purges.

    July 8, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.46.13 AM.png VIDEO: Foiled beach gear theft goes viral

    Video capturing a bizarre confrontation with two women allegedly attempting to steal beach gear on a Florida beach has gone viral.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.40.20 AM.png VIDEO: Sleeping fan suing Yankees, ESPN for $10M

    A fan caught on camera sleeping during a recent game at Yankee Stadium has filed suit against the Yankees and ESPN, claiming he suffered emotional distress when two announcers mocked him on the air.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo