15 Surprising Facts About Disney’s Most Famous Characters
Your favorite cartoons growing up have some interesting backstories.
Mickey Mouse was almost named Mortimer
When Walt Disney suggested the name to his wife, Lillian, she didn’t think the name matched the character’s personality. He later came up with Mickey Mouse, and the rest is history. Mortimer Mouse eventually became Mickey’s taller, more arrogant nemesis, sporadically appearing in print and short films since 1936.
Mickey and Minnie have the same birthday
In 1933, Walt Disney stated that Mickey’s birthday was October 1, 1928, since that was “the day on which his first picture was started,” waltdisney.org reports. But in 1978, Dave Smith, founder of the Disney Archives, changed the date to November 18, 1928, the premiere of Steamboat Willie. The 1928 animated short officially debuted Mickey and Minnie Mouse to the world, which meant that date was Minnie’s birthday, too. Check out these vintage photos of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Several Disney characters have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
On November 18, 1978, Mickey Mouse became not only the first Disney character to get a star, but the first-ever cartoon character to get one. Six more stars have since been awarded to Disney characters: Snow White (1987), Kermit the Frog (2002), Donald Duck (2004), Winnie the Pooh (2006), Tinker Bell (2010), and The Muppets (2012). When you meet costumed cast members at Disney, make sure you follow these unspoken rules.
Maleficent and Cinderella’s stepmother are the same person
In real life, that is. Actress Eleanor Audley voiced both Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, and Maleficent, the villain in Sleeping Beauty. Audley also had a prolific career in television, appearing on shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Dick Van Dyke Show before her death in 1991.
Pocahontas is the only Disney princess based on a real person
But that doesn’t mean the Disney movie accurately portrays what happened in real life. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Pocahontas’ real name was Amonute. Pocahontas was just a nickname meaning “playful one” or “ill-behaved child.” She was a child when she met John Smith, not an adult as he was, and they didn’t have a romantic relationship.
Only two Disney princesses have supernatural powers
Do you know your Disney characters well enough to name the two princesses that have powers? While Disney princess movies tend to focus the plot on some sort of magic, the main leading ladies rarely possess magical abilities themselves. The two exceptions are Rapunzel with her healing, glowing hair and Elsa with her icy powers. All of the Disney princesses, though, have the power to grace us with some inspiring words to live by like all of these Disney princess quotes.
Sulley has a ton of hair
The big blue protagonist in Monsters, Inc. has more than 2.3 million individual hairs. Since each one needed to be animated, it took about 12 hours just to produce a single frame with Sulley.
And Dalmatians have a ton of spots
More than 6,400,000 spots appear on the dogs in the movie 101 Dalmations. Each puppy has 32, their mother Perdita has 68, and their father Pongo has 72.
The crab from The Little Mermaid isn’t named Sebastian
As revealed at the beginning of the film, his full name is Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian. We can understand why he shortened it. If you’re an expert on these Disney characters, you can probably ace this Disney trivia game.
The Beast has the features of many animals
Animator Glen Keane told animatedviews.com that he created the titular character from Beauty and the Beast with the legs of a wolf, the tail of a dog, the body of a bear, the head of a buffalo, the eyebrows of a gorilla, the muzzle of a wild boar, and the mane of a lion.