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Robin Hood

Robin Hood

It’s 1970, and Walt Disney Animation Studios is not sure where to go with their films. Walt Disney himself had died four years earlier. The Aristocats, the last film Walt personally greenlit, was already in production and set for a December release. The studio was faced with the task of creating their first film without any involvement from their namesake, founder, and primary visionary.

Eventually, they decided to create their own version of one of the oldest characters in the English literary tradition. In 1973, they reintroduced a new generation to the hero who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Even now, Disney’s Robin Hood remains one of the world’s favorite takes on the legend.

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20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Though many of their animated films are masterpieces, there is more to Walt Disney Productions than those movies. Their live-action fare can generate just as much hype as their animated films today. These releases are just the latest in a long tradition dating back to the early 1950s when Walt Disney first stepped outside of his cartoon worlds. Many of Disney’s first live-action efforts have proven just as enduring as their animated films. Few have been more persistently well-regarded than their 1954 adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a thrilling and excellent adventure that still entertains today.


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101 Dalmatians - Behind the Scenes

101 Dalmatians - Behind the Scenes

After so many financial losses, Walt Disney started to wonder if it was time to close the studio and stick with live-action films, television, and Disneyland.

Thankfully, he was persuaded to greenlight one more movie that looked promising (and inexpensive). The result, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, made more money than any of Disney’s animated films yet. Besides being responsible for keeping the now ridiculously lucrative studio open, this movie remains highly entertaining for the whole family.

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Cinderella

Cinderella

The story of Cinderella is truly universal. The earliest recorded version, about a courtesan named Rhodopis, came from Greece in the first century BCE. The Chinese story of Yeh-hsien (or Ye Xian), first published in 850 CE, may be even more ancient. These ancient tales, and many others from a surprising variety of civilizations features at least a few familiar elements: a woman in poverty, a cruel stepmother, magical assistance, perfectly fitting footwear, and a royal marriage. In the 17th century, French writer Charles Perrault wrote the version that most people know today.

However, you may be even more familiar with Disney’s adaptation of Perrault’s retelling, the 1950 animated classic Cinderella. This was their first movie to tell a single story since 1942’s Bambi, with the intervening years seeing the studio combine multiple cartoon shorts into less expensive package films. Disney had not seen major financial success since their first film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and they needed a hit. It’s only natural, then, that they turned to “the sweetest story ever told.”


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Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

The 1950s was a remarkably busy time for Disney. Walt Disney diverted his attentions, as well as many resources and his best creative minds, to the creation of Disneyland. To help fund this project, the film studio produced several big-budget live-action movies and ventured into the then-new medium of television.

Despite all these massive undertakings, the animation studio still created five films in that decade. Their ambitious vision for the last of these, Sleeping Beauty, cost them six years of work and six million dollars. The result is a dazzling masterpiece that may be more epic than you ever realized.


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Growing Disney Topiaries

Growing Disney Topiaries

March 6, 2019 will mark the start of Epcot’s 25th International Flower & Garden Festival. Fans of Disney parks know what that means: the return of butterfly gardens, vibrant floral displays, weekend concerts, and especially the popular topiaries. These photogenic “living sculptures” of classic characters are one of the festival’s main draws and a showcase for the talents and creativity of Disney’s horticulturalists.


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Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros

Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros

Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros are strange films, especially compared to the five Disney classics that came before them. The former is the only movie in the studio’s animated canon to be part documentary, showing Walt Disney and his artists traveling around South America. The latter is the first in the canon to mix live-action performers with animated characters and backdrops in increasingly surreal sequences.

Learn all about them and find some great merchandise, too!
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Lady and the Tramp - 1955 Classic

Lady and the Tramp - 1955 Classic

Which movies from Disney’s animated canon will probably get live-action remakes next? Which ones should? If someone asked you these questions, Lady and the Tramp might not be your first answer, or even your tenth. Despite this, the filming of such a remake is currently underway and will premiere on Disney+, the company’s upcoming streaming service. The simple reason is that it is a classic, but what makes it a classic is that it tackles its story of puppy love with surprising maturity and emotional resonance.

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Alice in Wonderland - 1951

Alice in Wonderland - 1951

Walt Disney loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass since he was a boy. He once said of the books, “No story in English literature has intrigued me more,” and he took inspiration from them for a long time. Walt founded his career and his studio on the Alice Comedies, 57 short films in which a live-action child interacted with animated characters in cartoon worlds. In a famous 1936 cartoon, Mickey Mouse’s dream self leaps through a looking-glass and interacts with talking phones and dancing gloves. However, his 1951 feature-length adaptation is the greatest of them all. Alice in Wonderland remains one of Disney’s most beloved animated films. Perhaps the most curious aspect of the movie is that the studio was able to pull it off at all.

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Dumbo – The 4th Disney Movie

Dumbo – The 4th Disney Movie

After losing so much money on the first few movies, Disney had to seriously scale back the budgets for their newest projects. However, they didn’t scale back their ambitions. Walt and the animators wanted to make something that pushed the envelope without breaking the bank. Their solution was Dumbo, as colorful and magical as their previous movies … while only being 64 minutes long. Walt Disney's fourth film is only barely feature-length, but underestimating it for this is like underestimating the main character for his ears. 

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Fantasia – The 3rd Disney Movie

Fantasia – The 3rd Disney Movie

We all know Walt Disney as the humble, fatherly showman who gave us great movies, music, and theme parks – not to mention the great gifts they inspired. But sometimes, people forget that he was also a pioneering artist whose vision went beyond many from his time. The best example from his movies is Fantasia, the 1940 masterpiece that elevated animation from children’s entertainment to a genuine art form.
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It's the Most Magical Time of the Year

It's the Most Magical Time of the Year

Christmas is an undeniably special time for many people around the world. Whether it's because of the quality family time, the presents, the unforgettable memories, or the overall festive and happy atmosphere, Christmas is often the most beloved of the holidays. Of course, one of the main ways to spread Christmas cheer is by decorating, whether you decide to go all-out or to keep it subtle. And if you love both Christmas and Disney, you're extra lucky because that means your Christmas decorations can be twice as magical!


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