Updated: May 18, 2020
"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse." - Walt Disney
I am very much still a kid at heart. Being stuck indoors for the past seven weeks has really brought this out of me. This has only been fueled by the onset of that much beloved streaming service that has surpassed Netflix completely (for me anyway), Disney Plus. I do not trust anyone who has not yet indulged in this brilliant platform.
When it first came out I jumped on it, signed up ready to go. Now, with time on my hands, I found myself gravitating towards scrolling through and reliving my best childhood memories through those beloved TV shows and films that built up so much of my young self’s life.
Nostalgia is a funny thing. When I watch these familiar scenes I drink up this nostalgia with my cup of tea (one comforting spoonful of sugar as a treat). It tickles my throat, catching gently, before filling up my body with warmth and stroking my head carefully. It is not sad, it is comforting and I lose myself to the feeling of warmth, of happiness and of home. These films can whisk me away to another time and another place without me setting a foot out of my front door. I also can’t help but be reminded of a short quote from Sue Monk Kidd’s, The Mermaid Chair,
“You can go other places, all right – you can live on the other side of the world, but you can’t ever leave home.”
I would like to share with you a few of my personal favourite Disney classics that always leave me feeling like a content and fuzzy ball, usually wrapped up in my dressing gown.
Disclaimer: before you throw any of these on please make sure to grab at least three different snacks and cup of sweet tea or hot chocolate, it makes the world of difference.
1) Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
Think fluffy, the natural Californian landscape and friendship.
This classic was produced in 1993 (3 years before I was born) and holds a special place in my heart. Both hilarious and heartfelt, the story follows three house pets that venture away from home in search of their owners, believing they have been abandoned. In reality, their owners have simply gone on holiday. The trio is made up of the most unlikely of companions, consisting of a naïve bulldog pup, a sarcastic Himalayan cat and a wise golden retriever. Having watched this again recently for the first time in a while I came to the amusing realization that this animal gang now represented the different parts of my personality (depending on the day). This film also encompasses the much-loved theme of talking animals (Dr. Dolittle and Garfield fans rejoice!) But beware; you may turn into a bit of a bumbling wreck towards the end like I did (don’t worry, it’s just one of those happy endings that gets to you, happens to the best of us.) This is the perfect mix of humorous frivolity and adventure.
Think cherry blossoms, swords and porridge (it’s happy to see you!)
My favourite Disney Princess. Yes you heard me, I have a favourite. This strong character with such a powerful sense of ambition, drive and willingness to help her family at all costs with a persistent fighting spirit seemed strangely unfamiliar in contrast to the usual Disney Princesses I had become familiar with. There were no frills or fragility. I found that she maintained (and still does) an enduring robustness, whilst also managing to preserve her femininity (I mean, I was left impressed when she managed to do a roundhouse karate kick in a dress, weren’t you?) Also, her animal sidekicks were by far the coolest to my six year old eyes: a pocket sized dragon with the distinct voice of Eddie Murphy, the lucky Cricket to keep him in check, and of course Khan her sleek and aloof horse. Her comrades in arms Yao, Ling and Chien-Po also made the movie for me, welcoming her into their band of brothers and going so far as to “fight like girls” alongside her.
If you are in need of a pick me up and a little motivation, this is a great film to watch, even if you only go so far as to listen to the catchy beats of what I see as this movie’s hardy anthem, “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You!” (I challenge you not to sing along).
Side note don’t forget about the sequel. Despite most Disney sequels performing sub par to their initial counterparts, Mulan II carries the same wit and vigor from the first (and most importantly, the same beloved characters.)
3) Pirates of the Caribbean – The Curse of the Black Pearl
Think gold, rum (or rather a lack of) and daring adventures.
Yo ho, yo ho, it’s a Pirates of the Caribbean life for me! If the Pirates song comes on, I will join in and belt it out to the skies (so please do not sneak up on me and play the song in public to avoid mutual embarrassment). Pirates of the C (C, like sea, get it? Ha) has been a family favourite in my household since it came out in 2003. I vividly remember the first time we watched it on the big screen and was left feeling completely giddy with adrenaline. What a rush! The characters, the locations, and the script – everything merged together into the most perfect fantasy swashbuckler that ever was. I knew it was destined to have us hooked from the opening scene, where our hero, the oddly charming, eyeliner clad Jack – sorry erm - CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow is filmed in all of his, what appears to be, gallantry and daring, only for the camera to reveal that he is (quite literally) sinking fast. A legendary tale of epic proportions, I highly recommend getting stuck in during your weekend.
I must say, the first is still my firm favourite, but of course a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon is always a good choice.
4) Lady & The Tramp
Think fifties, meatballs and romance.
Let us take a moment to appreciate a movie that falls firmly into the Disney originals category. This "little lady" came out in 1955, a decade marked by the post World War II boom. This was also the same year that the original Disney Park in Anaheim California opened up in the midst of that year’s infamous July heat wave. This was one of the golden Disney films lucky enough to have the Walt Disney touch. Inspired by a short story he had read in Cosmopolitan called, “Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog” by Ward Greene, Walt altered the idea slightly and so was born Lady & The Tramp. A sweet tale of Lady, the Darling’s loving Cocker Spaniel sharing her adventures and learning’s with her companion, Tramp. Watching this movie is like sitting on the patio of a French quarter style home, sipping on hot tea with a slice of lemon cake and surrounded by family. It is traditional and soothing and will leave you with an appreciative smile, guaranteed.
5) Mary Poppins Returns
Think pure, unadulterated fun!
Now we forge ahead in time to a recent release. Marry Poppins Returns floated into the cinema screens in 2018 and many took their seats dubious as to how this modern day take would follow in the footsteps of the original whimsical performance from the fantastic Julie Andrews in 1964. Safe to say, the return of our favourite Nanny brought us not just a spoonful of sugar but the whole jar and how delicious it was! The film score is certainly one to marvel at, and even if you’re not a huge musical fan, the story line and plot on its own is certainly weighty enough to keep you hooked. Emily Blunt's star-studded performance is jaw dropping, as is her cohort, Lin Manuel Miranda who plays cheeky chimney sweep, Jack. With one mishap after another, you can’t help but be swept up in Ms. Poppins preposterous, yet brilliant world of unbelievable magic and colour. A surprise guest, unveiled right at the end, tops it all off. So go on, put it on, you’re on the “brink of adventure!”
Let me know what your favourite Disney movie is in the comments below and whether you've seen all the films I've mentioned (I have no doubt you have!)
Bye for now, Gia