10+ Obscure Disney Facts Fans Might Not Know

Disney has helped influence entire generations of film lovers and moviegoers.

The familiar stories and tales have become engrained in our society, to the point where we feel like we know everything there is to know about them.

Well, almost everything that is. Disney has a rich history; there's a lot to unload.

So in an effort to bring some of that history to light, here are 10+ obscure Disney facts fans might not know.

*Alice In Wonderland* was the first Disney animated release to air on TV.

Film Chest

In 1954, the film aired as a part of the Disneyland TV Show.

Walt was fascinated with the works of Lewis Carroll as a child and was determined to bring the book to life.

*The Aristocats* was the final film Walt Disney green-lit before his death.

Buena Vista

Originally, the film was intended to be a two-part live-action movie.

But after some consideration, Walt felt it would be better off as an animated film.

It was always Walt's dream to make a *Fantasia* sequel.

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt's nephew Roy undertook this labor of love as a way to pay respects to his late uncle.

It took over 9 years to complete.

The original concept for *Beauty and The Beast* was incredibly dark.

Buena Vista

There were also no songs, none of the castle staff became enchanted, and Belle had a shrewd aunt intent on marrying her off to Gaston.

In the 1980s, only the Disney theme parks were profitable.

By the mid-1980s, over 70% of the total profits made by Disney came directly from its theme parks.

I guess it really is a small world after all.

ABBA declined to be on *The Lion King Soundtrack*.

I'm willing to wager that ABBA wishes they could take this one back.

But supposedly Tim Rice, lyricist for the film, approached the Swedish Supergroup first. When they declined, he reached out to Elton John.

*The Return Of Jafar* was Disney's first direct-to-video sequel.

Buena Vista Pictures

This was a new concept at the time and a huge success for Disney.

The film's budget was only $5 million and it ended up grossing over $120 million in sales worldwide.

After *Sleeping Beauty* bombed at the box office, Disney didn't make another princess movie for 30 years.

Buena Vista

This one seems hard to believe but it's the truth: there is a 30-year gap between Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid.

There are enough voice recordings of Robin Williams to make a 4th *Aladdin* film.

Walt Disney Pictures

However, Disney has no rights to the recordings.

There is a clause in Williams' contract that states that no “name, taped performances or voice recordings" can be used "for 25 years after his death.”

The studio nearly went bankrupt in the 1940s.

World War II nearly bankrupted Walt Disney.

He was in the midst of dealing with 3 box office bombs as well as a union strike.

*Winnie The Pooh* was the last 2-D animation film made by Disney.

Walt Disney Pictures

2011 marked the end of an era.

Winnie The Pooh was the last of the great 2-D hand-drawn animation films that Disney would ever produce.

*Pinocchio* was incredibly expensive to produce and it bombed at the box office.


Pinocchio remains to this day one of the most beautiful examples of classic Disney animation.

Unfortunately, due largely to the fact that it was released at the height of WWII, it received a very weak box office showing.

Disney was almost bought out in 1984.

In 1984, Disney was almost bought out entirely by a corporate bigwig by the name of Paul Steinberg. After several meetings, Disney was able to stop the takeover but it didn't come without a price.

They spent nearly $325 million to retain their company.

Walt Disney has won more Academy Awards than any person, alive or dead.

Walt Disney has a whopping 22 Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations.

He holds the world record for most awards won by a single person.

*The Little Mermaid* was the first Disney film released on home video, after its theatrical release.

Walt Disney Pictures

Prior to this, Disney films were placed back in "The Vault" and given a theatrical re-release.

The Little Mermaid literally helped redefine how the masses consume film.

Disney and Robin Williams went head to head over his *Aladdin* deal.

Instagram | @therobinwilliams

When Robin Williams worked on Aladdin, he didn't want his work to be used in any kind of merchandising product, no matter what it was.

Originally, Disney agreed, but they ended up turning around and going against his wishes.

There's an actual Disney Vault.

Walt Disney Pictures

The location is in Calfornia and it houses everything from film reels to animation cells, as well as props and molds used to make the pictures.

Walt wanted to make a *Little Mermaid* film in the 1930's.

As early as 1930 Walt Disney had concepts drawn up for a Little Mermaid film.

He even reached out to an artist by the name of Kay Nielson for concept art.

Sleeping Beauty's castle was renamed.

Walt Disney

Originally, the castle was going to be Snow White's castle.

But in order to better help promote the film Sleeping Beauty, which was in theaters at the time, a name change was made.

The wonderful movie world of Disney was rescued by the success of *Cinderella*.

Walt Disney Pictures

The post-war dream was in full swing in the 1950s with the incredible box office success of Cinderella.

Disney's animation studio was back.

Cruella De Vil is based on actress Tallulah Bankhead.

Supposedly Cruella De Vil is based on an old actress from the 1920s named Tallulah Bankhead.

I'm not sure if that's supposed to be an insult or a back-handed compliment...

*Sleeping Beauty* opened with a 30-minute short film.

Buena Vista

It's no wonder Sleeping Beauty was a box office bomb.

If I paid good money to see a movie on the big screen, only to find out that I first had to sit through some 30-minute silent animation "short" called Grand Canyon, I would walk out the door.

Walt had a passion for model trains.

By the time the 1950s rolled around, Walt had very little time for film projects and the animation studio.

He became completely obsessed with model trains and devoted the majority of his time to that pursuit.

They almost cut Elton John's "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?".

Buena Vista

Studio execs thought that the song was too serious and that it didn't blend well with some of the more lighthearted elements in the film.

Conversely, Elton John HATED 'Hakuna Matata'.

*101 Dalmations* saved the animation studio.

The film was both a critical and commercial success.

101 Dalmations singlehandedly brought the animation department back from the dead after the failings of Sleeping Beauty and breathed renewed life into the studio.

Walt paid his housekeeper in Disney stock.

Talk about one lucky housekeeper.

Apparently Thelma Howard received so much stock from Walt over the years, that it came to be worth over $9 million.

*The Disneyland TV Show* paid for the construction of Disney World.


Walt shopped around his TV show to three different networks. Needless to say, it was difficult to sell executives on his pipe dream of using the show revenue to open an amusement park.

Thankfully for us all, ABC shared his vision and greenlit the project.

Tokyo Disneyland is not owned by Disney.

I know it sounds odd, but Tokyo Disneyland is not owned by Disney.

It's a completely separate enterprise that is owned by the Oriental Land Company.

*Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs* was the final Disney Classic released on home video.

Walt Disney Pictures

This took place back in 1994 and the film went on to become the second-best-selling VHS of all time (The Lion King is the first).

*Bambi II* was the last Disney movie released on VHS.

DisneyToon Studios

The year 2006 was a monumental year for Walt Disney Pictures.

It marked the very last time that any Disney film would ever be released onto VHS cassette tape.

The legacy of Ron W. Miller lives on.

Although he was only the CEO of Disney for 4 years, during his tenure, Ron W. Miller oversaw the creation of The Disney Channel, as well as Touchstone Pictures.