Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Disney

I grew up on Disney. Singing the songs, playing the songs on the piano, watching my favorites over and over again, quoting my favorite scenes and one-liners with embarrassing frequency.

Disney movies (even their best) are certainly not perfect. But as I’ve explored them again as an adult, I’ve been kind of surprised at how much I can get out of them. So today, I’ve decided to share why Disney taught me everything I need to know.

Beauty and the Beast taught me the power of kindness and that I should not be afraid to be different. (As a huge book nerd, I particularly relate to Belle, and take pleasure in pointing out that it wasn’t until she saw his library that the Beast gets the girl.)

Mulan taught me (again) that it’s okay to be different, and taught me the value of courage, love of family, and tenacity.

Treasure Planet taught me that mistakes can be overcome and that finding yourself is never easy.

Frozen thrilled me by giving young girls a new definition of “true love”: selfless sacrifice, and it taught me the importance of communication.

Brave helped me appreciate my own relationship with my mother and made me grateful for her support and unconditional love.

Hercules taught me that our biggest challenges aren’t always what we think they will be.

The Lion King taught me that other people’s opinions don’t matter, and that “you got to put your behind in the past.”

Hunchback of Notre Dame again taught me about the power of kindness, and how damaging snap judgments can be.


This is just a small sampling, but it shows what I love about art. It is not just there to entertain us when we’re bored. It is a powerful teaching tool. It helps teach what is expected of us (which is both its gift and its curse), and teaches us how to be human. The fact that I can glean such poignant lessons from animated movies (some of them more than 20 years old) is a great lesson in and of itself to me of the power of art.

What have you learned from Disney?


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