Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Community News Network

March 19, 2014

Is there a Disney universe?

Casual fans accept that Disney movies take place once upon a time, in a land far, far away. But Tumblr users are not casual fans. And they want it all to Mean Something.

Welcome to the esoteric and frankly mind-boggling world of Disney fan theories, which posits that all of Disney's animated movies take place in the same universe and characters from different films interact - across the decades and centuries! - in ways you have to squint to see. Andy's mom in "Toy Story" is actually the cowgirl-doll Jessie's original owner. Belle, from "Beauty and the Beast," secretly loved Aladdin. The latest fan theory rocking this small-but-vocal corner of the Internet involves "Frozen" and 1989's "The Little Mermaid": What if, fans argue, the sunken ship Ariel explored 24 years ago. . . was actually the ship where Anna and Elsa's parents perished in "Frozen"?!

The evidence for this theory is, of course, scarce, despite the amazing effort that some people have pumped into researching it. Still, the idea isn't so crazy when you consider Disney's penchant for dropping similar Easter eggs over the years. Dogs from "Lady & the Tramp" surface in "101 Dalmations"; so-called "Hidden Mickey's" and subliminal messages, often sexual, show up in most films. At one point in Disney's "Aladdin", the sultan stacks a series of model animals that include the beast, from "Beauty and the Beast" - conclusive proof, fans argue, that Disney's creators intended for both films to live in the same "universe."

What that universe would look like, it's hard to say. It would have to include places as far removed as modern-day Australia and magical medieval kingdoms. (Which has led to another unified theory of Disney movies: They take place in the same universe, but non-chronologically, along a timeline that spans millions of years.) Further complicating things - some Disney movies are explicitly tied to real geographic locations, while others are not. Just try pointing to Atlantis on a map.

Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped many fans from trying to plot the Disney universe. An early effort by Redditor translucentfish controversially put "Aladdin" in Saudi Arabia, and "Tangled" close to Germany. Twenty-six-year-old Eowyn Smith's recent map, which she posted with extensive citations on Deviantart, racked up thousands of comments and dozens of media mentions within days. Smith told the Huffington Post that she re-watched all of the Disney movies, noting wildlife, backgrounds and landscapes, in order to make the map. She was helped by fan blogs like Finding Corona and Finding Arendelle, which exist solely to hypothesize where the movies would take place in real life.

All this begs an obvious question: why? Aren't Disney movies enough as discrete, self-contained little pieces of art? Do we have to seek out further meaning? With their clue-sifting and screen-shotting and arcanely labeled diagrams, die-hard Disney theorists share something with their zanier, more paranoid cousins in the conspiracy world: a belief that some greater power is orchestrating everything, and they are the only ones in on the plot.

Of course, there's a big gap between blogging about the New World Order's political machinations and Disney's creative ones. The latter is, obviously, more fun. (Also saner.) That said, it's pretty absurd to think some god-like creative at Disney is lurking in the wings, anonymously plotting the interacting story arcs of hundreds of films and characters.

Then again, if the Tumblr hordes have time for that . . . why wouldn't Disney?

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

Obituaries
Featured Ads
Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
     View Results
Iowegian on Facebook