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Disney doesn’t always get history 100% correct (15 Photos)
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
The story takes place in the late 15th century, but the Notre Dame in the film has a few features that weren’t added until later, like the large statues of the 12 Apostles.
Aurora says to her father, “You’re living in the past, this is the 14th century!” For that reason, Philip and Aurora would not have been waltzing, because that type of dance didn’t emerge until the 16th century. They would have been doing a line dance.
This film is based on an ancient Chinese legend, which was first written in the 6th century and it was believed that she lived sometime around the years 420 and 589. The Great Wall of China can be seen in the Disney movie, and although there were walls around the empire from the 8th century BCE on, this wall wasn’t created until the 14th century CE.
Also, at one point Mulan writes some characters on her arm that happen to be simplified Chinese, which wasn’t invented until the 1950s.
“Beauty and the Beast”
It’s thought that the film takes place in 1700’s France. The Eiffel Tower appears when the characters are singing “Be Our Guest,” but construction on that didn’t begin until 1887.
There’s a tv show moment featuring an action-hero dog named Thunderbolt, and it’s sponsored by Kanine Krunchies. However, this would have been against the rules in the UK at the time.
There’s some debate about when the movie takes place; the book was written in 1914 but because of a certain typewriter featured onscreen, people say it takes place around the late 1880s. Jane tells Tarzan that she could take him to meet Charles Darwin and Rudyard Kipling, but this doesn’t make sense. Darwin died in 1882 and Kipling didn’t become famous until 1889.
According to the Ancient Greek Mythology, Hera was not Hercules’ mother like the movie says. His mom was actually a mortal named Alcmene. Also, Hades was not considered evil.
The costume designer claimed that she was going for an “1840’s Western European” look, so that gives us a clue about when the timeframe. This means that the lyrics in “Let It Go” that say, “My power flurries through the air into the ground, my soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around,” wouldn’t have been spoken because the word ‘fractal’ wasn’t invented until 1975.
Also, it’s strange that so many characters are using crossbows and swords, because everyone had rifles during this time period.
Remember this one? About the dinosaur raised by lemurs? Well, there were no lemurs whatsoever while non-avian dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Jasmine’s outfit would absolutely not have happened. The story takes place somewhere between the 4th and 7th century, so she would have been wearing much looser clothing and her stomach would not have been showing. Plus, since she was a princess she would probably have a veil.
Actually, most of Genie’s lines are complete anachronisms as well, which caused a fan theory to surface about the movie taking place in an apocalyptic world. However, Disney execs debunked this one.
The opening of the movie shows a clasp-bound book version of the story. The story was actually published in 1883, which means the movie probably takes place around there as well, and as every book-binding expert knows, a book written that late in time would not have clasps. They were reserved by that time only for bibles and journals.
“Atlantis: The Lost Empire”
Other out-of-place animals in a Disney movie were the Coelacanths in “Atlantis.” They can be seen in an aquarium, but the movie takes place in 1914 and they weren’t rediscovered until 1938. Until then they were believed to be extinct.
The presence of King Richard helps us place the film sometime between 1189 and 1199, when he reigned. So, badminton and the farthing coins do not fit. The earliest origins of the sport date back only to the 16th century, and the farthing coins wouldn’t be minted in England until 1222.
Since they’re in the 1780’s, Rapunzel would not have been able to use matches like she does in the film to light candles because matches weren’t invented until 1805.
“Saving Mr. Banks”
Walt Disney and “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers never went to Disneyland together. Also, Travers had already essentially signed away the rights to her work in 1960, before she even met Walt Disney. The film doesn’t even start its story until 1961, and that’s when we see Disney try to convince her to fork the rights over.
Also, in the movie Travers is seen crying in the movie theater while watching “Mary Poppins.” This really happened, but the film makes you think she’s crying due to happiness and relief, when in reality she was crying because it was still very jarring to see the name Mary Poppins on the big screen.
Learn more Disney historical inaccuracies