The Dark Side Behind Your Favorite Disney Movies



 Ever since I was a child, I loved Disney’s fairy tales. I could watch movies such as The Little Mermaid or Aladdin every day because Disney is built on ‘happily ever after’. We have grown up watching Disney movies because they never ceased to enchant us. The stories have been inspiring and exciting children. The films are wholesome and positive, loved by grandparents, parents, and children. As I got older, I began reading stories by authors such as the Grimm brothers and was shocked to learn that the polished happy endings are a long way from the original fairy tales. With advanced apologies for ruining your childhood, I’ll be talking about the origins of 3 Disney movies. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Peter Pan.



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Picture by: Ruth Anderson

You know Cinderella as the poor maiden who overcame the wickedness of her stepfamily, becoming a princess who wears a beautiful blue gown with glass shoes.

Cinderella still gets her happy ending, but the Grimm brothers had a grimmer take on the tale for the stepsisters.

In the Grimm version, they had the step-sisters mutilating themselves to win the prince. (Which honestly guys, the prince a mediocre prize to be won at best, this is NOT Dave and Busters. -_-)

Unlike the movie, Cinderella’s wishes come true from a tree growing on her mother’s grave NOT a fairy godmother.

Cinderella’s slippers are made of gold, and when the Prince comes to test the stepsisters’ feet for size, one cuts off her toes to get them into the golden slipper and the other slices off a heel, but both are found out after doves sent by Cinderella’s dead mother alert the prince that there’s blood in the shoe.

In the end, Cinderella marries the prince. Her stepsisters attend the wedding as Cinderella’s bridesmaids to try to win her favor, but doves peck their eyes out during the ceremony making them turn blind for the rest of their lives. What a happy ending.


Sleeping beauty

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Picture by: Kinuko Y. Craft

Italian writer Giambattista Basile’s original version of Sleeping Beauty was written in the 17th Century. The beautiful sleeping princess is met by a king who comes across an abandoned castle and decides to just climb in using a ladder. (Ever heard of knocking?)

When the King came upon Sleeping Beauty, the author writes

“Crying aloud, [the king] beheld her charms and felt his blood course hotly through his veins. He lifted her in his arms, and carried her to a bed, where he gathered the first fruits of love.”

Well, dear reader, that means he repeatedly rapes her. Later on, she got impregnated while she is sleeping, giving birth to twins. Apparently, sleeping women were a HUGE turn-on for the king.

She wakes up from her long slumber when one of her children sucks the enchanted splinter out of her finger. When the queen finds out about Sleeping Beauty, she attempts to get the king to eat the children he had conceived with the princess by cooking them for revenge.

After the failed attempt, the queen then calls out Sleeping Beauty calling her “a fine piece of goods, you ill weed, who are enjoying my husband.”

The king then murders his wife so he can be with Sleeping Beauty. True love, right?


Peter Pan

Image result for peter pan old painting

Picture by: Edward Eggleston

The last story is Peter Pan. The original Peter Pan comes from the novel The Little White Bird by J.M. Barrie.

In the book, Peter murders pirates without a care, and he also kills the Lost Boys because he needs to “thin the herd” or because they are growing up, which is against the rules.

He alters the Lost Boys’ bodies so that they can fit through the tree-holes, and Peter Pan cannot tell the difference between pretend and reality, so he gives the Lost Boys’ pretend meals and refuse to believe that they are hungry.

The Lost Boys and the Darlings face danger throughout the book, but Peter finds the danger entertaining rather than frightening.

He always saves them, but only because it will give him another opportunity to celebrate his cleverness. (What an egotistical jerk.)


Disney films have framed our childhood with endless wonder. Disney incorporates many concepts and characters from the original tales but they don’t do true justice to these old stories.