Rediscovering Romance: Exploring Old Disney Love and its Evolution

By Layla Baboli

In the magical realm of Disney, love has always been a main theme, captivating audiences for generations. From classic tales of princesses finding their prince charming, to modern stories of love transcending boundaries, Disney films have continually evolved in their depiction of romance. Let’s take a journey through the enchanted past of Disney love and explore how it has transformed over time.

Love in the Classics

The early Disney classics, such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Cinderella,” painted a picture of love as pure and unblemished. Princesses awaited their one true love, often depicted as dashing princes, to sweep them off their feet and live happily ever after. These stories, while enchanting, often portrayed love in a simplistic manner, with little emphasis on character development or depth of relationships.

The Renaissance of Romance

As Disney entered its Renewal period with films like “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin,” the representation of love began to evolve. Characters became more complex and love stories took centre stage with themes of sacrifice, self-discovery and acceptance. Princesses became more independent and proactive in their pursuit of love, challenging traditional gender roles.

Modern Love Stories

In recent years, Disney has continued to push the boundaries of love in its films. Stories like “Frozen” and “Moana” have redefined the concept of true love, emphasising the importance of familial love and self-love alongside romantic relationships. Characters are portrayed as having a variety of important personality traits, with their own aspirations and struggles, making their journey to love more relatable and authentic.

Embracing Diversity

One of the most significant changes in Disney’s theme of love is its embrace of diversity. Films like “The Princess and the Frog” and “Coco” feature protagonists from diverse and cultural backgrounds, showcasing love stories that resonate with a global audience. Disney has also taken steps towards LGBTQ+ representation, with subtle nods in films like “Frozen II” and “Onward” signalling a more inclusive approach to love and relationships.

Disney’s representation of love has come a long way since its early days, reflecting the changing values and expectations of society. While the classic fairy tales still hold a special place in our hearts, today’s Disney films offer a more perceptive and inclusive depiction of love. Whether it’s true love’s kiss or the bond between friends and family, Disney continues to remind us that love comes in many forms and is a powerful force that transcends time and boundaries.

I sent out a survey to students in our school asking their opinions on whether they prefer old Disney films or new Disney films and what they think of Disney evolving with the theme of love. 

93.3% of students prefer Old Disney films.

6.7% of students prefer New Disney films.

Here are some responses from my question: What do you think of Disney evolving with the theme of love?:

“I feel as if recent Disney films want to feel more ‘inclusive’ however, sometimes I feel as if they rush to make remakes and don’t really think of the message it brings. People often misinterpret the old Disney depiction of love.” – anonymous student.

“I think it is good to keep the themes modern. For example in older films like ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Snow White’, the prince is shown as a saviour and the princesses are dependant on them whereas more modern ones like ‘Brave’ do not” – anonymous student.

“I feel like Disney are trying to fit so much to the trends that they are losing the essence of what Disney was about in the first place” – anonymous student.

Posted in Arts & Culture.