Ah, Disney. We credit them with building up the hopes and dreams of millions of young girls just to have reality one day come crashing down on us and disappoint. Fairytales have no place in real life it seems. While we’re all allegedly out there waiting on our prince to ride up on his white horse or magic carpet, Disney is making a killing selling stories of a life without unhappy endings to children everywhere.
The best part is that the stories children are being told by Walt’s famed and fortuned company are far from their original plots. In the world of Disney, everything has to be a little more watered down and sugared up to light up the silver screen for little ones.
Thus, people may not be slaughtered and there may not be adultery or bloody battles in a Disney movie, but the very stories they’re based on were originally much darker. They had plots that kept us on the edge of our seats in suspense and made our jaws drop at the fall out. But by the time they are reworked for Disney approval, they’re nothing more than the same story of a hero or heroine who saves the day while singing and dancing among their townspeople.
Hey, we’re not knocking Disney. Who doesn’t love to revel in the memories of their childhood and sing along to every note with Ariel and Belle? We just believe in informed consent. Therefore, when Mom and Dad sit down with the littles to take in a new princess flick, they should know just where that story stemmed from and what it’s true meaning entails.
15 Sleeping Beauty's Ugly Truth
This hits a sore spot for me. Sleeping Beauty is my all-time favorite Disney flick. So, finding out the truth behind it was a little bit disturbing; I admit. Princess Aurora doesn’t just wake up to her one true love’s first kiss in Giambattista Bastile’s version of the story. Instead, her prince is a king, and he knocks her up against her will and abandons her. He couldn’t support her throughout her pregnancy with their twins — not when he had a wife at home!
No one kisses Aurora to wake her from her slumber. Instead, she comes to during the birth of her allegedly bastard babies. When the queen learns of her husband’s infidelity, she tries to kill both Aurora and her husband’s twin heirs. She fails miserably and the king and Aurora end up falling in love. Because who doesn’t fall for and marry the man who rapes them and knocks them out for nine months?
14 Snow White's Bleeding Heart
I hope you haven’t eaten recently, because this will be a lot to digest. We are all well aware by now that the Evil Queen had it in for Snow White. She wasn’t down with competition and needed the fair maiden dead. Fair enough. But sending her henchmen to do the dirty work for her was a mistake. They could never follow through in the original Brothers Grimm fable. So, when the Evil Queen asked that Snow White’s liver and lungs — incorrectly changed to her heart in the latest silver screen version — be brought to her as proof of her death, the henchmen brought her a boar’s organs instead. The Queen ate them, of course.
Much like the Disney version, the Evil Queen does give Snow White a poisoned apple that puts her into some kind of long-term coma. The prince comes along and expresses his desire to take Snow White away. Yes, while she’s unconscious. Sounds like a stand-up guy.
The dwarves allow this, and it turns out to be a good thing, because one of the people carrying Snow White trips and this causes the apple to come back up out of her throat. Yay! She’s awake! She marries the prince and the Evil Queen is ordered to wear shoes made of scalding hot iron and dance until she dies at the wedding.
13 The Little Mermaid Loses The Guy
Ariel fans, get ready to have your hearts ripped out. While the classic story has much in common with the Disney version, Walt wasn’t being very honest when he relayed this fable to kids — and for good reason! It’s awful!
Ariel does trade her voice for legs, but it comes with a few catches. With each step she takes with her human legs, she will feel pain as though she was walking on shards of glass. It was worth it to Ariel if it meant a chance to live happily ever after with her prince. That’s not what happens, though.
He ends up marrying someone else that he believes rescued him from drowning. Ariel has no voice and cannot tell him that he’s wrong. In an effort to reflect some strong symbolism on the author’s part, Ariel casts herself into the ocean where she becomes part of the sea and must live out hundreds of years in purgatory before she can earn a chance to redeem herself.
12 The Hunchback's Rotting Corpse
It doesn’t get much darker and deadlier than the real tale of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In the book by Victor Hugo, Quasimodo never stands a chance with the gorgeous Esmerelda. She doesn’t show any affection for him, nor does she jump into Captain Phoebus’ arms. Instead, she marries some arbitrary guy that had very little to do with the plot of the story at all.
The marriage doesn’t last long, though. When Esmerelda is accused of killing someone, her beau is quick to ditch her. The heartfelt hunchback comes to her rescue and helps her hide out in the church. But it isn’t long before she is discovered — and hanged!
As her body lies lifelessly in a tomb, Quasimodo lies alongside her until he perishes as well. Roughly a year and a half later, their bodies are found and as his is moved, he crumbles into dust. Now what the hell was the meaning of all of that?
11 Cinderella's Bloody Slipper
We’ve all become rather accustomed to this fairytale. For many of us, it was the first Disney Princess we identified with, and we consider her the epitome of such a category. But back in 1697, an author by the name of Charles Perrault penned his own version of the fable, and it’s far from the picture of happily ever after that Walt painted.
In Perrault’s version, Cinderella’s stepsisters — Anastasia and Drizella — don’t merely try to squeeze their boat-sized tootsies into the glass slipper she left behind at the ball. That would be too easy. Instead, Lady Tremaine orders her daughters to chop off their toes so that their feet will fit into the shoe. It’s hard to imagine no one would notice a glass slipper full of blood, don’t ya think?
10 The Patriarchy That Captured Pocahontas
Much of what we’ve been told about Pocahontas is untrue. While the film made for a blockbuster song and introduced America to a wider range of skin colors and ethnicities in their Disney “princesses," it sure didn’t stick to the history books when depicting who Pocahontas actually was.
She was a real woman. A Native American, Pocahontas nearly sacrificed her life to save John Smith’s. The bridge of friendship that this built between the Native Americans and the English was short-lived. Eventually, the English kidnapped Pocahontas and forced her to marry John Rolfe, having pushed their Christian views on her. Her family never saw her again and she died a year later at just twenty-years old. Lovely!
9 Tangled... Or Tortured?
The story of Rapunzel isn’t all that dark and dreary, contrary to many of the others depicted here. Still, it’s a little bit… out there. In the original version by the Brothers Grimm, Rapunzel and the prince do the nasty and she too — much like Princess Aurora — finds herself expecting twins.
The evil sorceress is quite unhappy when she discovers this truth, and she cuts Rapunzel’s hair off and casts her out into the wild to fend for herself. The prince attempts to come to her rescue, but he is tricked by the evil sorceress. As she hangs Rapunzel’s hair from a tower window for the prince to climb up, she then lays the heartbreaking truth on him that he will never see the mother of his children again.
This is one prince who seriously lacked composure. Instead of dealing with his emotions in a healthy manner, he jumps out of the tower window. Landing in a pile of brambles, the thorns cause him to go blind. Fortunately, this is still a fairy tale. So, Rapunzel’s voice manages to lure the prince to her, and her tears magically give him his sight back. All is well!
8 Pinocchio Hangs Loose
While Pinocchio was certainly up to no good at times in the Disney film that was named after the puppet turned real boy, nothing compares to the picture Carlo Collodi painted of him in his 1883 fable. As soon as the young boy has a firm grasp on walking, he actually runs away from home. This is traumatic for his creator, Geppetto, who is arrested and thrown in jail after being accused of child abuse.
When Pinocchio comes home, all hell breaks loose. A sweet cricket cozies up to him and attempts to warn him of his behavior, urging him to obey Geppetto and stay out of trouble. While Jiminy sticks around for the duration of the Disney film, his life is cut short at this point in the original version of the story.
Also like the Disney version, the puppet boy swindles his way into a marionette theater show. But in the original fable, he is robbed by a fox and a cat who try to hang the young boy. Yikes!
7 A Beast Made Of Bones
While the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast certainly makes it appear as though the male holds all the power (and what else would we expect? It’s Disney!), the traditional story by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont is anything but misogynistic.
When Belle — named Beauty in the original story — offers herself as prisoner to the Beast in exchange for her father’s safety, the Beast begins to propose marriage to her every single day for three months’ time, but Beauty resists. The Beast can see that she misses her family, and he grants her one week to visit them. Beauty’s two wicked stepsisters do all that they can to keep Beauty longer than a week in hopes that the Beast will show up and devour Beauty. They were such close sisters.
When Beauty returns to the Beast, she finds him quite ill and near death. No, Gaston and his tribe of town folk didn’t get to him. Instead, the Beast had been starving himself every day that Beauty was supposed to have returned to him and didn’t. She is so moved by his devotion to her that she marries him. Sick!
6 Jungle Book Hijinx
In the original storyline, Rudyard Kipling completed short stories about young Mowgli. In his story titled The Second Jungle Book, Mowgli is accused by the villagers of using some kind of witchcraft. The villagers threaten to burn the forest and all of Mowgli’s animal family that lives within it.
Mowgli couldn’t let this happen to Baloo, Bagheera and his other friends, so he drummed up a plan to attack the villagers. With his animal army by his side, they stampeded the village and ruined the villagers' crops. This caused the village people to flee for their safety. The silver lining is that Mowgli ends up living happily ever after with his animal family, but it sure would suck to have been a person in that village.
5 Mulan Meets Her Maker
Disney painted a remarkably stellar portrait of a young girl who enlists herself in the army when her father and brother aren’t fit to fight for their family. While Disney rallies behind Mulan and shows her family welcoming her home with open arms and prideful eyes, one of the original stories of Mulan kills the young warrior girl’s father and has her mother remarried by the time she returns home. Hey Mulan, welcome home; come meet your new daddy.
Things get pretty dark in the original tale of Mulan. When China loses the war, the Khan of their opposing land grants Mulan the right to live but only if she does so in his home. Instead of bending to his rules, Mulan kills herself. Yeah, we can see why Disney left that part out.
4 Hercules The Heathen
If you’ve studied Greek history at all, you already know Hercules was no knight in shining armor. We can’t be sure why his name has ever epitomized strength or garnered any kind of fame, because he was a downright dirty rapist and murderer.
While Disney wants you to think Hercules and Megara lived happily ever after by their own accord, the truth is that Megara was a present for Hercules in the original fable. Yes, she was mere property. When Hera inflicts a period of temporary insanity upon Hercules, he kills his children and his spitfire wife. Hercules went on to carry out his twelve tasks in the original tale just as he did in the kids’ movie, but he wasn’t kind about it in the slightest. Pretty much nothing Hercules actually did was SFW content.
3 Bambi Joins His Mum
The real story of Bambi was much more realistic and involved a roe deer, which is commonly found in Europe, but never in the United States. To make the film more American-friendly, Bambi the cartoon was created as a white-tailed deer.
This film marked the beginning of the cuteness factor for Disney. You know the drill: make snouts shorter, heads narrower and eyes larger. Fast-forward fifty years and you’ve got creepy Brat dolls and anime characters taking the world by storm. Thanks, Walt!
If you thought grieving the loss of Bambi’s mother was bad, buckle up! In the original story, Bambi is also shot! As blood is supposedly pouring from his body, Bambi is encouraged to walk around the forest in circles. It was said that this blood pattern would confuse hunters and their hunting dogs.
2 Frozen's Young Gentlemen
Hans Christian Andersen penned the original fable behind Disney’s famed film Frozen. The original, titled The Snow Queen, followed a similar storyline, but Elsa is actually more akin to Mary Kay Letourneau than a teenager with the power to create ice. Yup, she had a thing for young boys. In fact, she kidnaps one of them, and places a spell on him through a kiss that causes him to suffer from amnesia.
She then takes him to her palace and forces him to work out mathematic puzzles around the clock. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? The young man’s sister tracks him down many years later, but he is a fragile — and frostbitten — ghost of what he once was. Ummm… don’t you wish you could let go of what you just read?
1 Aladdin Has To Pay The Dowry
This tale actually hails from a collection of stories titled One Thousand and One Nights. In the original fable, Aladdin is nor orphan. He’s a lazy Chinese kid who doesn’t want to work for a living, and his behavior literally causes his dear old dad to die from shame over his son. His mother then had no choice but to start weaving for a living to make ends meet.
Jasmine wasn’t really hell bent on marrying the love of her life at all in the original tale. In fact, she was betrothed to someone else, but she didn’t really care who she married or when. There are actually two genies in the original story, and neither of them befriend Aladdin. Oh yeah, and Aladdin doesn’t get to marry Jasmine just because they’re in love; his mother has to pay the Sultan with gold and jewels.