Any Disney fan will tell you that a Disney movie is a veritable treasure trove of wisdom (as well as wit, good music, and snazzy dance moves). We all know the famously insightful quotes from Rafiki and Olaf and their ilk—the kind of quotes that make us say “whoa” from our very first viewing—but Disney wisdom is hiding everywhere, even in places that might surprise you. Here’s a list of some of our favorite Disney quotes that are profound in a way we never expected.
“The sky’s awake, so I’m awake, so we have to play!” – Anna, Frozen
On the surface, this is just the adorable rambling of an over-excited little cutie. But if you think about it, shouldn’t we all take advantage of every second of daylight to dream and play and explore?
“You’ve got to put your behind in your past.” – Pumbaa, The Lion King
Sure, Pumbaa meant to say that you’ve got to put your past behind you, but his point still stands. Plus, if your behind is in your past, that means your front is facing forward and you can march into the future! Pumbaa, you are secretly wise.
“Try not to do anything stupid.” – Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
This advice is so simple, it’s tempting to overlook it. But honestly, has there ever been a more universally applicable strategy? Keeping this quote in mind will help you make the right decision most every time.
“So small at first, then look how they grow. But someone has to start them.” – Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas
Like every bit of wisdom Grandmother Willow shares, the beautiful simplicity of this metaphor about ripples makes it unforgettable. Remember this anytime you’re tempted to think that you don’t have the power to make a positive difference.
“If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” – March Hare, Alice in Wonderland
He’s not the first character we would have expected such a profound statement from, but who can deny that this is true? Blunt or not, it’s the perfect reminder to think before you speak, whether that be in person or online, to friends or to strangers.
“It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.” – Eeyore, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
In addition to being a masterful low-key pun, Eeyore’s statement is spot on. We should all accept the parts of ourselves that we can’t change, and even learn to love the things that we’re tempted to see as flaws.
“The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake.” – Sebastian, The Little Mermaid
Sebastian is a profound little crab with a marvelous understanding of both the human and mer worlds, it turns out. How easy is it to imagine that all our problems would dissolve if we just had somebody else’s set of circumstances? Super easy, but also super untrue, and Sebastian’s here to remind you of that.
“A conscience is that still, small voice that people won’t listen to. That’s just the trouble with the world today.” – Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio
Jiminy nails it right on the head. We all have consciences, and we know right from wrong. Everything just comes down to choosing between the two, simple as that. Always let Jiminy Cricket’s wise words be your guide!
“Cheer up, child. It’ll turn out all right in the end. You’ll see.” Mrs. Potts, Beauty and the Beast
While this advice was meant to comfort Belle, we think it can be applied much more broadly, to pretty much everything. Mrs. Potts’ words remind us not to give up when things are tough, because giving up means we’ll rob ourselves of the chance to make it to our happy ending.
“Maleficent doesn’t know anything about love, or kindness, or the joy of helping others. You know, sometimes I don’t think she’s really very happy.” – Fauna, Sleeping Beauty
Fauna may just be thinking out loud here, but there’s so much truth in her casual evaluation of Maleficent’s bad attitude. Where does happiness come from if not loving other people, being kind to other people, and helping other people out? What if Maleficent’s evilness just boils down to missing those things?
“They can’t order me to stop dreaming.” – Cinderella, Cinderella
There’s plenty you can’t control in your life, but the one thing you can always control is your attitude. There’s no better model of that than Cinderella. She reminds us that we have the power to keep dreaming no matter what life throws at us.
“People do crazy things when they’re in love.” – Meg, Hercules
Meg, the most fabulously cynical Disney character maybe ever, still believes in love with her whole heart, and still sacrifices everything for it. When it comes to recognizing the power of love, she is our ultimate example.
“If watching is all you’re going to do, then you’re going to watch your whole life go by without you.” – Laverne, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Pretty insightful there for a gargoyle, Laverne. There’s so much truth to this, it almost hurts … but not as much as it would have hurt Quasimodo to give up on his dreams of putting himself out there. If fear is all that’s stopping you from doing something, do it anyway.
“Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts.” – Narrator, Aladdin
He’s talking about the magic lamp, but he might as well be talking about anything or anyone. Appearances can be, and often are, deceiving. Inner beauty is the only kind of beauty that truly lasts.
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” – Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins
Life is full of tasks that aren’t that awesome but still necessary to do, and we think Mary Poppins has the right approach. If you have to do it anyway, you might as well try to have fun with it, right?
“Remember, you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.” – Snow White, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Instead of waiting for someone else to make the world a better place, we should all take it upon ourselves to do exactly that, even in tiny ways. Something as simple as sharing a smile and a song can sometimes make all the difference.
“You get to go find a new dream.” – Flynn Rider, Tangled
When Rapunzel confesses her fears that she won’t know what to do after her dreams come true, Flynn answers brilliantly. It’s the perfect reminder to all of us that we own our dreams—they don’t own us—and pursuing them will always make our lives richer.
What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!