We’ll always remember where we were when we first learned that Rafiki is a mandrill and not a baboon. In honor of that moment, and of school being back in session, here are 12 little facts you might not have known about some of your favorite Disney animals. Enjoy!
Finnick’s name in Zootopia is a play on his species, the fennec fox.
- Timon and Pumbaa
The iconic duo was originally supposed to perform the entirety of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” in The Lion King, instead of solely the beginning.
- Mickey Mouse
Mickey’s original name was “Mortimer,” but Walt Disney’s wife Lillian convinced him to change it to “Mickey.”
While we can’t imagine him being anything but Jamaican, Sebastian was initially intended to be a proper British crustacean in The Little Mermaid.
Animators modeled Abu from Aladdin after capuchin monkeys at the Los Angeles Zoo.
The word “perdita” means “lost” in Italian, which is fitting because that’s the major plot point in One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
Although we know him as Diablo, Maleficent’s pet raven is actually never named during Sleeping Beauty.
- Orville and Wilbur
Orville and Wilbur of The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under, respectively, are named after another pair of brothers involved in aviation—Orville and Wilbur Wright, aka, the infamous Wright Brothers, who invented the first successful airplane.
While we think it’s a pretty adorable character quirk, the real reason why Dante’s tongue constantly sticks out of his mouth in the upcoming Coco is because his breed, the Xolo, is prone to losing its teeth.
According to Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tamatoa’s song “Shiny” in Moana is a glam rock tribute to David Bowie.
Despite the fact that Bagheera is a panther in The Jungle Book, his name actually means “black tiger” in Hindi.
- Bruno, Jaq, and Gus
All 3 of these characters in Cinderella are voiced by Jimmy MacDonald, who, coincidentally, was also the voice of Mickey Mouse at the time.
Which of these Disney animal facts was your favorite? Tell us in the comments!