I’m sure you’ve heard the recent news that the Walt Disney Company is about to acquire Fox for an unprecedented $66 billion (yes, that’s billion). With this announcement comes the realization that it’s hard to imagine that Disney could ever do anything wrong. After all, the company that gave us Mickey and Snow White, not to mention Buzz, Woody, Dory, and the entire Avengers franchise, now owns the Star Wars catalogue, the X-Men catalogue, and even Homer Simpson. That’s a lot of serious entertainment muscle and it’s still only the surface of a very deep and wide Disney media empire.
But let’s face it folks, every company makes mistakes sometimes and Disney is no stranger to failure and controversy. Now I’m not really talking about the horrible flops various Disney movie studios have created over the years. You know which ones I mean; bad movies like John Carter, which cost $250 million to make before marketing, and is remembered by absolutely no one. We could also add The Lone Ranger and Treasure Planet to that list of movie fails. But every studio has its flops. I’m not talking about that whole California Adventure theme park unveiling that was such a horrible mess for almost a decade, either. At least Disney fixed that colossal mistake.
I’m talking about the moments where Disney failed to recognize that someone had let an inappropriate joke, image, or line of dialogue through to the final take of their most popular productions geared toward children. Of those failures to self-censor, Disney has a whole theme park’s worth and more. Although you might have missed these inappropriate moments in the past, we can promise that once you go through this list, you won’t be able to unsee them. Here are the 15 worst moments Disney should have censored in its films.
15. Lion King Licentiousness
Let’s start with perhaps the most famous and obvious of Disney’s gaffes. That is, if you actually believe what they say about this one. So remember when Simba and his pals Timon and Pumba are talking about the stars and what the universe means? Simba goes off on his own to sulk and throw himself into the grass. That’s when things get a little odd. You see, as Simba throws himself down, he stirs up a cloud of dust and pollen that flies into the sky and, to some viewers, forms itself into the word “s*x.” Of course, a lot of other viewers think the letters actually spell out “sfx” and are a nod to Disney’s special effects animators and crew. I’ll let you decide.
14. Lightning McQueen’s “Biggest” Fans
Let’s say you’re a professional race car driver, wrestler, rock star, or athlete. Obviously. there are a lot of perks that come along with that position, some perfectly innocent and some a bit more risqué. One of those perks is the old “groupies who want you to sign their breasts” routine. It’s as old as fame, probably, and I doubt many young famous guys have ever been bothered by its existence. However, things get a little weirder when the famous guy in question is a cartoon race car and his groupies are hot twin cars that literally flash their breasts at him (okay, their headlights, but that’s why I used the word “flash”). That’s exactly what happened to Lightning McQueen in the original Cars and it’s a deeply inappropriate moment — one that we have to assume was done on purpose.
13. “Nudge Nudge Wink Wink” Ms. Piggy!
We all know that Kermit and Ms. Piggy have had a long and stressful relationship. It’s been a running joke in Muppet lore for years. Poor Kermit has always seemed destined to be unrequited in his love for Ms. Piggy. Now that’s a strange enough thing for little kids to worry about — a frog full of frustration pining away for a pig. But then we find out that Ms. Piggy may just be a little bit of a loose lady as well. It all goes down in the Muppet’s Treasure Island flick, when Ms. Piggy admits to Kermit that she had a “thing” with captain Flint. As shocked as Kermit is, he is even more so when Long John Silver enters the room and Piggy says “Hello, Looooong John” in that scandalously seductive voice she puts on sometimes. I think we all know what Ms. Piggy is implying. Kermit’s response to this? “Oh no, him too!?”
12. Mushu’s “X-Ray” Vision
You wouldn’t think an animated children’s movie about a young teenage girl trying to protect her family’s honor in time of war by pretending to be a man would come equipped with its own raunchy, inappropriate jokes, would you? And at first glance, Mulan seems innocent enough. That’s until the little dragon Mushu (voiced most appropriately by Eddie Murphy of all people) shows up on the scene with his brash, street-wise attitude. In one particular scene, Mushu even brags to Mulan that he has such incredible powers that his eyes “can even see straight through [her] armor.” He then proceeds to stare lasciviously at her fully-clothed chest — not cool. Women don’t actually like guys who are constantly trying to get an eyeful, if you know what I mean.
11. Fantastic Fantasia Foolery
Fantasia was first released in 1940, when the world was a younger, more innocent, and less suggestive place — at least openly. On the other hand, Fantasia was released in 1940, when there was zero sensitivity and political correctness and the world didn’t understand that perhaps some things are better left out of animated movies. The most stunning example of this would be the naked harpies in the “Night on Bald Mountain” scenes. That’s right, freaky women with totally, utterly, and completely exposed breasts are flying around the screen without a care in the world. I know those breasts are animated, but I have to wonder how many young boys got their first glimpse of a part of the female anatomy they shouldn’t have when this movie was released. I’m willing to guess it was quite a few and that each and every one of them remembers it — that’s how guys work.
10. Genie’s Risqué Humor
If there’s one thing you can say about the character of genie in Aladdin, it’s that he is essentially a walking, talking, flying billboard for inappropriate behavior. I mean, come on, any character originally voiced by Robin Williams is bound to push the envelope just an teensy little bit. Am I right or am I right? In the much-maligned sequel to Aladdin, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, genie gets a chance to really behave beyond the pale. To set the scene (since I guarantee none of you either watched or remember this movie), Aladdin and Jasmine are about to wed when marauding bandits cause the castle to rumble as they knock down the doors. Genie’s response to all this? The one-liner, “I thought the Earth wasn’t supposed to move until the honeymoon.” Whoa Genie — down boy!
9. Buzz Gets Excited
Okay all of you guys out there, just come clean and admit that Jessie the yodelling cowgirl from Toy Story 2 is kind of attractive. Not in a classic, Jessica Rabbit kind of way (and no, I can’t believe I just wrote that either) but in a cool, adventurous, tomboy chick kind of way. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is watch Buzz Lightyear’s reaction after Jessie does her incredibly acrobatic and athletic sequence to let the dog out of Andy’s room. We knew Buzz already had a bit of a thing for her, but his “wing pop” as he stands there basically drooling over her awesomeness is a pretty raunchy thing to behold. In case you’re not quite understanding what he was “up” to in this scene, think what would have happened if his wings were in his pants — naughty, naughty Disney.
8. Peeping Pocahontas
And here we have something rather unexpected. We all know that in Pocahontas, the titular character and good, old Captain John Smith have a little bit of a cross-cultural thing for each other. What we didn’t know was that Pocahontas was a peeping Tom! It happens in one of the very first scenes that show the Native princess seeing her man. Pocahontas is up on a ridge, behind a tree, peering down at John Smith who is standing on the edge of a waterfall and appears to be, well, “waxing his carrot” if you know what I mean. I’m sure Disney didn’t intend for this weird peeping scene to appear the way it does, but we’re just calling it as it is. But some combination of animation and filming sure didn’t do any favors to the scene. And what exactly is getting John Smith going anyway? The roar of the wild water? It’s all just strange and unsettling!
7. Toy Story Ladies
Here’s another moment when the creators of Toy Story got a little, well, “creative,” with their content. We all remember Sid from the original Toy Story movie. Who could forget that creepy little guy who liked to dismember, torture, and even blow up toys? That kid needed some serious help. But perhaps, so did some of the animators over at Pixar. Remember the weird Barbie/tow truck hook contraption Sid had created in his bedroom? You know what I’m talking about — that mash-up of Barbie’s long legs and a giant hook for “her” body? Well, what if I were to tell you that creation was intended to be a hooker? Come on, you know you get it. How funny is that? I actually have a newfound respect for those animators for sneaking something so obvious past the censors. After all, who wouldn’t want to see a Barbie lady of the night?
6. Creepy Cars Cover Art
Some of the original poster work for the first Cars movie featured a very odd vehicle. There’s Lightning McQueen right up in front, with Mader, Sally, Doc Hudson, and Ramone and the whole gang spread out around him. And when I say the whole gang I mean the whole gang. There are dozens of cars in the shot, some of which you would be hard-pressed to recognize or will ever see again. They are there en mass to supposedly welcome the viewer to Radiator Springs. But be careful if you’re traveling that way. Some animator or artist had a little fun with one version of the poster you see. There’s a black van just to the left of Fillmore who’s just a little off, if you know what I mean. How do I know this? Well, the fact that this van has “Free Candy” spray painted on his side was my first clue. Okay Disney, now that is just creepy.
5. Boo’s Artwork
Now if you ask me, this one strains credulity just a little bit. I mean, can you really believe that some Pixar animator actually had the audacity to do it? I want to think someone should have caught this, but it came up multiple times while I was researching this article. Here’s the deal — when Sully first comes out of the closet to scare Boo, there’s a pan around of what appears to be a typical little girl’s room filled with stuffed animals, toys, purple and pink and stick-figure pictures abound. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? Well, unfortunately, one of those pictures on the walls, purportedly done by Boo, shows a character named “Uncle Roger” doing the unthinkable to another character named “Mommy.” That’s right, Boo has drawn her mom and uncle making the beast with two backs, as they say. I don’t know if Disney fired anyone over this, but maybe they should have.
4. Secret Lady On Simba
Here’s another example of a Disney poster gone wild. I guess maybe they don’t look as closely sometimes at their print media as they do at the finished product of the movie because it seems to happen a little too often. After all, it’s only the promotional materials for major films — it’s not like that stuff needs to be vetted very closely before being sent out for the eager press and public to pore over. Anyway, this time, the culprit in question is a promotional poster for the original The Lion King. In the poster, there’s a shadowy image of Simba rising out of the sun. Except, if you look at that image the right way, it clearly looks like a half-naked and very voluptuous redheaded woman presenting her, shall we say, “backside” to the viewer. I don’t really know if this one was intentional (or even really there), but once you see it, you won’t be able to unsee it, that’s for sure.
3. Umm Thumper???
Really, Thumper, you too? It seems that ice “skating” (really, just sliding around on your butt in Thumper’s case) sort of, kind of, turns this little rabbit on and Disney didn’t catch their faux pas. We all remember in Bambi when all of the little forest animals discover the joys of throwing themselves around on a sheet of fresh ice. Except Thumper seems to have taken it just a wee (emphasis on the wee) bit too far. You see, our little rabbit appears, in certain slowed down stills of this scene, to have a carrot of his own sticking up as he slides across the ice. It’s by far not the first time someone has ever noticed the male appendage in a Disney flick and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Either these animators are more bored than they should be or we the viewing public are just a massive collection of dirty old men and women.
2. Alice’s Wonderland?
I don’t even know what to say about this one. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s another rabbit involved, since we all know what rabbits like to do best. But it just goes to show you never know what you’re going to see when you really start paying attention to a Disney animated flick, even the older ones. If you’ve ever wondered why the White Rabbit is always in such a rush, this one image might explain it all. He obviously has places he needs to be and can you blame him? That is one very inviting rabbit hole. I’m sure he’s constantly asking himself why he doesn’t spend more time in it, if you get my drift. This is another one of those images that makes you wonder just how much fun those animators are having at everyone else’s expense.
1. Pinocchio’s No Prude
We end our little jaunt through poorly (or not at all) censored Disney animation with this little nugget from Pinocchio. In this scene, our little hero who just wants to be a real boy, is participating in some rather adult activities. First of all, he’s got a giant stogie stuck in his mouth. Regular health risks aside, isn’t that kind of dangerous for someone made out of wood? Second, the kid has a giant (half-drained, mind you) stein of beer at hand and even looks a little red-nosed and tipsy. Third, given the stack of money and chips on the table, as well as the billiards paraphernalia, it’s abundantly clear good, old Pinocchio is both gambling and is also a pool hustler. Who knew? Now there’s a message for the kids to take to heart, Disney! Oh well, at least there were no rabbits involved.
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