Wherefore Art Thou, Mickey Mouse?


by Angelle Bonnecarrere

Did Belle put Mickey Mouse in the doghouse with Pluto? I’m really confused.

Growing up, to say Disney was a big part of my life would be an understatement. My dad was stationed in San Francisco and we went down to Disneyland two to three times a year. We woke up early, had Mickey Mouse pancakes by the Swiss Family Robinson tree, and took on the park for the whole day. I have countless pictures of parades, rides, and not to mention all the visits to Universal Studios. Please ask my mom about the day my dad took six-year-old me on The Matterhorn. She loves that story.

When my family wasn’t conquering the park, we were watching everything and anything Disney. My mom still groans about how many times she had to sit through Pete’s Dragon and my dad may or may not have spent countless hours perfecting his Donald Duck impression. To this day, Mickey’s Christmas Carol still makes me tear up when the “Merry, Merry Christmas, Merry, Merry Christmas” starts up. I can’t remember ever wanting to dress up as Cinderella or Snow White when I was little; it was mostly the “I want to be a witch or Princess Leia” business that made up a childhood spent in the ‘80s.
Nowadays, it’s ALL about the princesses.

Get on the train people! If you aren’t all up on them, then please take the helpful quiz: “Which Disney Princess are you?”

I’m Belle. No really. If you are slightly nerdy and like books, you’re Belle. That’s the rule. If you are still in high school and your parents are SOOO annoying and won’t let you date that twenty-six-year-old (because on my re-watch of The Little Mermaid, Eric looks much older than Ariel’s sixteen, which is totally not at all creepy), then you are Ariel. Do you love singing, wishing in wells, and cleaning up after seven dirty little men? You’re Snow White!
I could go on and on…

Don’t get me wrong, I love fairy tales and princess stories as much as the next girl. I’m also not questioning anyone’s taste here, I’m a Ke$ha fan. I don’t think I’m qualified to. I’m just sad that it’s not about the iconic Disney characters anymore. I had a conversation with a friend recently about her little girl, and innocently asked if she had hit the “princess phase,” yet. She shushed me and said, “That’s not going to be a thing we encourage with her.” At first I was all, “Whatever, let her wear pink, GEEZ.” Then I really thought about it and said, “You know, you’re right, I mean where did Mickey go in all of this? What about Peter Pan?” I couldn’t fault her for trying to do something different with her little girl and introduce her to adventures, not a happily ever after.

Disney was about adventures, not just princess adventures, but everything that now makes up my obsession with wanting to see a 1950’s B-movie at a drive-in. They made science awesome, they taught Goofy how do stuff with resulting hilarity, and they gave Donald Duck an anger management problem (if you know which short I’m talking about, you are my soulmate, call me).  Is Disney doing a disservice to its petite fans by perpetuating the princess stories and forgetting about its most beloved characters?
I leave you with this:

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

-Walt Disney


  1. JeanneNovember 19th, 2012 at 11:15 am

    YOU said IT!! Angelle!!! It did start with A mouse!! and Man Disney Has Come A long long long Way! And I with always love it!. thank you for this artical. I loved it!!!!

  2. PeavesNovember 19th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Loved this!
    I’m not a princess fan. But, I am a fan of storytelling. Working for Disney I of course fell in love with Walt and his ability to take a story & completely create a cannon that no one else was able to do. I am annoyed with people (especially with the recent Lucasfilms merger) that say “Disney is going to ruin it by making it ‘Disney'” which is bull crap. Dsney is one of the best storytellers in the world.

    Personally, I think Snow White was just gross, but remember that was one of Walt’s first movies– and in it’s simplest form does epitomize Disney Values.

    As of late, I don’t agree with the marketing of the Princesses, to girls, Pirates to boys etc etc…. which is why raising two girls, we have NO gender lines at our house and they can do all.

    If you take Rapunzel, Tiana, & Merida in defense of them, they are feminist roles just marketed incorrectly, which is why parents or people need to decipher for themselves.

    True Disnerds will of course, always remember Mickey— =)

    I also wrote something out coming up about Bronies… which recognizes gender issues and marketing of these beloved characters too. I think it’s coming out next week. =)

  3. LisaNovember 19th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Love this! I agree that the Princess phenomenon has gone a little crazy and probably doesn’t help the “Honey Boo Boo” situation that is going on in our world right now. I think it’s very important for parents to make sure kids are balanced and get a steady diet of Mickey & Friends, Jake & the Neverland Pirates and Phineas & Ferb alongside their princesses. And the same goes for boys! Boys CAN wear pink and still want to grow up to be Captain Hook! Give them as much variety as you can while they are young, and then let them make better informed choices about their preferences.

  4. KatNovember 19th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Having just come back from a wonderful vacation at WDW, I can say that I saw just as many little girls toting around Mickey, Donald or Pluto as I saw in princess costumes. And just as many teenage to young adult men in line (with no little children along) to get pictures with Jasmine or Belle. I think Disney is all about catering to all people, whether those people fit into stereotypes or not. And it warmed my heart to see how many folks, young and old alike, were in the theater with me at “One Man’s Dream.” I don’t think anyone has forgotten Mickey and how it all started – the line for Mickey pictures was twice as long as the Incredibles or Wreck-it-Ralph pictures at Hollywood Studios. He’s the classic character and kids, young and young at heart, will still hold him in their hearts as the ultimate Disney creation. Princesses come and go, but Mickey is forever. 🙂

  5. AngelleNovember 19th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I’m not so much commenting on gender issues here (after my Lori article I don’t want to become the resident “feminazi” around these parts) but more on missing some of these characters and not seeing the emphasis put on them anymore. The Disney shorts are MY FAVORITE part of Disney and seeing kids not grow up with them, because Disney itself has largely moved away from them, hurts my heart. Last time I was at Dworld (2007) they had a whole channel devoted to them and I was in heaven. Not sure if that is still true.

  6. Kevin RigdonNovember 19th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Great article, and may I include a hearty AMEN?!? Always have been, always will be, a fan of the Mouse that started it all. On our last trip to WDW with our daughter, we didn’t stand in line to meet the princesses. We *did* stand in line to meet Mickey and Minnie. I’d much rather watch the old Disney shorts rather than 99% of the shows which are currently on the Disney Channel.

  7. JeanneNovember 19th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    sorry I ment I will allways love it!!! disney.

  8. Aaron LoweNovember 26th, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I too wish that there would be a resurgence of the old greats, im very tired of todays cartoon content for children. Why should everything be educational with some moral lesson? All my kids get on the cartoon networks are shows like franklin, dora, kai-lan diego etc, i want them to experience cartoons as they were for me with Not just disney, but others as well. Who remembers woody woodpecker, or looney tunes, or transformers, gi-joe, etc? I was (and continue to be) a big disnerd, and i insist on showing my kids all the old disney shorts, and they love them! but they can only see them on my computer or on teletoon retro at night.
    As for the discussion about princesses, can i just say this? I have two girls, aged 4 and 7 and i am happy that they like princesses, can we just let girls be girls please? is nothing sacred? Talking about gender roles and equality with preschoolers is ridiculous, They can sort that stuff out for themselves. My oldest was raised on a steady diet of princesses and tinkerbell, and now at 7 she is a self proclaimed tomboy who would rather build stuff in the garage with daddy than play barbies with her little sister. But there is a time and place for everything, and at some point every little girl needs a happily ever after. Its not exactly a new phenomenon, with snow white coming out in 1937, and cinderella and sleeping beauty not far behind.
    I really dont think we have a problem here with disney subjugating women, by assigning gender roles, i think they just know better than most what appeals to a 4 year old’s little heart.

  9. PeavesNovember 26th, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    There is still a channel in the Disney resorts where the kids sit in little chairs and theyre all playing in a loop. Super cool! The kiddos love them. These comments also made me think of when I was a kid– Ducktales! And Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers and Talespin. Love those too.

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