For decades, the minds at Disney have brought us fantastical worlds with absolutely no limits, all the while making them grounded and believable for virtually every viewer. Though they're filled with magic, destiny, and pixie dust, Disney's imaginative stories often speak to the most universal aspects of humanity.
An admittedly minor problem with loving these movies so much: after watching them many, many times, you start to notice some things that don't make total sense within the plot. I've come to accept that their are just some bits that will leave me saying, "wait, what?" I don't look at these as childhood-ruining, but instead as an opportunity for Disney to grow with me!
Here are seven of the biggest Disney plot holes that made me consider some of my favorite films in an entirely new way.
1. Why do only certain household items come to life in Beauty and the Beast?
In the spectacular "Be Our Guest" musical number, performed by talking candelabra Lumière, there are a bevy of back-up dancers and chorus members to fill out the background. However, while these items can move and dance (in perfect unison, too!), they don't have mouths, faces, or markers of sentience. Were these once people? Other household objects in the film remain totally static. Are these the normal objects from the castle that the main characters replaced when they were transformed?
2. Why does Tarzan end up with an American accent after learning to speak from three English people?
During his formative language-learning years, Tarzan is raised by gorillas and learns to grunt and howl with the best of 'em. When he meets Clayton, Professor Porter, and Jane—all very clearly from England—he learns English at an alarming rate. However, he somehow comes out of this Anglo education with an undeniable American accent, and no one seems surprised.
3. If Buzz believed he was an actual space ranger, why does he freeze when humans walk in?
Is it instinct? Mimicry? Covert training? Whatever the reason, Buzz Lightyear freezes just like every other toy whenever a person approaches, but he never considers that this may mean that he's just a toy like everyone else.
4. Why doesn't Cinderella's glass slipper revert back to its original form like all the other enchanted items?
The glass slipper is essential to the plot of Cinderella—no slipper, no way for the Prince to find his elusive bride-to-be. But it's the only item from the Fairy Godmother's transformation that doesn't revert to its original form. Some theories suggest that the glass slippers were never transmutated from something else but were in fact a gift from the altruistic fairy. However, this is never made fully clear in the movie.
5. Why does Aladdin need to wish to be a Prince twice?
All Aladdin wants is to be with Princess Jasmine, so naturally when gets his three wishes, his first is to become a prince. His second is to survive a murder attempt (also totally understandable). But, at the end of the movie, when he's mulling over his final wish, he's considering becoming a prince again. Did his previous wishes get nullified when the lamp was used by someone new? In that case, shouldn't he have three more wishes instead of just one? Also, if becoming a prince wasn't what Jasmine wanted the first time around, why would it work at this point? Fortunately, these questions are swept under the rug when Al does the right thing and frees Genie instead of redoing a wish.
6. Why would Scar trust the hyenas to kill Simba?
For all of his faults, Scar is still a pretty smart cookie, so why would he allow three numbskulls he already KNOWS to be incompetent to follow through on the most important task in his diabolical plot? I can understand not wanting to slaughter your kid nephew the way you did in his father, but there had to be some alternative to letting the animal equivalent of the Three Stooges ensure his rise to the throne.
7. If Beast has been cursed for a decade, why is there a portrait of him looking like he does at the end of the film?
According to the early portions of Beauty and the Beast, the castle and its inhabitants have been cursed for 10 years, and Prince Adam has until age 21 before the last rose petal drops. That must mean that he's only 11 years old when he is cursed. If that's the case, then how can the torn portrait Belle discovers depict an adult Adam?
Some theories suggest that time enters a period of stasis in the castle, but the central driving force of the film is time's movement forward. The characters are constantly racing against time to try to break the curse, lest it last forever. Maybe Adam hired a highly skilled painter to imagine what he would look like in ten years. Or, maybe this is just a plot hole.
For those that want an in-depth exploration of The Little Mermaid's essential plot hole, be sure to check out this revealing article.