For the last 100 years, Disney has enchanted generations with tales of good versus evil, talking animals, magic, and mice, creating films that have defined the childhood of many.
On October 13, Disney100: The Exhibition will open at London’s ExCeL, giving us all a look behind the scenes of some of the most iconic stories and characters. The exhibition will feature an array of props, original costumes, and moving stories, and you’ll even get a look at the Disney parks, and the newer members of the Disney universe, like Pixar, Star Wars, and MARVEL. Personally, I can’t wait to see how the magic was made – and maintained for 100 years.
Which of the Disney films defined your childhood?
A hard question, right? For me, after back and forth between Alice In Wonderland (1951) and The Little Mermaid (1989), The Little Mermaid just inches it. As a child, I would watch the VHS (lol) on repeat; however, I used to fast forward through the Ursula parts when watching it on my own, as I was a little scaredy cat.
As for the rest of the Secret London team, here are their favourites – what do these Disney films that defined their childhood say about them?
Laura – Managing Editor
🎥 Film: Mulan (1998)
🧒 Reason: There’s a few reasons that Mulan was my all-time favourite growing up, I mean, for starters, Eddie Murphy as Mushu is reason enough already – but I just bloody loved the adventure of it all. I especially loved the soundtrack. I’ll Make a Man Out Of You is an absolute banger, and Reflections is the ultimate shower song.
Sam – Senior SEO Writer
🎥 Film: The Jungle Book (1967)
🧒 Reason: When I was about six years old, my family was posted out to Tamil Nadu in Southern India because my dad was in the military. I remember sitting down and watching The Jungle Book at my grandparents house in Norfolk and being absolutely enthralled by it.
I love a good villain, and the posh Shere Khan and Kaa the snake (‘my sinusssessssss’) were firm favourites of mine, but I also loved Bagheera, Baloo, and all of the elephants singing along to ‘Colonel Hathi’s March’. I remember it making me very excited to move to India and see some of these animals in the jungle for real! Alas, we never saw a tiger or a sloth bear, but we did see a leopard, a python and plenty of elephants in the year or so we lived there – so that was good enough for me!
Katie, Staff Writer Intern
🎥 Film: Toy Story (1995)
🧒 Reason: Sure, princesses are pretty magical and talking animals are quite cool, but toys that actually come to life?! Mind-blowing. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time I heard the musical masterpiece that is You’ve Got A Friend In Me and I still to this day believe that my toys came to life every time I left the room (at least that’s the story I’m sticking to as an excuse for why my bedroom was always in a state of utter chaos).
Chloe – Staff Writer
🎥 Film: The Fox And The Hound (1981)
🧒 Reason: To anyone who knows me, a dog-related film will come as no surprise, and my brother and I used to watch this pretty religiously. My memory is pretty useless, so I can’t pinpoint what exactly made this my childhood obsession, but aside from my love of dogs, I’m a sucker for a good buddy movie, so it makes sense.
Princess films and flouncy romances be damned, I wanna see hunting dogs and orphaned fox become besties and embark on adventures together in the woods. I still remember my little heart hammering away when they faced off against the giant bear and took a tumble down the waterfall (spoiler alert). Also, animation didn’t hold back on scary back then – that bear was intense. The fact I live in the countryside with two dogs (though, alas no fox) definitely can’t be because of this film…can it?
Georgie – Executive Editor
🎥 Film: The Lion King (1994)
🧒 Reason: I’ve never been a Disney princess kinda girl, so it was all about the animals for me: 101 Dalmatians, Dumbo, The Aristocats… But The Lion King easily reigned supreme. Mostly because every single song on its soundtrack is a masterpiece.
I absolutely adored the film as a kid (particularly Pumba – the real MVP) but, for me, the obsession really started when I first saw the stage show. I’d need three hands to count how many times I’ve seen it since – and I’m in awe every time.
The best thing about The Lion King though is just how timeless it is – no disrespect to Beyonce and Donald Glover, but we didn’t need you. My toddler is absolutely obsessed with the film now known in this house as ‘Raaaaar!’, so I get to experience the magic of the film again and again… and agaiiiiiin, Mummy! Plus, it gives me an excuse to dance around the living room to I JUST CAN’T WAIT TO BE KING! Pure and utter joy.
Jack – Editor
🎥 Film: Finding Nemo (2003)
🧒 Reason: It was a tricky toss-up between this, and Monsters, Inc. (2001) – the Messi and Ronaldo of early noughties Disney movies – but Marvin, Nemo, and Dory take the prize of my pick (slightly less prestigious than a balon d’or) here. That’s no disservice to Mike and Sully, but (like Messi) Finding Nemo has it all, even warranting a double-cinema trip to see it as a seven-year-old by yours truly.
At its heart, it’s a tale of the undying love between a father and son, but we’re also treated to a peppering heartening moments from all kinds of deep blue characters throughout. Think alcoholic’s fish anonymous by way of sharks; 150-year-old stoner turtles; irritating seagulls (“mine!”) outside 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney; and an ever-lovable Dory – the blue tang blessed with the combination of short-term memory loss and heart of gold. Much like Barbie now, Clownfish had their day in the sun back in 2003, and more power to them. Now, repeat after me: fish are friends, not food.
Priscilla Malavet – Branded Content Creator
🎥 Film: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
🧒 Reason: Many don’t realise this is a Disney film, as the studio released it under its Touchstone Pictures label originally. However, this was the first movie made in stop-motion animation that captivated my heart. I used to watch it with my big sister who is a big scary movie lover —I’m not— and we’d sing along to Oogie Boogie’s Song and fight to see who would be Sally. For us, watching TNBC was the start of our holidays. Also, I once dressed as Sally for Halloween. Now it’s like a tradition to watch it in October and Christmas. Lowkey, how handsome is Jack too! *Laughs in emo*