From Simba to Nemo, Disney provides nostalgia

Danielle Toth

Students still find joy in their old animated favorites

Freshmen Robin Jadach and Nicole Masevice said they enjoy watching Disney movies because the movies are fun and remind them of their childhood.

Credit: Andrew popik

Simba loses his father, but saves Pride Rock; the Little Mermaid loses her voice, but still gets the prince; Marlin loses Nemo, but finds him in the end. All of these dramatic losses have triumphant endings that never really leave the minds of young adults and children alike.

Disney movies appeal to an audience of all ages, and college students are no different.

A main reason that Disney movies appeal to college students is nostalgia.

“It’s something we grew up with,” said Nicole Masevice, a freshman nursing major who said she watches Disney movies about once a month. “They don’t grow old. Disney appeals to everyone, from kids to older people.”

Robin Jadach, a freshman pre-med major, agreed.

“I watch them all the time when I’m at home,” she said. “I have a two-year-old niece, so we watch them together. They’re simple movies, fun to watch, easygoing and happy.”

Many college students associate childhood memories with memories of Disney movies, according to a 2004 article in Communication Review.

A professor conducted a class in which students read the original tales that Disney movies were based on, according to the article They compared and contrasted the tales with the films.

The professor found that most students were reluctant to criticize Disney’s movies, even when the professor presented flaws in violence, gender roles and racial stereotypes.

Nicole Haney, a sophomore fine arts major, said she enjoys the movies she grew up with but has little interest in newer Disney films.

“I know some people that like just the older movies,” Haney said. “I don’t think the newer ones are as good. When I’m at school, I just don’t have access to them or the time for them.”

One of the major differences that students in the class found between the original tales and Disney films was the tales often had deeper meanings and unhappy endings.

For example, in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Seamaid, the tale that Disney’s The Little Mermaid is based on, the seamaid does not marry the prince. There are also underlying religious tones and social commentary.

“I like Disney movies because they’re happy movies with happy endings,” Masevice said. “You always know a Disney movie will be a good movie.”

The Disney Channel, which airs programs and Disney movies, is also popular with students. The channel targets a younger audience but airs programs about teenage life, such as “That’s So Raven!” and “Lizzie McGuire.”

“I watch the Disney Channel a few times a week,” Jadach said. “My roommate and I just keep in on as background noise in our room.

Since Disney released its first cartoon in 1928, it has entertained millions of children and adults alike.

Contact features reporter Danielle Toth at [email protected].