Disney is arguably the pinnacle of our childhoods. You definitely grew up watching a Disney movie whether because your parents dragged you to watch with your siblings or to pass the time when a babysitter was around. Disney movies are mostly appropriate for all ages, but would you believe that the stories some of them are based on have pretty dark themes?
After all, we can't have Disney characters go through tragedy. That would leave young kids traumatized and upset if they were scaringly faithful to the source material. This list will feature Disney characters from their original stories that are too dark for Disney.
Be prepared for your childhoods to be ruined. Here are twenty unhappily ever after secrets about Disney characters!
20 Ghastly Invitation
Even though the Evil Queen from Snow White met a terrible fate in the movie, her demise in the original Grimm Brothers is more terrible. Instead of falling off a cliff, the queen is invited to Snow White's wedding but forced to dance in red-hot iron slippers until her passing.
19 Blinded, But Spared
Who doesn't love Flynn from Tangled? His role in the original story does have him endure violence like in the movie, but in a troubling way for the original version. While he doesn't pass away from falling from Rapunzel's tower, he ends up being blinded from thorns scratching his eyes. Thankfully, his sight would later be restored.
18 Mowgli, You're Scary
You would think that an innocent character like Mowgli would just go on adventures throughout the jungle with Baloo, but you would be so wrong in the story based on The Jungle Book. He discovers that his biological parents have been captured by a village of farmers, so he destroys the village and inhabitants.
17 Fighting For What?
The poem based on Mulan is one heartbreaking story. Instead of winning the war, Mulan loses. To spare her life, she would become the enemy's Khan live under her wing as a "companion." She escaped but found out her father passed and her mother remarried. Due to this, she ends up taking her own life.
16 Sickening Jealousy
Beauty and the Beast might be a tale as old as time, but even the original version is dark and disturbing. Unlike the 1991 film, Belle has two sisters, but they are extremely jealous of her beauty. When Belle convinces the Beast for her sisters to visit, they hope that if the former stays longer, the Beast will end up getting rid of her.
15 Their Sacrifice
It is nice to know that Cinderella's two stepsisters would try to fit into the slipper to take Prince Charming's hand in marriage. But their methods were intended thanks to their mother. To put it lightly, they removed parts of their feet to fit the slipper, but to no avail.
14 Not-So Happily Ever After
Greek mythology has amazing lore but is incredibly messed up, too. Hercules might have given up his immortality to be with Megara, but the original legend of Hercules is just horrifying. He and Megara end up having children, but he went mad and ended up taking the lives of both Megara and their children.
13 Not The Dog!
The Fox and the Hound is a wholesome, but sad movie, mostly towards the end. The sequel ruins everything that made the first movie great, but the book does something pretty messed up. Named in the book "The Master," he is required to be in a nursing home, but that also meant leaving his dog Copper. Instead of, you know, adopt him to someone else, he ends up taking Copper's life.
12 No True Love Whatsoever
The Princess and the Frog was the last 2D animated Disney has released and it was a fun journey. The original story makes the frog himself kind of creepy, as he tried to crawl up on Tiana's pillow and eat off her plate. She even slammed him against a wall, so that escalates quickly with the violence.
11 The Price Of Having Legs
In the Disney version, Ariel's consequence for obtaining legs was for her to sell her voice to Ursula. In the Hans Christian Andersen version, it is the same process, but the detail of her obtaining legs is more grotesque. She goes through a lot of pain as if she's walking on broken glass and such.
10 Gone So Soon
It was absolutely historically inaccurate for Pocahontas to be older in the Disney movie (more on that later), but it is also heartbreaking to think of Pocahontas looking close to the age she passes away, which is twenty-one due to disease. It makes the movie a bit more depressing overall.
9 Why They're Motherless
Ever wondered why most Disney characters are motherless? There are actually two answers. Don Hahn, a longtime Disney producer, has two theories that most Disney movies are about the need to grow up and that Walt Disney's mother's passing affected him greatly. Both are plausible reasons, but just as real.
8 Not So Innocent
Peter Pan might take Wendy and her brothers to Neverland and enjoy the thought of never growing up, but the original story shows a dark side of Peter. He was pretty blunt in taking care of pirates and feeding Captain Hook's hand to a crocodile, but if anyone were to grow up in Neverland, he would be sure to get rid of them.
7 Her "Reward"
We have mentioned a bit about Mulan being spared by the opposing Khan. This was something that Mulan never fought for, so it was devastating that she was offered to be a concubine after all that she has been through. Mulan deserves so much better.
6 Inaccurate Representation
We also mentioned that Pocahontas is a historically inaccurate movie despite its beautiful music and animation. One of the inaccuracies the movie has is the age of when Pocahontas meets John Smith. She was about ten when she first encountered him, so it makes their romance a bit creepy.
5 Not-So Beauty Sleep
Sleeping Beauty is an interesting movie for being based on the story of the same name. There is one version where the princess is put to sleep, but the prince is mesmerized by her beauty that he takes advantage of her. She wakes up with one of her twins removing the flax from her finger.
4 Secretly Savage
The stepsisters really had it hard in the dark story of Cinderella. Sure they deserve it for being harsh towards Cinderella, but it was not just part of their feet that they lost. In Cinderella's wedding, the former's bird friends take vengeance on the stepsisters and leave them blind.
3 Psychotic Puppet
Pinnochio was definitely not the innocent puppet we adore in the Disney version. In his story, he is pretty crazy, to put it lightly. He takes the life of Jiminy Cricket, but that wasn't the worst of the story. Despite his cruel actions, he is basically a lesson to teach kids the warnings of being bad.
2 Quasimodo's Demise
Quasimodo is a character that deals with a lot of intense themes from both the Disney film and the Victor Hugo novel. The novel is definitely darker and ends up having Esmerelda getting offed. Quasimodo grieves so much that he holds her body until he passes from starvation.
1 A Mermaid's Love
Ariel is a beloved and popular Disney princess for her independence and beautiful singing voice. The original Hans Christian Andersen story sadly does not have Ariel get her happy ending, as the prince marries someone else and she ends up becoming one with the wind after arriving towards the ocean.