Why Disney’s LET IT GO Is a Bad Song

A Disney song has always been there to move the story along. It can define a character or delve into their motivation, or further the plot. Of course, it’s also designed to stick in your head so that you will love the movie and rush out to buy the soundtrack!

Fair enough.

But I also happen to feel that any song that plays in a children’s movie should be socially responsible. The content of the lyrics should promote good behavior, sound principles, and motivate the listener to be better in some way. I speak of songs sung by the protagonist, or hero, and not the villain. A song sung by a villain is designed to explain their reasons for being nasty and the bad ideas within the lyrics are shown to be wrong when the villain gets his or her comeuppance in the end!

So why do I say that the song Let It Go from the movie Frozen is bad? I know I’m going to be in a minority on this but I feel if people actually read the lyrics instead of just singing along with the tune, they just might begin to see some problems.  So let’s begin.

Let It Go was written by Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Emanuel Kiriakou and is  Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Walt Disney Music Company. I obtained the lyrics from Google Play Music and trust that they are accurate. I will show the lyrics one stanza at a time, analyze, then move on to the next stanza:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation,
and it looks like I’m the Queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in;
Heaven knows I’ve tried

Things start off well with Elsa simply surveying her new surroundings and comparing them to her inner turmoil. Which is admittedly great and understandably so!

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know

Again, Elsa is honestly expressing her feelings about her treatment at the hands of her parents. Being told not to use her powers and then hiding her away from the world because of one accident was a knee-jerk reaction taken to an extreme level! Bad parenting doesn’t begin to cover this situation.

We begin to see a hint of the problem when Elsa callously flips off the line ‘Well now they know’. Yes they, her subjects, do, as their entire land is frozen, live stock and crops are dead, businesses are ruined, and if this was the real world, many are likely to die due to being completely unprepared for such a drastic change in the climate.

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore

This signature line from the chorus is the one sung heartily by everyone, even little children. But what are these lyrics actually saying? The idea is that when you can no longer handle a bad situation, let go (or lose control as Elsa does) no matter what the consequences are to yourself or others.

Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway

And this is perhaps the worst part of this song! Slamming the door in the face of the problem is not going to solve anything. Not caring while being aware of the bad situation caused by one’s decisions and cruelly saying ‘let it go on’ because ‘it doesn’t bother me’ is again not a lesson to teach small children!

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

Here Elsa has run away from her problems far enough to make them seem small and trivial, when in fact they are big and impactful. She is happy to be safe while everyone else is still in great danger.

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me,
I’m free!

So now that her powers are ‘outed’ she chooses to see just how much damage she can do with them instead of seeing if she can fix things and prove everyone wrong about her. We need to know and accept what is right and wrong and adhere to certain rules to have a safe and working society. Someone who feels ‘free’ from these concepts inevitably hurts others.

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on

Now Elsa decides not to face her issues but bury them deep inside her and simply let the world go on without her. She is also okay with the world having to deal with the mess she left behind, just letting ‘the storm rage on.’

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past

The past is never ‘in the past’ until there is a resolution to whatever the problem is. That is why we have coined the term ‘closure’. People spend serious time and money on trying to deal with traumatic events in their past so that they can have a better future. Elsa is in effect ceasing to live.

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on

The cold never bothered me anyway!

Elsa should never have been made to feel that she had to be perfect, nor that the way to achieve this was to hide who and what she was. But to decide to be, in effect, a bad girl, is not a healthy alternative!

Lastly, this final line is perhaps the most damaging lesson this song teaches. That if something doesn’t bother you, who cares about anyone else? Loving, caring, and well-adjusted people care about others, even if those people have made mistakes that hurt them or don’t seem at first to appreciate the effort.

This song seems to say that if you are treated poorly, become as bad as the abusers. Whereas I think we can all agree that the better path is to take the high road and rise above the crowd.

Does this look like a good attitude?

Conclusion: It should be noted that Elsa endured horrible treatment by the two people who should have loved and protected her, her parents. The damage that this would do to a young child is incalculable! So perhaps we can understand her position. But I put forth that her song is that of a villain explaining the reasons for doing what she does, and certainly not a song of empowerment. Remember that the Ice Queen in the original book was a villain and I don’t think Disney intended Elsa to be viewed as well as she has been, but has just run with it for merchandising dollars.

Why this song is held in such a high regard is that somehow Elsa has been cast as a suppressed victim who has every right to act as she does. And she doesn’t act well! In fact, she accidentally freezes Anna’s heart, and instead of trying to help, creates an Ice Monster to remove her from her presence. This monster then goes on to immediately try to kill Anna. I guess that didn’t bother Elsa either?

Also, many fixate on the ‘sisterly love’ angle of the movie, but again, I contend that there is no sisterly love, just one sister’s love (Anna’s) for her sibling (Elsa), which is not returned.

Now that we have analyzed the lyrics stanza by stanza, I would like to recommend that you consider Anna as the true hero of Frozen and consider looking to her as a role model for your little girl or boy, and not Elsa, even if she does have a catchy song.

FUN FACT: Note the shape of the balusters in the railing in the above picture. Does the repeating shape remind you of anything? It resembles the chest insignia of Wonder Woman, the ultimate symbol of female empowerment. Coincidence, or subliminal message?

Disney’s Top Five Best Decisions of All Time

Recently I listed what I thought Disney’s Top Five Worst Decisions were and so in the interest of fairness I now present my Top 5 List of Disney’s best decisions:

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   FIVE

Live-action Versions of Animated Classics

So although these aren’t my cup of tea the general Disney fan/public has embraced these ‘remakes’ with a passion! Cinderella did very well and the latest, The Jungle Book, also did a brisk business. And the upcoming Beauty and the Beast practically has people frothing at the mouth in anticipation.

While these are obvious attempts at recycling ideas and extending profits from established franchises, one can’t argue that they are beautifully done. My main complaint is that they haven’t strayed much from the original animated source material so there aren’t any surprises or new interpretations.

Maybe the live-action Beauty and the Beast will break out of this provincial approach and break new ground.

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   FOUR

Promoting John Lasseter

I just love this guy! From his early antics on the Pixar DVD releases to his many appearances to promote new productions in both Pixar and Disney studios, you can just feel his enthusiasm for both animation and the Disney legacy.

With Walt gone and no more Disney family members stepping up to fill the void, Lasseter is the next best thing. That doesn’t sound too complimentary until you realize whose shoes he is basically filling!

I hope to see him grow with the company for many years to come, but do wonder just who could fill his shoes when the time comes for him to step down?

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   THREE

World Showcase Ethnic Casting

The best part of World Showcase in Epcot at Walt Disney World is the Cast Member interaction. And the fact that each pavilion has CM’s from the actual country being presented is a brilliant stroke of casting!

And so many benefit! Young people from around the world get to have an experience that they will never forget. The guests get to meet them and learn first hand about the culture and activities of all eleven countries represented in World Showcase. And those of us who are not American get to visit the country of our origin (if represented) and unite with a fellow countryman.

It’s win-win all around and I hope Disney never abandons this decision!

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   TWO

Acquiring Marvel/Lucas Film

    

As I stated in my post about the worst decisions Disney has made they should never have acquired Pixar. I feel it ruined the creativity of that company. But as it comes to Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm Ltd. I think Disney has only helped to grow these companies.

Largely by leaving them alone, Disney has given the people at Marvel full support to continue to develop the MU in a very interesting and profitable way. The acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. is too new to really tell how things are going to turn out, but if the first Star Wars film under the Disney banner is any indication, it’s not going to badly.

Maybe Disney has learned that putting up the money and just a little creative input is the way to acquisition success?

BEST   DECISION   NUMBER   ONE

Keeping Vintage Attractions

This is a highly debatable decision but I put it in the number one spot for a reason. Walt was all about nostalgia. And nothing sparks nostalgia like the original attractions that were in the parks when they opened. Or that came soon after.

Rides from the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair like The Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World still interest park goers today just as they did in the past. And the fact that Disney fans mourn each time a beloved attraction is demolished confirms this as truth!

While other parks continue to focus on thrill rides Disney wisely nurtures its attraction heritage of dark rides and corny shows. Hey, if it works…

Conclusion: For every bad decision there is a good decision. And given the success of the multi-billion dollar business that is Disney, one would have to believe that the good decisions are outweighing the bad!

Disney’s Top Five Worst Decisions of All Time

No matter how good a company is they are bound to make a mistake or two along the way to success. In the case of Disney their mistakes seem to be amplified because of the intense scrutiny fans put the company under.

But every company has to honestly admit that some decisions just have no defense! So here is my Top 5 List of the worst decisions that Disney has made:

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   FIVE

SEQUELS

Just make it stop. Direct-to-video sequels is how it all began and we can only thank whatever the power was that stopped these bombs from being theatrical releases! But in today’s world most sequels are theatrical releases, like Toy Story 2-4 and Cars 2 and Finding Dory and soon-to-be Frozen 2 (kill me the day before it opens!) and and and and and.

Funny Story: After the success of Zootopia and its plus-billion box office take one social media source speculated that finally Disney would see the value of original stories and create more. Know what I thought? Here comes Zootopia 2! This time Nick goes back to Bunnyburrow with Judy and we have the typical reverse situation as Nick is the fox-out-of-water character and must learn to adjust to doing things a different way. Do I have a future writing sequels or what?

Don’t believe me that this could happen? I predict Zootopia 3 in 2022.

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   FOUR

ACQUIRING PIXAR

The original Brain Trust of Pixar came up with most of the first hit films for the company. And just about the time those ideas had been used up Disney acquired Pixar and things were never the same.

Pixar has shifted gears from wildly original films that touch our hearts to a long run of sequels that prove you can’t catch lightning in a bottle twice. With the exception of Inside Out most Disney/Pixar films have been disappointing. And there seems to be mostly sequels in the company’s future.

It was inevitable that Pixar would stumble at some point but it seems that the acquisition speeded that eventuality up considerably!

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   THREE

REMOVING CAST MEMBERS FROM RIDES

Don’t worry, Disney has no plans to remove the Skippers from the Jungle Cruise. Or… do they? We’ve already lost the Cast Members from Living With the Land to be left with a recorded lecture and a computer-guided boat. This obvious cost-cutting measure could easily spread to more attractions!

I visited Disneyland and had the pleasure of riding the Storybook Canal boat for the first time with a Cast Member in costume giving us a lively and personal narration of the kingdoms we passed through. Unfortunately I spent the entire trip wondering what it would be like without our pilot. In the back of my mind I saw an accountant with a pink slip waiting back at the dock!

The Great Movie Ride and other attractions are all in the cross-hairs too. It could be only a matter of time before the only Cast Member you see is the one checking your lap bar.

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   TWO

HOW D23 IS BEING HANDLED

At first it seemed like the perfect fan club for Disney fanatics and it did live up to that image for the first few years. But then came changes to the membership perks and magazine gifts.

The gilding completely fell off the lily when the majority of members started complaining about how the D23 Expo is handled. Unfair distribution of limited edition collectables and overcrowding are just two of the issues raised. Of course, that hasn’t stopped members from attending and renewing their subscriptions, so the problem isn’t at a critical stage… yet!

My worry here is that many Disney magazines and official fan clubs have failed and I just hope Disney has learned enough from those failures to listen to the complaints about this one and find a way to keep it alive!

BAD   DECISION   NUMBER   ONE

SHUTTING DOWN

I was in California at the El Capitan Theatre for the official kick-off of this excellent gaming system. It appeared to have all the earmarks of success and Disney gave it a big publicity push to get it started.

It had so many good features not the least of which was the beautiful and collectible play figures that were produced in series over the life of the game. The system made it to a 3.0 version before the word came down that Disney had had enough. But why scuttle such a wildly popular product?

The problem I see is that 2.0 figures couldn’t be played on 1.0 systems which changed my excitement to open disgust for Disney’s obvious money-grab ploy! And 3.0 figures can’t be played on 1.0 or 2.0 systems which means that not only would you have to shell out for new figures every year but also for new bases. I lost interest at this point. I think many others did as well and this probably led to a drop in sales which led to the real reason for the demise of Infinity: Money.

With billions of dollars being raked in from the movie division and the Marvel acquisition along with how well the parks are doing, surely Disney could have afforded to keep the Infinity brand going while changes were made to fix the declining monetary gains of the product. Disney needs to learn that sometimes short-term loses can be made into long-term gains!

CONCLUSION: Disney will continue to make bad decisions. Fans will continue to call them out on these bad decisions. Bloggers will continue to make Top 5 Lists to highlight the same bad decisions.

Top Five Disney Misconceptions That ‘Everyone’ Believes

We know everything about Disney, right? With so many books written and so many more websites sharing insights and information, the ‘truth’ is out there, right? Not really.

Sometimes urban legend and rumor can overshadow simple fact. So here is my list of the Top Five misconceptions about Walt Disney, his company, and his characters:

NUMBER FIVE

DISNEY PARKS ARE ‘DYING BY DEGREES’

Disney Park Maintenance

This is true-ish, but mostly false, for all intents and purposes. Many Internet sites point out every burned-out light bulb, notice every piece of blowing garbage, and pick away at the overall cleanliness of the parks. I admit these things are present, but no more-so, and probably less-so, than at any other competing theme park.

Are Disneyland and Walt Disney World less maintained than when they first opened? Yes. Are there less new rides being added year after year? Yes. Are there less extra offerings than in past times? Yes. Hmm, It seems I’m discrediting my own case!

But is it really that bad? Park attendance is at an all-time high with the off-season all but gone. Disney parks still have a rabid following. Internet sites about the parks are growing in number and readership. What are we to conclude from this?

That a Disney park is still better than any other theme park… period. But admittedly, that could change. Universal Studios has had enormous success with the Harry Potter franchise and many other parks have better roller coasters and thrill rides. As the demographics of theme park attendees grows younger, this could cause a change from wholesome entertainment (Disney) to more vibrant and exciting offerings (the competition).

For now though, Disney parks are not dying, by degrees or otherwise!

NUMBER FOUR

TOM HANKS IS WALT DISNEY’S LOVE CHILD

Question Man

What, am I the only one who’s heard this rumor? To sum it up: It’s not true.

NUMBER THREE

DISNEY IS JUST ABOUT THE MONEY

Walt Disney Dollar Bill

OK, at times, The Walt Disney Company can seem a little money-hungry. OK, maybe a lot money-hungry! Many criticize the company as having lost the focus of its founder, Walt Disney, for he himself famously said:

“You reach a point where you don’t work for money.” “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.” “Money doesn’t excite me, my ideas excite me.” “Disneyland is a work of love. We did not go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.”

This orgy of evidence seems to damn the billion-dollar corporation that is Disney today. But there is something people are missing, and it’s exposed in this last quote about money from Walt Disney: “I’d say it’s been my biggest problem all my life… it’s money. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true.” (italics mine)

So with that in mind, what way do we want it? Do we want The Walt Disney Company to cut profits and make less money for its shareholders so as to appear to be more Walt-like, or do we want the magic to continue? Times have changed and things aren’t financed on a shoe-string and a handshake, like in Walt’s day. Now there are Unions demanding higher salaries, contractors with higher running expenses, skyrocketing costs of goods, and many more building codes and hoops to jump through than in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Could Disney pay their front-line Cast Members more? Yes. Does Disney need to charge so much for admission tickets? No. Could the company learn more from its founder? Yes. Are any of these things going to happen? Not likely.

But dreams cost money. Even Walt admitted that. So yes, The Walt Disney Company is about the money, because it has to be to survive in these modern times.

NUMBER TWO

IT ALL STARTED WITH A MOUSE

Mickey vs Oswald

Not quite. Oswald, whose hand you see holding the sign on the t-shirt above, would have something to say about that! But even Oswald has to take second place to Alice from the Alice Comedies, the little live-action girl who played in a cartoon world.

But even before these two competitors, Walt was working on Laugh-O-Grams, re-making old fairy tales into modern stories. Oh yeah, and he did advertising before that. So Mickey wasn’t first in the chronological sense.

But… he did ‘start’ the ascension of Walt Disney as the premier genius of animation. With Mickey Mouse came a whole new era of character and innovation that set the rest of the animation studios scrambling to keep up! And without Mickey Mouse, there wouldn’t have been a Snow White feature-length film. Without that, there wouldn’t have been a Disneyland.

So Mickey Mouse did start a lot, but he just wasn’t the very first something that Walt Disney created.

NUMBER ONE

WALT DISNEY IS CRYOGENICALLY FROZEN

Cryo Tanks

Picture by David Kadlubowski

This urban legend needs to die. Seriously. I heard a speaker state this as an absolute fact during a lecture once, which caused me to doubt his authority in anything else he had to say!

It is true that Walt Disney loved technology and perhaps he researched this possibility at one point, but there doesn’t seem to be any conclusive evidence to support this. I’ve read many books by people who were close to him during his last days and none mentioned cryogenic freezing as Walt’s final resting place.

His family state that he was interned, and that’s good enough for me!

So why do rumors like this get started? Perhaps it’s because people like to believe the incredible, especially if it involves a negative or strange thing about a celebrity. Walt-bashers like to use this to show how weird Walt was and as an excuse to mock him. Although Walt wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t given to unrealistic fancies. The technology he used had to be tested and true, and then perfected, before it was used anywhere in his empire. Therefore, it is very unlikely that he would have placed his very life in the hands of such an uncertain technology.

So what do you think of my list? Would you add anything? Or do you disagree with anything I’ve included? After all, I could be wrong about Tom Hanks. If so, let us know in the comment section below.

Top Five List: Why Wait in Long Disney Line Ups?

A: Because you’re crazy.

B: Because you have no choice.

C: Because it’s the only way to get into or onto an attraction.

D: Because after you’ve read this post, you’ll realize it’s not that bad.

E: All of the above.

OK, probably this is an occasion when the answer is ‘All of the Above’. But for the purpose of this post, we’re going to pretend that only statement D is true!

So why shouldn’t you mind waiting in a long line at Disney? It’s Top Five time:

Reason No. 5

Anticipation

One year we stayed at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and had to wait in line for many a bus. Waiting for Disney transportation is probably the first long line you will experience on your trip and can be very frustrating!

But what are you really waiting for? Your day of magic is about to begin and perhaps a delayed bus ride is just the time you need to reflect on what you hope to reap from your day. It can be a time to plan and a time to get excited about what is to come!

OK, I realize this is a bit of a stretch, but that’s why it’s Reason number 5.

Reason No. 4

Beautiful Views

Although you almost always have to wait to get anywhere at a Disney Park, it doesn’t have to be drab. The Water Taxis around Walt Disney World ply the most scenic areas of the property. Views from most docks are breathtaking! Take a moment (or many moments if the boat isn’t on time) to relax and take it all in.

Reason No. 3

Atmosphere

    

Whether it be waiting for a table at a restaurant or entering the queue of a beloved attraction, Disney always tries to enhance the experience.

This time of waiting can prepare you for the event to come! Sitting in a waiting area that looks like grandma’s old kitchen will only make that traditional meal taste better. And passing through a cloud of foreboding fog will get your mind adjusted to the weird and wild attraction that has ‘terror’ in its name!

Reason No. 2

Unique Perspectives

    

Most lines for E-Ticket attractions are very long and heavily themed. So bring along your camera and take lots of pictures. Sometimes you can see things that aren’t always obvious from other places in the parks.

For example, you can see the loading areas from above, or watch ride vehicles pass underneath you as they leave or return to the loading area. Standing outside an attraction can give you a basic idea of what it’s about, but walking through its line (even if painfully long) can give you a more intimate feel for what the Imagineers were going for!

Reason No. 1

Interaction

Disney realizes that no one visits a park to stand in line. So they do try to make the waiting less aggravating by supplying something to do. In the Soarin’ queue at Epcot, guests can enjoy interactive screens and activities. In other attraction lines, there may be things to play with, audio stimulation, or tactile challenges.

These five reasons not enough to convince you to enjoy standing in line?

Then never forget that you are usually with your family or friends! And you are surrounded by other Disney Guests who may be just as bored as you are. I’ve enjoyed some very interesting conversations and shared tips and experiences with fellow ‘liners’ only to find it’s time to board the ride and I was left wondering where the time went!

Your time at Disney will only be as fun as you choose to make it, so find the joy wherever you can, even in that long line-up!