Growing up, I loved Disney movies as many children do. One of my dreams was to go to Disney World, but my family never had the money or time. Still, we enjoyed snuggling together with some popcorn to watch Beauty and the Beast or the newest Pixar show.
However, my parents also expressed concern about several Disney films and kept them from my sisters and me. For example, Ariel in The Little Mermaid disobeyed her father but was rewarded in the end. Pocahontas, on the other hand, confuses history majorly for children. Thus, certain movies were not found at my house.
Funny enough, the little girl whose parents who never took her to Disney World has ended up working there. Being with this huge company has taught me so much about it, its goals, and its outlook on the world. For the most part, my experience has been wonderful as well as renewing to my faith. Disney is certainly not a Catholic corporation, but it does have elements within its movies, parks, and overall company that mirror our values and beliefs.
Creativity and True Beauty Pursued
Disney certainly exhibits the drive to create. Not only that, this company combines that drive with the longing to make beautiful and meaningful works. These are not films filled with potty humor or cussing. There is usually a message of hope, love, courage, and/or other noble traits.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2501,
“. . .man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being’s inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man’s own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God’s activity in what he has created.”
As I wrote last month, we are called as Christians to use our creative gifts and show true beauty. Colossians 3:23 states, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” We are called to give our all into our works whether they be a sketch of a tree or making supper. Our art honors God greatly, a fact we sometimes overlook.
Good Always Wins
Name a Disney movie where the bad guy wins? Can you think of one? No. There is always a sense of despair that the heroes will fail throughout the film. Yet in the end, they pull ahead and save the day while the villains are left to answer for their actions. The Beast learns to love and becomes human, Rapunzel rejects the manipulative lies of Mother Gothel and finds her real family, and Pinocchio sacrifices himself instead of being selfish which results in becoming a real boy. Good always wins.
The Catholic Church obviously believes that good always wins since God is goodness. He will be forever victorious over evil. Bad things happen; terrible hurts do fill this world. However, that does not negate the fact that His holy power is still mighty, and good will always triumph over the darkness. Psalm 112:4 confirms, “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.” Another verse that confirms the power of God and goodness is 1 Corinthians 15:57: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Every Person is Important
Treating each guest with courtesy and helpfulness is a huge part of working at Disney. You must smile and care for everyone you meet no matter how upset they are. Seeing each person for what he or she is – a person – is huge. Guests are not numbers but people whose days are going to be made magical by you.
You might think that sounds corny, but is that not part of what we believe as Catholics, that everyone is important? That even those who annoy us have a purpose to play in this life? Both viewpoints are life-affirming and merciful which is certainly how God wants us to be. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 proclaims, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Numerous Other Ways
There are so many other elements of Disney that I could name that have lined up with my faith. Striving to serve others, wanting to be family-friendly, showing heroic protagonists throughout its films – you could look at each Disney film and pick out elements of just that movie. These three main elements that stand out to me as mirroring and fitting with my faith so well are just the beginning.
Though this does not mean that everything Disney is perfect, I have found more to love and grow from than stumble from over time. Seeing how some of my values and beliefs are honored is a beautiful gift that I am very grateful to have from Disney.