Oh, the Disney Animated Canon
. Such wonderful movies to be found in it: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
, Beauty and the Beast
, The Lion King
Wait, what do you mean that last one doesn't belong?
It's not Disney
? Don't be ridiculous, only Disney could produce animation of that
Sadly, many people in Real Life
believe that, if it's a quality animated feature film
, it was made by Disney
. This is possibly a side effect of the Animation Age Ghetto
, as people are led to believe that not only are all cartoons for kids, but they're all made by the same kid-friendly company. Who wants to tell these people that there's more than one animation studio out there? Small Reference Pools
might play a role here, as well.
Remember, though, that Disney is
the market leader in animated movies, and so it's understandable that rival animation studios follow trends
set by the Disney Animated Canon
). One critical reason is Don Bluth
, responsible for taking that style with him when he left Disney, using it in his films with other studios and making that line more blurred if you're not paying closer attention than looking and assuming.
See also Critical Research Failure
— Disney uses Vanity Plates
on its work, and so do the other big-name animators.
Since Disney's most famous movies are traditionally animated films, this usually applies to cel-animated movies. On the CGI front, DreamWorks
has become a big enough name in its own right that their films rarely get mistaken for Pixar
's anymore. The other guys (Blue Sky Studios
, Illumination Entertainment
, Sony Pictures Imageworks
, etc)... not so much. If it shares DreamWorks' tendency towards subversive or referential humor, chances are it'll get mistaken for one of their films. So a sub-trope of this could be "All CG Animation is Pixar or DreamWorks".
Not to be confused with Disneyesque
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Works regularly mistaken for Disney:
Anime and Manga
- Bridgit Mendler, who voiced the title character of the American dub of Studio Ghibli's The Secret World Of Arrietty, refers to the film as a Disney movie in one of the bonus features on the DVD, since Disney commissioned the American dub.
- It's very hard to believe, but an increasing number of American consumers actually believe that Studio Ghibli movies are owned by Disney, while Disney only has the rights to distribute the movies in North America. Some even go as far as to believe that Studio Ghibli is "the Japanese Disney".
- One YouTube user commenting on the full version of the opening theme to the second Himitsu no Akko-chan series said their mom walked into the room while the song was playing and asked what Disney movie it was from. Not to mention the song sounds a bit Disneyesque.
- Poor Don Bluth. This might happen to him the most. Then again, he did get his start at Disney...
- As mentioned before, Anastasia (released by 20th Century Fox) falls victim to this a lot. In fact, The Nostalgia Chick once did a review of this movie where she noted that the film wasn't a Disney film. However, the formula did represent a form of Bluth "selling out" as the film was almost completely a copy of the Disney Princess films formula. The marketing of the film heavily played up the Disneyesque elements.
- Warner Bros. tried to play this trope to its advantage during test screenings of Thumbelina. When they played the film with the Warner logo, audiences gave it a mediocre score. When they played it with the Disney logo, the scores were much higher. Bluth reported same thing was employed with Anastasia. With the Disney logo, some sequences even met applause!
- Ironically, Disney distributed Bluth's An American Tail in some overseas markets, muddying the waters further. It's not uncommon to find screencaps from the film with a "copyright Disney" watermark on the corner still floating around on the internet due to this.
- And it appeared occasionally on the Disney Channel in the mid-1990s, along with almost every Bluth film, to add to that confusion.
- Several websites of song lyrics file Bluth film lyrics under Disney films instead.
- It doesn't help that a number of non-Disney films such as FernGully have aired on the Disney Channel. Or that Disney releases films not made by a Disney animation studio, such as The Brave Little Toaster.
- The Iron Giant is frequently misidentified as Disney.
- One reviewer of Thomas and the Magic Railroad was under the impression that Thomas had been produced by Disney. Then again, the review itself was poking fun at fundamentalist Christians who think all movies are the work of the devil.
- Muddying the issue is that the movie actually aired on Playhouse Disney regularly in Asian markets. Heck, it seems that HiT Entertainment had an alliance with Disney in Asia (Barney & Friends actually aired on Playhouse Disney in the region!) up until when they launched their own channel, JimJam.
- Japanese confectionary Furuta also calls Thomas Disney on at least one of its' products from the show.
- Most of the output of 20th Century Fox (which was almost entirely the work of Bluth) and much later, their 3D studio Blue Sky Studios, gets mistaken for Disney.
- And this video calls the Dreamworks film The Prince of Egypt a Disney film.
- Check out this Yahoo! Answers inquiry: What is that disney movie with the blind guy and the magic sword and a girl whos dad dies or something ? The answer? Quest for Camelot, a product of Warner Bros.. Unlike most examples, it's hard to blame the person who got it wrong considering that Quest for Camelot rips off so many Disney cliches, tropes, and animation stylings.
- In the heyday of Disney's Second Golden Age of the late 80's/early 90's, many many low-budget animation houses lived off this trope like kings. They made (or more likely scrounged up) the most incredibly cheap knockoffs of every Disney film of the era and released them on video around the same time the films had been in theaters for a while. They took advantage of the sad fact that some parents didn't realize the difference. "The Little Mermaid is The Little Mermaid, right? It says so on the cover!" Fortunately, the majority of parents could tell the difference between the beloved Disney films and, say, this. Said films are still floating around out there and have proved to be a rich well of YouTube Poop. (And you have to love how every company came up with a wildly different Lion King cash-in given that the alleged inspiration was still copyrighted.)
- Goodtimes Entertainment counts itself among these companies; whenever a Disney movie hits theatres or video, Goodtimes is there with a based-on-the-same-public-domain-property direct-to-video cartoon.
- Bonus points go the one company that also shamelessly based their logo off the Warner Bros. shield.
- A spin-off of this: all computer animation is attributed to either Pixar or DreamWorks.
- This parody site claims that Shrek, Ice Age, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are Disney.
- One TV station in Malaysia, TV3, fell for it and actually aired Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as one of the films on their Wonderful World of Disney movie slot a few years back. To be fair tho, it had the The Sherman Brothers (who worked with Disney on Mary Poppins and wrote the extremely saccharine It's A Small World (After All) for Disney) scoring the music and Dick Van Dyke (who previously appeared on Mary Poppins as Bert) on the cast, so passing this off as a Disney movie isn't too hard.
- The work of Richard Rich, who made The Swan Princess movies and The King and I, is often credited to Disney. Ironically, he got his start at Disney, directing both The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron before leaving the studio.
- Although otherwise very accurate in its behind-the-scenes information, this article from Glamour calls Wreck-It Ralph a Pixar film.
- As does Charlie Brooker in Channel 4's "How videogames changed the world".
- There are coloring pages labeled Disney's Shrek, when in fact DreamWorks' Shrek franchise began with perhaps the most anti-Disney film imaginable.
- Weird inversion: Enchanted is a Disney film... but the animation in that was made by a third-party studio during Disney's five-year break from 2D animation. Some animators, including Andreas Deja and Mark Henn had a long history with Disney, though.
- It Was James Baxter's studio, in fact, who was the main animator for Belle.
- As noted, The Prince of Egypt is a frequent victim of this trope, more so than Dream Works' other 2-D animated features.
- The Nutcracker Prince. Fans of this movie mistook most of the animation (save for the flashback sequences) as similar to the Disney era. It doesn't help that there's also a Disney Villain Death within this movie.
- Balto is another one that's frequently mistaken as a Disney film and as a Don Bluth film.
- Animation movies done in other countries besides the USA can often fall under this, even in their own country! It's not helped by the fact that Disney often distributes those films in the international market, adding more fuel to the confusion.
- Aversion: The Beatles' 1968 film Yellow Submarine was as un-Disney as possible and was still a big hit.
- Cats Don't Dance is made by Warner Bros. (and was originally going to have the Looney Tunes as its cast), but many think it's Disney.
- The Wild, made by C.O.R.E. Animation, is frequently a victim of this. Because it was distributed by Disney with a Disney logo, people often think it's a Disney movie. Make the mistake of calling it one in front of a couple Disney fans, and they'll eat you alive.
- A woman complaining about The Lorax's discrimination keeps mistaking it for Disney when it's really Illumination.
- Roger Ebert's review of Monsters vs. Aliens calls it a Disney film (it's actually Dreamworks).
- This image of The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie calls it a Disney film, which is not surprising, as the film can easily be mistaken for one due to the art style and the multiple musical numbers. Britt Allcroft adapted the movie from Katharine Tozer's books, and Phoenix Animation Studios animated it. However, some episodes of the TV series following the episodes the movie was made from avert this trope when it's animated by D'Ocon, as they look different.
- This website also calls the show a Disney one. The VHS in question contained D'Ocon episodes, if it wasn't strange enough!
- Also exploited in a rather famous experiment on false memories: People were shown fake ads for Disneyland that included Bugs Bunny (who belongs at Six Flags), and they ended up telling the researchers that they'd seen Bugs Bunny when they went to Disneyland as a child.
- Among the many flaws of the New Yorker's satirization of Epic Mickey and its darker, yet retro, reboot of Mickey, they call Porky Pig a Disney character.
- A Norwegian TV channel used to describe all animated features as Disney movies.
- An entry on the Disney fetish fuel page that said Lola Bunny. This is probably because her image was plastered on a bunch of glittery merchandise like the Disney Princesses have.
- Sporcle has quizzes for both Walt Disney Pictures films and Pixar films. Half the comments for the Disney quiz are asking where Toy Story is; half the comments for the Pixar quiz are asking where Bolt is. Yeah.
- From the website "Letters of Note" comes this adorable exchange. In 1964, a girl who was a fan of Woody Woodpecker attempted to write a letter to his creator, Walter Lantz, but addressed it to Walt Disney instead, who was nice enough to reply to the girl and forward it along. Disney seemed to anticipate this trope in his note to Lantz, joking, "I get blamed for everything that happens in Hollywood!"
- Another common mistake made by many people, given the similar first name and the fact that they both involved in the animation industry (although Disney owned his own studios while Lantz worked for Universal).
- A book of Disney quotes sold at Hallmark stores as part of a series of official Disney merchandise includes a line from Don Bluth's The Land Before Time.
- On March 22, 2011, Disney's ABC TV network presented a two-hour special titled "Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time", which presented the best moments or films in various categories. In the animation category, four of the choices were made by Walt Disney Pictures: 1. The Lion King, 3. Beauty and the Beast, 4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and 5. Fantasia. Number two? Toy Story - made by Pixar, but nevertheless distributed by Disney.
- This trope has a way of running rampant on eBay, either because the sellers themselves are ignorant or because they assume the buyers are.
- It's easier to peddle used VHS tapes of Bluth movies when people think it's Disney.
- The The Little Mermaid ride at Disney California Adventure has The Incredible Mr Limpet as a background character!
- This is a nod to Limpet cameoing as a background character in Under the Sea in a crowd shot.
- Looking up "Dingo Pictures" on Wikipedia will actually lead to the Web site saying "Did you mean Disney Pictures?" This is probably just the search software picking the closest match in the database, but given Dingo's business model it's kind of apt, really.
- The Goldo song "Boom Da Boom", which is about Disney characters, mentions Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was made by MGM!
- This article about the 2007 Pester Power awards calls Shrek a Disney movie.
- Inverted with the comic Blacksad - Guarnido, the illustrator, actually WAS a Disney animator, animating Hades in Hercules, Sabor in Tarzan, and Helga in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, among other work, but the only evidence of this is in the characters' facial expressions. It might be because Blacksad is a gritty, violent, sexual, political noir comic (populated entirely by anthropomorphic animals, no less) and going for an entirely Disneyfied look wouldn't fit.
- Not even the Disney Parks are safe from this. For guests who are still in diapers, a store at the Disneyland hotel sells Huggies diapers and wipes (justified, since they have Disney characters on them) and Care Bears baby wipes. This might seem nice, until you know that Care Bears isn't a Disney property, even though it aired on Disney Channel from the mid-1980s up through the mid-1990s, and it also appeared on Toon Disney.
- This picture from the tumblr blog "PreCure and Friends" shows Looney Tunes and Peanuts snowglobes being sold as "Disney Snowglobes".
- A Screenwriting book called "Your Screenplay Sucks" called Prince of Egypt a Disney film, however the author admtted it was a mistake later. http://yourscreenplaysucks.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/set-up-death/#comments
- One ESL worksheet uses Disney characters, but four of the characters—Snoopy, Superman, Garfield, and Tom the cat)—are not Disney! However, in the United States, ABC airs the Peanuts specials, Garfield and Friends aired on Toon Disney, Garfield Gets Real aired on Disney Channel Asia, and the second live-action Garfield movie aired on Disney Cinemagic Portugal.
- Quite a few Latin American companies that print "Disney playing cards" include characters from Warner Bros., Paramount and other studios. For instance, this Peruvian deck, which includes Spider-Man, was printed long before Disney acquired Marvel Comics.
- This Facebook post calls Thing 1 and Thing 2 Disney characters.
- The common slang word for animation in Greece is "mickey mouses", since that's all they know of it.
- This Disney alphabet video features the word "Zebra" for the letter Z. The picture shown? Marty from Madagascar, which is not a Disney movie, but rather a Dreamworks movie.
- The person who made this even admits he knew Madagascar wasn't Disney, but he possibly put in the picture in there because there weren't many pictures of Disney zebras on the internet.
- This Cracked contest asked contestants to create R-Rated versions of classic Disney movies. Weighing in at number 2 is Anastasia, which as mentioned above, was a 20th Century Fox movie.
- The Trope Namer is obvious. Got its start during The Golden Age of Animation, and it only got worse from there...
- It could probably be traced back to all of the Silly Symphonies clones that just about every animation studio was producing in the 1930's, to cash in on the success of Disney's shorts. Most of the time you could hardly tell the difference between them enough to realize which studio was producing it.
- One YKTTW featured an incident where someone commenting on Avatar: The Last Airbender thought it was a Disney show. This did not pass without comment.
- The Disney parody in the Family Guy episode "Road to the Multiverse" is sometimes believed by others that it WAS made by Disney due to realistically mimicking the animation style and throwing in some Disney references (such as a musical sequence about pies, making Brian and Stewie look cute, Lois like a princess, Adam West as a mouse, etc.) But to be fair, this sequence was outsourced to a smaller, lesser-known animation studio (it wasn't even animated in Korea like the show usually is.)
- An Iranian scholar ranting about how Tom and Jerry is part of a "Jewish conspiracy" repeatedly says that Tom and Jerry is a "creation by Walt Disney", which only further discredits his already-ridiculous argument.
- Usually avoided by the Looney Tunes. Nearly everybody knows that they are definitively NOT Disney; they’re Warner Bros.
- But then, a lot of people mistakenly assume that *any* non-Disney, slapstick-based short cartoons from the Golden Age are Looney Tunes, including characters from other studios like Tom and Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, etc. (though now that Warner owns all of MGM's animated output from the era and now produces new Tom and Jerry movies, it's mostly a moot point).
- A possibly apocryphal tale states that Jack Warner, famously clueless with regards to his own animation house, once said this: "All I know is that we make Mickey Mouse." If it's true, then it goes a long way to explaining how the "Termite Terrace" gang were able to get away with so much.
- Nicely inverted by a story from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. When Gene Kelly was making Anchors Aweigh (1945), he suggested that he could perform a dancing duet with Mickey. His producers reportedly looked dubious and asked, "And what's wrong with our Jerry?" And Jerry it became.
- The story exists in several variant forms. In some versions, Kelly wanted to use Donald Duck (in keeping with the film's nautical theme) rather than Mickey; in one version, Kelly's producers at MGM were willing, until William Hanna and Joseph Barbera heard about it and convinced them to use Jerry; in another version, Walt Disney refused to loan Mickey out; in still another (perhaps the most likely) version, Walt was willing, but his brother Roy pointed out that their studio was in debt at the time and could not afford "to be making cartoons for other people."
- Disney potentially invoked this trope on a Christmas-themed Sing-Along Song video. Apparently, they couldn't find any fitting Disney clips for the "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" segment, so instead they used public domain footage from Max Fleischer's Animated Adaptation. This becomes especially amusing if you can recall that Walt Disney and the Fleischer Brothers considered themselves rivals during The Golden Age of Animation.
- This might be the result of the fact that Disney did distribute Fleischer cartoons on home video in the 1980s. Disney must have taken advantage of the fact the cartoons were public domain and released them for their own profit.
- This Yahoo Questions inquiry calls SpongeBob a Disney property, when most people know that Nickelodeon made it.
- A bootleg DVD of the series from China came in a cardboard sleeve with the Disney logo on it, amongst fourteen other logos, of which only four were correct (Nickelodon, Viacom, Paramount and MTV note .)
Works mistaken for something else than Disney:
Anime and Manga
- Spill.com's review for Ice Age 3 Dawn Of The Dinosaurs listed the distributor as Universal Studios, not 20th Century Fox or Blue Sky Studios, who are actually the ones responsible.
- Laika seems to be having issues with "All Horror-Themed Stop-Motion Animation Is Tim Burton" in the wake of Coraline and ParaNorman. It also doesn't help that the advertisements for the former said "From the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas," which led people to believe that they were Tim Burton movies, even though Burton wasn't even the director of Nightmare Before Christmas.
- Especially since ParaNorman came around the same time as Frankenweenie, which was an actual horror-themed stop-motion animated film directed by Tim Burton.
- Similarly to the above, advertising for the film Once Upon a Forest seemed to hope that audiences would mistake it for a Don Bluth film by saying it was "From the creator of An American Tail" (the film was produced by David Kirschner, who came up with the concept of the latter film). It fooled many, but didn't do much to help its box office take. It being 1993, well after Bluth's fall from grace, it was perhaps too late for this ploy to work anyway.
- Igor tends to be mistaken for a DreamWorks film because of its design and humor.