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  • Animation Age Ghetto: The Skeleton Dance and The Mad Doctor were apparently so unusually scary for cartoons, some theater owners refused to show them, making this trope Older Than Television.
  • Archive Panic: The original theatrical cartoons combined amount to 469 shorts total (not including shorts initially released as part of a bigger feature, such as the shorts in The Reluctant Dragon, Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros and the '40s Disney package features) and that number shoots up to 562 if you include all of the silent Disney films (the Newman Laugh-O-Grams, the Alice Comedies and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit)note  — to watch all of them in chronological order would take around 66 hours and 30 minutes, or close to three days without sleep. And that's not counting post-Golden Age shorts, TV shows and feature animation appearances of the characters. And lets not even get started on the absolutely monstrous number of comics these characters have appeared in, especially the Donald Duck comics.
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  • Bizarro Episode: Several:
    • Toby Tortoise Returns is an oddball in the Silly Symphonies lineup-wheras most, if not all of those shorts were either sweet, sentimental and naturalistic, this short has much more in common with a Warner Bros. cartoon, complete with full cartoony, fast paced slapstick comedy.
    • Ironically, the real Warner Bros. cartoons being made around the same time were intent on trying to ape the sweeter, sentimental elements of the Silly Symphonies. We won't see a WB cartoon as fast-paced as "Toby Tortoise Returns" until "Daffy Duck and Egghead" and "Porky in Wackyland"
    • Mickey Mouse's "Runaway Brain" from the 90's, which was the first (but certainly not the last) attempt at returning Mickey to his adventureous, edgier roots. Whether it succeeded or not is up for debate.
    • The later Donald Duck shorts from the '50s and onward show how desperate the writers were to come up with new ideas — one short has Donald become so obsessed with obtaining honey that he dresses up as a bee to steal honey from an actual hive, instead of just going to the store and buying some honey in a jar like any sane man duck would do.
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    • There's also the Silly Symphonies short "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood", which is yet another pure comedy Disney short, featuring caricatures of Golden Age Hollywood celebrities in the roles of classic fairy tale characters. The opening logo is even a parody of the MGM Lion-except with a goose (albeit one that roars like a lion)!
  • Designated Hero:
    • Chip and Dale are shown to be protagonists and Karmic Tricksters whenever confronted against Donald or Pluto, but most of the time, they are harassing and tormenting them when they did nothing wrong to them to begin with.
    • Huey, Dewey, and Louie are no better themselves, while they do get back at Donald for his mistreatment towards them, they also torment and heckle him unprovoked and they're usually in the right for doing so.
    • The orphans are shown to be angels when they appear in the cartoons, but they usually go out of their way to antagonize Donald for no better reason than for their own amusement.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
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    • Donald Duck was originally just a Jerkass one-shot character in "The Wise Little Hen". He's since become Disney's most recognizable character, to the point where he eclipsed Mickey Mouse in popularity by the early 1940s.
    • Clarice from Two Chips And A Miss. She was in one cartoon and now she's a meetable character in the Disney Theme Parks. She's also pretty popular in Japan along with Chip and Dale themselves.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Between this series and fans of Looney Tunes, but it often Zigzags between this and Friendly Fandoms.
  • Foe Yay: Pete kissing Mickey at the end of Symphony Hour has got to be a prime example.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Most of the gags in Goofy's "Teachers Are People" short, since it involves a kid turning in a handgun and grenade, threatening a classmate with a (water) pistol, and blowing up the school.
    • No Smoking becomes this due to Walt Disney's death from lung cancer, especially the gag where a skywriter spells out "Smoke Lookys" (Lucky Strike was Walt's preferred brand). Tellingly, one TV edit of the cartoon has a new ending where Goofy really does give up smoking.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Ajax the Killer Gorilla can come off as this to modern viewers, after Harambe the gorilla was put down in May 2016 when he poised a threat to a boy who fell in his enclosure. The end of the short also features Donald and Ajax weeping hysterically and dramatically, similar to the unprecedented maelstrom of memes mourning the dead ape for the rest of 2016.
    • In Mickey's Amateurs, Donald Duck reenters the theater disguised as a full-brush peddler before pulling out a submachine gun, holding Mickey and the audience members at gunpoint, and demanding that he finish his recitation of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"; when that fails, he fires a bunch of gunshots at them before the mechanical hands place him in a violin case and remove him from the stage, but not before he futilely shoots at Mickey, who shields himself with a reflective gong (thankfully no one gets hurt). Suddenly this scene is kinda reminiscent to the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting in Colorado and the the 2015 Bataclan theater shooting in Paris.
  • Hype Backlash: The shorts and characters are beloved and popular, but their exposure and esteemed reputation have made many see them as rather quaint and juvenile in contrast to other cartoon series like Looney Tunes.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Chicken Little (1943): Foxy Loxy desires to eat all of the birds from a nearby farmhouse. Prevented from getting in by force, he turns to a psychology book to manipulate the foolish Chicken Little into thinking the sky is falling. When his plan is foiled by Cocky Locky, the birds' leader, Foxy uses disguises and rumors to make the others think he's unfit to lead, then encourages Chicken Little to declare himself leader. Foxy uses another piece of "sky" to discredit Cocky Locky and tricks Chicken Little into luring the birds to his cave, where he successfully eats them all. Foxy Loxy stands out as one of the shrewdest Disney villains in this cautionary tale of hysteria.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Pete predates Mickey by three years.
    • The character, Mortimer Mouse (or a very similar version thereof) initially appeared in Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers, a very early storyline from the Mickey Mouse comic strip. The name is older still; it was almost the name given to the character that was instead named Mickey.
    • Max Goof first appeared in "Fathers are People" as Goofy Jr. Likewise, P.J. first appeared in "Bellboy Donald".
    • Humphrey and Woodlore predate a more famous bear/ranger team by eight years.
  • Popular with Furries: All of the Sensational Six. It also helps that several have spinoff universes which are also popular with furries (such as the Carl Bark Duck comics, the Goof Troop-verse, and the Ducktales cartoon).
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Who is the better love interest for Clarabelle: Horace or Goofy?
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Many, particularly fans of the Looney Tunes and those who dislike Disney films in general, see them as this.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Armadillo from Pluto and the Armadillo could've made for an interesting addition to other Pluto shorts, considering the amount of Ship Tease it and Pluto have and how it ends up tagging along with Pluto and Mickey on the plane at the end. Alas, she doesn't show up in any other cartoon.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: There's a startlingly low amount of shorts focused on Mickey in the '40s and '50s, even those categorized as his cartoon, his more laid back Every Man persona making him rather dull compared to more proactive co-stars such as Donald or Pluto.
  • Values Dissonance: Minnie beats Figaro with a broom and kicks him out at one point in "Figaro and Frankie" (mistakenly assuming he ate the bird). Even when she realizes Frankie didn't actually die, she never apologizes to the cat. Normally, this stuff would be considered slapstick, but this short in particular was more serious. The aforementioned scene has not aged well, as it is clear that Minnie Mouse has committed an act of animal abuse.
  • Values Resonance: Motor Mania. This is due the fact there are still many drivers who tend let their emotions and ego override the wellbeing of the other people on the road.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Subverted. Most of Disney shorts were made for all audiences, so these shorts are safe for kids. Then there are propaganda shorts like "Der Fuehrer's Face" and rather nightmarish cartoons like "The Mad Doctor" and "Pluto's Judgement Day". Any kids watching those will become either terrified or totally confused.

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