When my sisters and I were little we had a tradition of going to see every Disney animated film in the theatre. Originally this was less a conscious tradition and more a “going to the movies with your parents and siblings” thing, but as we got older it became a deliberate choice. We would rearrange our schedules to make it work, even after we started university.
Our first film was The Little Mermaid in 1989. My youngest sister was five, so it probably wasn’t an appropriate choice (sorry, third child). As labmonkey pointed out, exposure to Ursula at that young age possibly explains our youngest sister’s long-term fear of the ocean and the creatures that live in it.
Our unbroken streak lasted until 2002, when we did see Lilo & Stitch but then didn’t watch Treasure Planet, partly because at that stage I’d moved across the pond to start my graduate work and partly because it looked like such a terrible film that we weren’t inspired enough to make it happen.
The Little Mermaid; The Rescuers Down Under; Beauty and the Beast; Aladdin; The Lion King; Pocahontas; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Hercules; Mulan; Tarzan; Fantasia 2000; The Emperor’s New Groove; Atlantis: The Lost Empire; Lilo & Stitch.
We grew up together with the music from Disney soundtracks running through our heads. I can still sing, letter perfect, “Under the Sea”, “Circle of Life”, “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” and a host of others. We have an entire series of sibling in-jokes that require, for example, only that one of us says “Llama face!” to the others to make us all fall about in helpless laughter.
Those movie trips are some of my best memories. We were children, then teenagers, then young adults, but the cartoons were always there. We had our quarrels as siblings do, but our bond never weakened, because between our father’s military career and our parents’ divorce we figured out very quickly that we could only ever truly count on each other to be there.
And then real life intervened and we all grew up too much and the tradition died.
Yesterday, my sisters and I went to the movie theatre to watch the new Beauty and the Beast.
We were without partners, without children.
We worked out that the last time the three of us were together, just the three of us, was in the fall of 2010, when I was barely pregnant with E., just before my youngest sister moved to California.
We ate popcorn and Swedish berries.
We laughed and we jumped in our seats.
We bit our tongues so we wouldn’t sing along to the songs that we STILL know, after all these years.
We had so much fun.
I hope we get to do it again.
Do you love Disney animated films too? What’s your favourite?
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