Ever say a quote or sing a line from a song for YEARS, only to later find out you’ve been saying it totally wrong?!
Well, you’re not alone! There are some Disney quotes that people may have misheard or misremembered and have been saying wrong for YEARS. Oh, and there’s even an incredibly famous quote often attributed to Walt Disney that (*pause for emphasis*)…Walt Disney never even said!! Want to make sure you’ve got ALL your Disney quotes right? We’re breaking it down for you now!
We’ll start with some Disney movie quotes you may be saying wrong on a daily basis!
1. Mirror, Mirror
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a classic film and Disney’s first full-length animated feature in color and with sound. You’ve probably encountered this film and its more popular quotes throughout your life. So, when the Evil Queen looks into her mirror she says, of course, “mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” That is the line, right? You’ve probably said it into your own mirror as a kid, and that’s what many people quote it as. But…
…that is actually wrong!! The true line from the movie is “Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” Don’t believe us? Watch the clip from the movie and you’ll see! The line has been famously misquoted (and likely continues to be misquoted) for YEARS.
Some suggest this misquote actually stems from the original Snow White story from the Brothers Grimm, which, according to the version listed on this website from the University of Pittsburgh, contains the phrase “mirror, mirror, on the wall, who in this land is fairest of all?” What version of this line have you been saying all these years?
2. I Am Your Father
Another famous misquote is from Star Wars. Many people quote the famous line from Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker as (spoilers!) “Luke, I am your father.” It’s fun to say and very impactful that way, but…that’s not quite right.
It is close though! The real line from the movie is “No. I am your father.” Wow. Now that you’ve said the “Luke” version of that quote for years, will you switch to the real thing or just keep saying it anyway? We kinda don’t blame you either way.
3. We’re ALL Mad Here!
Disney’s Alice in Wonderland was released in 1951, but the original Lewis Carroll books which inspired the film were released several years before that. If you were a BIG fan of Disney’s Alice movie though you might remember a line from the movie (and on seemingly every piece of Alice in Wonderland-themed merch!) where the Cheshire Cat says “we’re all mad here.” That IS the line right?
Not quite!! In the 1951 Disney film, the Cheshire Cat actually says “most everyone’s mad here.” But, as Insider notes, you could be getting the line wrong because of the original story from Lewis Carroll. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which you can read here from Project Gutenberg, the line is actually “we’re all mad here.” So, if anyone tells you you’re misquoting the Disney movie, just tell them you’re actually quoting the book! Easy fix and you’ll look SO knowledgeable.
4. A Whole New World
Disney’s Aladdin is another classic film that you possibly watched a lot growing up and maybe continue to watch on Disney movie nights now. One of the big songs in the film is, of course, A Whole New World, sung by Aladdin and Jasmine as they travel around on the magic carpet. You may have sung this song to yourself around the house many times. But, are you singing the right words?
Many have quoted one of Jasmine’s line as “every turn a surprise, every moment gets better.” But, that’s not the actual line from the movie! I know, right? Mind blown! Instead, the true line is “every turn a surprise, every moment red-letter.” Red-letter?! You might be thinking to yourself, “what on earth does ‘red letter’ mean?!”
Well, according to Merriam-Webster, “red-letter” is an adjective that means something of special significance. Merriam-Webster notes that the history of this term came from the “practice of marking holy days in red letters in church calendars.” Reportedly, the first known use of the term was actually WAY back in 1704! Dictionary.com shares a similar definition, but also notes that it may have come from the tradition in the Bible of having quoted the words of Jesus in red type.
Regardless, the sources seem to agree that the term itself is meant to describe something as memorable or significant. So, what Jasmine is really saying is that every moment with Aladdin is red-letter, or memorable and significant. Awwwwwwwww!!! Now, go impress your friends with your deep Disney knowledge!
5. Silly Ol’ Pooh Bear
This next one is gonna sting for anyone who ever got (or sent) a graduation, birthday, (insert literally any time of significance in one’s life) card with this quote. One of the most heavily quoted lines from the original book said by Pooh Bear himself is, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” So not only did the tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff not say this — it’s not even from the Winnie the Pooh you’re probably thinking it is!
“Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” was said TO Pooh by his pal, Christopher Robin. Pooh never said this one. A couple words were trimmed likely to make it roll off the tongue a bit easier. Problem is A.A. Milne, who wrote the original Winnie-the-Pooh book…didn’t write it. It’s actually from the direct-to-video 1997 cartoon Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin.
It IS still Disney, but not from the original writer. There are lots of inspirational posters or art crediting Milne or Pooh with the quote but not so! Basically, double-check before you head to the tattoo parlor to get it inked on your side as quoted by Pooh is all we’re saying. 😉
6. One Walt Disney Quote You MIGHT Be Saying Wrong
But, people don’t just misquote Disney movies, they also misquote Walt himself! One Walt Disney quote you might find on the internet is “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.” In fact, you’ll find it quoted just like that on various websites online and in lots of Google images as well. But, the quote appears to possibly be missing one important word!
According to Gizmodo, the earliest they could find the real line is in a 1977 magazine that quotes motivational speaker Mike Vance, who is quoting a conversation he had with Walt Disney. The magazine shares, “Vance once asked Disney how a person can keep creativity alive. Disney answered: ‘The more you are like yourself, the less you are like anyone else which makes you unique. The problem with most people is that they spend their lives trying to emulate others and so we have lots of copies but few originals.'”
So, it appears the beginning of the quote might actually be “the more you ARE like yourself” not “the more you like yourself.” As Gizmodo points out, that changes the quote a bit from a self-esteem/liking yourself perspective, to being more about just being yourself and staying true to who you are.
But, Gizmodo notes it’s possible Walt never said that either, considering the quote is coming from another individual who spoke with Walt, and the magazine was printed over 10 years after Walt’s death. But, it at least appears this might be the more accurate version of the line.
7. Walt NEVER Said That!
And finally we get to the REAL kicker!! “If you can dream it, you can do it” — it’s a quote many have attributed to Walt Disney for YEARS! You’ve probably seen it all over the internet and more, indicating that Walt himself said it. Heck, there are wallpapers on the internet, wall art on Amazon, and much more that ALL attribute this quote to Walt. But here’s the thing…WALT NEVER SAID IT.
Disney historian Dave Smith actually answered this question on D23’s website. In his answer he says that “Despite its frequent publication, that is not a Walt Disney quote.” Smith actually spoke with Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald and got the definitive answer.
Fitzgerald said, “I am very familiar with that line because I wrote it! It was written specifically for the Horizons attraction at Epcot and used in numerous ways, from dialogue in the ride to graphics. I find it amusing that the Science of Imagineering DVD series attributes it to Walt Disney, but I guess I should be flattered.” WOW WOW WOW!
Horizons fans who absolutely LOVE the theme song from that ride will in fact recognize that phrase from the song, so it definitely makes sense. “If we can dream it, then we can do it. Yes we can, yes we can!” But, with so many attributing the quote to Walt it’s still so surprising to learn this twist in the tale!! What’s even more mind-boggling is how Fitzgerald mentions that even the Science of Imagineering DVD series (which was from the Disney Company) seems to attributes it to Walt Disney. Seems a lot of people had it wrong. We’ll never look at Disney quotes the same way again!
And there you have it — you may have been saying some of these quotes wrong for years or even (like so many) attributing a quote to Walt that he never even said! We’ll keep searing for interesting and fun Disney things you never knew and sharing them all here with you. So, be sure to come back for more!
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Which of these quotes have you been saying wrong? Tell us in the comments!