The Top Unanswered Questions I Have About “Disney Songs and Characters”

A white question mark in a royal blue background, and white stars that resemble fireworks

Many of us have probably noticed certain details in Disney films as we watched them throughout our lives. Aside from hidden details that few can easily notice, whether they’re characters from other movies, or mature content (excluding Disney movies for older audiences, like The Lone Ranger), people might notice other unusual details. And I have questions about them.

Below are some questions about Disney characters and songs that I have been eager to know the answers to. 

1: Why does Jiminy Cricket’s singing voice sound drastically different from his speaking voice in the song, “When You Wish Upon a Star”

I’ve heard this song since I was very little, like 4. Since then, I don’t know why, but I was never fond of Jiminy Cricket’s singing voice sounding extremely different from his speaking voice. I don’t think I ever will be.

In 2017, I watched the opening theme to The Mickey Mouse Club from the 1950s. Jiminy Cricket sings in the same voice as his speaking voice.

Not only did I find that nice, I also found it far superior to his singing voice in “When You Wish Upon a Star.” I still do (no offense to anyone who likes that difference).

So, I searched on Google why his voice sounds very different from his singing voice in that song. Surprisingly, there were no answers or relevant results. I remember thinking, Come on, there’s got to be an answer. I can’t possibly be the only one curious about this. 

And what also shocked me was that the same person who did his speaking voice also did his singing voice in “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Other Disney characters, such as Mulan, had different actors or actresses provide their singing voices, and different ones do their speaking voices.

For example, Jasmine from Aladdin has a different actress do her singing voice, while another one did her speaking voice. The same occurred with Mulan. In fact, the same woman did both characters’ singing voices. That was Lea Solonga.

While her singing voice sounded more similar to Linda Larkin, who provided Jasmine’s speaking voice, hers sounded slightly different than Ming Na, who did Mulan’s speaking voice. I actually like that a lot more.

After being frustrated with not finding an answer to why Jiminy Cricket sings in an incredibly different voice in “When You Wish Upon a Star,” I just came up with my own guess. That is that maybe the director of Pinocchio wanted him to do that and thought Jiminy Cricket’s speaking voice wouldn’t fit the melody for “When You Wish Upon a Star”

2: How could Mulan’s character make Disney consider her a princess, despite not being born into royalty, nor marrying into it?

The definition of a princess is a female born into royalty, or who marries into it. But Disney made Mulan an official Disney princess because she performed a heroic deed. The company considers that part of its princess mythology. However, millions of people perform heroic deeds. That doesn’t make them royalty.

But it’s unlikely that Mulan will ever be removed from the “Disney Princess” line. After all, she stands out from many other female Disney characters before her, such as joining the army and fighting for her country. Thus, displaying bravery, fierceness, and strength, which are better examples for girls, unlike some of the earlier Disney princesses, such as Snow White and Cinderella – who were portrayed as weaker and dependent on males to rescue them.

3: Why Doesn’t Abu from the animated adaptation of Aladdin look accurate for a capuchin monkey?

When I first discovered that Abu is a capuchin monkey, I thought, He looks really inaccurate for a capuchin monkey. Also, capuchin monkeys live in Central and South America. So, how did Abu get to the Middle East?

Prior to that, I had assumed that he was either a different species, or a made-up one. But for some reason, the team who produced Aladdin, the animated movie, chose to make Abu a capuchin monkey, but not look anything like one.

Capuchin monkeys are not solid light brown. They have patches of dark brown and cream-colored fur, and pink faces. Luckily, in the live-action remake of “Aladdin” from 2019, Abu looks exactly like a capuchin monkey.

4: What took everyone so long to realize that “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” is racist?

Throughout the 20th century and even into the mid-2000s, the song remained popular. Even pop stars, Aly and AJ, who were big in 2005 and 2006, did a cover of that song. 

But in recent years, I have wondered why “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” was no longer popular. And the answer is because it’s racist.

It’s from the movie, Song of the South, which is an offensive Disney movie due to its portrayal of slavery, and depicting the slaves as enjoying it. I believe that is what “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” is expressing.

The song won an award right after the film’s release. However, after people realized that racism is wrong, Song of the South eventually earned a bad reputation. Therefore, it is now unavailable to watch in the US and presumably many other countries.

But for some reason, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” wasn’t recognized as offensive until after the mid-00s. Could it be like why it took so long for people to accept the LGBTQ+ community and how their sexual orientations weren’t by choice?

As of 2022, the Disney singalong video, Disneyland Fun, is not available on Disney Plus. But if it ever does come there, I wouldn’t be surprised if the “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” segment featured in the original video cassette gets removed – not to mention that young girls are sitting in front of the boys’ laps (these are the main 8 kid guests, probably between ages 9 and 12 from what I can remember) is a bit inappropriate.

It might even make some parents uncomfortable seeing their kids view that – and possibly in general for themselves. Other adults, including those without children, may feel the same way.

5: What’s up with the characters’ interest in parades?

Both Mowgli and Jiminy Cricket get excited when they see “parades” occurring. In The Jungle Book, It’s when the elephant military March happens right after Mowgli wakes up. Jiminy Cricket gets excited for the “parade” and marches – except that it’s Pinocchio, going with Honest John, and his nonverbal pal, Gideon, to a theater, when Pinocchio is supposed to go to school.

As Jafar hypnotizes the sultan to force him to let him marry Jasmine, music interrupts it, and it excites the sultan, prompting him to run toward it. It’s a parade, introducing “Prince Ali” (Aladdin in disguise). But the sultan might have also been intrigued to see a prince come to marry Jasmine, especially since the deadline for her to be married is getting tighter.

I don’t know if he’s always into parades – or if Mowgli or Jiminy Cricket are, either. Well… for many, parades are exciting to watch. So, perhaps, people can relate to these characters more, thus making them more likable.

6: How did Pocahontas still get the G rating from the MPAA with a song filled with prejudicial and offensive lyrics?

The 1995 animated movie, Pocahontas, received mixed reviews, and lots of criticism toward the portrayal of Native Americans. A big reason is because of the inaccurate depiction of romance between the Powhatan tribe and the English settlers.

But the song, “Savages,” despite its suspenseful, yet engaging tune, is filled with racist and prejudicial lyrics – making it offensive, particularly from the points-of-view of those who aren’t Caucasian. And yet, the MPAA allowed Pocahontas to be rated G.

Although I enjoyed the movie, I am so glad that I didn’t watch it when I was little – especially since I used to imitate films and TV shows so frequently. I couldn’t control it until I was, at least, 10.

The Disney movies I had when I was small were The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Cinderella, and Mary Poppins. The worst thing that I’d tried to copy was attempting to handle a wild bird, since Mary Poppins did it. But if I’d seen Pocahontas that young, the lyrics in “Savages” might have taught me to be prejudicial, and possibly even racist, even though I’m not Caucasian.

You’d think Disney would have removed that song – or have heavily updated the lyrics to not make it offensive. It likely wouldn’t have been called, “Savages,” either. Disney had already changed one of the verses in “Arabian Nights” from 1992’s Aladdin.

In the theatrical version, after the first sentence, the next one was, “Where they cut off your ear, ‘cause they don’t like your face,” which offended Muslims. So, once it went on video cassettes, that verse was replaced with “Where it’s flat and immense, and the heat is intense.”

Yes, during the song, “Savages,” an important event happens – one that could never have been left out. Still – you’d think that the film wouldn’t have received the G-rating. After all, racism was considered wrong in the 90s.

And as far as I know, Disney Plus has not blocked Pocahontas for kids under age 7, like they did with Peter Pan, The Aristocats, and Dumbo – because of the racial stereotypes that the movies contain. However, I would not be surprised if Disney Plus did the same with Pocahontas someday, especially if it taught little kids to be racist.

7: If Cruella de Vil was Anita’s classmate from school, why does she look old enough to be her mom?

I’m not sure how old Anita from 101 Dalmatians is, but she looks no older than 30s. But Cruella de Vil looks like she’s in, at least, her 50s or 60s – old enough to be Anita’s mom. 

Since they went to school together, Cruella is definitely not old enough to be Anita’s mother. She could be older than Anita, but unlikely more than a few years, even if she got held back several times.

My guess is that her smoking might have sped up her aging. Yes, in the early 1960s, smoking was considered cool. However, did anyone who smoked back then notice that they started looking older faster? Maybe they didn’t care – and would possibly hide their aging signs, like wrinkles, with lots of makeup.

It’s possible that Cruella didn’t mind looking older, especially since people are more likely to respect those who appear older, even if they’re much younger. I don’t know for sure if that’s the reason (although she demanded Roger and Anita’s puppies, and no matter how much the couple, and their maid, Nanny, refused, she won right after). But I would not be surprised if it were.


Many unanswered questions about certain aspects of Disney films, and all other entertainment franchises besides movies, will remain unresolved. But there’s always room for guesses and theories.

Do you have any questions about Disney movie elements that are not mentioned above? Please let me know in the comments section if you wish to share them.

Published by Sunayna Prasad

I enjoy writing stories, creating artwork, watching movies and TV shows, cooking, and traveling. These are the topics of my posts. I also publish books, where you can learn about them on my website, Be sure to copy and paste the link and subscribe to my newsletter on the email list button on the homepage.

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