Favorite Non-Speaking Disney Animated Characters

Some of my favorite characters in Disney Animation are those scene stealers that don’t even have any lines. Sometimes they are sidekicks, other times they are the title characters. I thought I’d take a look at some of my favorites through Disney cinematic history.

characters
Dopey

Dopey

Starting with the first Disney animated feature film, Dopey is one of my all time favorite characters. He is so expressive without saying a thing. He emotes with his eyes and body language so well. I absolutely adore him as my favorite of the seven dwarfs providing so much comic relief in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Cleo & Figaro

I group these two together as they are rarely seen apart. Cleo is Gepetto’s pet goldfish and Figaro is his mischievous cat in Pinocchio. They, like Dopey, provide some comedic moments in their short screen time. Figaro is a bratty little boy kitten who doesn’t take kindly to Pinocchio’s appearance at first, but eventually comes around.

Dumbo
Dumbo

Dumbo

He is the title character who doesn’t have any lines in his own movie. This makes the fact that the audience falls completely in love with him and feels for him even more impressive. To have a main character who doesn’t speak is one thing, but to have the protagonist not have any dialogue is a rarity. The baby elephant is one of Disney’s most endearing characters who is still very well known 70 plus years after his film debuted in 1941.

Tinkerbell

Okay, so I know she is no longer a voiceless character, but I haven’t seen any of the Fairy movies, so to me she’s still the pixie from Peter Pan. She is a feisty one and her bell sounds along with her twinkling can convey quite the range of emotions from anger to excitement to straight up jealousy. I have a strong connection to the Peter Pan story going back to when I was very little so she, although not my absolute favorite of characters, holds a place in my heart.

Abu
Abu

Abu

Not necessarily a fully fleshed out character, but one needed to move the plot forward. After all, if he didn’t get all greedy and touching stuff in the Cave of Wonders, how much of the rest of the plot of Aladdin would have come to fruition? Whether he is in troublemaker monkey form, or transformed into a useful elephant for Prince Ali, I love Abu. He is a rascal, but a darn cute one who proves to be a faithful friend to Aladdin.

Pegasus

Hercules was given his loyal flying steed as a baby on Mount Olympus, but Pegasus follows baby Herc down to Earth. Throughout his adventures, training, etc. Pegasus is always by Hercules’ side. He is skeptical of Meg at first, and rightfully so. Through thick and thin he always does right by the demigod.

Cri-kee
Cri-kee

Cri-kee

Mulan’s cricket sidekick is a lucky one at that. He tries to help keep Mushu in check, while supporting Mulan on her mission to help defeat the Huns. He is a cute little bug who is along for the ride to save China. Cri-kee is important enough to not only make it into the sequel (don’t bother), but also to make it on the VHS/DVD/Blu ray cover above the title.

Pascal & Maximus

These two characters were actually what prompted the idea for this post. I was watching Tangled one day and thought how much I absolutely adore the chameleon and horse that practically steal the show. Pascal is Rapunzel’s only friend before she meets Flynn/Eugene. Maximus is like a bloodhound in horse form who is originally the bane of Flynn’s existence, but later the two join together to save Rapunzel. Some of the film’s funniest moments come from this pair.

Pascal
Pascal
Maximus
Maximus

Sven

Reindeer(s) are better than people, at least according to Kristoff in Frozen. If we are talking about his best bud, Sven, then I’m inclined to agree. Even though he is a reindeer, Sven acts as Kristoff’s conscience and confidante. I love his big goofy eyes that almost mirror Kristoff’s eyes.

Sven
Sven

So, these are some of my favorite characters spanning movies over the past 75 plus years of Disney Animated film history.  This is not a comprehensive list, and yes, typically animals don’t talk, but many others do in their films, which is what makes these characters special. For instance, a cricket talks in Pinocchio, but the cat and goldfish don’t, Mushu is a talking dragon, but Cri-kee is mute. Did I leave off any of your favorite non-speaking roles from Disney animated movies?

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Night Rides at Walt Disney World

Night Rides

Night at Walt Disney World is my absolute favorite time to be in the parks. The majestic appearance of Cinderella Castle, the way light reflects off of each of the triangular panels of Spaceship Earth, the Tree of Life illuminated from below, and the warm glow of neon on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards are just a few of the reasons Disney parks after dark are simply amazing. I truly believe that the parks have two entirely different feelings during daylight and at nighttime. Come follow me while I explore the four theme parks of Walt Disney World to see some of the best rides to experience at night as they are completely transformed with different vibes from their daytime selves.

Castle and Partners
Castle and Partners
Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth
Tree of Life
Tree of Life
Hollywood Boulevard at night
Hollywood Boulevard at night

 

Animal Kingdom

Admittedly, this is the park I have spent the least time in after dark, mostly due to the fact that there are few times a year that you are able to see Disney’s Animal Kingdom after dark. Since the park is not open into the late night hours, usually not past 8pm or maybe even 9pm on the rare occasion, there are limited opportunities to experience attractions here at night. One such opporunity is during the Expedition Everest Challenge in May. This is a 5K through the Animal Kingdom followed by a scavenger hunt that takes you almost over the whole 5K course again. It is great fun and a unique change to get to see this gorgeous park late at night since the after party goes typically until 2am or so. For those that aren’t able to participate in this fun RunDisney event, the best attraction to ride at night is definitely Expedition Everest. The ride’s twists and turns and drops and backwards section seem even more thrilling when you can’t see what lies ahead. I strongly encourage any thrill seekers to make sure they try to do this at least once. It is not to be missed!

Expedition Everest at night
Expedition Everest at night
View from Everest at night
View from Everest at night
End of Everest tracks at night
End of Everest tracks at night

Hollywood Studios

Stepping into Disney’s Hollywood Studios at night, one can see how the extensive use of neon makes this park come to life. The heyday of Hollywood never looked better than under the fabulous glow of the bright neon colors lining Hollywood and Sunset. The crown jewel of the park at night is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. It sits ominously looming over Sunset Boulevard, with its imposing exterior emblazoned with evidence of that fateful lightning strike. Much like Everest, part of the excitement of this ride at night is in the surprise and not knowing what is coming next. For those who have ridden Tower of Terror during the daylight, you can often tell when you are to the point of dropping by the telltale sliver of light peeking through the elevator doors ahead. Not so at night. This added element of surprise and not being able to anticipate when the drop is coming as well as during the day increases the adrenaline rush for me.

Tower of Terror at night
Tower of Terror at night

Epcot

My favorite park at night hands down is Epcot, and World Showcase in particular. The lighting softens from the often harsh Florida sun. Music wafts gently across the World Showcase Lagoon. Libations flow and guests are satiated by the phenomenal dining offerings presented by this park. Illuminations is a magical experience for me. But this isn’t about ambiance, food, beverages, fireworks, or even music. This is about Test Track baby! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) The newly revamped Future World attraction is incredible at night. I love the way the ride gives you a great dark ride inside and then whoosh! You are speeding around the track on a 45 degree angle pushing towards that top speed of 65 miles per hour. When you coming flying through those doors and into that night air, it is invigorating to say the least. Plus, the view of Epcot at night as you whip around the track is amazing!

Illuminations
Illuminations
Test Track at night
Test Track at night

Magic Kingdom

Spread out across the Magic Kingdom you will find fantastic examples of rides that I find are superior after dark. In Adventureland, the Jungle Cruise takes on a new mystique while exploring the Nile, Congo and Mekong Rivers. If you have never done this at night, what are you waiting for? The skippers corny jokes even take on a life of their own by lantern light. Just adjacent to the Jungle Cruise, the Magic Carpets of Aladdin provide a fun experience on your flying carpet that seems a bit more … adventurous (see what I did there) than during the day. Plus, it is a bit harder to spot the spitting camel at night, adding another element of adventure in trying to avoid it. Frontierland also plays host to two excellent choices for night rides. Both Splash and Big Thunder Mountains are far more exciting (in my humble opinion) at night. I love the moment on Splash right before you go down the five story drop when you catch that glimpse of the castle all lit up in all her glory. If you can try to time it right, Wishes as seen from Big Thunder is a transformative experince. It is one of my favorite views of the fireworks show.

Splash Mountain at night
Splash Mountain at night
Big Thunder at night
Big Thunder at night

Although it is entirely indoors, except for the queue, which is infinitely better at night (especially during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party), the Haunted Mansion is another great night ride. This Liberty Square attraction takes on an otherworldly and creepy ethereal feel to it when the sun goes down. I love when it is foggy and you can hardly see the tombstones in the graveyard and just barely catch the sound of the howling dog. Fantastic! Not to be left out is Fantasyland. Dumbo is so stunningly beautiful, especially now with the dueling Dumbos and the gorgeously lit fountains with alternating colors. I can stand in that queue transfixed by the serenity of changing lights and the soft sound of the water pouring out underneath the playful pachyderms.

Haunted Mansion during MNSSHP
Haunted Mansion during MNSSHP
Haunted Mansion pet cemetery
Haunted Mansion pet cemetery
Dumbo at night
Dumbo at night

Last, but certainly not least is my favorite land at night, Tomorrowland. The neon popping off the corner of seemingly every edifice is an inviting beacon to this part of the park. An attraction that I do not often do, but if I do will always choose to do at night is the Astro Orbiter. Sitting atop Rockettower Plaza, this spinning ride, similar to the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Dumbo, seems to fly even faster through the cosmos at night, especially on that descent. Saving the best (again, in my opinion) for last, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover is a 12 minute break from the hustle and bustle that usually is the Magic Kingdom. At night, you can admire the gorgeous neon of tomorrowland, view lights on the edge of Main Street USA and of course see the luminous Cinderella Castle transform from blue to pink to green to orange before your eyes. You can read more about my love of this attraction here in a previous post dedicated to this classic Magic Kingdom ride.

Tomorrowland at night
Tomorrowland at night

 

Have you done any or all of these at night? If so, what are your favorites? Did I miss any of your favorite attractions to experience after dark at Walt Disney World? If I have, please feel free to share your thoughts. Hope you enjoyed!

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My Storybook Circus Day In Pictures

So I have a new obsession, and that is visiting Storybook Circus!

I have been almost everyday since it opened, and Betsy and I have take a ton of pictures which you can find on the On the Go in MCO Facebook page.

But I thought that I would post a few pictures I took yesterday since I got to talk about my obsession on Magic Mornings on Magic 24.7 Radio!

I hope that you enjoy these and make sure that you follow @onthegoinmco for daily pictures and updates from the parks!!!

 

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Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition Flying In Today

Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition is out today for the first time in Blu-Ray high definition featuring 7.1 Digital Theater System High-Def Surround Sound today and I couldn’t be more excited!!!

While I have always loved the story of Dumbo, it means a lot more to me now that I am a Mom. We have all those ‘Mom’ moments where we have wanted to protect and hold our kids like Jumbo held Dumbo in her ears. I know I am a sap, but I was a complete mess during this scene!!!

Also, I think that this might be the beginning of my fear of clowns!!! These guys were so mean and creepy!!!

What I love the most is that just when you think that Dumbo has reached the lowest point of the movie when the crows are picking on him so harshly, the story turns and he finds out that he CAN fly and makes the most of his talents. I have to admit that I laughed my buns off when Dumbo swoops above the clowns and the other elephants and gives them a taste of their own medicine!

Another super interesting fact about Dumbo:70th Anniversary Edition is that the Walt Disney Studios Restoration Team turned to the US Library of Congress who store the original 70 year old nitrate camera negative in their film vaults, and for reference, to an original 1941 ‘release’ print, held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Using this rare nitrate “dye-transfer” Technicolor print for color reference, the team was able to restore Dumbo to the color settings most likely approved by Walt Disney himself, which will be seen in their full splendor for the first time in 70 years, on the Blu-Ray debut.

In addition, the rare film print (housed as part of the UCLA Film and Television Archives collection) proved to be the earliest surviving generation of the original audio for Dumbo which provided a unique source from which to build the new Disney Enhanced Home Theatre (DEHT) mix for the Blu-Ray release.

Plus there are TONS of extra added bonus features on this Blu-Ray/DVD Set! Interactive games, deleted scenes, bonus shorts, and a ‘Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo’ talks about the importance of Dumbo in animation history.

After having the opportunity to revisit this movie as an adult, I can honestly say that the story means so much more to me and that the re-mastered quality makes me appreciate Dumbo so much more than I thought I ever could!

 

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