So, lots of people have been making drinking games out of watching Disney movies. It’s not my cup of tea, per se, but it is an interesting phenomenon. This, combined with a butt-load youtubers making lists of “Disney scenes that will ruin your childhood/aren’t for kids/are generally horrible,” got me curious. How prevalent is alcohol consumption in Disney movies? And I don’t mean the stuff they put out under their sub-companies. I mean the classic animated collection. And it’s incredible who I caught drinking when I went through it. It’s ridiculous. So, I wanted to share what I found! Beginning with some of the most obvious, let’s jump in! (You can tell I’ve been watching a lot of list videos, right?)
Probably the single best known instance of drinking in a Disney movie, Pinocchio winds up indulging in all sorts of vices while at Pleasure Island with his new “friends.” When he inhales three-fourths of a cigar, his face turns green and he nearly loses his candy lunch. And when his red-haired companion sprouts donkey ears and a tail, the little puppet immediately assumes that the alcohol is to blame.
This scene apparently scared a lot of millenials when they were children. I saw it as a very effective PSA. Even if my parents hadn’t taught me that underaged drinking and smoking are bad, this movie hammered it into my subconscious. (Though, I was never scared by this scene. What scared the tar out of me was when Gepetto and Pinocchio get eaten by Monstro the whale.)
Anyway, that’s not the only time you see characters drinking. Everyone knows that the tricky fox and cat who convince Pinocchio to skip school aren’t the most saintly of characters, but it’s still unsettling to see the dumb cat sucking down a cigar with a frothy drink in front of him.
Pink Elephants on Parade. Need I say more? The song that scared half of all children and entertained the rest was brought on by a tired and thirsty baby elephant getting his trunk dropped in a barrel of alcohol. (Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s a wash bucket.) If my memory serves, this was a complete accident. I mean, who leaves a bucket of drink next to a pen of circus animals? When I was a kid, this was just a funny song. It’s one of the few things I remember from watching Dumbo as a child, actually. And you know what? I didn’t know that he was drunk. At all. I thought it was just a dream, like in Winnie the Pooh when Pooh bear dreams about Heffelumps and Woozels stealing his honey. But those bubbles tell all.
Now, here’s one that we don’t think about. And honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this one on a list for this sort of thing. But Peter Pan is a movie with pirates, and we all know what pirates love best besides treasure, right? That’s right, alcohol! What’s that? What do you mean none of the pirates drink in this movie? They’re PIRATES! Oh, wait, just kidding. There is ONE moment of drinking in this whole thing, and it’s not that nasty caster oil that the children have to take before bed.
Good ol’ Smee. He’s even trying to hide his rum from the Captain! I guess Hook’s crew wasn’t all bad if soberness was required while on duty. But Smee just couldn’t help himself, it seems.
That’s right, Sleeping Beauty. This is actually one of my husband’s favorite scenes. We know from the beginning of the movie that Aurora and Philip are betrothed. So of course, the two fathers are going to share a drink to celebrate! But thanks to the jovial nature of Philip’s father, more gets spilled than drunk by the two kings.
But the Minstrel who’s serving the drinks? Oh, boy, does HE get plastered! He comes out of his drunk stupor just long enough to fall under Maleficent’s sleep spell with the rest of the kingdom. It’s a brief bit of comedy in the movie, and it was snuck in rather well, considering that I didn’t notice this as a kid. Maybe I was just a really oblivious child.
Now, this one is interesting, because I first thought of the drugged milk given to Duchess and the kittens. But that’s not alcohol. That falls under the category of poisonings, which is very different from drinking alcohol. However, there IS still drinking seen in this movie. Or rather, a drunk.
Meet Uncle Waldo. Thomas O’Malley, Duchess, and the kittens run into Uncle Waldo with his lovely nieces as the girls are trying to take the lush home for some rest. They’re Brits on vacation! And what does Uncle Waldo do? He drinks himself stupid, of course! The kittens have no idea what’s going on with this weirdo, and probably think that that’s just how geese are, but mama cat Duchess knows what’s up. And so, of course, does O’Malley. In fact, the tomcat shows disgust when he smells Uncle Waldo’s breath. This scene feels a bit like a throwaway, since it’s not terribly relevant to the overall plot of the movie, but it was still rather amusing, and it gave the kittens a glimpse of life outside their little chateau. Hopefully, it also taught them to stay away from alcohol.
I bet you didn’t think of this one! To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think of this one, either. But Fantasia just so happens to be one of my husband’s favorite Disney movies, so when I told him about this new list idea, he made sure that I didn’t neglect this beauty.
If you’ve seen Fantasia, you know that it’s a series of cartoons of varying length set to classical music. Some of those segments include Greek Mythology. And I don’t mean Hercules. I mean Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine. Yep, they had a god for getting drunk. Technically speaking, Dionysus was a god of nature, fruitfulness and vegetation. But he was also specifically the god of wine and ritual madness. That’s right, I just said “ritual madness.” As in “getting so drunk you become a crazy person.” And Disney delivered.
There’s this entire segment of just Dionysus (also known as Bacchus) getting stupid drunk and chasing centaur women. Then there’s this massive thunderstorm, and everyone runs for cover. And afterwards, the plump little god drinks a rainbow puddle. Because he is just that smashed. It’s pretty hilarious to watch, actually. (And this is the same Fantasia from which we get Night on Bald Mountain, so you know it’s gonna go well with the music.)
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
I know I’m not the only to spot this one. I mean, the entirety of the song “Gaston” takes place in the tavern. Which is a place to hang out and drink. But in this instance, you know exactly what they’re drinking! Usually, it’s a vague bottle without a label, or it’s wine because that’s the only thing around in medieval fairy tale kingdoms. But in Beauty and the Beast, LeFou asks Gaston if he would like “more beer?” That’s the exact line. (I’m a bit of a super-nerd about BatB.) So not only do we see a bunch of guys drinking, they’re drinking specifically beer.
Now, this is fascinating to me, because it’s something that was so taboo during the Disney Renaissance, and this is the time period I was growing up in. I was born the year that The Little Mermaid came out. So to see such obvious alcohol abuse in this movie was strange. (It’s actually what spawned this whole list, along with Pinocchio.) So why did Disney make this one so blatant? Because it’s the BAD GUYS. Belle’s father doesn’t drink. Belle doesn’t drink. The Beast doesn’t drink. Only Gaston and his buddies, who are totally cool with blackmail and wrongful imprisonment of the weirdos in town. Seriously, only the bad guys drink in this town! Well, the bad guys, and Ichabod Crane’s long-lost son. Let’s drink to evil plans!
THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE
I don’t know why this movie is so under-appreciated. It is one of my favorite Disney movies. And for a Sherlock Holmes story, it holds up really dang well. Now, I didn’t remember the scene in the underground burlesque bar, but there is a scene where Basil and Dawson have to sneak into this underground burlesque place to gather information. It’s fantastic, because Dawson is dressed like Smee. And their drinks get drugged by some of the villains in the place, and Dawson gets smashed and starts dancing with the cabaret girls. It’s beautiful.
And let’s not forget about “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind.” One mouse gets so drunk that he calls Ratigan a rat and gets himself eaten. (See my list about horrifying Disney Deaths.)
What? A movie about puppy-napping? Say it isn’t so! No, I’m not about to tell you that Cruella DeVille is an alcoholic. She’s not. She’s just a chainsmoker. But Horace and Jasper, on the other hand…
Jasper, especially, drinks a lot. He also gives his buddy a cigar-ash sandwich. Okay, so it’s really only Jasper getting pie-faced while Horace is trying to fill his belly, but still. Jasper gets drunk enough that he picks up the cat instead of his bottle. So while their boss is smoking the nastiest cigarettes of all time and bribing people in the illegal fur trade, Jasper’s drowning in vice and villainy while Horace just wants a snack.
THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
This movie may be why I was scared of the dark as a kid, because I didn’t watch horror movies. But I watched Sleepy Hollow. And my husband’s family gets together every year for Halloween and watches it. It’s pretty fun. I never liked the narrator style, but the animation is so much fun. And there’s this scene that I always remember, where Brom Bones sees Ichabod through the bottom of his tankard as he’s drinking. And you would not believe how hard it is to find a screenshot of that! It’s impossible. But I did find him giving a barrel of the good stuff to his horse and some street dogs. Brom is a man’s man. Not only does he share his keg with the guys, he even punches the barrel open!
HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAM
This is France. They are French. They drink wine with their bread and cheese. This is basically it. And I don’t recall seeing Quasimodo drink it, because he’s too concerned about their conversation. But we do see Frollo take a sip. And Hugo stuffs his face with yet another bottle of wine.
While looking for an image for this, I discovered that there’s a meme where people give Frollo different drinks. It’s not as prolific as the gay-for-Gaston meme, but it’s a thing. And let me tell you, it’s quite amusing to see Judge Frollo holding a tequila.
I can hear the screams of Rapunzel fans everywhere. “This is an excellent kids movie!” they cry. Yes, it is. But they have a song in a tavern. And what do people do in taverns? They drink! And sing, apparently, because this is not the first Disney movie to have a musical number in the tavern. And the little old gnome dude dressed as cupid? Oh yeah. He’s wasted.
I was surprised by this one. And it’s not even the villainess who’s drinking. It’s the mice. We have our heroes drinking champagne at the start of the movie. And later, we have a stereotypical bayou drunk. It’s been years since I’ve seen this movie, and I remember loving it as a kid. What’s funny is that the first scene is exposition, and the second is a throwaway gag. It really shows how times have changed when you compare the use of alcohol in this movie with how it’s used in Beauty and the Beast or Aladdin. In The Rescuers, it’s a part of everyday life. It’s a very casual thing that everyone does. Because that’s how things were at the time the movie takes place. But in later movies, it becomes taboo. Only bad people drink in the later movies.
I bet you didn’t think of this one, either. Neither did I. And then I found this.
This is a random throwaway scene, drawn and animated to match one of Robin Williams’ riffs. Fun fact: the Genie was massively rewritten to match Robin Williams’ improvisation. And so, sticking with the stereotype of the sad Frenchman, Abu and Carpet have a bottle of red wine in front of them. Nobody actually drinks it, though I think that Abu tries. But it’s funny. And it’s still alcohol in a Disney movie.
MICKEY MOUSE CARTOONS
“There’s no alcohol use in the Mickey Mouse cartoons!” Oh yeah? How much you wanna bet?
This is an episode about Pluto getting frozen. And way back when, they would send St. Bernard dogs into the snow to find people and resuscitate them with brandy. Brandy was once thought to warm a person up, and was used as medicine. But, as shown in this cartoon, is still alcohol, and too much will get you drunk. Ah, but that’s not the only time! This is just one that I saw on tv as a kid. There are more.
Oh, but Donald Duck can get away with that sort of thing! He’s always been one to get into trouble. Remember that time he was a Nazi? (That’s false. He had a nightmare that he was born in Nazi Germany instead of the USA. He wasn’t actually a Nazi.) But there’s still more.
No, that’s not root beer. That’s beer beer. And that’s the real Mickey Mouse, not a fake that someone doodled up. The original Mickey Mouse cartoons did stuff like that.
And then if you count poisonings, you can get Hercules, Snow White, Aristocats (again), The Emperor’s New Groove, and (stretching the definition) Alice in Wonderland. That’s right, Alice in Wonderland contains ZERO alcohol. Alice is NOT taking drugs. But that’s a post for another time.