What Would It Look Like if Disney Characters Lived in the Real World?

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5 min read

Have you ever wondered what life might be like for Disney characters in the real world? For some of them, the answer is anything but magical.

Check out what life might be like for some of your favorite Disney characters in the real world.

Animals in Entertainment

Circuses, bear pits, and other roadside attractions exploit animals such as bears, elephants, and big cats in order to make a buck.

Dumbo’s story is probably the most realistic of them all. The elephants you see performing in circuses today were taken from their forest homes and their families. Handlers then poke and prod them with bullhooks and electric prods until they do pointless and often painful tricks.

In the wonderful world of Disney, Tigger loves to pounce and bounce through life. But for tigers in circuses, life is anything but fun. Trainers whip and beat them to force them to jump through flaming hoops and perform other dangerous stunts.

In stories, Winnie-the-Pooh gets to explore the idyllic Hundred Acre Wood with his friends. However, the concrete pits that many bears spend their miserable lives in are a far cry from an enchanted land.

Animals Used in Laboratories

Mickey and Minnie live in the happiest place on Earth, but millions of mice and our other fellow animals in the real world aren’t so lucky. Animals used in experimentation spend their lives imprisoned in laboratories, where workers see them as nothing more than experimental tools.

In the forced swim test, experimenters induce panic in mice and rats by dropping them into inescapable cylinders of water to see how they will react. The terrified animals attempt to climb the sides of the container and frantically look for any means of escape.

In other pointless experiments, workers hold down rats and mice and inject them with toxins to see how their bodies will react. The information from these tests doesn’t reflect how our bodies would react since our genetic makeup is so different.

Every year, suppliers for laboratories and schools take millions of frogs from their homes in nature, transport them over long distances, and drown them in chemicals before selling them for dissection.

Disney Dogs Chained and Sold

Life is great for a number of dogs in Disney movies, but not all dogs in the real world have such ideal situations. Some of them spend their entire lives outside on the end of a chain with little or no shelter from the elements.

Dogs are social pack animals who suffer psychologically when isolated. For those kept on chains, socializing isn’t an option. Tangled chains can make it hard—or in some cases impossible—for dogs to reach food, water, and shelter.

Many dogs kept chained outside have nowhere to go to escape the heat of summer. Countless canines die of heatstroke or dehydration every year.

Dogs forced to live outside suffer both physically and psychologically from isolation, frustration, and neglect.

Dogs kept on chains aren’t the only ones who suffer. Breeders treat dogs like merchandise to sell. Not only does this abuse fuel the companion animal overpopulation crisis, it also robs millions of animals in shelters of a chance at finding a permanent home.


These famous Disney characters may get happy endings in their stories, but for many animals in the real world, life is about as far from a fairytale as you can get. Next time you watch an animated film featuring an animal character, remember the many real animals who deserve love and respect. Imagine the horror of seeing Piglet or Nemo on your plate; Donald and Daisy being plucked to stuff your pillows; Gus and Miss Bianca being held down and injected with toxins; Princess Tiana in her frog form pinned to a table and sliced open; Lady kept in a small pen to be bred repeatedly; or Baloo and Rajah being kept in tiny enclosures or whipped and forced to perform tricks. Then remember that billions of animals just like them are exploited each year.

You can help stop the suffering by going vegan and encouraging others to do the same.

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