7 Disney Sequels I Refuse to Acknowledge

As a Disney enthusiast, I am often asked to share my opinion on a variety of Disney films by the friends I somehow miraculously have. Inevitably, these always include a laundry list of home entertainment flops, aka the list I have so diligently prepared for you today.

“But, Laura, this is just a list of sequels!” you cry.

Wrong, young Disney noob. This is a list of bad, cringe-worthy, waste-of-cabinet-space sequels that I have and will continue to ignore until I die. In full disclosure, I have seen each of these seven films at least once, which was more than enough.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Pocahontas II

So, hold up. Let me get this straight. You want to replace John Smith with another yet completely different white guy from England who is also named John? Nope. Not having it. FOREVER MEANS FOREVER. Why do I feel so much like Taylor Swift right now?

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2. Lion King 1 1/2

If a Disney sequel features a younger version of any character, said movie will make you want to peel your skin off and bleed out slowly to the sound of bad tween dialogue. Thanks, but I’ve been through puberty once. That was enough.

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3. Ariel’s Beginning

See #2 minus puberty because babies, which just makes me feel weird as an adult viewer.

4. Tim Burton’s Alice Through The Looking Glass

As a lover of Lewis Carol, this movie really rustles my jimmies. If you’ve got an hour to waste (who doesn’t?) head over to The Disney Movie Review to hear an unabashed soapbox spiel about Tim Burton crushing my dreams and why Belle should only wear her blue dress.

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5. Hunchback of Notre Dame II

If we’re being honest, I can’t even remember this movie because all I can think about is Jennifer Love Hewitt’s cheeky smile at minute 1:15 in that VHS commercial.

6. Literally any Cinderella sequel ever.

So, here’s the funny thing about villains – they’re usually evil. And without extensive phycological rehabilitation, evil people usually stay evil. So unless I missed the Royal Therapy scene, sassy Cindy and the increasingly effeminate Ken doll get an oh-heck-no from me.

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7. Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas

Beast banned Christmas, and then he unbanned it. Done. That’s the entire plot of the movie, which was a bust. Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes, because even they were too embarrassed to reprise their role in this sequel.

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As you see, this list could go on indefinitely, so in the interest of time I did my best to only choose movies that brought me to tears.

So, Laura, you’re saying ALL Disney sequels are doomed to fail?

Wrong again, my silly little friend! There are plenty of Disney sequels (even triquels!) that I genuinely adore. Yes, I invented triquel©. I’m not really sure how copyright works, but I put that fancy C symbol next to the word so I think so we’re all good. Anyway, the good sequels include The Little Mermaid II (AKA My Life Story), Lion King II, 102 Dalmatians, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, and any future Toy Story movies. On a good day, maybe even Lady and the Tramp II. Maybe.

Have you been personally scarred by a bad sequel? Are you an in-the-closet Pocahontas II fan, or perhaps you have a good sequel story to share? Shoot me a comment below because trivial Disney convos are my jam.

What’s Up with All These Disney Remakes?

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The Jungle Book. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. Beauty and the Beast. For the past five years, Disney has been in an experimental relationship with live-action fairytales that (as far as I can tell) has no end in sight. In 2015, Cinderella racked in $132 million globally on opening weekend. Try $294 million for The Jungle Book. Needless to say with figures like these, Disney has taken a cute from Queen Bey is about to put a ring on remakes.

But what’s so magical about a remake, anyway?

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In high school, I did a lot of babysitting because I had no money and two X chromosomes. We watched The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Tarzan, the usuals. Every week, I would optimistically offer up suggestions for movies that I had loved growing up. The Aristocats, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, Pinocchio, even The Jungle Book. After being shot down like Bambi’s mom time and time again, I finally caught on.

“That movie’s too slow.

“It’s a boring one.”

“No, that movie isn’t very funny.”

The next generation is a new audience with new expectations.

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But all hope is not lost. Many animation studios make the bulk of their profit from tentpole films, meaning movies with never-ending sequels like Kung Fu Panda 3, The Avengers, Shrek, etc. With the exception of Marvel and LucasFilms, Disney hasn’t relied too heavily on tentpole films in the past. Lion King 1 1/2 happened against our will, and yes, Pocahontas II disappointed audiences everywhere because apparently Mel Gibson is too good for sequels. But these were just home releases – a small boost, not a blockbuster.

But now the tides are turning. To stay relevant, Disney has three options. Generate new blockbusters (Frozen), reinvent forgotten classics (Pete’s Magic Dragon), or set up new tentpoles (Star Wars). While I believe all three are in the works, there seems to be a strong emphasis on creating forgotten classics with the goal of establishing new tentpoles.

Clear as mud, right?

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Basically, live-action remakes are low risk and high reward because fans already love the story. They’re also an easy (though expensive) way to reinvent old stories for young viewers, which will allow Walt’s legacy to stay relevant in the age of CGI. In short, it’s fish bait for your children. The craziest part? It’s working like magic.

So, what’s next for Disney?

According to US Weekly, “Other projects in the works from Disney, all set for release between 2017 and 2019, include A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay; Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; Dumbo, directed by Tim BurtonMaleficent 2, starring Angelina Jolie; and Jungle Book 2, a sequel to the just-released live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling‘s book, starring Neel Sethi,Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba.”

Notice how I put this in quotes because I was too lazy to research it for myself. Regardless, you can see that Disney is preparing for a tidal wave of live-action profit, that will hopefully position the company for years of financial gain and never-ending merchandise opportunitites.

Personally, I think this is excellent news. The possibilities are literally endless, folks! I am thrilled to see old Disney icons like Pongo, Belle, Marry Poppins, and Mowgli meet fresh, young eyes because these characters mean something to me. As they live on, so does a precious sliver of my childhood. Through these films, old dreams drift into the future. They are the Bing Bong to my Riley, the White Rabbit to my Alice.

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What are your thoughts on all of the remakes?

 

We NEED to Talk About the New Beauty and the Beast Trailer

In case you missed it, Disney released a trailer teaser for the new live-action Beauty and the Beast, which is code for “DROP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING AND WATCH IT RIGHT THIS SECOND.”

Sorry not sorry for the drama, but we’re reliving the birth of the Disney Renaissance, folks. Your undivided attention is a must. As a self-professed Disney princess enthusiast whose favorite film happens to be Beauty and the Beast, I’m basically on sensory overload. That being said, I’ve tried to catalogue my thoughts as coherently as possible! In this post, I’ll mostly be talking about my reaction the trailer, but for a more thorough rundown of the film itself check out The Disney Blog.

From the trailer, it appears we will be treated to a darker retelling – I expect somewhat similar to the 2016 The Jungle Book and less like the 2015 Cinderella. Personally, I’ve always been drawn to the gothic undertones of the story more than the glitz and glam of the Disney princess franchise, so obviously I am thrilled the trailer is more suspenseful than romantic. Here are a few other quick thoughts I had while watching (and re-watching) the clip.

First Thoughts

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  • Unlike the live-action Cinderella, I am ecstatic to see that (so far) the musical score remains true to 1991. We all know Alan Menken is gold, and if you don’t cry during the “Transformation” score you should probably post a listing for your missing heart.
  • Although I never had a single doubt, Emma Watson is perfect. Just perfect.
  • Cogsworth and Lumiere sound pretty much exactly like the original, and this news is just wonderful.
  • I think I stopped breathing for a full 10 seconds as the camera panned over the ballroom. So, when can I move in?
  • In the original film, the only portrait shown is the one Beast scratches, which shows his human self. In the new trailer, we are shown a different portrait with three figures. Could this hint at a long-awaited backstory for Adam?
  • I’m glad our first look at Belle is in the blue dress, not the gold dress. It seems trivial, but I’m a big advocate of blue-dress Belle. After all, she’s only in the gold dress for, what, an hour tops?

Hopes and Dreams

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  • We haven’t yet seen the Beast, and honestly I hope we don’t until the film. It’s good to leave something for the imagination, right?
  • If this resembles Beastly in any way, I’m going to break down in tears.
  • Although I’m not positive the musical aspect is going to fit into this retelling, I am still highly optimistic Emma Watson may sing a number or two.
  • It may be a stretch, but I would love to see a cameo or two from the original cast – Enchanted style.
  • The Beast’s roar sounds a little like a stalled lawn mower, but I don’t hate it. It reminds me of a cat-like purr, almost. After seeing The Jungle Book, I am very optimistic in a realistic, animalistic portrayal of the Beast.

Things I Wish We Had Seen

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  • I’m dying for a look at the costumes. While I am typically a stickler on reinvention, I adored the way Disney updated iconic outfits in Cinderella while staying true to the original.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but I’m dying for some stained glass.
  • Obviously it was just a teaser, but I can’t wait to see Gaston’s unanimated counterpart. I also hope that every inch of him is covered in hair. If you think I’m being creepy, here’s the song.

Things I Hated

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  • Ha! Seriously. Good one, guys.

So, fellow fans, what is your immediate reaction to the trailer?

15 Times Nigel Thornberry Totally Got Your Life

1. Every time you walk into a Barnes and Noble.

2. The first time you were ALL about that bass.

3. HOLD UP. Did someone say Pumpkin Spice Latte?

4. You + Ulta + Marc Jacobs Perfume =

5. Whaaaaaat?! Your crush is going to that party? You totally had NO idea. #WokeUpLikeThis

6. Grandma has used “Surprise Kiss” attack. WHOA! It’s SUPER effective. Critical hit!

7. Pop Culture 101: This is a milkshake. It brings all the boys to the yard.

8. Remember that moment when you suddenly realized that your ex looks like Janet Reno?

9. Don’t lie. We all know an ugly baby. #RealTalk #SoPrecious

10. Two words. Ned Stark.

11. Why yes, I DID get a haircut. Thank you for noticing!

12. Oh, this? It’s just my new Bath and Body Works shower gel. You couldn’t afford it.

13. C’mon. We’ve all had at least one bad experience with Google.

14. That awkward moment when you pretend to be Ariel in your dog’s outdoor kiddie pool.

15. Remember when you read that super weird but totally hilarious Nigel Thornberry blog post?

My Adventure Book

Hans Christian Anderson once said that life itself is the most wonderful fairytale. This is one of my favorite quotes, which is no surprise if you know me. As you might remember from a former post, I am a firm believer in bucket lists. For me, it’s less of a to-do list and rather a representation of someone I hope to be—brave, adventurous, spontaneous, uninhibited. My bucket list is a lot like Ellie’s Adventure Book from Disney’s Up!. “More Disney?” you whine. Yes, but bear with me!

I recently graduated from college and began my adult life working full-time. Like any newbie, there are days when I wonder what exactly I am working towards. What I want out of life. Where I will go.  The big “what next”. For the first time, my life isn’t scripted, and that terrifies me. Like plenty of people, I challenge myself to move one step closer to Paradise Falls every day. Even though I don’t really know what my dream is yet—maybe it’s becoming the next J.K. Rowling or marketing a Disney blockbuster—I am sometimes overwhelmed by the burden of making it come true. It’s a blessing and a curse, I guess. Maybe you’ve felt that way, too.

It feels sort of like this…

If you’re not moving forwards you’re moving backwards, right? That’s how I looked at college. Most days were part of an uphill climb to the next milestone on the road to successful alumna. I had this need to make something of myself simply to prove I could. The idea of mindlessly drifting along like a balloon-tethered house in the sky seemed like a total waste, and I used milestones to measure my progress in the Adventure Book of life.

Don’t get me wrong, those achievements were great! They provided so many opportunities. But those milestones seemed to me the very point of college, and now? I think I was wrong. When I look back over the past four years, those accomplishments sort of melt away in my mind. I tend to overlook the typical “highlights”—my first time making honor roll, studying abroad in England, landing an internship, my first time inside the Sooner stadium. Instead, it’s the little, seemingly insignificant things that stand out.

 Hitting the 24/7 donut shop at midnight with my friends, schooling my folks at Bananagrams, meeting up every week for the new American Horror Story episode, celebrating Valentine’s Day with my roommate, playing Mario Kart with my boyfriend until 4 a.m., waking up in my old bed at Christmas, skipping class to rewatch old episodes of Friends. Those are the things I remember most.

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Note: My roommate and I have celebrated V-Day together for ten years.

And to you, that may seem uneventful because, well, it is! But there’s a moment in Up! that sums up what I’m trying to say. Near the end of the movie, Russell is talking to Carl about his workaholic dad. He talks about the way they used to get ice cream together and count the cars as they passed by. Then, in one sentence, our young wilderness explorer perfectly captures the point of the entire movie and, incidentally, life.

As Ellie points out in her sob-worthy note to Carl, life isn’t about the destination. It’s about the adventures along the way, adventures shared with others. Perhaps I will write a bestseller or work for Walt Disney Studios, but more and more I am realizing that the most exciting parts of life are happening right now. As we speak, I’m filling the pages of my own adventure book with “the boring stuff”. Yes, adventure really is out there. You just have to open your eyes and see it.

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Working Full Time, As Told by Disney

You’re fresh out of college, on the cusp of life’s great harvest, teeming with ambition. As successful grown-ups do, you secure a full-time job.

Oh, the joys that await! Personal fulfillment, professional connections—perhaps even a promotion. But sometimes working full time is not all that we expect it to be…

First, you have to wake up before the sky. Fives days a week. On the heels of afternoon classes and optional morning lectures, yeah, it’s gonna’ hurt. Maybe 8 a.m. classes weren’t such a bad idea…

But it’s okay! It’s an opportunity to make use of that state-of-the-art Keurig system—the one you can’t even afford in your dreams after student loans. Each refill is a piping hot dose of get-it-together-you-infantile-weakling. 

So, remember that crazy micromanaging professor who lost her marbles at the sight of a water bottle in her precious 1960s wasteland of a classroom? Yeah, she didn’t make it in the corporate world—surprise! Your dedication to hydration is longer under siege. 

By now, you’ve probably got a closet filled with oversized Kappa T-shirts and a rainbow road of Ugg boots. Get ready to wear your “interview outfit” every single day, because—surprise!—you’ve been dressing like a bum. 

And because you cannot ween yourself from the mocha teet of Starbucks, you are poor. Like Bon Bon self-manicure poor. Kiss Antonio Melani goodbye, because those boots were made for walking—right up to the Dillard’s return desk.

Even at the most amazing job, 40 hours per week can occasionally feel overwhelming. Sure, there’s weekends. But Monday will be back, and she is a brutal, brutal mistress. Proceed with caution, young dancing queens of the world.

Regardless of the pros and cons, all is righted on one day. For on this day—oh, glorious day!—a check is received. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou, pay day, surely art more lovely because NOW I’M FILTHY RICH, SUCKERS!

Naturally, there’s only one thing left to do.

Until you’re poor again.

It’s a vicious cycle, really. Yes the legend of the rent may be way hardcore, but the heroic tale of the entry-level worker bee is not complete. The dawn comes early and the coffee pot often runneth dry, but nothing beats financial independence. 

And that, dear readers, makes everything worthwhile.

 

About Prince Charming…He Isn’t Coming

Over the past 22 years, Disney has managed to infiltrate every aspect of my life – how I decorate my home, shape my pancakes and sometimes even style my hair. But above all, my love for Disney princess films seems to always come knocking in one special place. My love life. Somehow, whenever boy-talk rolls around with the ladies, I get a lot of questions like: Do you have insanely high standards? Are you waiting for Prince Charming? Do you want to be swept off your feet? I kid you not. People have legitimately asked me if I have a case of Prince Charming Syndrome, which I’m pretty sure is made up anyway.

Every time one of these ridiculous questions comes my way, I can’t help but question how well people actually know their Disney films. Like, have you actually seen a princess film in the past decade? If so, you would know that every prince charming is, well, not charming at all – packed with character flaws that pretty much jeopardize the entire romance every waking second of the movie. Just to prove a point, I’ve named every Disney prince from the franchise along with his totally undateable trait(s).

Charming #1: Obviously okay with kissing a  woman in comatose.

Charming #2: Apparently blind. Like could he not tell it was Cinderella just by looking at her face? Maybe it’s from all those sunset rides…

Phillip: Total idiot.

Eric: Also apparently blind. Cannot identify Ariel without her voice.

Beast: Subject to fits of unwarranted rage. Maybe verbally abusive.

Aladdin: Liar, thief, liar, beggar, liar… did I say liar?

John Smith: Not good with dads.

Captain Shang: Risks China to avoid taking advice from a girl.

Naveen: Lusty, greedy, selfish, irresponsible, childish, all around worst prince award.

Flynn Rider: Thief. And I don’t mean the starving justifiable kind.

Kristoff: That thing with the reindeer? Maaaaaaajor baggage.

You see? If Disney princes were nonfictional men at your in your dorm or at the office, you probably wouldn’t give them a second look. Aladdin would be “that weird compulsive liar in my Arabic studies class.” Shang would be “that sexist douche bag one cubicle over.” Don’t get even get me started on Flynn. So if Prince Charming is really so uncharming, why do women keep passing up perfectly good dates waiting on him? Why would anyone want to be swept off their feet at all if Charming the Blind is just going to drop them on their face? Is it hopeless? ARE YOU DOOMED TO THE HAIRY FATE OF A SPINSTER CAT LADY?

It seems like a lot of women – Disney fanatics, especially – pride themselves on unattainable relationship goals and the eternal pursuit of a flawless man. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t shoot high, but I am saying that many a prince began as a frog. It’s so acceptable for women to compare their significant others to Disney princes, but what if the situation were reversed? Do you have the virtue of Snow White? Jasmine’s (probably dangerous) waistline? What about the poise of Aurora or Rapunzel’s wicked domestic skill set? I certainly don’t, nor do I exactly want to. Because those things aren’t love.

Even though no Disney relationship is smooth from start to finish, true love does exist. But contrary to popular belief, it isn’t seamless. I mean, did you see those flaws?! Take another read. I’ll wait. Our beloved heroines must have a lot of grit to put up with those shenanigan for a full 120-minute movie – let alone for life! Turns out, finding Prince Charming isn’t about high standards, impossible expectations or the perfect smoulder. It’s not even about love at first sight! Shocking, right? (Don’t tell Snow). Love is about finding someone who completes your story – no matter the time, no matter the cost. So how do you find that one special person, you ask? Well, it starts with one very easy step.

Give him a chance.

Disney: Expectation versus Reality

Over the past twenty-some years, I’ve learned a lot about life from Disney. I mean, A LOT. Always wish upon a star, be a diamond in the rough, never tangle with a sea witch. But as you know, the movies aren’t always all they’re cracked up to be. Here are a just few Disney expectations that didn’t quite pass the test of reality.

1. Diving

Swim class? What the heck, Mom? I don’t need swimming and diving lessons in the fifth grade. Please. I learned everything I need to know about free-falling poise from Pocahontas.

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2. Sewing

Ugh. I have NOTHING to wear. You know what? I’m going to start making all of my own clothes. That’s right – all of them. I’ve seen Cinderella like a hundred times. Seriously, how hard could it be?

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3. Swimming

Ahhh-ahhh-ahhh, ahhh-ahhh-ahhh! Oh, hello there! Don’t mind me. I’m just gracefully flipping underwater in my swirly-twirly way whilst singing to the invisible marine life in my 3-foot swimming pool.

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4. Pirates

I’d walk your plank, Jack Sparrow.

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5. Wild Animals

Of course I want a pet raccoon. They have a mild temperament, wicked braiding skills and unparalleled affection – like snuggley feral kittens.

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6. Stranger Danger

Dance with you entirely alone in a dark secluded alleyway? I thought you’d never ask!

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7. Flying

Faith ✓ – Trust ✓ – Pixie Dust ✓

Houston, we’re ready for takeoff.

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So, what false expectations has Disney given you?

If You Give a Disney Princess a Cell Phone…

If you give a Disney princess a cell phone, she’s going to buy a cute cover. ASAP. I’m thinking precious his and hers matching cases. Adorable, right?

Now, if you give a princess a cell phone and she buys a cute cover, she’ll start texting all of her friends (well, those with opposable thumbs at least). Say goodbye to royal balls, saving China, growing legs and taming beasts – it’s text time. BRB.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover , start texting all her friends and jump on the Facebook bandwagon. Eventually she’s going to grow tired of texting the same old royals all the time, hearing the same old tales as old as time. She’s ready to branch out, make some new friends! Hello Facebook app…

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And Twitter…

And Instagram.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media and stumble upon her own Internet meme. Eventually, when there’s nothing to refresh on her Twitter feed, she’ll get sucked into the vortex known as Reddit and Imgur. She’ll spend all day LMFAOing at Disney princess hipster memes because who doesn’t enjoy their own meme?

That definitely includes the Disney Princess Musical, btw.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes and take a few selfies. C’mon. Who doesn’t love a good selfie or two? Look out, Selfie Olympics! There’s a new queen in town, and she’s already got the gold.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes, take a few selfies and inevitably tick off a few friends. I’m talking real drama, people. Like, Housewives of Beverly Hills drama.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes, take a few selfies, tick off a few friends and start a full-fledged war. Of course, she’s still a princess, so this is a really great opportunity to show off her bad-a kung fu wardrobes. Oh, and her fighting skills too (said only Mulan).

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If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes, take a few selfies, tick off a few friend, start a full-fledged war and die. All of them, dead. A troubling thought, I know. It’s okay, though! As princesses, they’re still fabulous post-mortem. This is a great opportunity to start  a punk rock band.

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If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes, take a few selfies, tick off a few friend, start a full-fledged war, die and start a punk rock band. Wait. Can you imagine how terrible a Disney princess punk rock band would sound? Seriously, just no. The world has enough troubles already, so do us all a favor, won’t you?

Don’t give a Disney princess a cellphone.