Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Free online course in what Disney fairy tales really mean

There's a completely free, fairly-low-work online class being offered soon (Feb. 10-Mar. 10) that will explain lots of things about Disney Fairy Tales you never considered before:

  • Why does Cinderella's prince not just look at her face to identify her?
  • Why Snow White was originally a family drama in the worst way - and definitely NOT a story for today's children!
  • What do those hedges full of thorns in Sleeping Beauty really mean?
  • Why is Ursula so masculine in Little Mermaid, and what does this have to do with the very last shot of the movie?
  • What does Belle's Beast *really* stand for? Why is he animalistic?
  • What is the symbolism of a frog supposed to imply, in Princess and the Frog?
  • How does Tangled completely change Gothel's character?
  • Why does Disney change the siblings around from the Snow Queen for Frozen?

The "class" is open to the public - no prerequisites required whatsoever. You sign up at (which is basically one of the Massive Open Online Courses - or MOOC for short - that allows for free college-level content provided to the masses). There are not even any costs for books - everything is provided (electronically) for free.

Expect about maybe an hour or two of reading per week - that's the only work/homework in the class! This course has no completion certificate, and thus no essays to write. New content gets unlocked each week. Since it costs nothing to join, you've got nothing to lose!

Direct link:

Note: this class was previously offered in Fall 2013. It's essentially the same course now, with the same content, so if you saw it once, there's no need to sign up again!

Full course description:
Princess stories have been popular for centuries and remain so today around the world; we’ll dive into what these fairy tales mean, and trace the history of these narratives back to their source material, examining contexts all along the way. We’ll borrow tools from cultural studies, literature studies, and film studies to help us analyze these phenomena and what they mean to our society.

Many of us may associate princess stories with modern-day products (much of it marketed to small children) or with Disney movies and theme parks. We’ll examine these current versions of fairy tale mythos as well, using our new interpretive tools to uncover not just what’s been changed in the moral and message of the narrative, but what the stories mean as told now.

Direct link:

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.