In anticipation for our 3rd annual Waltz Through Disneyland competition, we want to find out which attraction is the favorite amongst our readers. With the success of Waltz Madness, we figured this is the perfect way to find out. Beginning August 10th, we will match up Disneyland attractions, in hopes to find out which is the best.
Try to predict the winner! Click on the image above to print and fill out. Let us know which ride you think will win on our Facebook page!
The Champion of Waltz Madness 2015: Little John!
I think we underestimated just how cool and charismatic Little John is. As we’ve stated before, Robin Hood is our favourite Disney movie but even we didn’t realize how much we loved Little John until we saw him pitted against otherwise more popular and revered characters. If we or anyone else were to make a list of “Disney’s Top 10 Sidekicks,” I’m not even sure Little John gets mentioned while Timon and Pumbaa would be in everyone’s Top 3.
Little John may not be as marketable or cute and funny as Timon and Pumbaa but he’s indubitably the better sidekick. At times, you could even say T&P were detrimental to Simba’s journey. Albeit, their loyalty and friendship was strong enough that they did finally manage to provide suitable support but it didn’t come naturally to them. Little John is Robin Hood’s rock from before the movie even starts until, as we can only assume, their dying days. Can you count all the ways Little John supports Robin? He’s his muscle, his love guru, his cook, his coachman, his impromptu surprise party planner, etc. Little John even tries reigning Robin in when he fears he’s biting off more than he can chew with his dating deeds. He’s the friend and sidekick we all wish we had. And, like I said before, he’s really REALLY cool… almost like Disney’s own version of the Fonz without all the promiscuity and leather.
The Greatest Sidekick of Them All
Of course, had we opened the competition to the entire Disney universe and not just limited it to characters from the animated features, there’s no question who would have been the runaway winner, right? The greatest sidekick in Disney history is *drum roll* LAUNCHPAD MCQUACK! Duh… The cleft beaked, square shouldered pelican has been the sidekick to two different characters from two different franchises: first, to Scrooge “Mr. McD” McDuck from DuckTales (1987-1990) and then to Darkwing “D.W.” Duck from the eponymously titled Darkwing Duck (1991-1992). Not counting any straight-to-video sequels (which we don’t), all of the sidekicks in our bracket were limited to their lone 90-minute-ish movie appearances. Meanwhile, Launchpad was an after-school staple for kids across the country every day for well over five years (counting syndication) and continues to live on today through DVD anthology sets from both of his series (all of which we own!).
Launchpad may have been a bit on the dim side but he more than made up for it by being kind, brave, strong and loyal – not to mention, he is a GREAT pilot (sure, he never met a landing he couldn’t crash but whatevs…). I feel like he’s best known as Uncle Scrooge’s personal pilot and DW’s sidekick but he’s much more than just that. He’s been a 007 spy, spent a day as Gizmo Duck and even got to switch places with Darkwing Duck for one episode. But my own personal favourite Launchpad is his role as scoutmaster for Hewey, Dewey, Louie and Doofus’ Junior Woodchuck troop. His patience and leadership, particularly with the socially challenged and morbidly obese Doofus, is especially admirable.
I mean, sure… great for Little John (yay!) but let’s just say he was lucky not to have seen Launchpad, with his scarf dramatically flapping in the wind, staring back across the bracket at him.
More Than a Sidekick
When we started the tournament, I briefly mentioned a few characters who would not be competing due to their uncommon stature and importance. They’re kind of stuck in this no-man’s land between a main character and a sidekick – the best description would be “co-lead” but that’s also a bit of a misnomer too because no one would mistake a few of the characters listed as the lead either. I’ve also excluded all love interests which was tough because Disney’s done them well in the modern era (Meg, Kristoff, etc.) Here are my Top-7 “Whatever-the-Heck-They-Ares.”
7. Koda – Brother Bear, (2003): Although very different, it reminds me a lot of The Lion King (1994) but set in Alaska. Koda is a precocious little bear cub who loses his mother and, as a result, starts palling around with an older “bear” named Kenai. As Kenai’s the main character, it’s through Koda that he learns about friendship, family and brotherhood which helps him complete his spiritual journey of which the movie revolves around.
6. Vanellope von Schweetz – Wreck-It Ralph (2012): Ralph is tired of being “the bad guy” and wants to be the hero and Vanellope is the literal and figurative vehicle by which he achieves his goal. Vanellope, a wisecracking and quirky nine-year-old, is the misfit glitch of her arcade game, “Sugar Rush,” but longs to be included with all of the other racers. Ralph helps Vanellope reach her destiny as a racer thus, making him a hero.
5. Genie - Aladdin (1992): I know he’s extremely popular and I respect that but I’ve just never been a big Robin Williams guy. He and the Genie are just too manic and stream-of-consciencey for my refined sensibilities. Despite all that though, Genie is an extremely important and well-done character. When he’s not granting wishes, he actually becomes a best pal to his “master” and helps instill Aladdin with the confidence he needs to overcome his “Street Rat” rep, (truthfully) woo Jasmine and defeat Jafar.
4. Merlin – The Sword in the Stone (1963): Merlin is probably Disney’s best mentor (with apologies to Hercules’ Phil). The all-knowing wizard spends the near entirety of the movie molding an awkward, knobby-kneed squire into the future king of England. But, even more than that, we are also treated to a semi-climactic Wizarding Duel where Merlin teaches us that germ warfare is the most powerful weapon wizarding has to offer.
3. Tigger – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977): T-i-double guh-err doesn’t do a darn thing for Pooh except for blow him off the screen. As a kid, I just related to his relentless energy and enthusiasm while milquetoasty Pooh Bear just bored me to tears. Sometimes, these “Whatever-the-Heck-They-Ares” are nothing more than scene stealers whose charisma just overpowers the rest of the cast.
2. Baymax – Big Hero Six (2014): As the world’s greatest health care provider, Baymax moves on from physical maladies and tackles emotional pain. He heals the grieving Hiro’s broken heart with a loyalty and determination that goes beyond his programming. But it’s his unique brand of physical comedy and gentle innocence that truly make him one of Disney’s most indelible characters.
1. Baloo – The Jungle Book (1967): What a day for Phil Harris! Baloo is not Little John. Little John is not Baloo. They are different species of bears with completely different personalities who just happen to share the same voice. I love Baloo because he changes: he starts out as irresponsible, shiftless and lazy but because of Mowgli, he learns responsibility in taking the bear cub to the man village and develops courage when he squares off against Shere Kahn. Plus, Baloo contributes to one of Disney’s greatest song and dance numbers with “I Wanna be Like You.”
So what Madness would you like to see at the Waltz next year? Best Disney Movie? Best Disney Song? Tell us and maybe it will happen!
Thank You, Voters!
As a special thank you to all voters, we are offering a one-time thank you gift for participating! You will receive one surprise 4x6 art print, featuring the Disney-inspired artwork by our Art Director, Amy Melissa. Be sure to fill out the form completely to receive your gift. Prizes must be redeemed by Friday, 4/10/2015. Only voters during the 2015 Waltz Madness will be eligible to receive this gift (and we know who voted so no sneaky business!).
UPDATE 4/11/2015: ALL THANK YOU GIFTS HAVE BEEN MAILED.
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR VOTING!
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Ahhhh, snap! It's down to the Final Four! So let's hear from you: Who do you think will win it all? Why do they deserve it? We'll be posting your predictions and opinions all weekend. Who knows? Maybe your brilliant assessment will convince other voters to go your way!
The Sweet Sixteen saw order restored – no upsets! The Elite 8 starts today and is filled with #1s and #2s except for #5 Little John who barrels his way into the next round (like only a big brown bear can).
Wish Upon A Star Region
#1 Jiminy Cricket def. #5 Jaq and Gus 9-8
#2 The Seven Dwarfs def. #3 Thumper 15-5
Let’s be honest… a vote for the dwarfs is essentially a vote for Grumpy and/or Dopey. Does any other Dwarf even matter? Maybe Bashful because he’s REALLY cute but unless you are a doctor (Doc), have bad allergies (Sneezy), are narcoleptic (Sleepy) or are boring (Happy), I’m not sure who is relating to four through seven. Dopey gets a lot of play because he’s the most unique (no beard, no voice) and stands out amongst the seven. However, it’s Grumpy who’s the only Dwarf with his own merchandise. During the movie, even Snow White pays him more attention than anyone else. Why is this? I think it’s because, at our core, people are just miserable and misery loves company so we all love Grumpy because he makes us feel normal and less guilty for being a drag. It’s the same reason that walking rain cloud Eeyore is so darn popular. As for Snow White, she pays Grumpy more heed because he’s the only one not falling all over her and bending over backwards at her every whim and, now, she’s hooked! Take note, men… Grumpy’s got game.
Pixie Dust Region
#5 Little John def. #8 Skippy 12-3
#2 Flora, Fauna and Merryweather def. #6 The Lost Boys 9-7
Oo-de-lally! Let’s hear it for Little John! Sure, he couldn’t get his own Reward Poster nor can he do anything without some jerk comparing him to Baloo but, here, he’s the lowest seed to make it to our Elite Eight! Little John really is an underrated character though – he sings, he fights, he dances and he’s a hero from beginning to end (unlike Baloo who starts out as a selfish and lazy coward before ultimately redeeming himself). Don’t count him out in the next round either. Does he deserve to beat out the fairies? Probably not. Will he? Maybe!
Hakuna Matata Region
#1 Timon and Pumbaa def. #5 Magic Carpet 11-6
#2 Sebastian def. #6 Flounder 10-5
One of our loyal readers, Cori Rosenhaus, made an excellent point whilst voting for Timon and Pumbaa. She commented that she chose the duo “solely for their comic relief and fart jokes.” Now, I could be wrong, but I believe this is Disney’s first EVER foray into farts. Sure, Disney has a rich history of smoking, drinking and racism but never flatulence. There’s a certain modernity and self-awareness in fart jokes and Timon and Pumbaa were true pioneers and key in blasting Disney forward into a new era of animation.
Warm Hugs Division
#1 Olaf def. #5 Sven 13-2
#2 Mushu def. #3 Ray 9-7
Even though they’re family movies, Disney has no qualms with dabbling in death. However, they only kill two types of characters: villains and parents of main characters. Villains because they’re bad guys and parents because this makes us sympathize with the protagonist while also working as a means for personal growth (Simba can’t be king with Mufasa hanging around). Then, there’s Ray…. Ray is the first and only Disney character to die (and stay dead) who doesn’t fall under the aforementioned criteria. His story arc is also one of the best to grace Disney Feature Animation. Ray is the main catalyst in not only teaching Tianna and Naveen about love but also making them realize that they love each other. He does this, in part, by waxing poetic about his one true love, Evangeline, who was once a firefly like himself but is now a star in the night sky. Everyone looks at him like he’s crazy but, when he ultimately passes, we see a new star appear right next to Evangeline and everyone realizes that Ray fulfilled his destiny to join his love once again. Ray’s death wasn’t a part of a thrilling and satisfying climax like a villain’s nor is it a storytelling device like a parent’s passing. His death is just a death. The bad guy squashes him like the bug he is and everyone gets sad. This is why it’s so powerful – it’s real, it’s final, it’s sad and it’s ultimately not a big deal – just a slice of death.
Voting for the Elite Eight begins today, March 27, 2015.
Be sure to visit our Facebook page to choose your favorite!
Wish Upon A Star Region
#1 Jiminy Cricket def. #8 Flower 14-2
#5 Jaq and Gus def. #4 Timothy Q. Mouse 8-4
#3 Thumper def. #6 Jim Crow and His Murder 10-6
#2 The Seven Dwarfs def. #7 Cyril Proudbottom 12-2
My biggest takeaway (and disappointment) from this region is Timothy getting doubled up by Jaq and Gus. Going into this, I felt that Timothy was one of the more underrated Disney characters and the results bear this out. All things considered, he might also be the most important sidekick among the entire field of thirty-two. Dumbo is essentially a mute infant and because of this, both he and the movie need a lot of support and Timothy proves to be more than up to the task. He props the story up where Dumbo can’t and literally provides a voice to its star and hero. He is Dumbo’s protector/father figure (defends him from bullies), best friend (they get drunk together) and business manager (signs him to a Hollywood contract) all in one. Nothing against Jaq and Gus but the street-smart mouse with the New York accent is clearly the superior rodent and is worthy of much loftier heights than a first round exit.
Pixie Dust Region
#8 Skippy def. #1 Tinker Bell 9-7
#5 Little John def. #4 Piglet 9-6
#6 The Lost Boys def. #3 The Cheshire Cat 9-8
#2 Flora, Fauna and Merryweather def. #7 Archimedes 8-6
In the region of upsets (three out of four!), none were bigger than a scrappy little rabbit taking down Disney’s own Queen of Mean and Lass of Sass. Seriously, how does Skippy, a sidekick so obscure most people don’t even know his name, take down an iconic, household character like Tinker Bell? Well, for one thing, Robin Hood is immensely popular with the demographics (30s) voting in this competition. It was a HUGE part of most of our childhoods’ and even remains mine and Amy’s #1 favourite Disney movie of all-time. Another factor may be Tinker Bell fatigue – especially with today’s watered down, brand-killing version of the now-speaking pixie appearing in her very own Peter Pan-less Tinker Bell movies. Like they say: “you either die a hero or live long enough to star in a series of lame-o, straight-to-DVD movies.” I also believe Amy and I may have swayed the votes by comparing Skippy to our son Brody, who everybody loves. A vote for Skippy essentially became a vote for Brody and a vote for Tink means you went against our son and are now dead to both of us.
Hakuna Matata Region
#1 Timon and Pumba def. #8 Victor, Hugo and Lenore 12-2
#5 Magic Carpet def. #4 Lumiere and Cogsworth 12-4
#6 Flounder def. #3 Abu 9-6
#2 Sebastian def. #7 Flit and Meeko 15-3
In what’s perhaps the most loaded region, we had some real heavy hitters bow out early. I thought for sure that kleptomaniac Abu would resonate more with voters than milquetoast Flounder. That monkey has an edge with some serious moves while Flounder is just a sweet, doughy fish. Meanwhile, I get why Magic Carpet beat Cogsworth and Lumiere but, geez, a blowout? Do we hate the French so much we prefer a Middle Eastern rug? Has it come to this???? But, really… xenophobic jokes aside, the clock and candlestick deserved better – it was just a tough draw in the battle of inanimate objects.
Warm Hugs Region
#1 Olaf def. #8 Terk and Tantor 10-4
#5 Sven def. #4 Pegasus 11-6
#3 Ray def. #6 Louis 11-4
#2 Mushu def. #7 Pascal 12-6
There weren’t a lot of surprises in this region and, no, a five beating a four doesn’t exactly constitute as one at this point either. But what is interesting is who was left out of this region. Although I reluctantly recognize that these sidekicks aren’t quite popular or iconic enough to crack the bracket, they are still among my personal favourites and would make my Top-10 list of sidekicks if I were to make one (which I still might!). Of course, I’m talking about Mulan’s trio of soldier pals – Yao, Ling and Chien Po. Yao is the scrappy, gravelly voiced “tough guy” of the group and has a face that more than resembles Percy, Ratcliffe’s bulldog, from Pocohontas. Ling is the happy prankster of medium carriage. And last but not least is Chien Po – the gentle but extremely strong giant. In a lot of ways, they’re even more important and helpful to Mulan than even Mushu (*gasp*). They offer Mulan comaraderie, sing a song - “A Girl Worth Fighting For” and even play a key role in defeating the Huns by cross-dressing!
Waltz Madness Round 2