Disney Heroes – Junior Section
If finding costumes for adult Disney heroes is a problem, one might think that with the vast amount of merchandising aimed at the younger costumer, there might be some better choice when it comes to the Small Set. Not necessarily – certainly the girls have no problems so long as they favour the girly role of a Disney Princesses costume, which, of course, not all do. With the lads, there are other considerations, and some of these relate to gender stereotyping on a number of levels: Disney decided that one of the reasons ‘The Princess and the Frog’ didn’t do as well as hoped, was that the use of ‘Princess’ in the title dissuaded would-be young male cinemagoers; When it came to the Rapunzel reboot, they called it ‘Tangled’. The forthcoming Snow Queen movie is called ‘Frozen’ and features a snowman as a main character.
A further factor is that whilst a character may be a hero, he might not be ‘cool’ enough: Given a choice, most boys would probably opt to be Captain Hook rather than Peter Pan, perhaps because Pan’s outfit is not dissimilar to a pixie, and if they have seen Pan in panto, chances are ‘he’s been played by a girl!
Aladdin: Arabian street-wise boy who defeats the efforts of the evil Jafar to win his princess Jasmine.
Woody the Cowboy: The Toy Story films appeal to all ages, and so do the characters. Whilst Cowboys and Indians might have been a popular dress-up choice in the 1950s/60s, generic cowboy outfits would not usually appeal to today’s media-savvy child, but Woody is a popular role-model.
Buzz Lightyear: Rather like in the original story, space toys tended to take over from traditional toys. Buzz’s catchphrase ‘To Infinity and Beyond!’ has inspired a new generation of children.
Pinocchio: Oddly enough, official Disney outfits for this wooden puppet who became a real boy are not easy to find. Luckily other manufacturers offer costumes which are suitable – useful for Book Days!
Wart (Sword in the Stone 1963): One of Disney’s ‘lost’ films in that it is rarely seen and revived. Wart is actually a young lad being brought up as dogsbody to a knight, whom Merlin recognises as actually being the soon-to-be King Arthur. Wear a peasant’s robe with a knight/king’s outfit underneath. The problem is, you might have to explain the cleverness of this concept to those who do not know the film or legend.
Mowgli: The Jungle Book is the last film overseen by Walt Disney himself, and although the costume might be a bit minimal (a sort of mini-Tarzan), it might appeal to some.
Cars Racing Driver: The Cars series has arguably not been as successful as some other films from the Disney/Pixar stable, although that hasn’t stopped the forthcoming Cars spin-off ‘Planes’. Meanwhile, the Cars concept has offered the opportunity to have a character Racing Driver suit available.
Mike W. & Sully; When it comes to unusual heroes, if only in appearance, Mike and Sully or Monsters Inc (and University) score highly. The new film has regenerated interest and these might be a good choice for your own little monsters.
Robin Hood: Disney did do a live-action Robin Hood, but that was back in 1952. The Disney Hood most people remember is more likely to be the 1973 cartoon version, where the characters were animals. (Robin was a fox).
Captain Jack Sparrow: Whereas once the pirate of the moment might have been Long John Silver (actor Robert Newton was a legend in Disney’s live-action Treasure Island) or Captain Hook, nowadays Captain Jack Sparrow is more likely to capture the young imagination.
Zorro (1958): At one time Zorro was a major Disney character and the 1958 movie was derived from a successful TV series. These days, Zorro may be better known through the live-action movies featuring Antonio Banderas and the Zorro-like traits of Shrek’s companion Puss-in-Boots – voiced by Mr Banderas (although Shrek & Co were characters from Disney’s rivals, Dreamworks). Somehow the concept of a masked swordsman who gets to make Z-shapes with his epee can still appeal to the younger generation.
Popeye (1980): Rather like Cowboys and Indians, boys of the 1960s grew up wanting to be like the cartoon sailor-cum-strongman Popeye. In a marketing coup for spinach growers, the key to Popeye’s strength was his consumption of spinach. Although the character is less well known, he has hero potential and only needs a white sailor suit.
Tigger (2000): Whilst Winnie the Pooh might appeal to a younger boy, Tigger possibly has a wider age appeal, especially as he is a bit of a rebel. This bouncy character was awarded his own movie in 2000.
Iron Man: The recent tie-in with Marvel Studios and Disney potentially brings many of Marvel’s superhero characters such as Spiderman, Captain America and Iron Man under the Disney umbrella. Outfits from Iron Man 3 are currently in vogue – until the marketing starts for the Thor sequel, coming October 2013.
The Lone Ranger & Tonto (2013): The latest Disney heroes, and a return to Cowboys and Indians, with a touch of Captain Jack Sparrow. We’re still not sure about the dead crow ‘spirt guide’ though!