if you grew up in the 90's chances are you found yourself in the age-old debate of if Anastasia was a Disney movie or not at least once, most likely multiple times. I remember being locked in a debate in high school that could only be settled by asking a teacher if she could look it up for us on her computer. I was right of course because Anastasia was in fact NOT a Disney movie but because it came out in the thick of the Disney Princess movie surge; Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Mulan were all released from 1990 to 1999, many believed it was. Times have changed my friend, all of those who were once wrong are now right, with Disney acquiring 21st Century Fox, Anastasia now falls under the Disney umbrella, so where is the Grand Duchess?
Anastasia Plot Summary
With all Princess cartoon movies some of the original tales get, shall we say, brightened up a bit. They are given a happy ending even if the original author didn't intend it that way (I'm looking at you Cinderella). Anastasia released in 1997 is no different. The cartoon decides to follow the theory that young Anastasia was able to escape being murdered with her family and while there are many conspiracy theories or even theories based in small pieces of evidence, it is most likely that she did not escape. But that doesn't make for a fun family flick so the cartoon version is a lighter, fluffier, happier tale.
The movie starts with evil wizard putting a hex on the Romanov family. Anastasia and her grandmother escape but are separated after Anastasia suffers a fall (and subsequent amnesia). She goes on to live her life as an orphan. Years later, her grandmother calls for the Duchess to be found and the orphan girl teams up with two scammers to say she is the Duchess having absolutely no idea she is in fact the Duchess. Chaos ensues as she tries to make her way to the palace and she's put to the test to prove that she is not yet another imposter (awkward!) but alls well that ends well.
This cartoon has a fantastic, star-studded cast that includes Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd, Hank Azaria and Angela Lansbury. No Princess cartoon would be complete with out a signature song and "Journey to the Past" is just that and is Oscar nominated to boot.
Anastasia Won't be on Disney Plus... yet?
When Disney released the extensive list of the content that would be available on day one of the streaming service Anastasia was not on the list. While I understand Disney not wanting to give up all of the goods on day one, all of the other Princess centric movies will be available and I'm just really hoping Anastasia does not get swept under the rug. There is so much that can be done for her and since she was kind of an over-shadowed Princess tale due to the fact that she wasn't a Disney film, I think she's due her day in the sun.
Anastasia Turns 25 in 2022
It is possible Disney is holding on to Anastasia in order to re-release the film in honor of its 25th anniversary which will take place in 2022. Could we see a special, digitally remastered Blu Ray version of Anastasia? Frankly, I think Disney would be leaving money on the table if they did not commemorate this film in some capacity. There is a TON to merchandise here; plush dolls, singing dolls, costumes basically anything Frozen has, Anastasia could have. Anastasia wears a beautiful gown in the film and I could easily see that hanging along side Belle's gown in a Disney Store.
Two Ways to Introduce Anastasia to Disney Parks
EPCOT, World Showcase
The rumor mill is always turning with Disney Parks renovations, substitutions, removals and additions and one topic of discussion was always when (and which) country would be added to World Showcase in EPCOT in Walt Disney World. The internet was pretty much certain Disney would announce Brazil as the new country at this year's D23 Expo however it didn't happen.
Now, call me a dreamer BUT what if Disney adds Russia to their World Showcase opening up a meet and greet opportunity and potential ride for Anastasia?!? If you search EPCOT and Russia you'll find out that this was an idea once (not the Anastasia part) and concept art is out there that shows a beautiful rendering of St. Basil's Cathedral.
A Russia pavilion could boast beautiful architecture, quick service dining featuring beef stroganoff, and a drink station, because how can one "drink around the world" and NOT have vodka in Russia? With Anastasia they could also tie in an "IP" which seems to be very in right now; Norway has Frozen, France is getting Ratatouille and UK is getting Mary Poppins.
Magic Kingdom, Princess Meet and Greets
This is much easier to achieve than building a whole country. Guests at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World already meet and greet with a rotating host of Princesses inside Fairytale Hall, slotting Anastasia there is as simple as hiring some actresses and getting a gown. In Disneyland, Princesses are inside Royal Hall and again Anastasia meets the criteria being a Duchess and all.
I have no inside information here I'm just hoping that one day I'll see a designer doll of Anastasia for sale in between an Anna and Ariel doll because Princesses with red hair who's names begins with A need to stick together. There is an incredible marketing opportunity for Disney with the addition of Anastasia they get all of the benefits of a new film without actually having to make it. I can already hear a remastered version of "A Journey to the Past" being sung by Ariana Grande. Come on, I know you hear it too.
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