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Watch the Song Recording Sessions from 10 Classic Disney Movies

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With the release of the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake later in 2017, it will be exciting to hear Emma Watson sing classic Disney songs, such as “Belle” (Little Town) and “Something There.” In the meantime, take a look at the song recording sessions from 10 classic Disney movies.


When Broadway star Paige O'Hara was cast as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, she had a little trouble adjusting and projecting her voice from performing to sold out large theaters to singing and acting in a small recording booth. In fact, lyricist Howard Ashman jokingly gave her the nickname “Ethel Merman” because of the full range of her voice.


Although the pair didn’t perform Aladdin and Jasmine’s speaking voices, Brad Kane and Lea Salonga were the animated couple’s singing voices, respectively, in Aladdin. Co-director John Musker emphasized to the pair to really put real emotion and the thrill of flying behind their performance to capture the correct mood of the scene.


Voice actor Jodi Benson performed both the singing and speaking voices for Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Watch as lyricist Howard Ashman coaches Benson during a recording session for “Part of Your World” in 1989. She would later reprise her role in The Little Mermaid's straight-to-video sequels, as well as taking on Barbie in the Toy Story film series.

4. “LET IT GO” // FROZEN (2013)

Oh, we all know this song! In 2013, Disney unleashed the box office juggernaut Frozen on the world. The animated film gained global success partly due to the hit single “Let It Go,” which was performed by Broadway star Idina Menzel, as well as 24 other wonderful singers from around the world.

5. “I SEE THE LIGHT” // TANGLED (2010)

In 2010, Disney released Tangled, a CGI-animated film about Rapunzel. Singer Mandy Moore voiced the Disney Princess, while Zachary Levi played the dashing rogue “Flynn Rider.” “I See The Light” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, but lost out to "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3.


Seinfeld's Jason Alexander performed the speaking and singing voice of Hugo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Charles Kimbrough and Mary Wickes join Alexander as Victor and Laverne, respectively, as a trio of gargoyles that befriends Quasimodo. Watch as they perform "A Guy Like You."


In 1999, Disney hired Phil Collins to write and perform the soundtrack for Tarzan. He later won an Academy Award for Best Song for "You'll Be in My Heart." Watch Collins’s recording session for “Strangers Like Me” in multiple languages above.

8. “REFLECTION” // MULAN (1998)

Lea Salonga returned to Disney as the singing voice for the titular character in Mulan. A 65-piece orchestra accompanied her while she belted out the animated film’s hit ballad, “Reflection.”

Fun Fact: While B.D. Wong and Donny Osmond provided the speaking and singing voices for Captain Li Shang, respectively, Jackie Chan performed the voice for the three different versions of Mulan in China.


Before Hercules was animated, singers Lillias White, Cheryl Freeman, LaChanze, Roz Ryan, and Vanéese Y. Thomas were brought in to record the song “From Zero To Hero,” while co-directors John Musker and Ron Clements blended live-action sequences and storyboards to help animators visualize the musical number.

10. INTO THE WOODS (2014)

In 2014, Stephen Sondheim’s hit Broadway musical Into The Woods was adapted to the big screen with a number of Hollywood A-listers, including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, and Johnny Depp as The Big Bad Wolf.

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Fact Check
A Physicist Weighs In On Whether Scrooge McDuck Could Actually Swim in a Pool of Gold Coins
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Batman has the Batcave, Superman has his Fortress of Solitude, and Scrooge McDuck has his money bin. For 70 years, the maternal uncle of Disney’s Donald Duck has been portrayed as a thrifty—some might say miserly—presence in cartoons and comics, a waterfowl who has such deep affection for his fortune that he enjoys diving into his piles of gold and luxuriating in them.

It’s a rather gross display of money worship, but is it practical? Can anyone, including an anthropomorphic Pekin duck, actually swim in their own money, or would diving headfirst into a pile of metal result only in catastrophic injury?

According to James Kakalios, Ph.D., a professor of physics at the University of Minnesota and author of the recently-released The Physics of Everyday Things as well as 2005’s The Physics of Superheroes, the question really isn’t whether someone could swim in a mass of gold. They could not. It’s more a matter of how badly they’ll be injured in the attempt.

Diving into a gold pile the Scrooge way—hands first, prayer-style, followed by your head—is the most efficient way to begin breaking bones. “Keeping his arms stiff and his elbows rigid, he’s definitely going to break his wrists,” Kakalios tells Mental Floss. “Gold is a granular material like sand, a macroscopic object. You can’t swim through sand or dive into it easily.” Launch yourself off a diving board from 3 or 4 feet up and you will meet a solid surface. Landing with your feet, a far better bet, is unlikely to result in injury—provided you try to bend your knees.

In that sense, diving into gold is not dissimilar from “diving” into a concrete floor. But with gold being granular, it might be possible to break the surface and “swim” if the friction were low enough. “A ball pit is a good example,” Kakalios says. “The balls are lightly packed and have low friction relative to one another. The key is to have objects in front of you move out of the way in order to advance.”

Despite being a fictional character, McDuck hasn’t totally ignored the impossible physics of his feat. His creator, Carl Barks, has written in repeated references over the years to the implausibility of using his money vault as a swimming pool and has depicted the villainous Beagle Boys trio as getting hurt when they tried to emulate the stunt. Scrooge smirked and said there was a “trick” to making the gold dive.

That’s led to one fan theory that McDuck has used his fortune to coat the gold coins in some kind of lubricant that would aid in reducing friction, allowing him to maneuver inside the vault. Ludicrous, yes. But is it possible? “You would need a massive amount of lube to slide your body past the coins with minimal effort,” Kakalios says. “The ball pit is easier because the weight of the elements is low. Gold is a very dense material.” Diving and swimming into it, even with lubricant, might be analogous to trying to shove your hand into a deep bowl of M&Ms, he says. “M&Ms have a low friction coating. Continuing to move is really the problem.”

Presuming McDuck could somehow maneuver himself deeper into the pile, his delicate duck bones would almost surely succumb to the crushing weight of the gold above him. By one estimate, diving under one of his 5-foot-tall gold piles would put 2492 pounds of pressure on his bill.

We'll see if he tips his top hat to any further gold-diving tricks—or if he's in a full-body cast—when Disney XD relaunches DuckTales this summer.

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Disney XD/Disney XD - © 2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
There Will Be Plenty of Easter Eggs in DuckTales
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Disney XD/Disney XD - © 2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Call them duck eggs. In an interview with, producers of Disney XD's new DuckTales reboot have promised fans that the series—which continues the adventures of gold-hoarding Scrooge McDuck and his excitable nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie—will feature nods to previous incarnations of the characters.

“There’s so much even in what we’ve released already,” executive producer Matt Youngberg said. “There are so many Easter eggs and even some that people haven’t picked up on yet.”

Fans who study the available footage like the Zapruder film may have spotted paintings in the background that are beautifully reminiscent of Carl Barks, the celebrated illustrator who created Scrooge and drew many of his comic book adventures, as well as the eight-bit theme to the original Nintendo game. There will also be nods to the previous series, the games, and other DuckTales-related media. That, Youngberg said, is because not everyone has had quite the same DuckTales experience.

“A lot of people watched the cartoon,” he said. “There’s also the comics, the international comics, the video game, the old Disney duck cartoons. There’s so much to draw from. We want to try to put that all together in a version that speaks to everyone.”

Already, fans have been quacking (sorry) about the inclusion of Darkwing Duck, the cloaked lead of the 1990s series of the same name. The new DuckTales has a one-hour film premiering August 12, with the series debuting September 23.

[h/t io9]


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