Layers, layers, layers
Disney movies can teach you a lot and I think they taught me a lot. Like with Pocahontas, they give a sense of history. Different cultures, the discovery of new land, the diferences there are and how even though people might be different, it doens't mean one is better than the other. You would think that a lot of us would already know that, but some people don't. There are lessons, which I think you should learn from your family. But not all people think the same. And of course that's not a problem, because it's good that they are and it should be respected. But children should grow up knowing the differences in the world and how when one person has an opinion it doesn't have to be the same as yours. And that is where Disney movies can help. My parents are very open minded, but the movies made me ask the questions. So there are many layers in a movie and they can inspire children at a very young age to start thinking for themselves and aks questions.
Also for adults
Like I said, one of my favorites is Hercules. I watched this one when I didn't know anything about the ancient Greeks or Greek Gods. When I went to high school I got lessons in Greek and Latin. We had to translate myths and that's how I learned a lot about it. But I always came back to that movie, because it introduced it to me. And when I watch it again, I notice so much more than when I was younger and 'unknowing'. Of course this goes for many movies, but in this one you get to learn about an entire new world with Olympos, Cerberus and fauns. When you meet Phil he talks about heroes like Achilles, you see Theseus with Medusa's head, and he mentions Cleopatra. Not to mention that a lot of the mythology comes by. Like his birth, all the other Gods, twelve labours, Lydra and the Titans. Seeing the subject of the movie, it isn't all that weird. But you can see it in other movies as well, such as Anastasia.
Now, usually it's about happy endings and finding Prince Charming. Defenseless girls who need a man to save them. That isn't such a good message for young girls... or maybe it is, it just isn't a very strong empowering one. In Anastasia, Mulan and Rapunzel the main characters are female and much stronger than the man. They end up saving them or at least fighting next to each other as equals. So Disney movies have changed over the years, but they always leave you with a message. Themes that keep coming back is overcoming differences, never giving up on your dreams and fighting for what you want. Whether that is a love interest, being independent, finding and/or proving yourself, but most of all believing in yourself. And that is part of the reason why I love them. I like Disney movies, so sue me... They can teach you more than you even know when you're watching it, they are funny, intertextual and a lot of the time also inspiring. If they keep making them this way, I'm just gonna keep watchin' them!