5. If Ever a Wiz There Was
Magic is one of the words most associated with the name Disney, but what magical image would be complete without a few Wizards. To call the great Walt Disney a wizard is certainly an understatement, as his hands created magic Houdini and Harry Potter would envy. But Disney also had a hand in creating two very famous magic users, the first of which appeared in 1940 in a film called Fantasia. In the most iconic segment of the film, Mickey Mouse is the apprentice under the great sorcerer, Yen Sid (which happens to be Disney spelled backwards). Yen Sid is a brilliant, though very intimidating, enchanter. However, there is something very familiar about his hypnotic stare. The Disney animators based this feature off of their boss, Walt Disney himself. The so called “Disney Glare” was inspired by Disney’s expression when focusing on a piece of art or deeply invested in his work. Appropriate for a profound master of magic.
Yen Sid is not the only wizard to be inspired by Disney. The last animated feature Walt Disney had his own personal touch in was of course the Jungle Book, but before his passing in 1966, his likeness inspired the design of another character. In 1963, Walt Disney Pictures released the animated fantasy The Sword in the Stone, the last film Walt Disney was present for from start to finish. The film’s most memorable character is without a doubt, Merlin the Magician. It is up for interpretation whether or not he was the physical inspiration for the wizard’s gangly style of movement, but it has been noted by animators and Disney historians that Merlin’s nose and facial expressions bear a striking resemblance to those of Disney’s. Either way, both spell casters are striking symbols of sorcery and give new meaning to the term Disney Magic.