15 Irony Examples in Disney Movies

What is Irony?

Irony is a technique that writers of all kinds use, sometimes for laughs, to create an outcome that is contrary to what was, or might have been, expected. Disney movies are full of irony, and here are just ten of the best examples.

Irony Examples in Disney Movies

• Snow White’s Apple – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

The apple that puts Snow White into a deep sleep is dramatic irony, because the audience knows that the Wicked Stepmother cursed the apple, but Snow White does not.

• Remy – Ratatouille

The very idea of having a Rat in a kitchen is gross to some people, so Disney making an ironic movie about a rat that just happens to be a master chef makes it one of the most ironic movies of all.

• Mufasa’s Death – The Lion King

Throughout the entire movie, Simba skulks around the Savannah and thinks that he is the direct cause of Mufasa’s death, when in reality Scar, who is now taking care of him, is the one who killed Mufasa.

• Monster’s Inc.

The entire plot of the movie is very ironic. Monster’s Inc. is a corporation run by monsters, their job being to scare children, when in reality they are the ones that are constantly afraid of the children.

• Hercules and the Magic Potion – Hercules

Another case of dramatic irony is when Hercules does not drink every last drop of the magic potion, while the audience and his sidekicks do know. Hades then underestimates him, and Hercules is able to win.

• Numerous Fish – Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo best shows its irony in its characters. There’s the very unfunny clownfish, the carnivorous shark support group, and one of the funniest, the pelican being friends with the fish.

• Aladdin’s Wish to Be Rich – Aladdin

Aladdin had three wishes from the Genie, and one of them was to be a Prince: which meant have the riches of the land. He wanted to be rich so that he could marry the Princess, Jasmine. However, Jasmine was actually repulsed by his riches and did NOT want to marry him.

• Mr. Incredible – The Incredibles

There are quite a few in this movie: Mr. Incredible (a superhero) gets sued for saving a person attempting suicide. He also goes through a midlife crisis in the movie, but Superheroes don’t have ages.

• Belle and Gaston – Beauty and the Beast

“I just don’t deserve you!

In the movie, Gaston wants to marry Belle, but she says that she doesn’t deserve him. In reality, the audience knows that he is the one that does not deserve her.

• Sally and McQueen – Cars

SALLY:
I mean if you want to stay at the dirty impound.
That’s- that’s fine.
You know, I understand you criminal types.

McQUEEN:
No, no, no, no. That’s OK. Yeah, The Cozy Cone.

SALLY:
It’s newly refurbished.

McQUEEN:
Ha-ha. Yeah, it’s like a clever little twist.
The motel’s made out of caution cones, when of course,
cars usually try to avoid, now we’re gonna stay in them.
Ha-ha. That’s funny.

The section above is one of the most genius moments in Disney irony: Sally and McQueen are in love with each other, but they insult each other to their faces.

• Eric Looking for Love – The Little Mermaid

Eric was saved from a shipwreck by Ariel, and she fell in love with him immediately. She asks Ursula to give her legs so that she can go find him, and has to give her voice to Ursula in return. However, without her voice, Eric does not recognize her and still searches for his love.

• Shrek and Donkey’s Friendship – Shrek

Donkey: Can I stay with you? Please?
Shrek: Of course.
Donkey: Really?
Shrek: NO.

This little bit of verbal irony – where Shrek says one thing but means another – represents a whole movie chock full of irony. One of the most ironic things is that Shrek and Donkey act like they can’t stand each other, but actually are best friends.

• Mulan’s Gender – Mulan

The movie Mulan is one of the under looked Disney masterpieces and a great lesson for tragic irony. The audience knows that Mulan is a woman, while the rest of the other men in the military do not.

• Royal Matrimony – Sleeping Beauty

When Prince Phillip meets Briar Rose, he wants to marry her but can’t because his father won’t let him marry a commoner. However, the audience already knows who Briar Rose really is (a princess), so we know that they can.

• Beware the Frozen Heart – Frozen

In Frozen, Anna is the one character without a symbolic frozen heart, as she never hides her true feelings and is emotionally open. However, in an ironic twist, she has the “frozen heart” that the opening song warns the audience about.