Life Lessons from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp

Happy Thursday Main Streeters! Glad to have you back. I hope you have been following this weekly series taking a stroll through memory lane and unearthing some of Walt’s early animated films. Each week, I have been choosing a movie and tying them to life lessons as well as spotting where they are sometimes subtly, or not to subtly referenced in Disney Parks and Resorts. Today we will be exploring life lessons to be gained courtesy of the fifteenth Disney animated feature film, Lady and the Tramp.

Touted as “His Happiest Motion Picture”, Lady and the Tramp was produced by Walt Disney and released in the summer of 1955. Personally, I think this beautiful love story has been often overlooked as a classic. There really isn’t a significant amount of Disney lure associated to the film except for seasonal topiaries at Epcot, and the always delicious Tony’s Restaurant in Magic Kingdom. Sure, every once in a while we get a pin released with Lady and Tramp, or some valentine’s day merchandise, but this classic has somewhat faded from the spotlight. True shame because there are some fascinating underlying lessons to be learned from the perspective of charismatic pets.

On the note of animation, the scene where Lady and Tramp share an accidental kiss while eating the same noodle of spaghetti is considered an iconic scene in film history. It is also adorably recreated by couples who visit Tony’s in MK, and who like to include nods to Disney in photos. 

As always, the quotes I pick and the lessons I associate them to are my own perspective. We always ask Main Streeters to share with us what they have learned from the movies covered in this series, and we encourage open and friendly dialogue on how these stories have touched your lives, or taught you something about yourself. Remember, everyone has a story or a journey, and how we respect that is how we keep our Disney community caring and thriving. So let’s get into some of the themes and quotes. 

“There is a great big hunk of world down there with no fence around it” – Tramp

Hands down, one of the most underutilized Disney quotes, and what a great quote it is. Here is the life lesson I gather from this, it’s one word: EXPLORE. Life is all about exploring and getting out there. In the movie we see Lady who never really left the comfort of her yard until Tramp comes along and opens her eyes to the possibility of adventure. Yes, evil Aunt Sarah does take Lady to the pet shop, but her motives and her reasons are to muzzle her, Tramp on the other hand, or shall we say, other paw, wants Lady to see what an unmuzzled life outside of a comfort zone can bring. Through their adventures they fall in love. Had Lady never taken the chance to explore that great big hunk of world, we would not have gotten the gem of Scamps Adventure (the direct to home sequel of Lady and the Tramp released in 2001). 

Theme: It’s okay to recognize and accept differences

Lady is a cocker spaniel dog who lives in a perfect house, and is being taken care of by well to do owners. Tramp is referred to as a mongrel or a mutt who lives on the streets and has to fend for himself. If you replace the names Lady and Tramp, you’ve got the premise of pretty much every Disney love story struggle, but there is something inherently different about this story. Here we see the theme through pets and not people. It’s a life lesson to disregard social class, or in this case, breed, to really see what is in the heart of another. Yes, Tramp doesn’t come from a well to do family that feeds him the finest foods, but when he develops feelings for Lady, and something Lady loves is placed in a danger situation, it’s his street smarts and scrappy nature that keeps Lady and Jim Dear and Darling’s baby safe. When you make a true and genuine connection with someone, regardless of who they are or where they came from, you never know how they can surprise you, or be there to help when you need it most. A lesson in tolerance and acceptance, even in 1955. 

There is always so much to infer from Disney movies, and I cannot possibly pick up or cover it all. So tell us, what did you learn from this film? Share with us! We love to hear from you! Don’t forget to come back next week as we continue this series and explore more life lessons from Walt’s movies and imagination. 


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