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Once upon a time, there was a princess.

There’s usually always a princess involved.

She’s often mixed up in some crazy magical shenanigans, whether she’s losing her vocal cords to a jealous octopus, riding in a carriage that turns in a pumpkin after her curfew or trying to break the spell that turned her … boyfriend? Landlord? Romantic interest? Who uses labels these days anyways? — from a French prince into something reminiscent of a buffalo.

In this specific case, the quasi-princess is turned into a frog.

Yes, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog will finally open in wide release on Dec. 11. I don’t think I’ve been this excited in years (Since 1998 to be exact. The movie: Mulan. For the record, I was 10 years old.).

The Princess and the Frog is Disney’s much-anticipated return to traditional animation, and has a lot to live up to. The 49th classically animated Disney flick, it’s the company’s first with an African American heroine. Set in the Jazz Age New Orleans, the movie comes after the company famously declared in 2004 they were getting out of the hand-drawn animation biz after the spectacularly disappointing Home on the Range, Brother Bear and Treasure Island (Fact: There were no princesses in any of these — coincidence?).

While I’m well aware that many see Walt Disney as the source of everything wrong with the world today — from consumerism to unhealthy body image to a skewed view of the world — these people have it all wrong. Disney stories are fairytales, as in fictional, and contain a lot of positive messages as well. It’s totally A-OK to love the mouse!

Disney movies, especially in the past two decades or so, have featured strong female heroines who take their life into their own hands. Belle, Mulan, Pocahontas — none of these girls took a passive stance towards their lives. Mulan joined the army! Pocahontas worked toward positive inter-racial relations! And my personal favorite, Belle, not only fought for what she believed was morally correct, she read in her spare time! That was huge for brunette girls who like books (i.e., me).

There’s also something immensely gratifying in watching a movie well made, and it’s hard to argue that Disney does not produce quality entertainment. One visit to Walt Disney World in Orlando will convince even the non-believer of the intense effort the Disney company puts into small details. While I haven’t seen The Princess and the Frog yet, based on early reviews of the movie and my past experience with these kinds of films, I have high expectations for Disney to deliver solid production values.

Of course a sense of nostalgia comes into play as well when it comes to liking these movies for college-aged students. Like an affinity for old-school Nickelodeon shows, traditional Disney movies hearken back to a time when we were all young and life was uncomplicated. It was comforting to know in the back of our minds that the prince and the princess would eventually end up together, even if we weren’t 100-percent sure while watching for the first time. It’s still nice to know everything will end well.

There’s a sense of escapism when it comes to Disney movies as well. Even a self-proclaimed optimist like me knows that Disney-movie endings aren’t a given in real life, but it’s nice to escape for an hour or two into a world where they are a hard-and-fast rule. Who doesn’t still get a kick out of watching Simba take his place on Pride Rock in The Lion King? Or listening to Aladdin and Jasmine sing about a whole new world, and absolutely knowing that they will experience that world together?

I sincerely hope The Princess and the Frog lives up to my expectations, but even if it turns out to be only mediocre I still have the rest of the Disney library to reinforce my taste for happily-ever-afters.

The end.

Arielle Kane is a College senior from Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. Her e-mail address is

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