15 Aladdin Facts You Never Knew

Aladdin originally had a mother

Parents3

Aladdin is famously an orphan – “I’d blame parents, except he hasn’t got ’em,” as his marquee musical number points out – which is a trait he has in common with many Disney heroes. However, Al had a mother early drafts of the film. She was often disappointed he had to steal to keep them alive, and it was her giving Aladdin grief about lying to Jasmine about being a prince, instead of Genie laying the guilt trip.

Unfortunately for Al’s mother, the film went through a good deal of streamlining to shape it into the movie we know. Aladdin lost his mother as part of the cuts, leaving only his fleas to mourn him. Al would later gain a father in the third film, but his mother would stay in the past. The only place you can still see the matron is in Disney’s brief clips of the 1991 story reel before she got clipped out of the film (along with a number of songs) as they discuss above.

The best song cut from Aladdin got a second chance on Broadway

Howard Ashman was the lyricist for Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, and a good deal of Aladdin, and it’s impossible to imagine that era of Disney happening without him. The accomplished composer had passed away from AIDS complications a year before Aladdin’s release, though it still featured Ashman compositions like Prince Ali, Arabian Nights, and Friend Like Me. But one of Ashman’s favorites was Proud Of Your Boy, which got cut when Aladdin’s previously mentioned mother left the film during a late edit.

Obviously it hurts the creative folks on the film, most likely because Proud Of Your Boy was one of Ashman’s favorite songs, and he wasn’t even alive to see it get cut. For a while the tune only existed in deleted storyboards and unfinished recordings, but it eventually got a second chance in the 2011 stage musical of Aladdin. Composer Al Menken brought back many of Aladdin’s deleted songs to fill the Broadway musical, including Proud Of Your Boy (which was now sung by Aladdin to a mother he no longer knew). It’s such a pretty song, and maybe some day Disney will actually animate it, just as they did with a couple songs added to Beauty And The Beast and Lion King’s rereleases.

Iago was killed in a fire

iago aladdin tiki room

One of the oldest (and most old-timey) attractions in any of the Disney Parks is the Enchanted Tiki Room. Opened in 1963, the singing, dancing birdy robot show is arguably more famous for the Dole Whip served exclusively outside the sitting-room showcase. There are kids today who don’t even know the attraction still exists, and you can’t blame them because what child would sit and watch birds croon ’60s standards when they could be riding Star Tours or zipping through Cars Land?

enchanted-tiki-room-new-management-disney-world

Classic Disney fans like myself still love it, but the fact remains: The Tiki Room is so old that most of its cast is dead (the most recognizable voice being Thurl Ravenscroft of Tony the Tiger and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” fame). Michael Eisner sought to change that in 1998, infusing the Disney World version of the attraction with a more modern touch and changing the title to “The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management).” Park guests could enjoy an outdoor pre-show featuring the vocal talents of Jon Lovitz and Phil Hartman, but inside was where you got to meet the new bosses: Zazu from The Lion King and Iago from Aladdin (with new versions of songs from their respective films in tow).

How did hardcore Disneyana fans react? Doesn’t matter now! A fire broke out in the Tiki Room in 2011 damaging the New Management so severely, that the Iago audio animatronic was deemed too expensive to fix. The Enchanted Tiki Room has since reverted to its original form, making this exclusive Gilbert Gottfried performance lost to time.

Jafar is played by the same actor in animation and live action

Laugh3

This may be a shock to some, but most major Disney films are actually musicals. It’s little surprise that a number of them even made the transition to become full-on stage productions. The Lion King’s costumes earned it massive praise, while Beauty And The Beast had some interesting new songs added to the mix. But only Aladdin could claim that it had one of the film’s original voices performing every night, as Jonathan Freeman did with Jafar for more than three years.

Freeman is an accomplished musical theater actor on top of voicing cartoons (with Cogsworth in the aforementioned Beauty And The Beast Broadway show on his resume), so him taking on Jafar was an easy transition. In the final film, Freeman’s singing as Jafar is barely heard outside of his wonderfully snide reprisal of Prince Ali. The live version gave Jafar a little more room to croon, letting Freeman sing Why Me? and Diamond In The Rough on the stage.

Aladdin had a canonical crossover with Hercules

FinalAlHercGif

Disney characters hang out all the time, usually at the parks or in fun event shows like House Of Mouse or holiday specials. It’s much less likely to see any of the Disney animated film stars meet up in a way that actually counts for their franchise histories, but it actually happened with Aladdin and Hercules. Despite coming from two very separate folklores, these two likeable gents met up in a single episode of Herc’s animated series from 1999.

In case you didn’t know, the Hercules series is an interquel, basically taking place during that film’s training montage, which was apparently happening at the same time Aladdin was living in Agrabah. It’s all pretty similar to a comic book team-up: big bads Hades and Jafar work together, trick Al into fighting Herc, then the heroes become friends and beat the villains. What makes this event noteworthy for Aladdin fans is that this adventure takes place after the third film, making this Al and Jafar’s final chronological appearance to date.

6 thoughts on “15 Aladdin Facts You Never Knew

  1. Aladdin was the first film I saw when I really got into Disney after a trip to Disneyland. I enjoyed the film greatly. Although, the film truly became my favourite Disney film after Robin Williams passed away. I wish I was born or even remember when the early years of the Disney Renaissance took place. That era sounded like a great time to be a kid in general.

  2. Great write up Hank! Aladdin was, and still is, my favorite Disney (traditionally) animated film. The soundtrack is fantastic and as close as I get to enjoying a Broadway musical.

  3. Interesting indeed. I learned about Scott Weigner when he was on the Nerdist podcast a few months back. Check it out if you want to know a bit about his relationship with his Aladdin role and the surprising things he’s doing now. I believe he’s even come back and done the voice whenever they asked. Seems like a really good guy.

  4. I thought I’d give a shout out to Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. The musical that has been playing at Disney California Adventure for almost 13 years. I went to see it recently and it’s still a really good show even though I don’t know much about musicals to begin with and almost anything Aladdin pleases me. Although last month Disney announced that they will be retiring the Aladdin musical in place of, you guessed it, a Frozen musical. So if you’re planning a trip to Disneyland/California Adventure make sure you see it before Jan. 10, 2016!

  5. I never played the Aladdin Math game, but I played the SHIT out of the Aladdin Activity Center.

    I have my blu ray all preordered and it should be here tomorrow. Can’t wait.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *