40 Years, 40 Disney Movies: Counting Down to Daddy’s Birthday Trip Night 1 – Dumbo!

So my family is super cool. We do these Disney theme night things, see. They center on a Disney movie and we have food and some kind of activity associated with that movie.  Like if we watch Pinocchio, we may have Stromboli and put on a puppet show. Or if we watch Bambi, we might decide to have venison and talk about the loss of a parent.

Wait…scratch that last one.

Annnnnywhat,  I am gonna be 40 next year. Which is, like, super old I hear. And for my 40th, we are going to go to erm…I mean…come on…where else? Of course, we are going to Disney World.

So as a countdown to the trip, Nickie and the boys asked me my 40 favorite Disney movies and we are going to try and watch them as we go through the next year. Now, I am not sure that all of these will be Disney nights, but I figured this blog would be a good place to capture this. When there is a Disney night, I will be sure to chronicle it here. If there is not a Disney night, I can at least mention it here and talk about why it’s one of my favorites. Please note these are not in any specific order…they will be surprising me with movies at random times.

So let’s get started eh?

Up first? Dumbo. I love me some Dumbo. I laugh. I cry. I want to punch an elephant.

So this was a Disney night, complete with food and activities. We did a circus theme because…I mean, keep up. It’s Dumbo.


Dumbo? More like Yumbo...am I right?
Dumbo? More like Yumbo…am I right?

For food, we had hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, chips and…erm…beans. You know, like they do in the circus. I remember as a young lad watching the circus waiting anxiously for the bean guy to come walking through the aisles with cries of, “Get your beans here…boston baked beans HERE!” Man, my childhood was MESSED. UP.


I am Cornholio.
I am Cornholio. Are you threatening me?

Nickie set up a beanbag toss (or cornhole if you prefer) game in the living room. I know what you’re thinking. Cornhole? In the living room? This is the American dream. I know. I live it every day, man.

The movie

Why do I love Dumbo so much? It’s one of the shorter Disney movies, coming in at just over an hour. The animation is…ok. And I mean, the main character doesn’t even talk, right?

But it is because of its simplicity I love Dumbo so much. It’s a pretty out there story. I mean, imagine pitching this one. OK, so this elephant. He has big ears. And this makes him able to fly. But his mom gets locked up and the only way he can get her out is if he jumps from a flaming building and becomes a star.

How does he learn he can fly?

Oh, he gets drunk one night and figures it out when he’s hungover.

"I'm not trunk...I mean Drunk."
“I’m not trunk…I mean Drunk.”

But anyone who knows Dumbo knows THAT is not the story. The story centers on the love between a mother and child. The fact that once you are a parent…once you hold that baby in your arms…you are bound to it and will protect it no matter what. And it’s also a story of not only accepting your own idiosyncrasies and  what makes you different from others, but how it is just those things that make you you.

And the characters are all so relatable. We can all relate to Dumbo and his feelings of sadness, isolation and inadequacy. And as parents, many of us can relate to Mrs. Jumbo and her unconditional and unwavering love. And, unfortunately, many of us can also relate to the other elephants. I, like many of us, have been guilty of picking on the little guy too. And those are ugly moments.  And these elephants have ugly personalities. And we all WANT to be Timothy. We all want to be those truly good people who always fight for the little guy. Timothy, in my opinion, is one of the most noble of all characters in Disney films. When he walks in the middle of that pack of cackling pachyderms (5 times fast..) or when he makes his speech to the crows, he is the voice for Dumbo and all those who are unfairly picked on and ostracized.

So despite (or potentially because of) its simplicity, Dumbo succeeds in touching so much of what we all go through in life. Sadness, loss, shame, self-realization and ultimately, vindication are on full display here.

Now, please…Tim Burton…don’t mess this up.

Good times....
Good times….

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