“There’s a snake in my boot,” says Toy Story’s Woody when you tug on his pull-string.
But that’s not the only place you’ll find snakes throughout the wonderful worlds of Disney. From films, television shows, and theme parks to trees and in hair—eek!—D23 is celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year and the Year of the Snake with a winding look back at the slithering serpents in Disney history.
When we first started putting together this list, we thought it would be pretty short—snakes have had a pretty bad rap in the past, and we didn’t think they would be represented much throughout Disney history—but just like the 24-foot boas in the Jungle Cruise attraction, we found our list longer than we expected. And while we probably missed a few, here is the list of snakes we came up with by the time we had to post this article. Enjoy!
Attraction and Audio-Animatronics® Snakes
Besides those snakes found in Jungle Cruise trees—H.I.S.S… I.N.G.—you can find snakes all over Disney theme parks. They are in The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Disneyland, plus there is a snake and snake charmer in “it’s a small world.” Also, Kaa appears in Fantasmic! and there are rattlesnakes all over in the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attractions.
Then there are the statues of snakes at Disney theme parks. They surround “The Astounding Donaldo” at the new Storybook Circus at Magic Kingdom and are part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park decor, including the imaginative ones at Flame Tree Barbecue. And, again, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Disneyland has snake statues. That attraction seems to be the mother load of snake references.
Snakes as Hair
Who would have thought we would need a category for this? You can find snakes in Medusa’s hair from the changing portrait in Haunted Mansion and, similarly, in Celia’s hair in Monsters, Inc.
Animated Film Snakes
Our animated film snakes range from such A-listers as Kaa in The Jungle Book to those snakes in supporting roles, such as the one Pecos Bill uses as a lariat in Melody Time. There is also Juju, Mama Odie’s snake in The Princess and the Frog; the unnamed tree snake in Tarzan;Sir Hiss from Robin Hood; the black and orange snake in The Nightmare Before Christmas;Larry the snake from Disney’s The Wild;and the adorable snake toy in Toy Story.
How do you make a Disney villain even more evil? Just have them turn into a snake. It’s worked for The Sword in the Stone’s Madam Mim, Aladdin’s Jafar, and Hercules’ Pain and Panic.
Snakes can’t hear—due to their lack of ears—but they can dance, as seen in the Silly Symphonies. There are snakes in Monkey Melodies and The Birds in the Spring, and Mickey fights with a snake hose in the short Mickey’s Garden.
Snakes in a Series
Saturday morning cartoons wouldn’t be the same without snakes! They have slithered their way into your home via the following Disney animated television series: Cydne from 101 Dalmatians; the Aztec Guardian Serpent from American Dragon: Jake Long;Lola Boa from Brandy & Mr. Whiskers;Snake-Cat in Kim Possible;and Thaddeus E. Klang in TaleSpin.
Disney has cast its share of real-life snakes in movies, television shows, and theme parks, too. In films, they have appeared in Jungle Cat, The Living Desert, Beaver Valley, and Swiss Family Robinson; in television, in The Journey to the Valley of the Emu and Pablo and the Dancing Chihuahua; and in the parks, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Kermit isn’t the only Muppet to come from the swamp. There is Howard Snake from Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas, Vile Bunch Drummer from The Muppet Show, and Vicki from Kermit’s Swamp Years, among many other unnamed snakes in Muppet sketches. And don’t forget Snake Walker, the frog assassin played by human actor Scott Walker from The Muppet Movie.
Super Hero and Star Wars Snakes
You didn’t think we would leave the Marvel Universe or Star Wars out of this list, did you? Marvel has the Serpent Squad, comprised of Cobra, Eel, and Viper. And from Star Wars, there are the Dragonsnakes that live on Dagobah and Nal Hutta.
And that concludes our look at Disney snakes in celebration of the Year of the Snake. The 2013 Chinese New Year officially begins February 10, and Hong Kong Disneyland recently kicked off a nearly-month-long party on February 1 called A Golden Chinese New Year Celebration with special decor, merchandise, and in-room surprises for hotel guests.
Happy Lunar New Year! We hope it is a ssssspecial one!
By D23: The Official Disney Fan Club’s Billy Stanek