Disney is a huge entity; everyone loves a Disney movie, and there are so many to love, both live-action and animated. Voice acting Disney movies is a true honor and gives the talented voice actors the capability to make any Disney movie a stand out film.
If you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:
This post has been updated in October 2021.
The Popularity of Disney Films
Disney movies are beloved and have been for decades. We continue to watch the early ones and anxiously await new productions. From toddlers watching a movie for the first time to their grandparents who watched the same movies, people of all ages love Disney movies. These films capture the audience with their beauty and are timeless in nature. Both the animated and the live-action films are fabulous, but there is something truly unique and oh, so special about a Disney animated film.
This article shares some very valid reasons why we all love Disney animated films so much.
- The movies are part of childhood. We all remember watching Disney movies as a kid. Maybe we watched the Wide World of Disney on Sunday night or maybe it was the VCR we played a gazillion times. Whether your favorite was The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, 101 Dalmations, or any other film, they really do make a lasting impression. Many kids watch Disney films over and over, memorizing the songs and lines, and the voice acting Disney actors become part of their worlds. These films remind us of comfortable and safe times even when we are grown-ups.
- The Songs. Oh, the Disney songs. “Reflection” from Mulan, “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, “You Can Fly” from Peter Pan… who doesn’t love them? These catchy songs are some of the first ones that kids are going to memorize and sing thousands of times over. The voice acting Disney artists make these songs what they are with their perfectly pitched and carefully characterized voices.
- The Lessons. Disney movies offer up some great lessons. The characters are brave, resilient, and compassionate. They learn and grow as we watch, transforming into every day heroes in front of our eyes, and these are great lessons to carry throughout life.
Another part of the charm of a Disney film is that these films maintain their relevancy. Maybe the original Peter Pan seems a bit old fashioned, but that may be part of its endearing appeal. These movies also capture a beauty and share this for years to come. And don’t forget, they take their viewers to new places, new imaginations, and new magic. This is why Disney films are so popular and is part of the reason why they remain this way.
The Importance of Voice Acting Disney Films
Disney films are beautiful, we know that. But they also have just the right voice acting talent. The voices in the films are what make the beauty complete. The actors who voice our beloved (and sometimes hated) Disney characters are able to capture their character, their nuances, and their personalities, for better or worse.
Nothing beats a Disney villain. And the actors that play the villains do so with acute perfection. Think about Ursula’s laugh in The Littel Mermaid, or Scar’s ominous, woeful voice in The Lion King. These movies would be very different with different actors voicing the characters. Sure, they may not be bad with someone else playing the parts, but these villains have voices laced with skill, talent, and an all-encompassing success. These voice acting Disney villains know just what they are doing.
And the princesses…how can we mention Disney without the princesses. As beautiful as they are, they also emit an astounding strength. The actors who voice them help them come alive through song and script. However, this isn’t easy. It takes just the right voice acting Disney talent to complete these princesses to make them into strong role models. And through the decades, the princesses have become even stronger.
Much of the success of Disney animated films is the beauty within them. Each film is filled with visual artistry to create a new world of aesthetics. From the deep sea to the Scottish moors to a city street, we can go anywhere with a Disney movie. The voice overs do the same thing on an auditory level. Each Disney voice is acted with precision, talent, and personality. This voice acting Disney talent makes these movies timeless, entertaining, and enduring.
Skills of a Great Voice Actor
Voice acting Disney films is not your everyday gig. These films are huge, and the characters are iconic. The voice actors need to be the best of the best and have the skills to shine. This article from Bunny Studio shares two of Disney’s great voices – Jeremy Irons and James Earl Jones in The Lion King. These actors envelop their characters and come through emotionally using just their voice talents. No gestures, no physical interaction, no scowls or smiles, just the instrument of their voice. Their voice is the one thing they have to convey the emotions and embodiment of their characters. So it better be good.
One of the most important skills in voice acting a character is using emotion in the voice. An actor must be able to manipulate and control his or her voice to convey the emotion, the feeling, the glory and defeat of a character. Remember, Disney characters live all of these emotions. Sometimes they do it through song or soliloquy, sometimes through dialogue or discussion, but whatever it is, their voice has to carry the character. And it has to connect with the audience.
In addition, here are some other skills involved in high caliber voice acting (DigitalInformationWorld.com):
- Clear enunciation
- Knowing your tempo and maintaining it
- Intonation and emphasis
- The ability to get into character
That last characteristic is all-important for voice acting Disney or any other type of film. Just as a film actor would get into character, a voice actor voicing a character must do the same. This may not be so important for someone voicing a corporate video or narration, but a voice actor playing a character must embody that character. It can’t just sound like he’s reading a script.
Think about bouncy Simba’s voice or wise Rafiki. Now imagine these characters switching voices and how different The Lion King would be. Here’s another example to think about, you’d have a very different movie if you switched Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford in Star Wars. This isn’t to say it would be bad, but well, it would be different. Hmmmm….Mark Hamill as Han Solo…? So actors are chosen to play certain characters for a reason. This also goes for voice actors. Because of this, with not only their voices but also their voice skills, these talented people can bring that chosen character to life.
Disney Voices Over the Years
Voice acting Disney has changed throughout the years and decades. Remember, Snow White’s sweet voice? An 18-year-old opera singer was the voice behind this cooking and cleaning pretty princess. And then there is Elsa, a powerful feminist with a powerful voice voiced by Idina Menzel. Her strong song and Menzel’s talent give that voice to her character, letting us know how far she’s come. But it’s not just the princesses with great voice overs. Did you know that Walt Disney actually voiced Mickey Mouse’s voice at first?
With technology and, well, changing times, the voices of Disney characters have changed, too. We’ve seen stars like Kurt Russell, Miley Cyrus, John Travolta, Ellen Degeneres, Kristen Bell, Mickey Rooney, and so many other talented actors and singers voice Disney characters. That’s some serious talent. One beautiful thing is that the voice acting Disney talent represents the times and current world, from Snow White to Elsa. Yet, the movies are timeless.
What Can We Learn From This Talent?
The amazing talent in voice acting Disney characters shows us how important voice actors to any piece. From a short Mickey Mouse cartoon to a full length animated film, voice overs are a key component to the success of a piece. However, you don’t need a star of the big screen to voice your piece, you just need talent.
But what makes the talent? How do you find talent that is just the right voice for your piece? Those in a voice acting career know it takes talent, plus hard work and adaptability. Actors must be able to take on a character as well as take direction from the producer of the piece, whether that is you or someone else.
As for the one doing the hiring, some of that onus lies on you, too. Whether you are hiring on your own or through a voice talent agency, you have to make your expectations and vision clear. The more the talent and those working with you in the process know what you want the end result to be, the better the talent can fit your work and the better they can perform as well. What this means is that it is important that you know what you want and that you get this across to the voice talent.
You can also take some of these Disney characters as examples for your work. Do you want a sweet voice similar to Sleeping Beauty or maybe a strong heroic voice like Hercules’s? Think about Marlin’s voice (Albert Brooks) or Tom Hanks as Woody. What are some characteristics that these actors have that you can apply to your voice actor? It doesn’t mean you have to have the high ranking voice acting Disney talent from these top names, but you can use them as role models and a standard to find your own talent.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that the people at Disney know what they are doing. From the early years with Walt as the leader to current times with Walt’s standard still in the foreground, Disney continues to create timeless, successful films with voice acting Disney talented actors. The actors encompass the characters, full of emotion which endears them to the audience. Disney characters go far past the screen and they enter our lives, staying with us well into adulthood. So don’t be afraid to let your characters do the same thing. Find that voice that will help your characters transcend the screen and become a part of the audience’s world far after the final credits roll.
Find the right voice for you today at Bunny Studio!