Elsa from Disney's Frozen.
10 Fun Facts About Disney’s Frozen We Just Can’t Let Go

Did you know “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” nearly got cut from the movie?

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Prepare to be shocked. November 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the release of Disney’s Frozen. It has been fully a decade since we first met our two favorite sisters, Anna and Elsa, and our second favorite snowman Olaf (sorry, Frosty always wins) in the kingdom of Arendelle. Ten years feels like a long time, for sure, but also it feels like Frozen has been with us forever. Can you remember life before “Let It Go?” and “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” sing-alongs on Disney+ that your kids beg to watch on repeat? Nope, you cannot.

The world fell in love with the relationship between Princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and her sister Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) back in 2013, and we’ve been loving them ever since. Frozen 2 was a huge hit when it was released in 2019. Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) has even had his own movie. Because of the monumental success of both the first and second Frozen movies, Disney CEO Bob Iger recently announced that there are two more Frozen movies in the works. Because we simply cannot get enough.

None of that would be possible without the original story that kicked it all off in 2013. A story that, as it turns out, has a whole lot of interesting behind-the-scenes facts behind it.


Frozen took 70 years to make.


If Frozen felt like a classic Disney movie when it was made, that’s for good reason. The story is loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson’s story The Snow Queen, and the movie was originally considered for production back in 1940 by Walt Disney himself. Back then, Walt Disney partnered up with Samuel Goldwyn of MGM to bring The Snow Queen to the screen, but it wasn’t to be. They worked on the project until 1942, but World War II stalled the movie. The idea for The Snow Queen was revisited in the late ‘90s, but scrapped again in 2002. And again in 2010. It wasn’t until Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee took it on in 2012 that we finally, finally got our movie.


“Let It Go” was written in a day.

It took a long time to get Frozen made, but the hit song from the movie didn’t take too long at all. Just one day, in fact. Husband-wife songwriter duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez sat down to write the song after going for a walk in the park, director Jennifer Lee told American Songwriter. “And we just said, ‘Let’s talk about who [Elsa] is. What would it feel like?’ And Bobby and Kristen said they were walking in Prospect Park and they just started talking about what would it feel like.” They went home and wrote the song in a day. And it became an anthem for being true to yourself and being brave that has stood the test of time.


Elsa’s locks have 400,000 strands of hair.


It’s probably not normal to be jealous of an animated character’s hair, but how could you not be when that character has hair like Elsa’s. How in the world does her white blonde hair look so thick and luxurious? It turns out, there was a lot of incredible detail that went in to her hair. As in, around 400,000 individual CGI strands of it. This is more than any previous character’s hair, including Rapunzel from 2010’s Tangled and let’s remember, her hair was strong enough to climb on and swing on and went all the way down to the ground when she was in her tower. They’re not in a hair war but if they were, Elsa would win.


Frozen was the first Disney animated feature film directed by a woman.

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It feels incredibly fitting that Frozen, a movie that changed the narrative of traditional Disney movies by focusing on sisterhood rather than romantic love, was the first animated feature film to be directed by a woman. Lee co-wrote the movie with Chris Buck but took on the role of director on her own, and made a massive hit out of it while she was at it. Frozen won the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2014, and Lee went on to become the first woman to be named chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Elsa and Anna would be proud.


Bette Midler, Amy Winehouse, and Idina Menzel were the inspiration behind Elsa.

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Elsa is a strong, powerful woman with an incredible singing voice and a solid independent streak. So it come as no surprise that her character was developed using several incredible woman as a template. Like Bette Midler, who served as one of the early inspirations behind Elsa, in particular her “showgirl stage presence,” according to Disney animation artist Claire Keane. Watch Elsa belting out “Let It Go” again with that in mind, it will change everything. Add in a little of Amy Winehouse’s “pathos” and “deep, soulful voice” as well as a pinch of Idina Menzel herself, and you’ve got your ice queen.


Norway tourism got a big boost from Frozen.

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After Frozen became the most successful animated musical of all time in 2014, one country saw a massive boost in their tourism. Norway. The art director of Frozen, Michael Giaimo, traveled to Bergen in Norway to get inspiration for the film, studying the architecture, fjords, and churches to come up with the fictional kingdom of Arrendelle. Disney, ever the savvy marketing geniuses, partnered with Innovation Norway to drive up tourism, and it paid off in a big way. These days, there are Frozen-specific tours in Norway, so the boost continues.


Gloves have an important hidden meaning in Frozen.


At first glance, you might think that Elsa’s gloves are really just fashionable. Which they are, never forget that, but there’s also a special meaning behind her gloves. Not only do Elsa’s gloves help to contain her special powers and keep her from turning everything she touches into an icy wonderland, they’re also symbolic. Whenever Elsa wears her gloves, fans of the movie have a theory that she’s trying to keep in her true nature. She’s hiding who she really is and who she’s meant to be. The same holds true for baddie Hans, who is seen wearing gloves. And we all know he’s hiding his true nature, which he really should keep to himself since it’s rotten.


“Do You Want To Build A Snowman” nearly got cut.

One of the most adorable scenes in the film, when Princess Anna is a little girl begging her sister to play with the song “Do You Want To Build A Snowman,” nearly got cut from the film. After an original screening of Frozen in February 2013, the scene was taken out and put back in several times before the official movie release. “It was not put back in the film until the witching hour before we released it,” Kristen Bell told Business Insider at the time. “Thankfully, at the very last moment, someone made the call of putting it back in. I think it’s one of the best songs in the movie.” We agree.


Anna and Elsa weren’t supposed to be sisters.

Anna and Elsa weren’t going to be sisters at first.Disney/YouTube

The best thing about Frozen for so many fans is, obviously, the relationship between Anna and Elsa. Two sisters who love each other, who choose each other over everyone else. Who could imagine this movie without Anna going on a quest to bring her sister home? Apparently the writers of the movie. In the original drafts of the movie, Anna was actually a peasant girl who was visiting the dark Queen Elsa to ask her to freeze her broken heart. Which sounds like an incredible, although totally separate, movie that we would be okay to see if Disney wants to make it real quick.


Elsa was originally an evil queen until “Let It Go” was written.


As Frozen was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Elsa’s character was meant to be an evil queen like the one in the story. A queen with a blue face and spiky hair like the one in the story from 1844. And instead of Elsa’s amazing fashion sense and very cool gloves, she would have worn a coat made of living weasels if Disney decided to be faithful to the book. The plan to write Elsa as an evil character changed once the song “Let It Go” was written. Even though the song was written as a Disney villain anthem, it changed when director Lee rewrote a bit of the beginning of the movie to introduce the song later. Changing its meaning, but not the song itself.

Frozen is now part of Disney lore, of course. The highest grossing animated movie of all time, a groundbreaking feminist film with a killer anthem to boot. Who can imagine our lives without it?

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