I didn’t see it coming, but Disney+ has become my favorite streaming service, hands down. I’d like to say I’m a classy broad, watching all of the documentaries and National Geographic stuff, but who would believe that? Instead, I’ve been doing a deep dive back into Disney’s vault.
And. I. Love. It.
Something about watching cartoons really allows me to check out during this stressful time, enjoying the sweet escape they offer. One of my favorite parts of the whole experience is sharing it with my boyfriend. We are each taking turns picking a movie, allowing us to relive some of our favorite childhood memories. We grew up with very different top choices, so it’s like showing each other a peek at what the sweet ‘lil baby versions of ourselves were like.
Side note: I recently rewatched Alice in Wonderland for the first time in probably a decade, and that scene where homegirl cries a literal river and says “I can’t stop crying”? That’s me. That is actual footage of me these past few weeks.
To make Disney even better, so many romance novels are fairytale retellings, allowing you to enjoy the princesses on the page and on the screen. Some of my personal favs are:
Beauty and The Beast
Listen, if you don’t resonate with Belle from Beauty and the Beast, I’m not really sure how to talk to you and we should probably just cut our losses here at any potential friendship. Belle is a boss-ass-bitch who loves to read, is selfless af, and artfully takes all the men in her life down a peg or two (we stan). So, it’s no surprise that I’ve invested a great deal of my teenage and adult life devouring Beauty and the Beast retellings. But my all-time fav? Hands down, Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. I want to inject the banter of this book INTO MY VEINS it’s so sharp and witty. Our Belle-adjacent heroine, Jessica Trent, is the ultimate alpha-queen who gives as good as she gets. She’s cunning, whip-smart, will cut you with only her words, and still manages to be one of the most compassionate and caring leading ladies of all time. Basically, I want to be her when I grow up. The hero, Dain, on the other hand, is a huge, prickly fellow that embraces his prince of darkness reputation to the most extra degree imaginable (he is literally THE MOST, and I love everything about it). What I also love about this one is how Dain’s beast “deformity” isn’t a physical scarring that we see in most retellings, but instead is his deeply internalized insecurity about his appearance and the rough, loveless childhood he endured. It’s a refreshing take on the trope.
More of a Cinderella fan? I can vibe with that. I have way more respect for Cinderella’s predicament now that I know how absolutely miserable it is to be a working adult that has to do chores. As far as retellings go, it’s impossible not to love Julia Quinn’s An Offer From a Gentleman. This novel has one of most well-done insta-loves that I’ve read, and the tension throughout Sophie and Benedict’s love story had me an absolutely stressed out mess the entire time and I loved every minute of it. Sophie is a resilient heroine that we all can admire, and Benedict is such a hard-headed FIEND but also so soft and caring? Gah, love him. This one also has all that delicious cat-nip of nursing the hero back to health, class difference, and two stubborn sweet angel babies finding out how to love each other.
The Little Mermaid
Real talk, who didn’t do that amazing Ariel push-up/upward facing dog move on every single rock you came across while shout-singing “PART OF YOUR WORLD,” at the top of your lungs as a child? Every. Single. Rock… This can’t be a me thing, right? It’s no secret that The Little Mermaid slaps. That soundtrack is just bop after bop. While not a fairytale retelling, Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday has all the Ariel/mermaid references your aquatic heart could dream of. This is a second-chance romance between childhood sweethearts. Our heroine, Eve, has to return to her small-town to take over an inn bequeathed to her in her late aunt’s will. Returning drudges up all kinds of feels as she is forced to face the dumb boy that broke her heart. Spoiler: dumb boy is now a hot man. With a beard. That knows how to use it. Yeah.
Even if you aren’t a Disney fan, I still highly recommend you revisit things in your childhood that made you happy. Taking the time to embrace the things that made us happy as kids is a great way to implement self-care. Just because we get older, doesn’t mean our sources of happiness need to change.