One tweak, one song replacement, one additional character, and many Disney movies — from "The Lion King" to "Peter Pan" — would have been different than the films the world knows and loves today.
Here's a look at 15 songs that were cut from Disney films before they ever made it onto the big screen — and a few songs that made it back into the films years after they were cut:
According to The Disney Song Encyclopedia, "Dancing on a Cloud" was written for the 1950 film "Cinderella" but was eliminated during the production process.
Walt Disney himself assembled storyboards for the movie that had the hero and heroine dancing in the clouds, and the song was written to communicate that vision.
Although the song that eventually replaced "Dancing on a Cloud" — "So This Is Love" — kept the prince and Cinderella earthbound, two later characters lived out Disney's dream when Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip took the skies at the end of "Sleeping Beauty."
You may be familiar with the song "Human Again" from the Broadway version of "Beauty and the Beast" or from the film's re-release in 2002, but the song did not make the cut in the original film partially due to its length and partially due to its content.
According to filmmakers Don Hahn, Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, the song, which features the household objects dreaming about being human again, originally ran for 11 minutes. It was eventually cut clear down to three and then nixed entirely.
Part of the problem, the filmmakers said, was that the song showed months passing, and they couldn't figure out what Belle's father Maurice — who was lost in the woods at this point in the story — was doing for all that time. There were joke drawings of Maurice wondering forlornly around the sphinx and the pyramids in Egypt, but the problem was a real one which was solved by just removing the song.
"It wasn't until we saw the Broadway version where Alan (Menken) had made a substantial edit in the music and had found a slightly different place for the song to sit, so we realized there was a way to make this work," Wise said in an interview on rossanthony.com
Speaking of songs that were added back to a re-release of a film after being cut and then performed in the Broadway version...
The song called "Morning Report" didn't make it past the storyboard stage for the film "The Lion King," but was used in the Broadway show, which debuted in 1997.
The song was inserted back into the 2002 re-release of "The Lion King," but apparently balance must be maintained in the universe — in 2010, the song was dropped from the musical, according to playbill.com
According to Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice in the 1951 film "Alice in Wonderland," there was a sequence planned for the film based on the nonsense poem, "Jabberwocky."
However, Walt Disney thought the sequence was either too scary or too long, and it was cut. Some of the poem was kept, however, in the song, "T'was Brillig," sung by the Cheshire Cat.
In making the decision to go with "T'was Brillig," the filmmakers were forced to drop another Cheshire Cat song titled, "I'm Odd."
Walt Disney's groundbreaking film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" originally had several sections that were animated and then later cut, including one that featured the song, "Music in Your Soup."
During the segment, which would have been found right after the dwarves learned to wash up for supper, Snow White would teach the dwarves how to eat soup properly rather than slurping it up. The lesson ended with Dopey — being Dopey — accidentally swallowing a spoon and a subsequent group effort to get the spoon back.
"Spoon in the hand,
Bending the wrist
Into the bowl
And out with a twist."
In an interview posted on stephenschwartz.com, songwriter Stephen Schwartz said that the best song cut from the 1995 Disney film "Pocahontas" was titled, "In the Middle of the River."
The song was a duet between Pocahontas and John Smith that would have come right before the discovery of their love sparked preparations for war among the colonists and Pocahontas' tribe.
"My mother used to say that whenever there's anger and hatred on both sides of the river, you can always find a place of peace in the middle of the river," Pocahontas explained.
The 1996 Disney film "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" features soaring, powerful songs, but the song titled "Someday," meant to be sung by Esmeralda, was not used in the film because it was, according to the commentary, too powerful.
Songwriters Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz penned two songs that Esmeralda could sing after claiming sanctuary in the Notre Dame Cathedral: "Someday," and "God Help the Outcasts." They eventually chose to put "God Help the Outcasts" in the film because they needed a more humble, personal song for Esmeralda to sing as she prayed for God's help, and "Someday" didn't fit the bill.
The song was used instead over the film's closing credits.
According to "The Little Mermaid" co-writer and co-director Ron Clements, the song, "Silence is Golden" was the only song that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken wrote for the 1989 Disney film that was not used.
"Silence is Golden" was an early version of the song sung by the sea-witch Ursula, and was eventually replaced by "Poor Unfortunate Souls."
Listen as Alan Menken sings a demo of the song here:
In the film "Mulan," the writers originally penned a song called "Keep 'Em Guessing," which was meant to introduce the character of Mushu to Mulan. It was one of three songs that aimed to do the job, but according to the DVD commentary, each of the three songs brought the movie to a screeching halt. The song was like a rejected organ transplant, they said—it just didn't take.
Eventually the filmmakers cut the song entirely and let Eddie Murphy, the voice of Mushu, introduce the character.
Sassy Megara steals the hero's heart in the 1997 Disney film "Hercules," and — like most Disney leading ladies — sings about the experience.
The song, "I Can’t Believe My Heart" was originally written for Meg, but was eventually replaced by the song, "I Won't Say (I'm in Love)." According to disney.wikia.com, the writers scrapped the song because the ballad did not fit Meg's personality.
It's the Disney song we all know, even though it never actually appeared in a Disney film.
"Never Smile at a Crocodile" was originally written to appear in the 1953 film "Peter Pan," but the lyrics were cut and only the music was used in the final product.
"The plodding, silly song cautions listeners that it is not possible to become friendly with a crocodile, so the only thing to do when you meet one is to rudely walk away," The Disney Song Encyclopedia explained.
According to behind-the-scenes commentaries on the 1992 Disney film "Aladdin," early drafts of the film called for Aladdin to have a mother, and the song "Proud of Your Boy" was part of that storyline.
In the song, Aladdin apologized to his mother for disappointing her and sang about wanting to grow up and make her proud.
The story changed, however, and as the choice was made to cut the mother character from the movie, the song was lost as well.
"Frozen" songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez wrote a song called "Life's Too Short," which explored the confrontation between sisters Anna and Elsa after Elsa started an eternal winter and then fled to the mountains. Their reunion was instead covered in the movie with the song, "For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)."
In "Life's Too Short," Anna tries to persuade Elsa to come back to their castle, urging her to put back on her gloves and hide her power again. This makes Elsa angry, and the two argue.
The lyrics for the song also reflect story changes, referring to a "prophecy" that Elsa may or may not be a part of fulfilling.
In the 1970 film "The Aristocats," the character of Madame Bonfamille was supposed to record a song for her cat Duchess and the kittens Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse. The song was titled, "She Never Felt Alone," and was featured in a sequence where the character sang along with the record in a performance for her cats.
Duchess was later supposed to sing the song for Thomas O'Malley to explain why she and her kittens needed to go back home to Madame Bonfamille.
The song "As Long As There's a Moon" was one of multiple attempts to include a love song between Esmeralda and Captain Phoebus in the film, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." However, filmmakers say the one flaw with each attempt is that they took too much focus off of Quasimodo, the story's hero, and therefore didn't make the final cut.
Learn more fun facts about your favorite Disney films in this list of 30 Disney scenes featuring hidden characters from other Disney movies.