‘Frozen’ fascination: New generation of Disney fans hooked on Frozen
Let it go, let it go!
Nope. Sorry. Can’t.
It may be spring, almost summer, but things are still “Frozen,” “Frozen,” “Frozen.”
“For the first time in forever,” or at least since “The Lion King” topped charts in the ‘90s, a Disney animated movie has created earworms that won’t move on.
Just ask any mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandparent, sibling, caregiver, teacher, friend, or friend of a friend of a youngster.
“Frozen” songs seems to burst out spontaneously, all the time. From a 3-year-old excited about a chocolate treat! From a 5-year-old walking through a store! On the swings at the park! While coloring! While jumping around the living room! While throwing sticks! Brushing teeth at bedtime!
For goodness sake, the movie came out last November!
And won a couple Oscars and came out on DVD in March. And yet, there’s no end in hearing distance.
The soundtrack reigned for 13 weeks in Billboard 200’s No. 1 spot, finally stepping down the second week of May. But it’s still at No. 4 during this last week of May.
“There’s a lot of gratitude to the parents who allow their kids to listen to it 700 times,” said Kristen Anderson-Lopez, one of songwriters for “Frozen,” in an May story by Jeff Lunden at npr.org.
So you might as well give the snowman Olaf his warm hug and get used to it.
That’s kind of what Leah Young has done. The Grand Valley mom has started singing, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” to her daughter Makinna when the 5-year-old begins acting up. The song snaps her out of it and she’ll start laughing, Young said.
Makinna and her two 5-year-old cousins have been infatuated with “Frozen” and its story of sisters Princess Anna and Queen Elsa since November. The three girls act out the plot and sing the songs all the time, Young said.
During a recent family road trip to South Carolina, the trio watched “Frozen” constantly. And just so you know, South Carolina is 40 hours away, one way, Young said. That’s a lot of “Let It Go” and “For the First Time in Forever.”
But “Let It Go” is the first song that Makinna isn’t shy to sing out. Young walked into the kitchen the other day and there was Makinna in her blue and white “Elsa dress” singing and dancing “Let It Go.” “She just blares it,” Young said.
As do many kids, both boys and girls, anytime.
“I’ve seen kids singing in the grocery stores,” said mom Sara James. “And they move their arms like they’re throwing ice around.”
James’ 5-year-old daughter Lily and 8-year-old son Danny have seen the movie “at least once a month, if not a million” times since November.
Lily does most of the “Frozen” singing, but if she gets a word wrong, Danny immediately corrects her, James said.
“Let It Go,” in particular, is so catchy, she said. One of the kids at Grand Valley Child Care, where James is a preschool teacher, will start singing it and in seconds all the kids are singing.
The bursting into “Frozen” song phenomenon has happened a few times, James said, with other things kids have heard repeatedly on the radio or a few lines from the “Toy Story” movies — “To infinity and beyond!” But it doesn’t come close to the level of “Frozen” and certainly doesn’t continue for months. And months.
Roberta Nicolosi, director/owner at Grand Valley Child Care, agreed. In the 38 years she has been in child care, she hasn’t seen anything quite like it, and “more boys are singing that song than ever.”
“They really know the lyrics” and they sing them loud, she said.
Nicolosi attributed some of the music’s captivating qualities to the dramatically increased access kids now have to music and video as opposed to when some past popular Disney animated musicals were released, such as “Beauty and the Beast” (1991) and “The Little Mermaid” (1989).
When those movies came out, there was more time between the theater opening and the VHS release. YouTube wasn’t founded until 2005.
While exposure may certainly play a big part, there seems to be more to the phenomenon.
Makinna has a lot of Disney princess movies, but she doesn’t relate to them as well as she does to Anna and Elsa of “Frozen” or Princess Sofia, a commoner who becomes royalty in the Disney channel show “Sofia The First,” Young said.
Perhaps it’s because those princesses are younger, or at least at the beginning of “Frozen” are younger than Belle, Ariel, Cinderella or Aurora.
“Frozen” is also one of the first movies for younger kids “that teaches the love of family before the love of a man,” Young said.
“Frozen” ends with the sisters hugging each other instead of kisses from a prince, she said. “Frozen” has a nice love story, Young said, but the importance of family is a theme that runs throughout the movie, plays into the music and is something kids can identify with.
Then there’s the magic — building an incredible ice castle while singing defiantly and beautifully — “it’s so magical to them,” Young said.
So despite summer’s approach, spontaneous song bursts of “Frozen” are unlikely to melt away. Altogether now: “Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway.”