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22 June 2011 @ 10:03 pm
Estimated Time Periods and Locations of the Disney Princesses  
There was a post a while back discussing when and where each of the Disney Princess films took place; I decided to look into it myself, and I might have an answer. Remember, this is all speculation on my part, and certain movies were rather difficult to place.

Snow White
Time Period: 1500's-1550's
I chose this time period based on the clothing worn by The Evil Queen, Snow White, and The Prince. While it looks "generic medieval" at first glance, the collars worn by TEQ and Snow White and Snow White's slashed sleeves are very reminiscent of early 1500's fashion, and The Prince's clothing looks like a less flashy variant of men's clothing at the time.
Location: The Low Countries
A lot of people place Snow White in Germany, or rather, where modern-day Germany is; before the 1800's, this area was home to many independent kingdoms loosely united under the Holy Roman Empire. I place it in the Low Countries (modern-day Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) because of the clogs Snow White wears while she's a servant. It's still a Germanic region, so it's not that big a shift.

Time Period: 1850's-1880's
Once again, clothing played a factor. Drizella and Anastasia wear dresses with bustles, while Cinderella's dress was probably worn with a crinoline. I'm more inclined to believe the movie proper takes place during the 1870's-1880's, while the prologue where we see Cinderella's father meeting up with Lady Tremaine takes place during the 1850's-1860's. The Fairy Godmother might have been "behind the times", which would explain Cinderella's dress being from an earlier time period. Also, most of the men wear the military-style jackets as formal wear, which places the setting as very Victorian.
Location: Germany
The film can't take place in France, for what I hope are obvious reasons. Germany would not have been completely united at this point, so I picture the film taking place in some kingdom along the French-German border that got passed back and forth a lot.

Time Period: 1400's-1500's
Philip has the line, "After all, this is the fourteenth century!", but the clothing is more similar to the early Renaissance fashions than those of the medieval fourteenth century. Let's just assume Philip/the script-writers meant the fifteenth century/1400's.
Location: Northern Italy
At this point in time, Italy would have been a bunch of independent countries, Northern Italy in particular. Blonde hair worn in a loose style and off-shoulder gowns were very popular in Northern Italy during this time. I picture Stefan's kingdom is in Northern Italy, and Hubert's kingdom is in southern Germany, with both countries bordering the Alps.

Time Period: 1650's-1700's, 1830's-1840's/1890's-1900's
The first of many headaches. These are the time periods when huge poofy sleeves would have been in fashion. The late 1600's was The Golden Age of piracy and of sailing in general. The late 1800's/early 1900's was another important age in sailing.
Location: Portugal, Monaco
While watching the film, the scenery gave me the impression that it took place in Portugal. Portugal is a country on the Atlantic Ocean, it is a very warm place, it has a long history of sailing, and there is a variant of the name "Eric" there. And, during the late 1600's, it had recently regained its independence from Spain and was still a monarchy. Monaco is a tiny country between France and Italy situated along the Mediterranean. French is largely spoken there, followed by Italian, and it would be one of the few countries along the Mediterranean that was still a monarchy during the 1830's-1840's/1890's-1900's. Plus, it would explain why they have a French chef and an Italian maid.

Time Period: 1750-1795
Mainly from the clothing, once again. Especially the concept art.
Location: France

Time Period: Achaemenid Empire
Location: Agrabah
The Achaemenid Empire, a.k.a. The Persian Empire, stretched from the Indus Valley to Thrace and Macedon. It was a huge empire originating in modern-day Iran. I know the film takes place in an "Arabian" kingdom, but the clothing, buildings, and everything Jasmine is able to get away with points more toward Persian. The Persian Empire included parts of the Arabian Peninsula, so Agrabah could be a kingdom in that region. I chose this time period of Iranian history to make the scenes in Greece during "A Whole New World" and the crossover with Hercules possible. (I'm not going to bother with the other scenes during the "A Whole New World"; the time when the Sphinx of Giza was built and the time when fireworks were invented are thousands of years apart.)

Time Period: 1607
Location: Jamestown, Virginia
Wow, that was easy! :)

Time Period: Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty
I wanted to pull my hair out after researching this. None of the major elements in the movie take place during the same dynasty--The Great Wall was started in the Qin Dynasty, the Huns/Xiongu were pushed back for the final time during the Han Dynasty, fireworks weren't invented until the Tang Dynasty, The Forbidden City wasn't built until the Ming Dynasty...plus there's footbinding to consider, and it wasn't introduced until the Tang Dynasty. I lean toward the Han Dynasty for the invasion of the Huns/Xiongu and the clothes, and the Tang Dynasty for actually having fireworks. Both ushered in times of great prosperity to China, so take your pick.
Location: China

Time Period: 1916-1926
When Tiana and her mother get on the bus during the prologue, a man is reading a newspaper that has an announcement about Woodrow Wilson winning the presidency, which places it in 1916, and the film proper takes place ten years later.
Location: New Orleans, U.S.A.

Time Period: 1795-1820's
There is concept art for Tangled that shows the late 1700's/early 1800's was the look that the filmmakers were going for, plus Regency-era fashion and its continuation would be very flattering on Rapunzel. Plus, Mozart has to exist and have reached popularity by the time the film starts.
Location: Northern Italy, Archduchy of Austria/Austrian Empire
Partly because of the names, partly because of the Mozart name-drop, but I picture Tangled taking place in a small country in Italy close to Austria, if not in Austria itself.

EDIT: Looking back on this, I really could have done a better job, especially on The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Tangled. TLM and Tangled appeared very generic European at first glance and I didn't have behind the scenes information to go off of when I made this post, so estimating time periods and locations for them was mostly a vague stab in the dark. Aladdin...Well, that glaring error was made possible by a combination of poor research on my part and the creators throwing anything remotely Middle Eastern together when making Aladdin. (Also, I don't think the creators realized that most of the places Aladdin and the gang visit in the original movie and the T.V. series existed LONG before the spread of Islam. And that the style of architecture used in the films and the series was from even later.)

Now that I've got more behind the scenes information and actually studied some Middle Eastern history, I plan to take another crack at this. I'll post each film separately and I'll be cross-posting to Tumblr. Hope to see you there!
Current Location: My room
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Abigail: AURORA OMG!mdmbrightside on June 23rd, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
Damn, this is comprehensive. I salute your research abilities!
(Deleted comment)
whittertwitterwhittertwitter on June 23rd, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
[/facepalm] I should have remembered that; I'll go fix it right now.
solarstars on June 23rd, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)
Applaud your observation skills and research abilities. Really enjoyed the list.
princesse des reveskirakirajenjen on June 23rd, 2011 05:53 am (UTC)
I'm not so sure about Rapunzel.
In the art book they mention it taking place during the Renaissance, which is quite a bit earlier. I think the name drop of Mozart was a mistake, and isn't based on the time period, because that would place it in the Buroque/Rococo era, but the clothes worn by the characters do not fit that period at all. The design of Rapunzel's costume in particular (bodice over blouse with skirt and underskirt) is very Renaissance.

I thought often "why did he mention Mozart when this takes place before?". I think it was more a mistake/ they didn't think people would notice/care about the reference than a mark of the era.
whittertwitterwhittertwitter on June 23rd, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Rapunzel was a pain in the ass to place. Rapunzel's dress being Renaissance-era I chalked up to Gothel preferring to make/teach Rapunzel how to make clothing closer to the time period in which she was born or her just not caring to keep up with the latest fashion trends.

I could agree with you, except for the last three Princess movies (Mulan, PatF, and Tangled), the people involved with the movies did so much research and cited where they drew their inspiration from, so I feel they wouldn't have made such a simple mistake. The first piano was recorded in the Medici family's inventory in about 1700, Mozart lived from 1756-1791, the cupcake wasn't invented until 1796, Blaise Pascal wasn't born until the 1600's, etc. Plus, there was some concept art of the townsfolk, which I'm having a hard time finding, that depicted them in fashions from the 1820's-1830's, and there was a comment somewhere that mentioned the filmmakers saying the film took place in 1780.
@kirakirajenjen's comment - chiyozx on October 5th, 2013 05:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: @kirakirajenjen's comment - whittertwitter on October 5th, 2013 05:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: @kirakirajenjen's comment - lupko123 on February 7th, 2015 01:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: @kirakirajenjen's comment - whittertwitter on February 9th, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Softpaw,  the fae kitty of roses and columbinesoftpaw on June 23rd, 2011 06:09 am (UTC)
(I'm not going to bother with the other scenes during the "A Whole New World"; the time when the Sphinx of Giza was built and the time when fireworks were invented are thousands of years apart.)

not to mention legend has it that the nose was lost by Napoleon's soldiers playing target practice, not a carver error..
hepburnette on June 23rd, 2011 06:34 am (UTC)
Love this! Thank you so much! ♥
I lol'ed at Pocahontas haha
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whittertwitterwhittertwitter on June 23rd, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to have your approval! :) There was a tiny bit of the Persian Empire in the Arabian Peninsula, which I think included all the modern-day countries situated there except for Saudi Arabia and everything south of it, so that could explain Aladdin and Jafar not having Persian names.

I always thought Rapunzel named Pascal after Blaise Pascal/the Pascal unit after finding him/it in a book, so along with "Flynn Rider" being from a book, they aren't a big help in choosing a location. Eugene has an Italian equivalent and I think a German equivalent as well. I might change the location to being on the border between Austria and Italy so the name of the kingdom will make sense; the reason I keep clinging to Austria is because it's a German-speaking country, and I'm not sure how far Mozart's popularity would have spread so soon after his death, so it's best to keep it close by.

I hadn't seen those particular pictures before; thank you for linking them!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - whittertwitter on June 26th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dark_rapunzel on June 26th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
kionkichin: Cat/boobskionkichin on June 23rd, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
Wow this post is really interesting, but i have a question, in cinderella's context is "lady tremaine" a german name? I thought it was french *though i really have no idea xD*
whittertwitterwhittertwitter on June 23rd, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
According to a quick Google search, it's apparently Cornish. 0_o They were probably intending it to sound French, though; that's why I specified that the country be in Germany, but on the border with France. In fact, the filmmakers did intend for Lady Tremaine's name to be French, her family might have originally been from there, but left during the French Revolution.
the girl in all the songs.: this is wonderful news! ಌ giselleclaireobscure on June 23rd, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
This is fantastic! ♥
*: Life is full of beauty.Notice it.angi_is_altered on June 27th, 2011 08:42 am (UTC)
This is amazing! You should consider writing a book.
whittertwitterwhittertwitter on June 27th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks!
PARTY OF ONEsensualcoco on June 29th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC)
Thank you for this, I've always wondered about the specifics of the times/locations of these movies.

You're absolutely spot on with Tiana, you can see the date in a screencap of Naveen's paper when he gets off the ship.
niastyleniastyle on August 20th, 2011 07:46 am (UTC)
Very interesting and detailed, great job. I don't know how you did it. I'm impressed. I always wondered when and where these stories took place.

I noticed in Aurora, the story takes place in the 14th century. You have it listed as 1400-1500, thats the 15th century. The 14th century is 1300-1400. Centuries are kinda labeled ahead. 1-100 is the 1st century and 101-200 is the 2nd century. Like today we live in the 21st century, not the 20th. It's kinda funky.
whittertwitterwhittertwitter on August 20th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)

I'm aware; Philip said "After all, this is the fourteenth century!", but the clothing worn by pretty much everyone is more reminiscent of fifteenth century clothing (1400-1500), so I was wondering if maybe one of the writers forgot that centuries are labelled ahead. I suppose I could have kept it at "late" fourteenth century to reconcile the two, but the points I made about Italian fashion were about midway through the fifteenth century, so it wouldn't have worked.
country correction - chiyozx on October 5th, 2013 05:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: country correction - whittertwitter on October 5th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: country correction - whittertwitter on October 8th, 2013 03:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
madison_face09: Cindymadison_face09 on December 30th, 2014 05:02 am (UTC)
You said in this post that you'd be posting a redo on tumblr.... did you ever?
whittertwitterwhittertwitter on December 31st, 2014 06:36 pm (UTC)
First, thank you for your continued interest in this project!

Second, I haven't yet; I'm a full-time grad student and TA, so I've been very busy with work and school. I also received permission from my thesis director to make this my thesis topic, so I won't post the full revision online until I've defended my thesis, which will happen in April 2015. In the meantime, I can certainly post snippets of my revision to Tumblr.

I'll be re-watching most of the Disney Princess films and their behind-the-scenes features over the next two weeks, compiling evidence in the form of quotes and screenshots; I've got Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty done.
(no subject) - madison_face09 on January 13th, 2015 11:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - whittertwitter on January 21st, 2015 04:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
auria77 on July 8th, 2015 07:51 pm (UTC)
Cinderella take place in France, first because all the name of the princess are french, and Tremaine is a french name, secondly something you forget, the architecture of the palace and cinderalls'q house are french.
About fashion, is pretty bad (the movie) cinderella father wear 1840's costume, your cinderella, druzilla and anastacia, children fashion of the 1860's, and lady Tremaine dress seem early 1900. Druzilla and anastacia dress are more 1880's right but cinderella ball dress again en of 1860's.
And just for finish is official, cinderella doll is in the french section of It's a small world alongside Marie (the aristocat) and in the nex mickey mouse short series, mickey visit a different country every episode where he meet a disney hero, mulan in china, and cinderella in France.