Disney’s exporting agenda is at the heart of this ‘magic’. Indeed, the company started translating and localising in the early 1930s. This process occurred very early, at a time when it was very rare for any company in America to export anything at all. Companies never wanted to take the risk of selling abroad.
Both Walt and his brother Roy were interested in the reception of their products in other countries. They started with their first comic books, which were very successful in many countries. Disney’s first worldwide animation success, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (which was also the first talking animation) had its world premiere in 1937. It was immediately critically acclaimed and became a financial success. The movie was such a big hit that, by the fourth time it was reissued, it was still top at the box-office in many countries. Considering Walt had to mortgage his own house to finance Snow White, the risks he took paid off.
Throughout the decades, exportation remained a priority for the studios. The high quality dubbing was also maintained and today, children from all-over the world are still singing Disney songs in their own languages as if they were the original lyrics.
A modern-day example of this localisation is the catchy Let it Go from the film Frozen. You can check out the song in all of its different languages by clicking the video above.