Indisputable Proof That ‘Frozen’ And ‘Tangled’ Exist In The Same Universe

I say “indisputable,” but what I really mean is “really difficult to disprove because the evidence is compelling” (and who has time for that long of a headline?)

Frozen and Tangled are two animated Disney films that exist in the post-Disney Renaissance slew of films that ended with The Princess & The Frog. They are among the first high-profile Disney films, aside from Pixar, to use computer animation as a means to retelling classic “fairy tale” stories.

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Fan art – Colby Entertainment

Tangled, which premiered in 2010, features the story of Rapunzel. The movie was a huge success, mostly because it brought a new kind of enjoyable movie experience to both children and adults akin to the Disney Renaissance films of the 1990s.

As you may recall, the films between The Little Mermaid (you can also count The Brave Little Toaster) and Treasure Planet were animated films that took old classic icons and modernized them for a new audience.

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The “Disney Renaissance” films according to The Norman Nerd.

Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King (which modernized Hamlet), Pocahontas, Hercules, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Tarzan, Emperor’s New Groove, Atlantis and Treasure Planet all featured established stories with cutting-edge animation.

Then Lilo & Stitch happened—a Disney film that while successful, signaled a departure from the old format. Disney was going for original stories.

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Meet The Robinson’s

For the next few years, Disney would continue experimenting with both CGI and 2D animation, but they would only cover new stories (probably due to the success of Pixar’s original stories).

Valiant, The Wild, Home on the Range, Meet the Robinson’s and Bolt were mitigated successes that ended up being mere shadows of how captivating Disney movies really could be.

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The Princess & The Frog

This culminated with the release of The Princess and the Frog, an obvious attempt at cashing in on the old formula (revitalizing an old story).The movie was well-received, but it still didn’t have the cultural impact that Disney was looking for—and they knew this a mile away.

That’s why in 2010, Disney threw a hail mary with Tangled, the first post-renaissance film to combine both strategies of the previous generations: computer animation and established storytelling.

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Tangled wasn’t an immediate hit culturally, but it would eventually become a mainstream staple upon DVD releases and the onslaught of meme-generation online. It was a good first start.

But Disney didn’t figure out why Tangled worked before they would make a colossal mistake in 2011, which saw the release of Mars Needs Moms—one of the biggest box office disasters in movie history.

That same year was also when they brought back Winnie the Pooh and figured out that 2D animation just wouldn’t cut it anymore—not because it doesn’t look amazing, but because the tastes of the new generation have changed.

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Wreck-It Ralph

Disney’s next experiment would come in 2012 with the release of Wreck-It-Ralph, an odd case study about a movie where video games come to life. The makers of the film clearly wanted to find a new groove for these movies without having to rip off old properties by featuring…well old properties from video games.

Wreck-It Ralph drew in viewers because it was a fantastic homage to dozens of iconic video game characters, even though it featured an original story and computer animation.

So, does Wreck-It Ralph exist in the same universe as Tangled and Frozen? Well, there’s actually more evidence that they take place in the same universe as The Fairly OddParents

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The Fairly OddParents

Hold on, let’s zoom in a little bit:

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Of course, it’s probably too good to be true.

By 2013, Disney had figured out that original stories coming out under their umbrella need to have something familiar for audiences to grab on to in order to gain momentum in the box office.

And then everything changed when Frozen came along.

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One of the most successful animated films of all time (especially our time), Frozen finally got the Disney recipe right. Based on The Snow Queen, the movie was a familiar, but fresh take on a classic fairy tale.

Of course, it was still successful without having to be instantly familiar to children. Thanks to a viral soundtrack, fun storytelling and memorable characters, Frozen has essentially marked the beginning of a new era of Disney movies, and what is a Disney movie without some universe sharing?

Yes, Tangled and Frozen exist in the same universe for plenty of reasons, but the most important being that the two movies are of a significant recipe that is uniquely different from every other Disney film. Also, I have evidence:

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See that couple in the bottom-left corner of the image? That’s Flynn and Rapunzel (after her hair changes color and length) from Tangled showing up to Elsa’s coronation in Frozen.

It’s clear that the animation style is seamless enough for these characters to show up in the movie without looking out of place, and you can even see that their wardrobe has subtly shifted.

Another persistent theory you may buy into was proposed by this redditor who claims that Flynn and Rapunzel were at the coronation because Elsa and Anna’s parents died while traveling to their wedding 3 years before the events of Frozen.

He also claims that Flynn actually refers to Arendelle as “being nice this time of year,” but I’ve yet to find the actual clip of him saying that in Tangled or Tangled Ever After.

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Another interesting piece of evidence is how similar the settings are conceptually. Tangled is loosely based on the fairy tale about Rapunzel, which takes place in Germany. In the movie, however, their adventures take place in the fictional kingdom of Corona, rather than any real settings.

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In similar fashion, Frozen is based on a Norwegian tale, but it takes place in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle. The idea here is that Disney is trying to build new fictional kingdoms to go along with their adaptations, so you can expect to see more of this in future Disney CGI films.

Going forward, 2014’s big animated movie is Big Hero 6, which is an animated adaptation more similar to Wreck-It-Ralph than Tangled and Frozen due to its ties with “geek” culture (the movie is based on a graphic novel and features fighting robots).

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2015 will be even stranger, with the release of The Descendants, a Disney Channel Original Movie that calls back to the 90s era with the offspring of the protagonists from those films. If you needed more evidence that the Disney Renaissance movies shared a universe, then that should settle the discussion.

Other than that, however, there are no announced projects on the horizon that will continue the post-renaissance film sharing that has begun with Tangled and Frozen…for now.


Some clever commenters pointed out that The Little Mermaid may exist within this universe as well. The theory (which has now been propagated by Tumblr users and promoted by Buzzfeed) is that the sunken ship in The Little Mermaid is the same one that Elsa and Anna’s parents died on when it was lost at sea.

One piece of evidence has to do with the location of each movie. Tangled takes place in Germany, Frozen takes place in Norway and The Little Mermaid takes place in Denmark. In order for Elsa’s parents to travel from Norway to Germany via boat, they would have passed by Denmark. See below:

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I have to admit that this definitely solid evidence (and kudos to you readers who pointed it out in the comments, including my roommate who pointed out the same thing). Of course, the biggest piece of evidence is the fact that both The Little Mermaid and Frozen are based on fairy tales written by the same person: Hans Christian Andersen.

If this is all true, then that would mean Frozen and Tangled exist within the same universe as the Disney Renaissance films, albeit with some new twists to their conceptual design and settings.

Another update: a lot of people like to argue that this is somehow connected to Tarzan and/or Beauty and the Beast. Guys, it’s not. It’s just not.

Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni


265 replies to Indisputable Proof That ‘Frozen’ And ‘Tangled’ Exist In The Same Universe

  1. Where were the king & the queen going when the ship sank?
    To a wedding in Germany.

    • Hmmm…a wedding for a spunky brunette and a retired thief in his early 20s, perhaps? 🙂

  2. More like… “This is how to get traffic to your site.” The evidence is flimsy my friend

  3. While your analysis is good, it seems to ignore the fact that animated films – both hand drawn and CG – take 3-5 years from conception to release. This does not allow for the quick shift in movie types that your post seems to be suggesting.
    I also remember when Tangled came out that John Lassiter said they were done making princess movies. Given that it’s been 4 years since Tangled arrived, and its gradual success, its clear Frozen is Disney’s animation department realizing that movies with princesses, magic, and music can still do well. And have more product tie-ins.

  4. I definitely wouldn’t call it indisputable or even so compelling as to be hard to ignore, but there is some evidence for the theory. Especially that still from Frozen – certainly looks like it could be Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. If Flynn does talk about Arandelle, that would be indisputable, but I don’t remember ever saying that either.

    • Watching Frozen now. There is actually a moment right before the still you have above, a moment where we clearly see Rapunzel’s face in profile. The camera even lingers on her for half a second. And it certainly looks like the same princess from Tangled.

      Evidence might be so compelling as to be hard to ignore after all.

      • But the eye colour is wrong. The girl’s eyes are brown instead of green.

        • I didn’t notice that. Will look for it next time.

        • Disney always puts another one of their movies into another or some part of it. Like in The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the beginning it zooms over the town and you can see Belle. And in Aladdin when the king is stacking objects one of them is the Beast.

          • I love to think that The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast take place in the same universe since they are set in France. And while they might be in the same universe, it would be impossible for Belle to live in the same time as Quazimoto since the movies are set 300 years apart:(
            That one’s just another random Disney easter egg!

          • But frozen came after tangled not before.

        • They could have different eye color just like people do in the real world

        • They turn brown when Flynn cuts her hair.

  5. Nice article, but I think you’re a little slow on the ball with this one. I knew about the Rapunzel and Flynn easter egg about a week after the movie came out in theaters.

  6. okay first of all disney and disney related, being anything from disney or originating from disney, is in the same universe whether you learn it from “House of Mouse”, the game “Epic Mickey”, or heck the children’s books that actually continue the story both in and out of their respective movies, but all the same disney universe. (like the TV shows either before or after the movies~)

    NOW what your saying is IF THERE IS A NEW Sub-universe for all these new disney worlds CAN EASILY BE ANSWERED.

    SOFIA THE FIRST………………She meets the old princesses = if she meets Rapunzel or Anna (maybe Elsa) than the are from the same MOVIE universe

    THIS THEORY CAN BE ANSWERED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ~thank you

    • Not bad vaddix not bad you connected that so simple i like that

  7. Pingback:

  8. Disney’s insistence that 2D animation is dead is silly. The fact that their animated films of the 2000s didn’t do well had nothing to do with the fact that they weren’t computer animated. They were generally not critically well-received (at least in comparison to their Renaissance films) because they were weak movies, not because they were hand-drawn. Winnie the Pooh was VERY well-received by critics (90% on RT!), but didn’t do all that well financially because 1. Winnie the Pooh has a very specific audience, and 2. it came out during summer blockbuster season. It didn’t stand much of a chance at the box office, and it’s unfortunate that that film’s lack of success was sort of the final nail in the coffin for 2D animation at Disney (or so it would seem). I can guarantee that Frozen would not have been any less well-received if it were a hand-drawn film.

    • Pixar changed animation forever. Frozen would have not been as popular if it was hand drawn because the rennasaince films where famous and hits because there wa no Pixar there was no computer animated movies. Pixar got really famous in the early 2000s that’s why Disney movies were not successful in that time because they were computing against Pixar.

  9. I was hoping for more details on probably the most obvious piece of evidence that both worlds contain magic that changes hair color… hmm… oh well

  10. There is also a rumor that the King and Queen didn’t die from the ship wreck. That instead they washed ashore and gave birth to a baby boy before being eaten by a leopard….I guess technically they are both in the same century but it seems as flaky as the Tangled contection

    • Wow that would actually make a lot of sense because I don’t think I have heard any origins of where tartans family actually came from, very smart indeed

    • If your talking about what i think your talking about you should know the people in question look nothing alike and those people were based of old timey american/british people.

    • Maybe I could buy very distant/shirt-tale cousin but not sibling.

      Tarzan of the Apes was the son of Lord and Lady Greystoke, English Aristocracy but raised by his adopted Great Ape (Mangani) mother Kala. Gorillas (Gomangani) were a hated enemy to be killed and sometimes eaten.

      Tarzan was ID’d, years later as an adult, as John Clayton the Earl of Greystoke by his baby fingerprints accidentally inked onto a page of his parents diary. As per the E. R. Burroughs original version. The Disney Version retained alot of the basic story but the time-line seems to be couple centuries removed (Weapons/Phonograph).

      Although, Ms. Potts and Chip (Beauty and the Beast) do make a cameo on the table in Jane and her father’s campground.

  11. Royal families are very commonly related by blood and marriage.

    Rapunzel is very likely a 1st or 2nd cousin (mothers were sisters or cousins ?) to Elsa and Anna. Rapunzel has been in a tower most of her life and the girls were restricted from visitors since being young children. They are probably VERY related but don’t know each other on sight because they have never met, hence Anna sing past them without a “hi cuz!”.

    oh yeah…Disney commonly uses other characters as prop cameos but they also own Marvel and Marvel has made Big Money by promoting a “shared cinematic universe”. Don’t be shocked if they do it again…or rather be shocked if they don’t. It works.

    • The front (Bow) of the ship isn’t perfectly pointed like in the little mermaid, it had a beam like the usual ships. If you find a good pic of the back of the ship you can better prove that.

  12. What do they have in common?

  13. Flynn does actually say that it’s nice in arendale this time of year. It’s at the end of the movie. Anyways, the king from Frozen and the queen from Tangled look a lot a like, almost like they could be brother and sister. Which comes to the part where Elsa and Anna are cousins to Repunzel, hence why they look similar. And there’s definitely a chance that the King and Queen in Frozen were going to Repunzel’s wedding because that was their niece.

    • But why didn’t Ana go with them? Is it because they didn’t want to leave Elsa behind and be lonely? (even though Ana and Elsa are separated)

  14. I’ve done some research and I’m pretty sure Cinderella can be added in here too!
    Reasons Why:
    *The Little Mermaid, Frozen, Tangled, and Cinderella are all roughly based in the early to mid 1800s
    *In The Little Mermaid, the King and the Grand Duke appear at Ursula’s (disguised as Vanessa) and Eric’s wedding
    *Cinderella is said to take place in France, so it’s not impossible for the King and the Grand Duke to travel to Denmark for a royal wedding – maybe the two kingdoms were trade partners…?

    Thanks, I hope you’ll take this new addition into consideration:)

  15. Very understandable. Can you research about Kristoff’s parents and what happened to them? It will be very interesting to know.

  16. I honestly think Wreck-it-Ralph was the beginning of a Second Disney Renaissance. Especially with Maleficent, Cinderella and Pirates 5 in the pipeline, it’s a great time to be a Disney fan.

    • That’s true

  17. I have more Frozen/Tangled evidence that I am extremely surprised no one else, not just in these comments but a few other places I’ve looked, didn’t realize this before.


    • FYI I noticed this the MOMENT I first saw it when I first watched Frozen. (I have a REALLY good eye!)

  18. I’m sorry to say I sort of believed this Frozen, Tangled and The Little Mermaid Theory shortly. I read it and felt it was a little bit too much of an effort to make something cool (which it deffinately would be if it were true), but the boats are different. the ship Ariel visits is much more pirate-ish than the boat from Frozen, which is obviously a Royal boat. Ariel’s boat also has circular windows, and the Frozen doesn’t. It would be truly amazing if it were true, but i seiously don’t think the boat insident in Frozen and the Little Mermaid are related, no matter how much that would make Disney a lot more awesome.

  19. You say Wreck it Ralph was in The Fairly Odd Parents, this is probably true basing on the fact that there were characters in it that appeared to be Ralph and Venelope. But in Wreck it Ralph characters are only supposed to be able to go from game to game, not T.V. shows, I think you know where I’m going with this, FAIRLY ODD PARENTS MIGHT JUST BE PART OF A VIDEO GAME! How else could Ralph and Venelope (if those even are them) be there? Either that or is the video game network also able to reach into T.V. shows, confirming Wreck it Ralph is in the same universe as Fairly Odd Parents.

    • Well, there is an episode where Timmy wishes a videogame that’s challenging and stuff. The videogame is a virtual reality type and he does go into it…. So…
      It’s one of the first episodes in the first season. 😀

      • Perhaps they got out of the virtual reality? Clashing the TV network with the game network?

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