Disney is ‘mad about tea’

I devote a substantial number of blogs to new research and studies – more than I can count – and often feel the need to highlight that many of these studies are ‘observational’ rather than ‘clinical,’ which can often be a significant factor in the results and recommendations. The latest study that I’ve come across is also observational and one in which I would have happily participated! The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Company has analysed Disney’s classic animated films frame by frame to assess its “tea obsession.” How fun it would have been to pass the time during Covid-19 lockdowns by watching Disney movies!

The study looks at depictions of tea around the Disney world, the characters and films most obsessed with tea. It finds that there are 64 ‘tea’ mentions across 12 Disney classics (Alice in Wonderland mentions tea 24 times). However, despite having a teapot and teacup as main characters, Beauty and the Beast does not place in the top five for length of tea specific scenes. Furthermore, Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee even matched each film with what the company believes is the ‘perfect tea.’

‘Tea time’ is a core plot-point of many British-based Disney films like: 101 Dalmatians, Mary Poppins and the Sword in the Stone. In fact, half of Disney’s top ten ‘tea-mad’ movies are based in Great Britain. France-based films, like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, feature the second most amount of tea, with three entries in the top ten. The United States comes third, with entries like Toy Story and The Princess and the Frog.

The only other regions with distinctive Disney tea-scenes are China – the cultural home of tea – and West Africa. Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee notes that this is perhaps a reflection of Disney’s historic lack of diversity, which is accurate (but it is also fair to say that the studio is working to change that).

Which films are obsessed with tea?

Mary Poppins, Alice and her sister, and Nanny in 101 Dalmatians all remind the others it is ‘tea time’ or ‘time for tea.’ Thus, Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee was able to quantify just how much time in these Disney films is taken up by drinking tea.

Alice in Wonderland has the longest tea scenes, racking up over twelve minutes (15.5% of the film) of hot-tea content. The Mad Hatter’s tea party is the most iconic, but the Mad Hatter also lays out an impressive table of tea for the Queen of Hearts and Alice falls through a hot teacup in one of the final scenes.

The film with the second longest tea scenes is Cinderella, with six minutes (8.5% of the film) devoted to ‘tea time.’ One of Cinderella’s main duties is serving tea to the household, even though in the entire film, Lady Tremaine (the wicked stepmother) is the only character to take a single sip of tea.

In third place is Mary Poppins, with nearly four minutes (2.5% of the film). Mary Poppins has the most characters who interact with tea of any Disney movie, but the most preoccupied isn’t Mary Poppins, it is Mr Banks.


Which characters are the biggest tea fanatics?

Using the top five tea-mad movies, Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee also revealed who Disney’s ultimate tea connoisseur is, by adding up the number of times characters poured, talked about or drank tea.

Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter topped his companion, the March Hare to the title of Disney tea fanatic. The March Hare mentions ‘tea’ more than any other Disney character and consumes just as much tea as the Mad Hatter. However, the March Hare was far less hospitable — pouring less than half the cups.

A slight surprise is the third-place candidate — Mary Poppins’ Mr Banks as tea is central to his routine and identity. He pours three cups, drinks once, and mentions tea five times (apparently, not even cannon-fire comes between him and his morning cup of tea), per the study. Rounding out the top five is Mulan, who although doesn’t actually drink tea in Mulan, pours it four times and mentions it once, while Merlin, in Sword in the Stone, also never drinks any tea but pours it twice and mentions it three times.

By considering the setting, time period and motifs of these films, Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee also paired each movie with a flavour of tea (to no surprise, the company sells each one of these teas…):

  • Alice in Wonderland: Earl Grey and Liquorice Tea
  • Cinderella: French Breakfast Tea Superior
  • Sword in the Stone: Linden Flower Tea
  • Mulan: Mountain Dragon Green Tea
  • Mary Poppins: English Drawing Room Scented Tea
  • 101 Dalmatians: Afternoon Leaf Tea
  • Beauty and the Beast: Rose Congou Superior Emperor Grade Tea
  • Toy Story: Darjeeling (Buzz Lightyear actually recognises the taste as ‘Darjeeling’ in the movie)
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad: Assam Tea
  • Sleeping Beauty: Chamomile Tea

So, on the next rainy day, perhaps brew a pot of tea (or if it is a hot and humid day, maybe an iced tea instead) and sit back and enjoy your favourite ‘mad about tea’ Disney classic. For the next study, maybe there could be an analysis of how many Disney movies are coffee-obsessed? Although, we may have turn to the Marvel movie franchise for that answer…

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