Downtown Disney’s “World of Disney” store not only contains the largest selection of character merchandise at Walt Disney World, but is also filled with references to the company’s animation legacy. Some of the most obscure characters represented include the stars of the 1934 “Silly Symphony” short, “The Grasshopper and the Ants.” However, you will need to look up if you want to find them. Located on the ceiling of the men’s clothing department, the characters are featured alongside a variety of other Disney insect and bird characters as part of a delightful mural.
Although not as well remembered today as Mickey Mouse or the animated features, “Silly Symphony” cartoons such as “The Grasshopper and the Ants” played a huge role in the development of Disney Animation. Based of the Aesop’s Fable of the same name, this particular film contrasts the hard-working ant colony gathering food for winter with a lazy grasshopper who would rather sing and play his fiddle than do any sort of work. However, when winter comes, the grasshopper sees the error of his ways after nearly starving and freezing to death while the ants had plenty of food.
While this short would be the Grasshopper’s only appearance, the song he sang, “The World Owes Me a Living,” would go on to appear in many more films, becoming a signature tune for one of the best known Disney stars. Beginning with 1935’s “On Ice,” released just one year after “The Grasshopper and the Ants,” Goofy can be heard performing the song in a number of his on-screen appearances. This isn’t the only connection between the two characters, though. They also share the same voice actor, Disney Legend Pinto Colvig, as well as a similar “corn-fed hick” demeanor. So, next time you find yourself doing some shopping at “World of Disney,” be sure to look up at the ceiling because you never know who you might see up there.