Many of us watched Disney cartoons in our formative years; there’s a lot of nostalgia for these animated classics. They taught us about friendship, loyalty, and bravery, but they also taught us about love. My favorite romance in a Disney movie had no fancy balls or pretty hairdos—nor even human faces. I like Simba and Nala from The Lion King.
This is a pretty great story. As children, they were inseparable—when Simba was finished getting “You’re going to be king someday” speeches from his Dad, he’d run off and play with Nala. Sure, they weren’t the greatest influences on each other and got into serious trouble, but what kids don’t?
What’s important for this little love story is this: When tragedy struck and Simba fled to a different land, he was forced to be apart from Nala (and of course, the rest of his friends and family) for a very long time. In his teenage years and young adulthood, he lived a very different life from the one he had always planned on. His outlook changed, his attitude changed, and he had plenty of time to try to forget about everything he had left behind.
Simba didn’t forget, though. When Nala traveled further out than the lionesses normally went, she happened to run into Simba’s new friends (who lions normally eat. It’s a confusing world. Don’t think too hard about it), and, ultimately, Simba himself. Simba, in coming to his friends’ rescue, recognized Nala after YEARS apart—and when he did, it was as though there had been no time separating them. Sure, Simba had grown apart from the person he used to be, but time hadn’t caused them to lose any of the love and care they had for one another.
The best part, I think, is that Nala inspired Simba to take a second look at his past—to not think of himself as a carefree bum, but as a king with a destiny to fulfill.
You know the rest of the story (and if you don’t, then for heaven’s sakes educate yourself). These two proved to be one of the cutest and (cutting some slack for Disney standards) most realistic couples that fall in love in kids’ cartoons. Simba and Nala were childhood friends who reunited after years of separation and fell in love. It might not seem like a Valentine’s story at first, but when you look a little deeper, the Lion King makes a pretty cute love story for everyone.