Teaching Students About Disney Atlantis: A Journey Into The Lost City


Disney Atlantis, or “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” is an animated film released by Disney in 2001. The movie tells the story of a young linguist and cartographer named Milo Thatch who, with the help of a diverse group of explorers, embarks on a quest to discover the lost city of Atlantis. Teaching students about Disney Atlantis can be a rewarding and engaging experience for both you and your learners, helping them develop critical thinking skills while introducing them to a unique piece of intellectual history.

The Culture and Mythology of Atlantis

The legend of the lost city of Atlantis has existed since ancient times, first mentioned by the Greek philosopher Plato in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias. According to Plato’s account, Atlantis was a powerful and advanced civilization that ultimately fell out of favor with the gods and was sunk into the ocean.

In teaching students about Disney Atlantis, it’s essential to discuss this underlying mythology and explore how the film incorporates elements from various cultures’ interpretations. Educators can delve into subjects like Greek philosophy, utopian societies, and ancient civilizations’ technology to provide context for studying the mythos of Atlantis.

The Characters and Storyline

One aspect that makes Disney’s version of Atlantis unique is the range of characters central to the story. Introducing students to this cast can impart valuable lessons about teamwork and collaboration. Some notable characters include:

– Milo Thatch: A keen linguist with courage and intellect

– Commander Rourke: A driven but unethical military leader

– Helga Sinclair: Rourke’s second-in-command

– Kidagakash Nedakh (“Kida”): The princess of Atlantis

– Dr. Joshua Strongbear Sweet: A kind-hearted physician

Each character reinforces an important theme within the film, which educators can explore through classroom discussions or by assigning reflective writing assignments.

The Film’s Art and Animation

“Atlantis: The Lost Empire” is a groundbreaking Disney film because of its unique animation style, which blends elements of anime, comic book, and traditional Disney animation. This departure from the company’s usual approach can serve as a springboard for discussions about artistic style and design.

Educators can also develop students’ critical thinking skills by encouraging them to analyze the film through certain lenses: How does the visual language of Disney Atlantis contribute to its storytelling? Does the art style accentuate or detract from the themes? Encourage students to observe how these factors play a role in storytelling beyond visual appeal.

Incorporating Disney Atlantis into Lesson Plans

By incorporating a variety of subject areas, teaching students about Disney Atlantis can be an enriching educational experience. Here are some methods that can be employed:

– Analyzing the cultural underpinnings of the legend of Atlantis

– Engaging in group discussions on contemporary interpretations

– Comparing ancient technologies showcased in the film with that of today

– Writing about character motivations and arcs in a creative manner

– Developing mini-projects exploring art styles shown in the film


Teaching students about Disney Atlantis offers an engaging opportunity to study a wide range of topics while promoting critical thinking and creativity. By incorporating this animated adventure into lesson plans, educators can ignite students’ curiosity for intellectual history, artistic expression, and cross-cultural understanding.

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