Disney’s Lilo and Stitch was released June 21, 2002 and launched a franchise of movies and series!

Lilo & Stitch is one of the few Disney animated features to take place in the present day and one of the few to be an original story, rather than a loose adaptation of a classic tale.

Disney’s animation team visited Kauai to research the locale, their tour guide explained the meaning of ohana as it applies to extended families. This concept of ohana became an important part of the movie. Writer Dean DeBlois recalled:

“No matter where we went, our tour guide seemed to know somebody. He was really the one who explained to us the Hawaiian concept of ohana, a sense of family that extends far beyond your immediate relatives. That idea so influenced the story that it became the foundation theme, the thing that causes Stitch to evolve despite what he was created to do, which is destroy.”

Disney animators faced the daunting task of meshing the film’s plot, which showed the impoverished and dysfunctional life that many Hawaiians lived during the then-recent economic downturn, with the island’s serene beauty.

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