This Aladdin Disney school bus lunch box is probably one of the most iconic that was ever released. My specimen is very badly damaged and missing the thermos, but I still love it! Its eye-catching appearance made it the most popular lunch box ever, selling over 9 million units.
So although it looks like Goofy drove this bus off a cliff, let’s have a look at who and what survived:
This product is trademarked with Walt Disney Productions which ran from 1929 to 1986. We can guess the earliest possible year of release by seeing what is the newest character depicted on the sides. Alice is on the passenger side in the back row. Her movie was released in 1951. So we know that this item would have been sold between 1951 and 1986.
Peter Pan is missing but feels like a natural fit for inclusion. His movie was released in 1953. Next came Lady and the Tramp (1955), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and lastly, 101 Dalmatians (1961). None of these are included either. But I did find that the box was sold in 1961. I guess Peter didn’t want to go to school, Sleeping Beauty probably slept in and missed the bus, and dogs don’t go to school.
Even the handle is missing from this sample and the bottom looks like the child who owned it used to play cars with it, as it looks like it was pushed and dragged across the floor.
Some Aladdin lunch boxes have safety information printed inside, but this one does not. It does still have the metal bracket to hold the thermos in the lid.
Hallmark released a Keepsake Ornament in homage to the original product, which you can see below:
Different characters were included in this replica to better reflect the tastes and experiences of a new generation of children. For example, a hippo replaces Jiminy Cricket in the door. Pete Jr. (Goof Troop) replaces Dumbo in the middle window, a turtle replaces Pinocchio in the next window, and Alice had to give up her seat to Gosalyn (Darkwing Duck’s adopted daughter).
The rear of bus seems to have swapped out Donald’s three nephews for more of Mickey’s young relatives. The front also swaps out some ducks for pigs and adds another character from The Goof Troop. The drivers side boots Dopey and Thumper off the bus altogether. Donald is still there handing up a book but Bambi is omitted.
This ornament was released in 2001 and includes all of the other details of the original.