Downside of Disney's New Movie "UP"

by Dan Presser
(Carmel, CA, 831-622-0800,

Up Up & Away...

Up Up & Away...

It is my hope that Disney adds a piece to its new movie "Up," that advises people not to release helium-filled balloons into the air without the ability to reel them back in.

Here's why. When balloons fall into the ocean they look like jellyfish. Endangered leatherback turtles love to eat jellyfish and sometimes chow down on balloons, mistaking them for their favorite food.

Unfortunately this indigestible rubber glob lodges itself in the turtles' intestines forming, a fatal block. Inside the leatherback's gullet are spines which point downward. This keeps slippery jellyfish from oozing out. It also means leatherbacks can't regurgitate. A deflated rubber balloon has only one way to go, down the throat leading to a dim future for the turtle.

Leatherbacks are beautiful reptiles that can reach one ton at a length of up to eight feet.

I urge Pixar to add a sequel to "Up" showing the beautiful leatherback and telling its audience that they are on the brink of extinction. Balloons are bright, colorful and lively yet they can be deadly.

Barry's Response - Dan, that's a real concern. Thank you for bringing that "up". In addition, it might inspire people to try tricks of this sort on their own, like the lawn chair incident from 1982. See this:

Search this site for more information now.

A Surprising Connection Between Disney's "Up," Balloons, and Turtles

Do you remember Carl Fredricksen and Russell from Disney Pixar's movie "Up"? The story was filled with colorful balloons, memorable characters, and unexpected adventures. Have you ever thought about what happens when those balloons crash? It's true, they can be a serious threat to our environment, especially leatherback turtles, one of its most vulnerable inhabitants.

We'll explore the downside of Disney's beloved movie "Up", shedding light on the connection between balloons and leatherback turtles. Learn why balloons falling into the ocean can be a perilous situation for endangered creatures and why we need to be aware of it. Let's dive into this eye-opening adventure with some popcorn (or perhaps a turtle-friendly snack).

Unintended consequences of a fun movie

Let's reminisce about the magic of "Up." Released in 2009, this animated masterpiece from Pixar touched millions. An eager young Wilderness Explorer and an old grump embark on a journey using helium balloons to lift their house into the sky was a cinematic gem. Movie buffs and Pixar fans alike will always remember this movie.

"Up" is enchanting, but it unknowingly raises an issue we should pay attention to. In the movie, thousands of colorful balloons carry Carl's house away. Have you ever wondered what happens to those balloons once they leave the screen?

A balloon's journey

Wind can carry balloons vast distances when they're released into the sky. These balloons eventually fall back to Earth due to gravity. Sometimes they land in unexpected places, like oceans and lakes. Here's where the problem starts.

In the ocean, balloons can look like jellyfish, a favorite snack of leatherback turtles. There's no wonder turtles mistake balloons for food with their vibrant colors and translucent appearance. This innocent mistake can have dire consequences.

Leatherback Turtles: Their Plight

Leatherback turtles are the biggest and most endangered sea turtles. They play a crucial role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems because of their leathery shells. Jellyfish is one of their main sources of food.

Jellyfish can have severe health issues if balloons are ingested instead of jellyfish. A balloon can block a turtle's digestive tract, causing internal injuries and even death. Sadly, this is the result of a simple mistake.

What's the point?

Now that you're aware of the unexpected connection between balloons and turtles, you might wonder why it matters, especially if you're a Pixar fan. Even if it means looking beyond the silver screen, we all have a responsibility to protect the environment.

Our actions have real-world consequences, as young and enthusiastic environmentalists. We can make better decisions in our daily lives if we understand how seemingly innocent choices, like releasing balloons, can harm marine life.

How can you help?

What can you do to help? Take these simple steps to make a difference:
1- Use eco-friendly alternatives: Instead of balloons, use bubbles, flags, or ribbons to celebrate special occasions. There's no harm in using these alternatives.
2- Tell your friends and family about it, especially fellow movie fans and Pixar fans. The first step to positive change is spreading awareness.
3- Get involved in conservation efforts: Look for organizations and initiatives that protect leatherback turtles. You can make a big difference with your contributions.

Take a look around

If you enjoyed this eye-opening look at the connection between Disney's "Up," balloons, and turtles, there's more to discover. Our website,, has in-depth articles about environmental science, conservation, and how our choices affect the environment.

We need to stay informed and engaged as young and enthusiastic environmentalists. Our actions will align with our values of preserving the beauty of our planet if we work together.

Even harmless things like releasing balloons can have serious consequences. It's possible to enjoy movies and be responsible stewards of the environment if we understand and address these issues.

Comments for Downside of Disney's New Movie "UP"

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by: Anonymous

I've read the book and really enjoyed it.

From Barry - It's a great example of how humans can use creativity to overcome adversity. The message of hope and optimism was incredibly powerful, and many found it inspiring.

We are all on this sphere together
by: Gerry aka KOTO

Aloha Dan:

It is going to take people like you and I to make a difference. I think a good game plan might be to get people to sign something you put together, asking Disney - not only to add this, but to also stencil the storm drains where ever they do what they do, making movies, operating Disneyland, etc.

Too many people that work or go to these places, don't realize that these Storm Drains empty untreated into our natural waterways, rivers, and eventually the ocean. Watch Disney's Finding Nemo for an example.

People carelessly drop things into, or upstream from these drains and when it rains, every thing washes right into them. This garbage kills turtles, fish, birds and wildlife in general and it contaminates the water, both fresh or saltwater.

Plastic bags are the worst. They kill turtles and many other things.

You will need to "shake some trees." Call City Hall, write, email or call your local News media and let them know that you and many others have concerns for the voiceless and they need defending.

From Barry - People who know about the issue are more likely to take action. Bring more attention to the issue by contacting your local government and the media.

Share your story with your representatives and senators. Make sure they take action on the issues you care about. Last but not least, you can support organizations fighting for the rights of the voiceless.

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Thank you to my research and writing assistants, ChatGPT and WordTune, as well as Wombo and others for the images.

GPT-4, OpenAI's large-scale language generation model, helped generate this text.  As soon as draft language is generated, the author reviews, edits, and revises it to their own liking and is responsible for the content.