Many people know Disney is near and dear to my heart. Many people often mock this, citing "Happily Ever After" as unrealistic and me along with it. But the people who write off Disney at face value should really take a deeper look.
Disney may sometimes end with "Happily Ever After", but that's rarely a theme throughout. There's always some great loss felt with much heartache before the protagonist can move along. The important role Disney plays in our lives and that of children and people of all ages is to prepare them for life. We will all face losses, some will hurt more than others. But when it comes down to it, there's always something to live for. Life moves on, gets better. Where one person may brush us off as not good enough or anything else, someone else will come along who appreciates you and treats you with the love and kindness befitting a prince (or princess...depending on who you are).
Some may disregard the messages portrayed in Disney films, but that speaks more of themselves than of Disney. They may not see "The Lion King" as a portrayal of boy running from his problems, distancing himself from his family, when really they needed him more than ever. It may sound silly, but "The Lion King" taught me to face problems instead of running away. "The Little Mermaid" taught me to think for myself, instead of simply believing everything those around me believed. "Beauty and the Beast" told me being a bookworm was not only okay, but would benefit me. Disney films tackle social, racial and ethical issues in a way that makes sense to children and adults alike, and provides an interesting story always told in a beautiful way.
And really, what's so bad about happily ever after?