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The Ending Of Disenchanted Explained

When it was released in 2007, "Enchanted" was an unexpected deconstruction of Disney's classic princess films from the very company that produced them. But despite the film's critical and commercial success, a sequel never materialized... until now.

Disney+'s "Disenchanted" continues the story of Gisele (Amy Adams), a woman from the animated fairy-tale land of Andalasia, who found her true love Robert (Patrick Dempsey) after her fiance's evil stepmother Narissa (Susan Sarandon) pushed her into a portal that sent her to New York City. When the new movie starts, Gisele and Robert are exhausted from caring for their baby Sofia, and Robert's daughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) is now an angsty teen who Gisele can no longer connect with. In need of more space, the couple move their family to a small town called Monroeville, where Gisele hopes to recapture the happily ever after of their earlier years together.

By the end of the film, Gisele is being transformed into a wicked stepmother — a hallmark of the genre viewers will know from Disney classics like "Snow White" and especially "Cinderella" — who mistreats Morgan and covets the power of the town's queen Malvina (Maya Rudolph). As that evil persona completely changes Gisele, the film's third act begins. Here's a (spoiler-heavy) breakdown of how the  "Disenchanted" conclusion unfolds.

Morgan travels from the real world to Andalasia

When Gisele and her family first moved to Monroeville, Edward and Nancy created a portal in the well in their backyard so they could travel back and forth between Andalasia and the real world. As Gisele's wish takes hold and she realizes she won't be able to prevent herself from becoming a wicked stepmother, she enlists Morgan to get help in Andalasia. As she tries to fight off the evil persona taking hold of her, Gisele leads Morgan to the well, explains what she needs to do, and then, as the stepmother gains control, pushes her in. The latter move is a mirror image of the scene in "Enchanted" where Narissa, disguised as an old hag, pushed Gisele into the well in Andalasia that sent her to New York. 

When Morgan wakes up in Andalasia, she's shocked to find herself in animated form — and surprised to see her perfectly drawn eyebrows. It seems Morgan is back to being her normal teenage self in Andalasia, instead of the fairy-tale naif Gisele's wish turned her into. Morgan looks around and sees the land is in ruins. Moments later, when Nancy and Edward find her, they explain that something is pulling the magic out of the animated realm. Morgan doesn't remember much about what happened in Monroeville, but she remembers enough for Nancy to realize that Gisele made a wish with the wishing wand that was big enough to require all of Andalasia's magic. If Andalasia's magic disappears, so will Andalasia.

Robert comes home and realizes Gisele is... different

Meanwhile, in Monroeville (now known as Monrolasia), Robert returns home after a day spent using the sword Edward gifted him to go on quests to save the townsfolk from giants, dragons, and other beasts. Robert is almost definitely a better lawyer than he is a medieval-style knight, but as Edward implied earlier in the film, questing represents the pinnacle of personal fulfillment for men in fairy tales, so in Monrolasia, that has become his new vocation.

Robert finds Gisele waiting for him, dressed in a red gown, ready to go to the town celebration being thrown by Malvina. In the carriage to the party, Robert is confused by Gisele's new attitude, particularly when she muses that they should get minions, brushing off his concerns about Morgan's whereabouts. When Robert stops the carriage to get Gisele's attention and insists that Morgan wouldn't just disappear, she dismisses his worries. So, Robert decides to go look for his daughter; as he leaves, Gisele sarcastically wishes him good luck and continues on her way.

Nancy and Edward take Morgan to Gisele's memory tree

Morgan, determined to save both Andalasia and Monroeville, is certain that Gisele will be able to reverse her wish if she can just remember who she is. Nancy, knowing the key to Morgan's plan is Gisele's memory tree, takes her there with Edward in tow. But this isn't anything like the collage of photos and construction paper that served as the memory tree Morgan created as a child; this is a fully grown willow tree with orbs holding individual memories. Unfortunately, the tree is dying and the memories are blinking out.  

When Morgan touches one of the memory orbs, a branch of the tree comes back to life, causing Nancy and Edward to realize that, because Morgan shares so many memories with Gisele, Morgan has the magic inside her to revitalize the tree and get Gisele to remember she's a good person. 

This plot point is based on the idea that memories are the most powerful magic there is, something Gisele mentions more than once in "Disenchanted." However, this may confuse fans of "Enchanted," because Gisele previously insisted that true love's kiss was the most powerful thing in the world in that movie. Perhaps after 15 years, the filmmakers were hoping viewers wouldn't remember the previous movie well enough to notice this contradiction — or maybe Gisele decided memories were more magical than true love's kiss after having received the latter in the first film.

Either way, in the context of "Disenchanted," memories are the magic required to save everyone, so as Nancy sings a song encouraging her — because no one in Andalasia can resist singing at even the most dire times — Morgan restores Gisele's memory tree. The magic she unlocks eventually transports her and Nancy from Andalasia.

Morgan tries to help Gisele while Pip steals the wishing wand

They are transported into Morgan's new backyard in Monrolasia, beside the well. The magic of Gisele's memory tree still swirls around the pair. Nancy finishes her song, which it should be noted, ensures Menzel (the Tony-award winning star of the Broadway musical "Wicked" and the voice of Elsa in "Frozen") has a show-stopping number — a corrective after she didn't sing at all in "Enchanted." The memory magic glides upward and into the window of Morgan's tower bedroom. 

This gives Morgan an idea. Earlier in the movie, the memory tree she created when she was younger was charred when a spark from a blown fuse started a fire. Gisele wanted to fix it, but Morgan had planned to throw it out instead. Now, though, Morgan comes to the conclusion that repairing the memory tree could be the key to bringing back Gisele, a belief reinforced when Morgan finds it covered in the memory magic she and Nancy brought with them from Andalasia.

Meanwhile, Gisele's best friend, the chipmunk Pip (who's been transformed into an evil feline in a nod to the wicked stepmother's cat Lucifer in Disney's 1950 animated "Cinderella") has gone to recover the wishing wand from Malvina's henchmen Rosaleen (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Ruby (Jayma Mays). Pip sneaks into the room where Rosaleen and Ruby, who are dressed almost exactly like the evil stepsisters in "Cinderella," are guarding the wand. The pair of minions bicker about which one of them is Malvina's favorite, only to have Pip interrupt as he grabs the wand so he can rub his triumph in their faces and leave with the prize.

Gisele wishes to be queen of Monrolasia

Pip catches up with Gisele just as her carriage arrives at the party, giving her the wishing wand. As Gisele stalks out of the vehicle, Pip becomes too distracted by a tassel (which his new cat impulses make him want to swat) to follow her. The celebration centers ballroom scene reminiscent of the final act of "Enchanted." Gisele hides around the corner and uses the wand to wish to become queen of Monrolasia.

Across the ballroom Malvina sits in a throne-like chair; after Gisele makes her wish, Malvina's crown appears on her head, and Gisele walks in quipping that Malvina's in her seat. As the dancers move to either side of the ballroom, Malvina and Gisele fight with magic. Malvina's magic, which seems to be part of who she is as Monralasia's queen, is matched by the magic of the wishing wand used by Gisele — so, no one wins the initial round. 

While this makes sense for dramatic purposes, viewers may be surprised given that earlier in the film when Malvina consulted her magic mirror — a direct lift from 1937's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" — the very nervous mirror (Oscar Nuñez) revealed that Gisele was more powerful than Malvina. Now that both of them are putting their powers to use, however, Malvina's magic seems equal to that of Gisele. As their fight continues, Andalasia starts to break into Monrolasia, wreaking havoc on the town as Gisele's original wish prepares to become permanent.

As the townspeople flee the destruction, a giant wall of vines forms around the ballroom

Morgan arrives at the celebration with her memory tree, hoping to save the day just as the destruction caused by Gisele's wish results in a wall of thorny vines forming around the venue. Fans of both "Enchanted" and 1959's animated "Sleeping Beauty" will recognize that the wall of vines has a special meaning. the "Enchanted" climax involved Narissa turning herself into a dragon in order to take out Gisele; it's a transformation that mimicked Maleficent's transformation into a dragon in "Sleeping Beauty." However, in addition to becoming a dragon in "Sleeping Beauty," Maleficent also used magic to form a wall of vines around the castle where the title character slept. So, by having a wall of vines form in "Disenchanted," the movie is once again taking cues from "Sleeping Beauty" while also calling back to the reference made in "Enchanted."

Outside, Robert finds Morgan and uses his sword to slice through the vines so they can both enter. But as they run toward Gisele, Morgan trips on a vine and drops her repaired memory tree. Gisele catches it, scoffs at it, and tears the paper to shreds. In the process, however, she releases the magic of its memories. The power of those memories restores Gisele (along with Pip, still outside) to her normal sweet, well-meaning self.

After remembering who she is, Gisele attempts to save Andalasia

The crown falls off Gisele's head and she apologizes to Robert. Nancy explains that they have to reverse Gisele's original wish or everything Andalasian, including Edward and Gisele, will die. Gisele is determined to fix things, but Malvina stops her. She's given Morgan a sleeping potion and wrapped her in a vine. She threatens to kill the unconscious teen if Gisele doesn't allow her original wish to become permanent, which will happen at the last stroke of midnight — the time when all of the most important events in fairy tales happen.

As Malvina magically tightens the vines around Morgan, Gisele drops the wishing wand in a panic. Malvina takes the opportunity to step on it, breaking it in half, and presumably draining it of its magic. True to her word, Malvina releases Morgan and puts on her crown, becoming the one and only queen of Monrolasia. As Gisele's wish reaches the point of no return, Morgan wakes up and Gisele weakens and collapses.

The clock strikes 12

As the clock begins to strike midnight, Monrolasia finishes absorbing Andalasia's magic and Gisele lays dying. Robert races to the clock tower and attempts to stop its chiming with his sword, a funny sight to be sure, given stabbing the clock to death doesn't seem like a realistic goal, especially with time of the essence. Meanwhile, Gisele instructs Morgan to pick up a piece of the broken wishing wand. Gisele tells Morgan to make a wish — but from her throne, a gloating Malvina points out that it won't work because Morgan isn't a true Andalasian, the key ingredient Edward and Nancy had earlier claimed was needed to make the wand work.

In response, Gisele gently insists that Morgan is a true daughter of Andalasia because she is Gisele's daughter. Gisele sings about her love for Morgan, and as she finishes her song, she dies while Morgan begs her not to go. As the life drains from Gisele, Malvina realizes the clock hasn't completed the 12 chimes required to permanently change Monroeville into Monrolasia. It turns out, Robert's use of his sword to stop the clock wasn't that bad an idea after all because, by wedging it into the clock's gears, he stopped it from striking. Even though this certainly doesn't stop time, it seems the magical requirement of the clock striking 12 to make Gisele's wish permanent is extremely literal. 

Morgan makes a wish

With the wish halted by the paused clock chimes, Morgan uses the wand to wish she was home with her mom. The wand grows back to its full length as it shimmers with magic and Morgan closes her eyes. When she opens them again, she's in her room in her new home. 

She comes downstairs, where she finds Gisele alive and well to her surprise and relief. Robert follows shortly afterwards but he doesn't remember what happened. Like the rest of the town's citizenry, he thinks his wild day was just a bad dream. Gisele explains to Morgan that only the people who wield magic remember what happened clearly. Since that's her and Morgan, it appears this will be something the pair will be able to bond over.

Gisele goes to see Malvina at the coffee shop where she spends her time. Even though Malvina doesn't remember becoming an evil queen, Gisele does, and Gisele also remembers their epic rivalry, including that magical battle for the throne. Gisele apologizes to Malvina for getting carried away in her attempt to make Morgan happy. As she walks away, Malvina stops her and confesses that sometimes she also gets carried away. She then offers Gisele a coveted spot on one of Monroeville's committees, and Gisele, perhaps finally feeling like she'll be accepted in her new town, hugs Malvina — much to her surprise.

Gisele gets her ever after

In the movie's epilogue, Pip describes in voice-over what happens after Gisele and her family emerge from the fairy-tale-wish-gone-wrong. Robert opens a practice in Monroeville so he doesn't have to commute to the city anymore, a concession to reality and an acknowledgement by the film that although some awful things can't be changed, there may be ways around them. Morgan is still a teenager who finds her parents embarrassing, but she makes friends at school and is happier; although, it's worth pointing out that this is something bound to happen sooner or later, and might have occurred more organically had Gisele left well enough alone.

As "Disenchanted" ends, Gisele sings a song that sums up what she learned from the events of the film. In it, she acknowledges that even though every day isn't necessarily the picture of happily ever after, their lives are still enchanted. It's a conclusion that acknowledges that, as Narissa noted in "Enchanted," reality is a place where there are no happily ever afters. 

While this may sound depressing, Gisele seems content, now that she's accepted life with all its ups and downs. It's a lesson that makes "Disenchanted" a worthy bookend to the first film, as together, the pair of movies demonstrate that while dreams can come true, they won't lead to life without adversity.