Disney Princess is a media franchise owned by The Walt Disney Company. Created by Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney in the late 1990s, the franchise spotlights a line-up of fictional female heroines who have appeared in various Disney animated feature films. The franchise is currently comprised of eleven female protagonists from ten different Walt Disney animated films and one Pixar film who are either royal by birth, royal by marriage, or considered a "princess" due to their significant portrayal of heroism in their film and/or of a very high status in their country/region.
The character line-up has varied since the creation of the franchise; Princesses Snow White, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Princess Jasmine, Pocahontas, Fa Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida. Soon Anna and Elsa will join the lineup.
The Disney Princesses are featured in various sing-a-long video series released through The Walt Disney Company. In addition, the franchise includes dolls, miniature castles and other toys. The princesses are also featured in the nightly “Fantasmic! Nighttime Show Spectacular” in Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios and beginning in 2011 at Tokyo Disney Sea in Japan.
Since 2013, with the exception of Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida, the princesses are showcased in their redesigned outfits instead of the ones that they wear in their own movies.
The characters themselves, despite appearing in separate films, have distinct similarities. The princesses show good will towards all creatures, evidenced by the common ability to commune with animals. The princesses are known for their inner and outer beauty as well as having beautiful singing voices, apart from Merida who doesn't sing at all in her film.
Each princess, excluding Merida, has a romance that is resolved by the end of her debut film; the male counterparts known as "Disney Princes". These charismatic girls carry a similar personality in their eras, in the beginning with the first three (Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora), their characteristics were well known as classy, graceful and romantic daydreamers and who suffered from the actions caused by others. They held an inner strength through compassion, love, kindness and, particularly with Snow White, a strong sense of resillience.
After the renaissancera these popular heroines became more active then reactive with Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan. Their characteristics were known to be strong-willed, adventurous, feisty, cunning and determined. As well their goals were more on adventure and freedom than love, these girls were more fighters for their dreams than the first three. The latest ones: Tiana and Rapunzel are in their modern era; Tiana, an original character, is much more a realist than the others, she doesn't want magic to make a dream come true but with only hard work, whereas Rapunzel is much more like the idealistic ones than Tiana.
Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine, Rapunzel and Merida are born of royal heritage as daughters of kings and queens. Pocahontas can be considered as being of royal heritage, as she is the daughter of a chief and considered Native American royalty by the English. Cinderella, Belle and Tiana become royalty by marriage. Mulan is the only Disney princess who does not become royalty by blood or marriage, but she does, however, receive a grace of honor from the Emperor of China making her the only woman to ever do so.
Main article: Snow WhiteThe character of Snow White first originated in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Schneewittchen" about a beautiful German princess with a jealous step-mother. In 1937, Walt Disney turned this classic fairy tale into his very first animated feature film. Her true love is Prince Ferdinand, who breaks her sleeping death 'slumber' with love's first kiss. She befriends the seven dwarfs during her stay at their cottage. She is the youngest princess, being about 14 during the film's events.
CinderellaEditMain article: Cinderella
The best-known version of Cinderella is the fairy tale "Cendrillon" by Charles Perrault in 1697. In 1950, it was turned into an animated feature-length film by Walt Disney. Cinderella is probably the eldest of all the Disney princess. She is either 19 or 20 years of age. Her stepmother turned her into the family's sole servant after the passing of her father. With magical help from her Fairy Godmother, she attends the ball and meets the prince of her kingdom, and eventually marries him, thus freeing her from her life of servitude. She is often considered the "Leader of the Disney Princesses".
Main Article: Princess Aurora
Best known as the heroine of the 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty which is very loosely based onCharles Perrault's "La Belle au Bois Dormant". Although her dress changes from blue to pink (thanks to two of her guardians, Merryweather and Flora) she is most commonly seen wearing pink. She was cursed at birth by an evil fairy called Maleficent, who predicted her death on her 16th birthday. One of the three good fairies, Merryweather, softened the curse by changing her death to a deep slumber that will only be awakened by true love's kiss. By falling in love with Prince Phillip, the prince of a neighboring kingdom, she is freed from the curse by the end of the film after the evil fairy is defeated.
Main Article: Ariel
The heroine of the 1989 film, loosely based on the Danish fairy tale "Den Lille Havfrue" by Hans Christian Andersen, and the daughter of King Triton, ruler of the sea, 16 year old mermaid Ariel falls in love with a dashing human prince named Eric. She has always dreamt of life on land. She trades her voice to the sea witch Ursula (who was supposed to be her aunt in the uncut version of the film) in order to become a human and be with him forever. However, Ursula was not who she seemed. Ariel was featured in three Disney movies: The Little Mermaid, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. She is the first and only princess to have a child, a human and mermaid princess named Melody. The co-directer, Ron Clemets, changed the original character (from Hans Christian Andersen tale), seeing her as 'too tragic'; resulting in Ariel. It is known that, Ariel is the only princess and one of few Disney Heroines to be a mother.
Main Article: Belle
French commoner who is the heroine of the 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast, loosely based on the French fairy tale "La Belle et la Bête" abridged version by Madame Jeanne-Marie le Prince de Beaumont, her name is translated from the French word for "beauty". She trades her freedom for her father's with the Beast and becomes his prisoner, but she soon learns to see the good hidden behind his hideous appearance and falls in love with him over time. By confessing her love at the end of the movie, the Beast is turned back into a human along with his enchanted servants and Belle becomes his princess. Though, her princess hood is only technical since she never marries the Beast. Belle's prince (the beast) is named Adam.
Main Article: Princess Jasmine
The spunky, independent Arabian Princess of Agrabah, who dreams of seeing what's beyond her palace and be freed from her father's constant pestering of royal marriage. She falls in love with the title character in 1992's Aladdin, whom she marries at the end of the third movie, Aladdin and the King of Thieves. She is loosely based on Princess Badroulbadour (Arabic بدر البدور, badru l-budūr, "full moon of full moons") featured in the story of "Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp" from "1001 Arabian Nights". Interestingly, the original story took place in China, and not the Middle East.
Main Article: Pocahontas
Disney's Pocahontas is loosely based on the real-life Native American "princess" whose name was Matoaka (Pocahontas was her nickname and meant 'Little Mischief'). She falls in love with a man named John Smith, who helps her prevent a war from commencing between their people. At the end of the film, John is wounded and sent back to London for treatment, and so they lose contact with one another. Years later, Pocahontas travels to London as her people's representative to prevent a potential war between the English and the Native Americans. Though they succeed in stopping the conflict, Pocahontas finds her path different from John Smith's and sails back to her country with her new lover, John Rolfe.
Main Article: Fa Mulan
Fa Mulan is a brave Chinese heroine who dresses up like a soldier and goes to war in place of her crippled father, risking death and dishonor. She is loosely based on the heroine from the ancient Chinese epic poem "The Legend of Hua Mulan"(花木蘭傳奇) and she is the only Disney Princess who is not royal by blood or marriage and is literally not one, however, she has honor of a princess because she achieved honor from the Emperor himself by saving China. She comes close to marrying a prince in her second movie. During her stay in the army, she falls in love with the captain, Li Shang and they marry at the end of the second movie.
Main Article: Tiana
Partly inspired from E.D Baker's 2002 novel The Frog Princess, Tiana is the heroine of the 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog and is the first Princess of African-American decent. She dreams of opening her own restaurant through hard work. By kissing Prince Naveen in frog form, she is turned into a frog (because the magic can only be broken by a princess) and they are forced to set on a journey to find a way to undo the magic. Eventually, she finds herself falling for the handsome, but spoiled prince and willingly sacrifices her own humanity to be with him. By marrying the prince, Tiana becomes a real princess and so breaks the spell with a kiss. They have their own restaurant at the end of the film.
Main Article: Rapunzel
The heroine from the animated feature Tangled is loosely based on the German title character from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Rapunzel". Her long hair, which is said to measure 70 feet in length, not only has magical healing powers, but can be used as a weapon. Given the power by a magic golden flower, Mother Gothel kidnaps her as an infant to use her power to keep herself young. 18 years later, Rapunzel sneaks away from her tower with a thief, Flynn Rider, and sets on her own journey to find the flying lanterns that float into the sky every year on her birthday. To free her from Gothel's clutches, Flynn cuts her hair, thus destroys her power, and she is returned to her family. Rapunzel was "officially welcomed into the Disney Princess Royal Court" during a promotional event at Kensington Palace in London on October 2, 2011.
Main Article: Princess Merida
Merida is the sixteen-year-old daughter of Queen Elinor, who rules the kingdom alongside King Fergus. Queen Elinor's expectations of her daughter make Merida see Elinor as being distant while also causing friction between the two. Despite Elinor's desire to see Merida as a proper royal lady, Merida is an impetuous girl with natty, unruly ginger hair who wants to take control of her own destiny. Merida has honed her skill in archery, and is one of the most skilled archers ever seen. She is also skilled in sword-fighting and racing across the countryside on her horse, Angus. She is the first princess from a Pixar movie, the first original princess in the line-up that hasn't been inspired by either literature (Snow White, Cinderella, etc.) or real-life (Pocahontas) works, and the first without a love interest. She also never sings a major song, thus breaking away the traditional line-up, though as a child she sang a small verse of a song in Gaelic.
Expected Future PrincessesEdit
Princesses who are expected to join the Disney Princess line-up but must wait until they either make the cut or not.
It has been announced that Anna will join in 2014.Main Article: Anna
Anna is the Norwegian heroine from the 2013 film Frozen. Anna is looseley based on Gerda, the heroine from the Danish fairy tale "Snedronningen", or "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen. She is a member of a royal family and the younger sister of Elsa. Whilst Elsa is known to be both beautiful and elegant and is loved by the townspeople, Anna remains as some what of a free spirit. Elsa is both a queen in mind manner and appearance whilst Anna is happy to play the fun-loving younger sister role. Though Anna is very flawed she is wonderfully warm and optimistic, much unlike Elsa who is cold and fearful, Anna and Elsa are opposites in every way possible.
ElsaEditmain article: ElsaElsa the Snow Queen is the deuteragonist of the upcoming 2013
Disney animated film Frozen and elder sister to the film's protagonist, Princess Anna.
It has been announced that Elsa will join the line-up in 2014.