"Have courage, and be kind. Ella, you have more kindness in your little finger than most people possess in their whole body...Where there is kindness, there is goodness. And where there is goodness, there is magic." —Cinderella (2015)
The Disney Princesses are comprised of 11 female protagonists from 10 Walt Disney films and one Pixar film. The princesses are either born royal, marry royal, or are a princess because of their heroism in their film. Below are 49 enchanting facts about Disney Princesses.
Disney Princesses Facts
49. Meaning of a Name
The origin of the name "Tiana" is Greek and comes from the Greek word for "princess." Tiana’s character is loosely inspired by the main character from E.D. Baker’s middle-grade novel The Frog Princess and the princess from the Grimm fairy tale "The Frog Prince."
48. What’s That Accent?
Merida is only the second Disney Princess not to have an American accent (Aurora from Sleeping Beauty has an English accent). Her accent is Scottish, and she is the first Scottish princess in the franchise.
47. Live Action Remakes
Some Disney Princesses have gotten or are scheduled to get their own live action remake. First was Cinderella in 2015, then Beauty and the Beast in 2017. Live action versions of Little Mermaid, Mulan, Snow White, and Aladdin have also been announced.
46. Separate Franchises
Each Disney Princess has her own franchise separate from the franchise of her film. This allows Disney to maintain control over the licensing and appearances of the official princesses.
45. Becoming a Princess
To become an official Disney Princess, the princess must have a central role in a Disney animated film, she must be human or human-like, and she can’t be a new star in a sequel. Being born as a princess or marrying a prince helps, but it isn’t a requirement.
44. The Original Eight
The original line-up of Disney Princesses included eight princesses. It featured Jasmine from Aladdin, Snow White, Mulan, Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and later expanded to include Tiana from Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel from Tangled and Merida from Brave.
43. Not the Main Character
Jasmine from Aladdin is the only Disney Princess not to be her film’s main character. She is also one of the only princesses not to have a gown or a dress as her costume.
42. Not Technically a Princess
Despite the popularity of the movie Frozen, Anna and Elsa are not technically part of the Disney Princess lineup.
41. A Non-Animated Princess?
Disney has an official rule that to join the Disney Princess lineup, the princess must be animated. Star Wars fans disagree, and a petition to make Princess Leia a Disney Princess has passed 100k signatures. The campaign was launched after the death of Carrie Fisher in 2016 and asks for Disney to not only break its rule but to hold a full induction ceremony alongside a memorial or Fisher.
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40. Snow White Doesn’t Return
After the success of Snow White, Disney had planned for a sequel to the film called Snow White Returns, but it was never realized.
39. The Princess Who Existed
Of all the Disney Princesses, only Pocahontas is based on an actual person.
38. Anastasia Joins the Fray
With the announcement of Disney’s purchase to the rights of Anastasia, the heroine of the 1997 animated film is now officially a Disney Princess. Disney has also announced plans for a live-action remake of the film in 2019.
37. Billion Dollar Franchise
The concept for the Disney Princess Line was initially rejected by Roy E. Disney, but since its formation in 2000, it’s become a multi-billion dollar franchise.
36. Blue Is Their Color
You may have noticed that many Disney Princesses, from Snow White to Cinderella to Elsa, wear blue. Some theorize that this color helps empower the princesses; blue isn't just for boys, and princesses don't have to wear pink.
35. First in 30 Years
When The Little Mermaid was released in 1989, Ariel became the first Disney Princess in 30 years. The last princess before her was Aurora from Sleeping Beauty in 1959; Aurora was the last Disney Princess made while Walt Disney was still alive.
34. The Original Princess
The first Disney Princess ever was Snow White in 1937. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was their first animated feature film, and it wasn’t until 13 years later that Cinderella, the next Disney Princess, was introduced in 1950.
33. Magic Behind the Hair
It took six Pixar engineers and artists more than three years to create Merida’s curly hair in Brave. To get it right, they even had to invent a whole new kind of animation software.
32. Queen B’s Almost Role
Beyonce was almost cast in the role of Tiana in The Princess and the Frog, but when she refused to audition, she lost out to Anika Noni Rose.
31. Outsider Appearance
In Beauty and the Beast, Belle is the only person in her town to wear blue. Her physical appearance was partly inspired by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music and Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, but the blue dress is also meant to symbolize her outsider status.
30. From Princess to Fairy
When Disney announced the official Princess lineup, Tinkerbell from Peter Pan was included. A few years later, Disney removed her from the lineup, deciding instead to use her to launch the Disney Fairy franchise in 2005.
29. They Married Into It
Belle, Cinderella, and Tiana all married royalty to become princesses, and they share a unique feature. The three princesses all wear opera gloves, whereas the princesses by birth do not.
28. Sequence 8
The most iconic scene in Sleeping Beauty is the “Once Upon a Dream” sequence (called "Sequence 8" in development) where Aurora meets Prince Phillip for the first time. Walt Disney rejected the scene over and over again and nearly bankrupted the studio trying to get it right.
27. Talk About Long!
Rapunzel’s hair in Tangled is approximately 70 feet long. It took more than 30 animators and engineers to animate it.
26. The Princess Who Wasn’t a Princess
Of all of the Disney princesses, Mulan is one of the only ones who isn’t technically a princess. She was neither born into royalty, nor did she marry into it, but her heroism and spirit gave her princess status.
25. Native American Royalty
Pocahontas is also not a traditional princess in that she wasn’t technically born one, and she didn’t marry a Prince. She was, however, the daughter of a Native chieftain, which makes her Native American royalty and qualifies her as a princess.
24. Pixar’s Only Princess
Merida from Brave is the first and only princess who is not a true Disney Princess. Brave is a Pixar movie, but since Pixar is a Disney Studio, she too qualifies as a Disney Princess. Merida is also unique because she’s the only princess to have brothers instead of sisters/stepsisters, and she is the only princess not to have a love interest in the film.
23. Ariel’s Inspiration
Ariel’s face in The Little Mermaid was based on Alyssa Milano.
22. Child Princesses
Snow White is almost the youngest of all the Disney Princesses at 14 years old, but few people remember Princess Eilonwhy from The Black Cauldron. She's just 12 years old. Other young Disney princesses include Jasmine from Aladdin, who is 15, and Aurora, Mulan, and Ariel, who are 16. Tiana is the oldest Disney Princess at the ripe old age of 19.
21. Based on Legend
While Mulan isn’t technically based on a real person, it is possible she really existed. Her story is based on the ancient Chinese Legend of Hua Mulan, who was a female warrior described in the poem “The Ballad of Mulan.”
20. Walt Disney’s Favorite
According to Ilene Woods, who was the voice of Cinderella, Cinderella was Walt Disney’s favorite princess. The actress remembered Disney telling her that there was something about the story that he associated with. The transformation scene in Cinderella (where her dress goes from rags to ball gown) was also rumored to be his favorite piece of animation.
19. Has Her Own Star
In 1978, on Mickey Mouse’s 50th birthday, Snow White was given her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is the first animated and fictional character to be inducted into the Walk of Fame. Since then, Snoopy, Shrek, and Bugs Bunny have also been given stars, but she is still the only Disney Princess with her own star.
18. A Princess Evolution
The princesses included in the Disney Princess lineup are generally divided into three eras. The first is the Golden Era, and includes Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. These princesses were soft and warm-hearted and embodied the image of the ideal princess. The second era, known as the Renaissance Era, includes Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Mulan. These princesses are smart, quirky, and self-reliant. The heart of their stories is not the search for true love, but finding adventure. The Modern Era of Princesses begins with Tiana and includes Rapunzel, Merida, and, unofficially, Anna and Elsa. In this era, none of the characters’ objectives is to fall in love, and for the first time, the films highlight the bonds between women.
17. Katharine Connection
While Beauty and the Beast is loosely inspired by the classic French fairy tale “La Belle et la Bete,” the inspiration for Belle’s character is drawn from somewhere completely different. Belle is based on Katharine Hepburn’s portrayal of Jo March in Little Women.
16. Diverse Princesses
In the Golden Era of Disney Princesses and into the early Renaissance, there wasn’t much diversity, but that changed with Aladdin. Jasmine is of Arabian descent and was Disney’s first non-white princess. Since then, Disney has continued its trend of creating ethnically and culturally diverse princesses. Mulan is Chinese, Pocahontas is Native American, and Tiana is African American. Moana, though not officially inducted into the Disney Princess canon, is Polynesian.
15. Castle of Many Colors
Elsa’s ice palace in Frozen changes color with her moods. When she is happy, the castle is blue. When she’s angry it’s yellow, when she’s scared it’s red, and when she’s sad it’s purple.
14. Physically Imperfect
The Golden Era princesses have been criticized for being too perfect. With Belle, Disney set out to break that mold and took pains to make sure that she remained relatable to young girls by being imperfect. According to screenwriter Linda Woolverton, as part of her imperfection, it was important that not every hair be in place on Belle. As a result, she has a wisp of hair that keeps falling in her face.
13. The Reason for Red
Ariel’s hair in The Little Mermaid was deliberately made red to distinguish her from another popular movie mermaid. In the 1984 movie Splash, actress Daryl Hannah played a blonde mermaid named Madison.
12. Eighteen and Eighteen
Aurora from Sleeping Beauty is one of Disney’s most silent princesses. She only has 18 minutes of screen time and 18 lines of dialogue in the entire film, and doesn’t even speak when she’s woken up.
Tiana and Mulan are the only left-handed princesses. Despite being a lefty, Mulan is seen brandishing her sword in her right hand, so she may technically be ambidextrous.
10. More Strands Than Rapunzel
Rapunzel has the longest hair of any Disney princess, but Elsa has 15 times as many CGI strands as Rapunzel, with around 420,000 in total.
9. Big Mistake, Huge
The song “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid offers the audience some important insight into Ariel’s mind and her fascination with the world above the ocean. Amazingly, the song was nearly cut from the film because Jeffery Katzenberg, the chair of Walt Disney Studios, was afraid kids would find the song boring. When the rest of the staff questioned his decision to cut it, the scene was added back into the movie.
8. No Song for Her
Merida is the only one of the Disney Princesses not to sing in her movie. All of the other princesses either have their own song or a duet with a prince or animal.
7. Pink or Blue?
The scene in Sleeping Beauty where the fairies argue about what color Aurora’s dress should be stems from a real-life argument in the studio over whether her dress should be pink or blue.
6. The Iconic Dress
The inspiration for Belle’s yellow ball gown in Beauty and the Beast came from another famous princess movie. The dress shares a number of details with Audrey Hepburn’s dress in Roman Holiday. Although the film is in black and white, the publicity photos show that it’s a yellow dress.
5. Magic Carpet Ride
Disney faced allegations of promoting sexual promiscuity in their films because, during the balcony scene, Aladdin apparently says, “Good teenagers take off your clothes” when he encounters Rajah, the tiger. Moral conservatives tried to use that as proof that Disney was promoting sexual promiscuity in their films. The film’s directors insisted that Aladdin actually said, “Nice kitty, take off and go, go on.” They also added that the two animators working on that sequence were very religious and would never have deliberately tried to add racy humor like that. So, the moral of the story is: People really have their mind in the gutter.
4. Don’t Make Eye Contact
There is a specific marketing strategy behind the general lack of eye contact between the Disney Princesses on official posters. According to Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney, they never make eye contact to keep their individual mythologies intact. By staring off in different directions, it creates the impression that they are unaware of each other’s presence.
3. Updated Look
In 2013, Disney made waves when they redesigned their line of princesses. In particular, Disney designers trimmed Merida's waist, lightened her dress, and added volume to her hair; the change was met with criticism. Mulan and Pocahontas’s skin tones were also lightened, which experts believed cemented the idea that girls have to have light skin to be princess-worthy.
2. Uncredited & Underpaid
Adriana Caselotti, the 18-year-old actress who voiced Snow White, was paid less than $1,000 to do the film. She was uncredited and was forbidden by Disney from taking any other roles. In a 1993 interview, she admitted that until she saw the film, she had no idea that it was a full-length movie.
1. A Little Less Graphic
In the original Brother’s Grimm version of Cinderella, the stepsisters mutilate their feet by cutting off their toes and heels to make the glass slipper fit.