Once upon a time, Walt Disney started it all with a mouse. He produced classics that are still cherished to this day, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Against the odds, the beloved film was a major success and marked the beginning of the Disney Princesses media franchise. These days, everyone has an opinion on the best Disney Princesses. Maybe you like Cinderella or maybe Belle is more your cup of tea.
Moana, the newest Disney Princess, will debut in theaters on November 23rd, so it’s time to set the record straight: this is the definitive ranking of Disney Princesses!
11. Aurora – Sleeping Beauty
Things don’t start out well for Sleeping Beauty‘s Aurora. As a child, she’s cursed to sleep forever when she turns 16 and can only be saved by true love’s kiss. She lives her life secluded in a cottage disguised as a peasant girl, so it seems highly unlikely she’ll ever happen upon true love. What’s even more unlikely? The idea that she and Prince Phillip actually fall in love after dancing and singing in the forest.
What really places Aurora last on this ranking is that she only has around 18 lines in the entire movie. Even after she wakes up, she doesn’t have a single line! She’s so basic, she probably thinks this movie is actually about her.
10. Rapunzel – Tangled
Rapunzel has beautiful magical hair in Tangled, and that’s the best thing about her. Mother Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel as a child and locks her away in a tower, where she stays for 18 years. That is, of course, until she goes off on an adventure with Flynn Rider to find the lanterns that consume the night sky on her birthday.
So let’s put it like this: Rapunzel spends 18 years painting, reading, cooking, brushing her hair, singing, candle-making, hanging out with Mother Gothel, and only seeing the outside world from her window. In all that time, she’s too scared to disobey Mother Gothel even though she longs for her life to begin. That’s why Rapunzel earns the #10 spot amongst the best Disney Princesses.
9. Snow White – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Snow White is the OG. At 14 years old, she’s the youngest Disney Princess, she’s the star of Disney’s first animated film, and she has the first commercially-issued film soundtrack. That’s why she lands the #9 spot of all the best Disney Princesses.
Snow White’s mother dies shortly after birth, and her father dies mysteriously after marrying a vain and cold queen. Snow White spends the movie escaping the jealousy of her stepmother and her huntsman before surviving in the forest, which seems like a terrifying place. She moves in with the Seven Dwarfs and pays her rent by cleaning, cooking, and caring for them.
Why is she this low on the list? Because she’s dumb enough to take and eat an apple from an old hag that landed her in a sleeping curse. Luckily she too finds true love and is awoken by a prince. Why she has to rely on a man, I can’t answer…pretty sure those dwarfs could’ve woken her up.
8. Cinderella – Cinderella
Cinderella has become the leader of the Disney Princesses and I’m not sure that’s fair. Like Snow White, she also has stepmommy issues. Lady Tremaine is jealous of Cinderella’s beauty and grace, a jealousy she certainly doesn’t have for her own daughters. Naturally, she psychologically abuses Cinderella and makes her the house servant. Cinderella still powers on despite this, which is why Cinderella makes it in as #8 of the best Disney Princesses. Only with the help of her Fairy Godmother, though, does Cinderella make it out of the house and to the ball where she meets Prince Charming. Their marriage then releases her from Lady Tremaine. Where’s the self-sufficiency in this?
7. Ariel – The Little Mermaid
Who doesn’t want to be a merperson?! Ariel from The Little Mermaid seems so chill and relatable, but more than that she shows us how to find ourselves. At some point in our lives, we all feel like outsiders and wonder what life is like somewhere else. Unlike some of us, though, Ariel is headstrong and determined to get what she wants.
After becoming infatuated with Prince Eric, she proclaims she will be a part of his world. Naturally, she trusts a sea witch named Ursula to make a prince that she’s never spoken to to fall in love with her and give her true love’s kiss after three days or she would become Ursula’s slave. As appealing as all that sounds…she agrees to this and trades away her voice for a pair of legs. I want to wish her good luck but we all know how this Disney movie ends: she gets the guy! Her series of poor unfortunate choices makes her #7 on the list of best Disney Princesses
6. Pocahontas – Pocahontas
Pocahontas is a strong and independent woman who paints with all the colors of the wind. She became infamous because of her relationship with John Smith. In the film, Pocahontas is also the only member of her tribe to not hate the Englishmen. She goes so far as to stand up to her father, Chief Powhatan, by refusing to marry Kocoum. Pocahontas doesn’t love him, so she sticks it to the system by refusing to be part of a relationship that won’t make her happy.
Pocahontas shows us all how to be wise, free-spirited, and a peacekeeper, all while having a mischievous side. Plus, she has some pretty cool sidekicks like Meeko and Flit. She could have chosen a better best friend, though. Nakoma betrays Pocahontas and kicks off the jealousy contest between the men that leads to the movie’s climax and the separation of two lovers.
Overall, Pocahontas is a really cool character. There are still some better ones, though, which is why she ranks as #6.
5. Tiana – The Princess and the Frog
Let’s start this off with stating that Tiana from The Princess and the Frog is the first princess to have a job. Woah. Welcome to the real world. She knows she can’t just get by making wishes and that she has to work hard in order to make her dreams come true. The problem is that she doesn’t do much else to live her life. She never really takes part in anything social and is almost unaware of all that’s going on in New Orleans during the Roaring 20s. She also decides it’s a great idea to kiss a frog so he can make her dreams come true, which in turn changes her into a frog.
As a frog, she resists Dr. Facilier’s deal to make all her dreams come true and return her to human form in exchange for the talisman she took from him. She manages to find a lazy, selfish prince that grows to love her. When she does, she decides it’s worth them being frogs together than humans with different people. I mean, I think that’s love…they marry and their kiss turns them into humans again. Tiana gets the restaurant she always dreamed of and, of course, they live happily ever after. She earns #5 because she faces more obstacles and constantly chooses the less beaten path.
4. Merida – Brave
This is the princess that takes the bull by its horns. Brave’s Merida is a sharp shooter…literally, she’s got mad bow and arrow skills. She’s stubborn, headstrong, and not your stereotypical princess. She’s a daring and rebellious young girl trying to change her fate.
Merida wants to be independent and have her own normal life. To do that, she trusts a witch by changing who her mother is, which she assumes will change her fate. We all know the saying about assuming things now…and that’s exactly how the story progresses, because her mom turns into a bear. This does lead them to bond, and, in the end, Merida’s fate is her own. She’s a badass 16 year old who wants to defy the status quo that society pushes on her. She can hold her own but, like #5 and #7 up there, puts her trust in the wrong person. Moral of these stories: don’t trust witches!
3. Belle – Beauty and the Beast
Let’s be real, Belle from Beauty and the Beast is not only beautiful but smart, educated, and doesn’t judge a book by its cover. I mean, literally, she has her nose stuck in a book…oh and falls in love with a Beast. She’s a true daddy’s girl but is independent and not scared to be outspoken and express her opinion. She’s curious and logical, which leads her on adventures and lands her in predicaments. Belle is everyone’s favorite guest or, in my opinion, the #3 guest.
2. Jasmine – Aladdin
Let’s just start off with the fact that Jasmine has a pet tiger. It’s almost all that needs to be said. Like Merida, she doesn’t want to be married off and, in the end, she marries for love instead of money. Jasmine is confident, stands up for herself, and demands that people listen to her. She just wants to discover life outside of the palace where she is confined. She’s cunning and takes a few for the team, like pretending to fall in love with Jafar to keep him distracted. She even kisses him. Gross. But she knows who she is and is not a prize to be won. Because of her love with Aladdin, her father, the Sultan, changes the rules and Jasmine sails off on their magic carpet in the #2 spot.
1. Mulan – Mulan
Mulan is a badass warrior who saves China. ‘Nuff said.
Where will Moana land on this list? Only time will tell, but in the meantime they all lived happily ever after. The end!