What Makes a Disney Princess a Disney Princess? A Look at the Criteria

The Complete List of All Disney Princesses
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Disney Princesses have been an iconic part of popular culture for several decades, captivating audiences of all ages with their enchanting stories and magical adventures. From Snow White to Moana, each princess has unique traits and qualities that make them beloved by fans worldwide. However, have you ever wondered what makes a Disney character a “Disney Princess”?

In this article, we will take a closer look at the criteria determining whether a character can join the ranks of the Disney Princess franchise. From their origin story to their personality traits and physical appearance, we will examine the various factors contributing to a character’s eligibility to become a Disney Princess. So, let’s dive in and explore what makes a Disney Princess a Disney Princess!

The Magic of Disney Princesses

Disney Princesses hold a special place in the hearts of many people worldwide. These heroines are more than just fictional characters; they represent hope, courage, and resilience, inspiring audiences to pursue their dreams and overcome adversity. From Snow White, the first Disney Princess, to Moana, the latest addition to the franchise, each character has a unique story and personality that captures the imagination of fans young and old.

At the heart of the magic of Disney Princesses is their ability to transport us to a world of fantasy and wonder. Whether singing to woodland creatures or battling evil sorcerers, these heroines remind us of the power of imagination and the importance of staying true to ourselves. They also teach us valuable life lessons, such as the importance of kindness, bravery, and perseverance. And, of course, their iconic outfits, signature songs, and memorable sidekicks have become pop culture icons, inspiring countless Halloween costumes, cosplay events, and Disney theme park attractions.

The magic of Disney Princesses lies in their ability to capture our hearts and ignite our imaginations, reminding us that anything is possible with a little faith, trust, and pixie dust.

Origin Story: The Evolution of the Disney Princess Franchise

The Disney Princess franchise has a rich history that dates back to the 1930s when Walt Disney Pictures released its first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This groundbreaking movie introduced audiences to the first Disney Princess, Snow White, and paved the way for a new era of animated films. Over the years, Disney continued to release movies featuring princesses, including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid.

However, it wasn’t until 2000 that Disney officially launched the Disney Princess franchise. The franchise was created as a marketing strategy to capitalize on its princess characters’ popularity and create a unified brand that would appeal to young girls. The original lineup included Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Pocahontas. Since then, the franchise has expanded to include other characters such as Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and Moana.

The Disney Princess franchise has become a global phenomenon, with merchandise, theme park attractions, and a massive online presence. Despite criticisms of its narrow focus on traditional femininity and heteronormative relationships, the franchise continues to captivate audiences of all ages and inspire young girls to dream big.

Criteria 1: Human or Human-Like Appearance

One of the primary criteria for a character to become a Disney Princess is that they must have a human or human-like appearance. This means the character must have a recognizable human form, with two arms, two legs, and a head. While some exceptions exist, such as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, who is a mermaid but still considered a Disney Princess due to her primary role in the story and appearance in merchandise, most Disney Princesses are depicted as fully human or humanoid characters. This criterion is believed to make the characters more relatable and appealing to young girls, the primary target audience for the Disney Princess franchise.

However, having a human or human-like appearance alone cannot qualify a character as a Disney Princess. The character must also meet other criteria, including having a primary role in a Disney animated film, displaying positive values and virtues, and appearing in official Disney Princess merchandise and marketing.

Additionally, some characters are human-like but not considered Disney Princesses. For example, Anastasia and Odette from Anastasia and The Swan Princess, respectively, are not considered Disney Princesses because they are not part of the Disney brand. Similarly, characters such as Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Megara from Hercules, while human-like, are not considered Disney Princesses because they do not meet all the criteria. Then, Tinker Bell does not have a primary role in a Disney animated film and is not part of the Disney Princess franchise.

Criteria 2: Primary Role in the Story

Another important criterion for a character to become a Disney Princess is having a primary role in the story. This means that the character must be a central figure in the plot and significantly impact the events that unfold. The character must also be instrumental in advancing the story and resolving conflicts. This criterion is important because it ensures that the character is not simply a background player but an essential narrative part.

Additionally, the primary role criterion helps to distinguish Disney Princesses from other female characters in Disney animated films. For example, while Jane Porter from Tarzan and Megara from Hercules are strong female characters, they do not have a primary role in the story and are not considered Disney Princesses. The primary role criterion is also essential in establishing the character’s identity as a Disney Princess. It ensures that the character is not merely a side character or supporting cast member but rather a hero in her own right.

A primary role in the story is a crucial criterion for a character becoming a Disney Princess. It ensures that the character is a central figure in the narrative, significantly impacts the story, and is instrumental in resolving conflicts. This criterion also helps distinguish Disney Princesses from other female characters in Disney animated films and establishes their identity as heroic figures.

Criteria 3: Positive Values and Virtues

Another key criterion for a character to become a Disney Princess is displaying positive values and virtues. These values include kindness, bravery, honesty, and loyalty. Disney Princesses are often portrayed as role models for young girls, and they must embody these positive qualities. This criterion ensures that the character is relatable and appealing to young girls, teaches them valuable life lessons, and encourages them to become better people.

The positive values and virtues criterion is also important in establishing the character’s identity as a Disney Princess. By embodying these values, the character becomes a hero in her own right, inspiring audiences and reminding them of the importance of kindness, bravery, and other positive qualities. This criterion also helps to distinguish Disney Princesses from other female characters in Disney animated films, as not all female characters display these positive qualities.

Displaying positive values and virtues is essential for a character to become a Disney Princess. It ensures that the character is a positive role model for young girls, teaches valuable life lessons, and encourages audiences to become better people. Additionally, this criterion helps to establish the character’s identity as a Disney Princess and distinguishes them from other female characters in Disney animated films.

Criteria 4: Marketing and Merchandising

Another important criterion for a character to become a Disney Princess is their appearance in marketing and merchandising. This means the character must be featured in official Disney Princess merchandise, such as toys, clothing, and other products. Additionally, the character must be marketed as part of the Disney Princess franchise, appearing in promotional materials and at theme park attractions. This criterion is essential in establishing the character’s identity as a Disney Princess and ensuring they are recognized as part of the franchise.

The marketing and merchandising criterion is also important in generating revenue for Disney. The Disney Princess franchise is a massive source of income for the company, with annual merchandise sales generating billions of dollars in revenue. Disney can capitalize on their popularity and appeal to young girls and their families by including a character in the franchise. This allows Disney to create a unified brand that is recognizable worldwide and provides a consistent experience for audiences at theme parks and other Disney-related events.

Appearing in marketing and merchandising is an important criterion for a character to become a Disney Princess. It ensures that the character is recognized as part of the franchise and generates revenue for Disney. Additionally, this criterion helps establish a unified brand that is recognizable worldwide and provides a consistent experience for audiences.

Notable Exceptions: Characters Who Almost Became Disney Princesses

While the Disney Princess franchise has strict criteria for which characters can join the official lineup, there have been some notable exceptions throughout the years. These are characters who almost became Disney Princesses but ultimately were not included for various reasons. In this section, we will take a closer look at some of these characters and explore why they were excluded from the official Disney Princess lineup.

Some notable exceptions of characters who almost became Disney Princesses include:

  • Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Esmeralda is a strong female character who displays bravery, compassion, and a strong sense of justice. However, her film did not perform as well at the box office as other Disney Princess films, which may have contributed to her exclusion from the lineup.
  • Giselle from Enchanted: Giselle is a classic Disney Princess archetype, with her kind heart, love of animals, and desire for true love’s kiss. However, she was ultimately excluded from the lineup due to concerns about her marketability and her film’s blending of live-action and animation.
  • Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Kida is a powerful and intelligent character who displays bravery and compassion. However, she was ultimately excluded from the lineup due to concerns about her marketability and her film’s less successful box office performance.
  • Leia Organa from Star Wars: While not a Disney character, there have been discussions about including Leia Organa as a Disney Princess, as she embodies many of the qualities that define a Disney Princess, such as bravery, loyalty, and a sense of justice.
  • Tinker Bell from Peter Pan: While not part of the original lineup, Tinker Bell was included in the Disney Fairies franchise, which is a related brand to the Disney Princess lineup. Tinker Bell is a beloved character who displays courage, loyalty, and a sense of adventure. However, she was ultimately excluded from the official Disney Princess lineup due to concerns about her marketability and the fact that she is not a primary character in a Disney animated film.

Why Disney Princesses Continue to Capture Our Hearts

Disney Princesses continue to capture our hearts for a multitude of reasons. One of the main reasons is the emotional connection that audiences feel towards these characters. Many people grew up watching and idolizing Disney Princesses, and their stories and values continue to resonate with us into adulthood. Disney Princesses often represent qualities that we admire, such as bravery, kindness, and resilience, and their stories provide us with hope, inspiration, and comfort.

Additionally, Disney Princesses have a timeless quality to them that transcends generations. While the Disney Princess franchise has evolved and expanded over the years, the core values and themes of these characters remain the same.

These characters remind us of the power of friendship, love, and determination, and their stories provide a sense of nostalgia and comfort. Whether it’s through movies, theme parks, or merchandise, Disney Princesses continue to capture our hearts and inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves.

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