Oldest Disney Princesses

12 Oldest Disney Princesses

The Disney princesses are some of Disney’s most iconic and popular characters. Snow White, the first Disney princess, and her film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are responsible for kicking off the Disney craze that has lasted for several decades.

Although Disney does have other female characters who are royalty — most notably Anna and Elsa from Frozen — only the 12 princesses on this list hold the official Disney Princess title. These 12 ladies are some of Disney’s most enduring characters and have spawned numerous direct-to-video sequels and merchandise.

12. Moana

Year Released: 2016
Film:  Moana
Created By:  Jim Kim, Bill Schwab, Randy Haycock, Mikyu Lee, and Nick Orsi
Based On: N/A, she is an original character
Originally Voiced By:  Auli’i Cravalho

Moanaphoto source: Disney Wiki

Moana is the newest Disney princess, whose movie came out in 2016. Although Moana is part of the official princess lineup, she was not given a coronation event at the Disney parks, but she does make regular appearances at all Disney properties. Moana is another non-white/European princess and her film celebrates Polynesian culture. Both Moana as a character and her movie have been well-received by critics and audiences. Moana went on to gross $690 million worldwide.

Did You Know?

Unlike nearly all of the other princesses, who have idealistic slender body types, Moana was purposely designed with a more “realistic” body in mind.

11. Merida

Year Released: 2012
Film:  Brave
Created By:  Brenda Chapman
Based On: N/A, she is an original character
Originally Voiced By:  Kelly Macdonald

Meridaphoto source: Flickr via Sam Howzit

Merida is the 11th Disney princess and the first Pixar character with this distinction. Unlike all of the other princesses, who are based on existing fairytale characters or a historical figure, Merida is a completely original character. Brave does heavily feature Scottish Gaelic culture and Merida is the only princess with a regional accent. Merida is one of Disney’s strongest heroines, outright rejecting marriage, and doing things her own way. Because of this, critics and fans really like Merida, viewing her as a good role model for girls.

Did You Know?

The tartan (plaid pattern) used by Merida’s Clan DunBroch was officially registered on the Scottish Registry of Tartans on the movie’s release date in 2012. Additionally, the DunBroch tartan is copyright protected by Disney/Pixar and cannot be made or used without permission.

10. Rapunzel

Year Released: 2010
Film:  Tangled
Created By:  Glen Keane
Based On: Rapunzel from the Brothers Grimm’s “Rapunzel”
Originally Voiced By:  Mandy Moore

Rapunzelphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Rapunzel is the 10th Disney princess and was the first in the franchise to be computer-animated instead of traditionally drawn. Her character is loosely based on the character with the same name from the popular Brothers Grimm fairytale “Rapunzel.” Like a few other princess movies, Walt Disney had tried to adapt Rapunzel while he was still alive, but the project was abandoned and only picked up several decades later. Rapunzel, like all the princesses after Belle, takes an active role in her story unlike her fairytale counterpart.

Because of Rapunzel’s quirky personality and smarts, it did not take long for her to become one of the most popular princesses.

Did You Know?

Rapunzel (age 18) and love interest Flynn Rider (age 26) have the largest age gap of any Disney couple.

9. Tiana

Year Released: 2009
Film:  The Princess and the Frog
Created By:  Ron Clements and Jon Musker
Based On: Princess Emma from E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess
Originally Voiced By:  Mandy Moore

Tianaphoto source: Flickr via Jennie Park (mydisneyadventure)

Tiana was the first new Disney princess in over a decade after Mulan was released in 1998. While many of the non-white Disney princesses have drawn some backlash (Pocahontas, Jasmine, and Mulan), Tiana is perhaps the most controversial because she is the first African American princess, which people had been waiting for for several decades. From the start, Tiana was met with mixed reviews, with many people criticizing Disney for taking so long to make a black princess and then depicting her as a frog for most of the movie.

Despite some of the backlash against Disney, Tiana is a fairly well-liked princess, with many people praising her intelligence, spunk, and determination.

Did You Know?

Tiana was the first Disney princess to personally kill her movie’s villain.

8. Mulan

Year Released: 1998
Film:  Mulan
Created By:  Robert D. San Souici
Based On: Hua Mulan from the Ballad of Mulan
Originally Voiced By:  Ming-Na Wen (speaking) and Lea Salonga (singing)

Mulanphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Mulan was the last princess released during Disney Renaissance era, which produced some of the company’s most successful films (both critically and commercially) – another princes movie was not made for over a decade. Like many of the other 90s Disney princesses, Mulan was non-white and was the first east Asian Disney character.

Mulan is based on the Chinese Ballad of Mulan, which tells the the of legendary warrior Hua Mulan. Also like the Disney princesses of the time, Mulan was depicted as being incredibly brave, independent, and heroic. In fact, Mulan’s romance with Captain Li Shang was only a minor sub-plot in the movie.

Did You Know?

Jasmine and Mulan share the same voice actress, Broadway star Lea Salonga, who is the singing voice for both princesses.

7. Pocahontas

Year Released: 1995
Film:  Pocahontas
Created By:  Glen Keane
Based On: Mataoka (nicknamed Pocahontas) of the Powhatan tribe (real person)
Originally Voiced By:  Irene Bedard (speaking) and Judy Kuhn (singing)

Pocahontasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Pocahontas is the seventh Disney princess and the first to be loosely based on a real life historical figure, Pocahontas of the Powhatan tribe. Also, Pocahontas is the first princess from America. Although Pocahontas was a real person and really met an English man named John Smith, Disney’s story wasn’t really about her life and the plot was heavily influenced by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Like the other princesses of the 1990s, Pocahontas is strong-willed, smart, and independent and is well-liked by fans.

Did You Know?

The historical Pocahontas’ real name was actually Mataoka and Pocahontas was a nickname which meant “playful one.”

6. Jasmine

Year Released: 1992
Film:  Aladdin
Created By:  Ron Clements, John Musker, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio
Based On: Badroulbadour in “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” from One Thousand and One Nights
Originally Voiced By:  Linda Larkin (speaking) and Lea Salonga (singing)

Jasminephoto source: Flickr via H. Michael Miley

Unlike the other Disney princesses, Jasmine is not the main character of her movie, Aladdin, and has the part of Aladdin’s love interest. However, Jasmine is not passive like the early princesses and does have a fairly active role in the film. Additionally, Jasmine is notable for being the first non-white princess, sparking more racial diversity in the Disney princess lineup.

Did You Know?

Jasmine was the first princess to have two voice actors, Linda Larkin for dialogue and Lea Salonga as her singing voice.

5. Belle

Year Released: 1991
Film:  Beauty and the Beast
Created By:  Linda Woolverton
Based On: Beauty from Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast
Originally Voiced By:  Paige O’Hara

photo source: Flickr via Jennie Park (mydisneyadventure)

While Beauty and the Beast did not come out until 1991, Walt Disney himself had tried several times to adapt Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast story. Following the success of The Little Mermaid, Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg green-lit another attempt at adapting the story and this time it was a success.

Screenwriter Linda Woolverton decided to make Belle independent, smart, brave, and strong. Belle – and Ariel to a lesser extent – was the first princess to truly take charge of her own story. Because of Belle’s strong characterization is one of the most popular Disney princesses ever and she influenced the strength/independence of future princesses.

Did You Know?

Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to ever win an Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

4. Ariel

Year Released: 1989
Film:  The Little Mermaid
Created By:  Glen Keane, Mark Henn, James Baxter, Tom Sito, Stéphane Sainte-Foi, Sandro Cluezo, Nik Ranieri, and Philo Barnhart
Based On: The Little Mermaid from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”
Originally Voiced By:  Jodi Benson

Arielphoto source: Needpix via peridotmaize

Ariel is the fourth Disney princess, who made her debut in 1989 after Disney went three decades without producing a princess/fairy tale movie. She is the only nonhuman Disney princess and Ariel is based on the main character from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” but her Ariel has a much different, more rebellious personality.

The Little Mermaid was a smash hit and is largely credited with breathing new life into Disney following a string of critical and commercial failures. Not only is the movie extremely popular, but Ariel is one of the most loved Disney princess and is often cited as a fan favorite.

Did You Know?

While many of the Disney princess movies have direct-to-video sequel films, Ariel is the only princess to become a mother – in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel and Prince Eric have a daughter named Melody.

3. Aurora

Year Released: 1959
Film:  Sleeping Beauty
Created By:  Marc Davis, Hal Ambro, Les Clark, and Iwao Takamoto (animators) and Walt Disney
Based On: Briar Rose from Charles Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty
Originally Voiced By:  Mary Costa

Auroraphoto source: Flickr via Jennie Park (mydisneyadventure)

Aurora, aka Briar Rose or Sleeping Beauty, was the final princess that Walt Disney himself had a hand in creating. Additionally, Sleeping Beauty was the last fairy tale film from Disney Animation’s early days and studio would not make another princess movie for three decades. Unfortunately, Sleeping Beauty was a critical and commercial failure, which made Disney shy away from fairy tales for quite some time.

Like Cinderella and Snow White, Aurora was criticized for being too passive, even more than the previous two princesses. In more recent years, Aurora has been viewed more favorable by Disney fans.

Did You Know?

Although she is the main character of the movie, Aurora only has 18 lines of dialogue and equally as few minutes of screen time – she speaks less than any other Disney protagonist.

2. Cinderella

Year Released: 1950
Film:  Cinderella
Created By:  Marc Davis, Eric Larson, Les Clark, and Mark Henn (animators) and Walt Disney
Based On: Cinderella from Charles Perrault’s Cendrillon
Originally Voiced By:  Illene Woods

Cinderellaphoto source: Flickr via Raymond Brown

Cinderella first made an appearance in the 12th animated feature film produced by Disney, Cinderella in 1950, over a decade after Snow White was released. The Disney version of Cinderella is based on the French fairy tale Cendrillon written by Charles Perrault in 1697. Like Snow White, Cinderella as a character has received mixed reviews with some people feeling she’s too passive, while other find her charming. Regardless, Cinderella is one of Disney’s most beloved princesses.

Did You Know?

The iconic scene when the Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella’s tattered dress into a beautiful ballgown was Walt Disney’s favorite piece of animation ever.

1. Snow White

Year Released: 1937
Film:  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Created By:  Hamilton Luske and Marc Davis (animators) and Walt Disney
Based On: Snow White from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales
Originally Voiced By:  Adriana Caselotti

Snow Whitephoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Snow White is the first and oldest Disney princess, who debuted in 1937. As we all know, she is the titular character of Walt Disney Productions’ first animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The character of Snow White is based on the character with the same name from many European fairy tales, most notably the German/Bavarian version from the Brothers Grimm.

Although Snow White is a Disney princess mainstay, many modern critics and fans say she’s boring and not as brave as later princesses and serves mostly as inspiration for others to act in her favor or against her.

Did You Know?

Snow White was the first fictional female character (and one of the few fictional characters overall) to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


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