Who is the best Disney princess, and who is the worst? What would the magical kingdom be without its royalty? For over a century, These princesses have been inspiring Disney movie-goers and capturing our hearts and imaginations with tales of adventure and true love. With their beautiful gowns, cute animal sidekicks, and timeless stories, no one does animated princesses quite like the House of Mouse.
But with each princess offering their own unique talents, and catchy songs, it is hard to choose the best, and pick out the absolute worst in this noble bunch. Let’s get this straight, no Disney princess is terrible. However, none are totally perfect either, and like any good Disney villain, we are here to remind you of that fact. In our list ranking your favourite characters, we point out who’s happily ever after truly takes the animated cake, and who was left at the ball.
Before we start, we have to acknowledge that there are a ton of Disney princesses. However, there are only 12 official ones currently on record, so we’ll strictly stick to those characters in this list. Now with that out of the way, it’s time to grab your glass slippers and get ready to enter Mickey’s Hall of Fame. Here are all the official Disney princesses ranked from worst to best.
Disney Princesses ranked from worst to best:
- Snow White
As we said at the beginning of this guide, no Disney princess is ‘bad’; however, Snow White, in our opinion, is the weakest out of the royal pack. The first official Disney Princess ever, Snow, is the ideal image for a young woman in the 1920s.
She is constantly cleaning, is innocently naïve, beautiful and loves to cook. In short, she is a 2D depiction of a stereotypical princess that, while charming, struggles to live up to her exciting contemporaries.
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It’s a pity that this princess never got the detailed character study she deserved because no one can deny that Snow White is a sweetie with a heart of gold. Her ability to make animal friends with just a song and her rosy cheeks makes her loveable.
Snow White is also the figure that ushered in all the Disney princesses, so we have to give credit where credit is due, but still, it just isn’t enough to rank higher here.
Yes, Cinderella is downright iconic, and her dress is one of the most beautiful in Disney princess history. However, she does suffer, like Snow White, from two-dimensional syndrome. Here is a cartoon character who is more like an angel than a real and relatable woman (sorry, Cindy).
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Cinderella is a classic, and her story is still one of the most popular at Disney, but she can’t escape the fact that she reflects the time period in which her movie came out – 1950. She sews, cooks, and is scorned by her lazy and ‘ugly step sisters’. It is all a wee bit outdated, isn’t it?
That being said, Cinderella herself is still likeable, good-natured, and has mice sidekicks at her beck and call. She is still a great princess, but, again, just can’t compare to Disney’s more modern ones.
I can’t stress enough how much I loved Aurora growing up. Her sassy animated face, angelic voice, and iconic tantrum over not being able to meet her handsome stranger still fill me with joy. However, I have to face facts and admit that Aurora just doesn’t have enough screen time to stand out on a list full of strong princesses.
Staying true to her namesake Aurora spends more time in bed during the 1959 film Sleeping Beauty than she does talking. However, it should be noted that the film is only 75 minutes long, so can we fully blame this princess for a small part in a short script?
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When we meet Aurora, she is bright, optimistic, and strangely one of Disney’s most relatable dramatic adolescent characters. She dreams of romantic happily ever afters, and will slam her bedroom door in your face if you tell her that she can’t have it.
Ariel showed us how painful love can be. In The Little Mermaid, we see this aquatic princess forsake her family, and give her voice to a sea witch to become human and try to win the affection of Prince Eric – who she had fallen in love with at first sight.
Despite being half fish, Ariel is a relatable awkward woman experiencing her first love. You can’t help but sympathise, cringe, and want to give her a hug as she tries to navigate the human world as well as her new emotions. However, Ariel’s hyper-focus on Prince Eric also stops her from being higher on our list.
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As a character by herself, she is great, but Ariel lacks the depth of contemporary princesses. Also, why is she the only one in her relationship sacrificing, giving up her family, and cool Atlantean home? Come on, Eric, pull your weight!
Jasmine was a fan favourite for any ’90s kid, thanks to her rebellious attitude, and witty flirtatious nature. But she still fell into that classic Disney princess trap of not understanding the term ‘stranger danger’ when she met her main police-evading squeeze Aladdin – so yeah, we had to take a few points off for that.
However, weirdly trusting nature aside, Jasmine is still an independent lady, pushing back against the stereotypical image of a sheltered royal that we typically see in fairy tales.
Always challenging her father while also making it clear that she is a human instead of some man’s property, you got to love her. As a character and role model, Jasmine is pretty solid – besides that whole stranger thing again.
If you could change yer fate, woodja? (Sorry for the attempted accent) Merida is a wild Scottish delight who constantly strives to live the life she wants, despite society’s and her mother’s best efforts to marry her off. In the movie Brave, she approaches a witch with hopes of getting a spell that’ll let her mother understand her point of view on wanting to stay single.
However, after the magic accidentally turns her mom into a bear, her father launches a full-scale hunting party after his transformed wife and Merida must save the day. Merida, as a character, is a bit of a brat, but we love her anyway. She grows to understand others’ thoughts and feelings while learning how to communicate her own properly.
In terms of growth, few princesses go through as much as Merida on a personal level, making her beat some of the classic princesses from the House of Mouse’s royal line-up.
Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan, was initially engaged to marry Kocoum. However, staying true to her emotions, she ends up falling in love with John Smith – an English settler instead (weird choice, but OK). To uphold her peaceful convictions and save the man she loves, Pocahontas fights to resolve prejudices and stops a full-out war.
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Few princesses have managed to resolve an explosive diplomatic situation like Pocahontas. Even fewer are as regal in their animation. From cliff-diving to running through the woods, Pocahontas is as mesmerising as she is strong-willed. This princess definitely has one of the more mature stories and personalities in our ranking, that in the end, sometimes pays off in her family movie, and sometimes stands out as jarring. Still, she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Tangled is too often overlooked for the masterpiece that it is, and so is its main character, the long-haired royal Rapunzel. Rapunzel is hands-down the most likeable character on this list, period.
She is shockingly optimistic, delightfully overdramatic, sees the good in everyone she meets (even burly tavern goers), and she is a whiz at using a frying pan as a weapon too. I mean, come on, that’s the whole package, right?
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It is impossible not to smile while watching Tangled or help but root for Rapunzel as she tries to achieve her dreams of escaping her tower and finding her true family.
It’s a shame that we never see her use her personality for bigger and better things like her fellow Disney princesses, but hey, she is still a bundle of fun that shines bright no matter how many times you watch her story.
When adventure calls, only the courageous will step up to answer. Moana, a princess of a Polynesian village, is a royal whose sense of duty and fierce independence saved not only her home but Mother Nature itself.
In the 2016 movie Moana, this Disney princess is tasked with finding the demi-God Moaoa and returning the heart of the seas to the Goddess Te Fiti to stop calamity and save her island from ruin.
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Defying her father’s wishes never to venture out to sea, Moana takes charge and sets course to save the day alone. Pretty impressive, right?
Well, what if we told you that on top of her wilfulness, she also has a funny and likeable personality? Moana is a free spirit, a fighter, and unlike any other Disney princess, we have seen.
She was “almost there”, but she just didn’t make it to our top spot. The entrepreneur princess, Tiana, has earned the bronze medal in our ranking through hard work, talent, and the ability to charm us with amazing songs.
The daughter of a World War I soldier, who dreams of one day owning her own restaurant, everything that Tiana has, she has worked tirelessly for, constantly striving to accomplish her dreams with her own hands.
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We don’t often meet realists in a fairy tale. Tiana teaches us an important lesson that sometimes wishing for our dreams to come true isn’t enough; you have to stand up and fight for what you want as well.
It isn’t an accident that everyone Tiana meets is in awe of her; I mean, come on, her relentless personality even bagged her a prince – albeit a slimy amphibian one.
It will come as a shock to no one that Mulan takes the runner-up spot as the best Disney princess. No other character we mention here has broken as many boundaries, blurred gender norms, or saved China like her.
In the 1998 animated movie Mulan, we see her take the place of her sickly father in the army, posing as a man and risking her life by doing so.
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Becoming a war hero, rescuing the emperor of China, and proving that women are just as capable as men, Mulan shows us that anyone can be a warrior.
Mulan is kind-hearted, determined to prove herself to her family, and is also hilariously absent-minded. The epitome of a modern woman and truly ahead of her time, Mulan is strength and honour personified. Also, just to repeat this, she saved an entire country!
Belle from the Academy Award-winning movie Beauty and the Beast is hands down one of the smartest princesses from the Magical Kingdom. She is also self-assured, self-sacrificing, and knows how to shut down toxic masculinity with a snap of her fingers. In short, she is the perfect heroine.
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Belle is a beautiful small-town girl with a pension for reading and being herself, who later becomes the prisoner of a Beast. Due to her courage and open heart, she saves the cursed and selfish prince, helping him grow as a person through her kindness and bright personality.
She is essentially an ordinary woman who proves that anyone can do extraordinary things, even if they are accused of being hysterical. So yeah, Belle is undeniably admirable, is easy to look up to no matter how old you are, and just takes the cake as the best Disney Princess we have seen so far.