The Complete List Of Disney Princesses + 53 Fun Facts

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Disney Princesses: Complete Official List + Trivia And Facts
Entertainment And News

I admit it: I am a grown woman and I still love Disney princesses.

My excuse? I grew up in the '90s. If you did too, you'll get it. It was a time some people like to call the Disney Renaissance (OK, it really started in 1989 with "The Little Mermaid," but close enough), marked by breathtaking cell animation, legendary voice actors, Broadway style musical arrangements and epic love stories, not to mention equally epic hairdos.

Not to knock "Frozen" or any of the other modern Disney movies, but those really were some of Disney's best years.

And like most little girls who grew up in the '90s, I thought I knew all the facts there were to know about Disney princesses.

Disney Princesses were my role models. I obsessed over Jasmine's hair braid and Aurora's fairy-altered ball gown. I danced around my kitchen with stuffed animals a la Snow White (and wore a costume dress for about half my childhood). I climbed giant boulders in my wooded backyard like Pocahontas. And as a book nerd, I was pretty much desperate to own even one of the books in Belle's mansion-sized library.

And one time, I even dressed up my family dog as Ariel. Yep, wig, tail and all. (She was very patient with me.)

How many Disney Princesses are there?

There are 12 Disney Princesses recognized as official members of the franchise for now, although more could certainly enter the line up in the future (for more on that, see the list of unoffical Disney Princesses below).

List of Disney Princesses

1. Snow White from "Snow White" (1937)

2. Cinderella from "Cinderella" (1950)

3. Aurora (aka Briar Rose, aka Sleeping Beauty) from "Sleeping Beauty" (1959)

4. Ariel (aka the Little Mermaid) from "The Little Mermaid" (1989)

5. Belle (aka Beauty) from "Beauty and the Beast" (1991)

6. Jasmine from "Aladdin" (1992)

7. Pocahontas from "Pocahontas" (1995)

8. Mulan from "Mulan" (1998)

9. Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" (2009)

10. Rapunzel from "Tangled" (2010)

11. Merida from "Brave" (2012)

12. Moana from "Moana" (2016)

Fun Fact: Of the 12 official Disney Princesses, only eight are of royal birth.

Disney Princess Trivia and Fun Facts

I used to think I knew all the trivia there was to know about Disney Princesses, but then I came across some fun facts that pretty much blew my mind.

Here are 53 facts and pieces of trivia about Disney princesses even the most die-hard Disney fans may not know:

1. The Disney Princess franchise was thought up by a man.

You can thank this guy for the official franchise!

Photo: PRWeb

The "Disney Princess" franchise was first conceptualized by Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney when he observed something at his first-ever Disney On Ice show.

"Standing in line in the arena, I was surrounded by little girls dressed head to toe as princesses," he told The New York Times. "They weren't even Disney products. They were generic princess products they'd appended to a Halloween costume. And the light bulb went off. Clearly there was latent demand here."

The very next morning, he told the team to start work on an official Disney Princess franchise.

It was a good call by Mooney. Sales at Disney Consumer Products rose from $300 million in 2001 to $3 billion in 2006, credited in large part to his idea.

RELATED: 9 Of Your Favorite Disney Princesses Reimagined As ... Peeps

2. Disney Princesses don't make eye contact with each other.

Photo: Miggyspiderman on disneyprincess.wikia.com

Ever notice that the princesses rarely make eye contact with one another on posters and whatnot? There was a marketing strategy behind that.

This was the first time ever that Disney characters would be marketed in a franchise separate from their respective films. And as part of this, Mooney decided that the princesses should never make eye contact with each other in order to keep their individual "mythologies" intact.

"[Each] stares off in a slightly different direction as if unaware of the others' presence," he says.

Snow White Trivia

3. Adriana Caselotti, the actress who voiced Snow White, was only 18 years old at the time.

Adriana Caselotti was 18 when she was hired to play the voice of Snow White, the first Disney Princess, in 1937.

The studio had been searching for a voice that was ''ageless, friendly, natural and innocent'' and she beat out 150 other actresses for the coveted role.

4. Caselotti was underpaid and unaware of her fame for her work as Snow White.

In a 1993 interview, Adriana Caselotti said she was paid $20 a day for a (not-so) grand total of $970. The kicker? She didn't even know it was for a full-length feature film!

''They had told me that it was going to be a little longer than their shorts, which were 10 to 12 minutes,'' she said. ''So I thought it would be 20 minutes long or so. I didn't realize what had happened until I went to the premiere. I saw all these movie stars Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Gary Cooper — everybody was there. I discovered this thing was an hour and 23 minutes.''

5. In fact, Caselotti had to sell her autographs to make extra money!

Later in life, Caselotti signed hundreds of autographed letters and photographs to supplement her income.

Graham Clipson, who ran the Autograph Collectors Gallery in Nottingham, England, worked with her at that time.

He recalls Adriana as a sweet-hearted soul: "She used to sing over the telephone to us a few years before she passed away. I have many signed photo's of her as she said, 'I won't last forever.' A delightful lady."

She died at the age of 80.

Cinderella Trivia

6. Cinderella's Ilene Woods had no idea she auditioned for the role!

Jacqueline Ruth "Ilene" Woods beat 309 girls to play the part of Cinderella, after some demo recordings of her singing a few of the film's songs were presented to Walt Disney.

However, she had no idea she was auditioning for the part until Disney contacted her. Her friends sent in the recordings without telling her!

"I didn't know that I would even be considered until, of course, Mr. Disney heard the recordings," Woods said, "and that's when the excitement started, that's when all the butterflies started batting around inside of my stomach, when I was called to see Mr. Disney."

7. Walt Disney had a favorite among the Disney Princesses.

The transformation of Cinderella's dress was considered to be Walt Disney's favorite piece of animation.

8. Cinderella is really, really, really bad at keeping track of her shoes.

If you think Cinderella only loses one glass slipper, think again. She actually loses a shoe three times in the film!

  • First, when she delivers the breakfast trays to her stepmother and stepsisters.
  • Second, when she is running from the ball.
  • Third, when she's walking down the steps with her new husband after their wedding.

Sleeping Beauty Trivia

9. Princess Aurora (aka Briar Rose, aka Sleeping Beauty) and Prince Phillip auditioned together.

Bill Shirley and Mary Costa auditioned together to ensure that their voices complemented each other in the now-famous love medley as Briar Rose and Prince Phillip.

10. The iconic scene in Sleeping Beauty was almost impossible to get right.

The movie's most iconic scene (when Briar Rose meets Prince Phillip for the first time to the tune of "Once Upon A Dream") was called Sequence 8 when it was being produced.

It was a hard sequence to get right and Walt Disney rejected it over and over again. Animators worked on it four times and they nearly went bankrupt over it. Whoops!

11. The fairies' bickering over the right color for Sleeping Beauty's dress is based on a true story.

The running gag where Flora and Mayweather, two of the three good fairies invited to Princess Aurora's christening, argue about what color her birthday dress should be (pink or blue) is said to come from a real-life squabble in the studio over what color Aurora's dress should be.

RELATED: 20 Celebs Who Look Like Disney Princesses Come To Life

Ariel (aka The Little Mermaid) Trivia

12. Ariel was personally recommended for the role by lyricist Howard Ashman.

We all know and love Jodi Benson as the voice of Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid,' but do you know how she got the part?

She had starred in a short-lived Broadway musical in the '80s, which had a score by Howard Ashman and Marvin Hamlisch. When casting for the role of Ariel, Ashman recommended Benson to producers.

Thank you, sir!

13. Benson sang 'Part Of Your World' in the dark.

The folks at Disney are into setting the right mood. Benson was recorded with the studio lights dimmed to simulate the feeling of being in the underwater grotto.

14. Animator Glen Keane demanded he be allowed to supervise Ariel's design after hearing Benson sing.

Keane, who had mostly animated villains until that time, was so impressed by Benson that he went directly to the President of Walt Disney Feature Animation, Peter Schneider, and demanded to animate Ariel.

“I heard ‘Part of Your World,’ Jodie Benson singing that," Keane said, "and it just captivated me,”

The two became good friends, with Benson even living with Keane and his wife for four months after she and her own husband separated.

15. Alyssa Milano was the real-life inspiration for Ariel.

"I didn't know that when it was going on," she revealed on The Wendy Williams Show. "But they asked me to host 'The Making of The Little Mermaid,' and it came out there that the drawing and likeness of the little mermaid were based on pictures of me from when I was younger."

16. There's a reason Ariel has flaming red hair.

Ariel was deliberately made a redhead in order to distinguish her from Daryl Hannah's mermaid in 'Splash', which was popular in movie theaters just a few years prior.

17. Astronaut Sally Ride also inspired Ariel's gorgeous flowing underwater mane.

The floating, weightless effect of Ariel's hair underwater was based on footage of astronaut Sally Ride — the first American woman in space — in zero gravity.

18. Ariel and Belle were modeled by the same Disney employee.

Ready to meet the real life inspiration behind Ariel and Belle?

Sherri Stoner, an employee at the time, served as a live action model for Disney, according to the behind the scenes footage.

Belle Trivia

19. Belle had two animators and two actresses as inspiration.

Two of Disney's top animators, Mark Henn and James Baxter, came together to design Belle for "Beauty And The Beast."

They took a European approach and looked to actresses Vivien Leigh, Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Natalie Wood, and Julie Andrews for inspiration.

20. Belle's beautiful yellow ball gown was inspired by Audrey Hepburn.

Once again, the animators were inspired by European stars. Compare Belle's golden gown to Hepburn's dress in 'Roman Holiday' and even the smallest of details are uncanny.

And although shot in black and white, publicity photos show that it was yellow.

21. Animator James Baxter used Degas' artwork as inspiration for the dance scene.

Can you imagine the movie without that epic ballroom scene? Belle needed a graceful style of movement to pull it off. James Baxter took inspiration from studying the artwork of French impressionist Edgar Degas. He was best known for using dancers as his subject matter.

Baxter observed how ballerinas naturally carried themselves and incorporated their graceful, swan-like movements into Belle. If you look for it in the movie, you'll notice that she walks with a ballerina's turnout.

22. For the first half of "Beauty and the Beast," Belle is the only character wearing blue.

The film's art director Brian McEntee famously used colors to symbolically depict the emotional climate of the narrative.

For the first half of the movie, he intentionally colored Belle so that she is the only person in her town who wears blue. This is symbolic of how different she feels from everyone else.

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Blue is also associated with feelings of discontentment, loneliness, and despair and it's no coincidence that she wears the blue dress when she expresses these feelings.

23. Belle tucking her hair behind her ear was improvised.

When Paige O'Hara was auditioning, a bit of her hair flew in her face and she tucked it back. The animators liked this, so they put it in the movie.

24. O'Hara was so convincing as Belle, she fooled even the director.

Paige O'Hara sobbed for real while recording Belle's mourning of the Beast.

Her performance was so intense that the director stopped to ask her if she was okay, to which O'Hara immediately dropped out of character and smiled, piping up, "Acting!"

25. The folks at Disney are pros at recycling.

As for Prince Adam and Belle's sweeping final dance scene? Disney kinda sorta copied themselves. See the similarities with another famous princess? (Hint: see Sleeping Beauty above.)

They reused the same animation because they were running out of time during the production of the movie.

Jasmine Trivia

26. Jasmine is a composite of multiple real-life muses.

Mark Henn, the Disney animator responsible for Jasmine's supervising animator, recalled seeing a young visitor through the window of Disney World's Florida studios with long, luscious locks. Raven hair? Check.

He also drew inspiration from actress Jennifer Connelly. Eyebrows to die for? Double-check.

Photo: Olivier Strecker / CC BY-SA

The third inspiration was Henn's own sister. When he had trouble designing Jasmine's face, he pulled out a high school graduation photo of his younger sister, Beth Allen. Pretty face? Check.

Additionally, art director Bill Perkins is said to have wanted Jasmine's design to reflect the architecture of the Taj Mahal. While the famous mausoleum is Indian rather than Arabian, it is located in the city of Agra, said to be the inspiration for the fictional land of Agrabah. You can see the Taj Mahal's curving structure reflected in Jasmine's jewelry, hair and clothes.

Voila! You have Jasmine — who, by the way, is named after actress Jasmine Guy.

27. The actress who voiced Jasmine was almost fired in the middle of the film.

Linda Larkin, the voice behind Princess Jasmine, was nearly fired and had to re-audition for the role halfway through the film after Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg thought she didn't sound "regal" enough.

Can you imagine Jasmine sounding any other way? We sure can't!

28. Aladdin's wardrobe was changed to match Jasmine's.

In the earliest sketches of the street rat hero, Aladdin was meant to look like a "scrawny underdog."

When the drawings were presented to Katzenberg, he didn't like it and said their onscreen chemistry would never be convincing. They scrapped the whole thing at the last minute and tweaked Aladdin to look a little more toned and muscularly built (think Tom Cruise).

The end result? One of the best instances of chemistry in Disney couple history!

Pocahontas Trivia

29. The release date of "Pocahontas" had a special meaning.

The film was released on June 23, 1995, coinciding with what would have been the four-hundredth birthday of the real-life Pocahontas.

While her actual birthday isn't known, Pocahontas is believed to have been born in 1595.

30. Disney animators consider "Pocahontas" to be one of the studio's most difficult films ever produced.

It took five years to make because of the complex coloring and styling techniques required.

31. While Disney Native American actors, consultants and historians, descendents of the real Pocahontas aren't pleased with the film.

While many consider Pocahontas one of the most beautifully and realistically animated Disney Princesses, Shirley "Little Dove" Custalow-McGowa, a descendent of the real-life Pocahontas, wasn't impressed, to say the least.

“Disney promised me historical accuracy," Custalow-McGowa said, "but there will be a lot to correct when I go into the classrooms.”

“Disney left out the most interesting part,” she continued. “Before dying in England at the age of 21, Pocahontas was kidnaped, baptized into Christianity and married John Rolfe--a man far more appropriate than John Smith, who was a barbarian and a troublemaker. My people are concerned because our story has already been changed so much.”

32. Pocahontas wasn't even Pocahontas' real name.

Her given name was actually Amonute, and she went by the name Matoaka.

Pocahontas, which means “playful one,” is believed to be a nickname given to Chief Powhatan's daughter "because of her happy, inquisitive nature."

33. Actress Irene Bedard also served as the physical model for Pocahontas.

Bedard, who voiced Pocahontas, is of Inuit and Cree ancestry, while Pocahontas was a member of the Powhatan tribal nation.

RELATED: 17 Seriously Sad Quotes From Disney Movies (*Sniffle*)

Mulan Trivia

34. "Mulan" wasn't originally slated to be full-length film.

Mulan was originally planned as an animated short entitled "China Doll" about an oppressed Chinese girl who is "whisked away by a British Prince Charming."

Then Disney consultant Robert San Souci suggested making a full length feature of the Chinese poem, "Ballad of Mulan" — and thus, the movie was born.

35. Mulan was first set to be voiced by an actress who is not of Chinese descent.

Tia Carrere, who is of Chinese, Filipino and Spanish ancestry, was an early candidate to voice Mulan. Instead, Filipina actress and singer Lea Salonga, who was the singing voice for Princess Jasmine, was cast to both speak and sing the part.

Alas, the film's director's didn't find Salonga's voicing of Ping, Mulan's male alter-ego, convincing. While she kept the singing role, the speaking part eventually went to actress Ming-Na Wen, who was born and raised in Macau, China.

36. Cartoon Mulan and her cartoon father have the same DNA... in a way.

Both Mulan and her father were animated by the same team, supervised by Mark Henn, in order to make sure their appearance made them seem related to each other.

Tiana Trivia

37. Many big name stars hoped to voice Tiana.

Lots of celebrities wanted to play the role of Tiana!

Beyoncé reportedly would have been offered the role, but she refused to audition. Alicia Keys auditioned three times for the role. And Tyra Banks and Jennifer Hudson also reportedly tried out.

The part eventually went to Anika Noni Rose. Get it, girl!

38. Finally, a Princess of Color!

Princess Tiana made history as the first African American Disney Princess.

While her honored place as the first Black Disney Princess has been mostly well-received, "The Princess and the Frog" has been the subject of some controversy. In particular, critics were disappointed that:

  • Tiana and Prince Naveen spend much of the film portrayed as frogs.
  • Prince Naveen is animated with light skin, non-Black hair and features, and is voiced by a Brazilian actor.
  • The film was set in New Orleans, "the setting of one of the most devastating tragedies to beset a black community."
  • Ray the Firefly speaks with an accent that harkens to old stereotypes of uneducated Southerners.
  • Tiana's name as originally scripted was going to be Maddy, which many feel is too close to "Mammy," and therefore racist.

39. Tiana is the only Disney Princess known to be left-handed.

Actress Anika Noni Rose requested that Tiana be left-handed, because she herself is a South Paw.

Rapunzel Trivia

40. Flynn was right about Rapunzel: that's a lot of hair!

In Tangled, animators have said that Rapunzel's hair is approximately 70 feet long and consists of about 100,000 strands.

That adds up to about 10 pounds of hair. Can you imagine all that brushing?!

41. Rapunzel's voice could have gone in one of a few different directions.

Natalie Portman and Kristin Chenoweth were both considered for the role of Rapunzel. Portman's audition recording was even used for a pencil test.

Co-director Byron Howard says they saw nearly 300 hopefuls before offering the part to Mandy Moore, who happily accepted.

"No one could quite touch Mandy Moore and honestly, whether she was famous or not, we would’ve chosen her, because she is Rapunzel," Howard said. "She is the perfect choice for what we wanted the character to be."

42. Rapunzel and Mandy Moore have one particular quirk in common.

Rapunzel is always barefoot, something she shares in common with her voice actress Mandy Moore, who loves to perform barefoot.

Merida Trivia

43. Merida's name probably isn't Scottish, but it does have deep meaning.

Merida's full name is Princess Merida of DunBroch.

Sources offer conflicting explanations of the meaning and origins of the name Merida, including these:

  • Latin: Merida may be translated as "one who has achieved a high place of honor."
  • Spanish: Mérida is derived from the Latin word for "veteran," and is the name of locations in Spain, Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and Venezuela.
  • Hebrew: Merida may be a feminized version of the word mered, which means "rebellion."
  • Celtic or Gaelic: Merida may a form of the word the Celtic word mairead (maighread in Scottish Gaelic), which means "pearl."

44. The inspiration for Merida's look came from Great Britain, but not from Scotland.

Tia Kratter, responsible for Merida's initial character design, has admitted that Merida's look was inspired by British model and fellow redhead Lily Cole. Cole was born in Devon and was raised by her Welsh mother in London.

45. Animating Merida's hair was a feat like none Disney animators had known.

Princess Merida's famously fiery-red hair is made up of more than 1,500 individually sculpted, curly red strands that generate about 111,700 total hairs.

"We've never seen anything like Merida's curly hair," said Claudia Chung, the simulation supervisor. "Technically, that was incredibly hard to achieve."

The team had to create a new simulation program just to achieve the right movement, which they named "Taz" after the Tasmanian Devil Looney Tunes character because it was "crazy fast." according to Chung.

The results were so pleasing that they used the program to create all the other hair in the film. It took three years and left them only six months to finish the rest of their work on the film. Phew!

46. The director of "Brave" channeled her own mother-daughter relationships.

Brenda Chapman, writer and co-director of "Brave," says she based Princess Merida and her mother, Elinor, and her daughter, Emma Rose Lima.

"Even though we frequently clash and are both control freaks, my love for her is fierce and unwavering," Chapman said, "and I channeled those feelings into a story that gives contemporary working moms, their daughters and their families something to relate to in a fairy tale/folk tale setting — in Scotland, no less!"

47. Merida has one of the biggest wardrobes of all the princesses.

You thought Merida was a no-nonsense character? Not exactly. With five dresses, plus a cloak, quiver, hand wrap and necklace, as well as torn dresses, she had a total of 22 different costumes.

Oh, and she has five different hairstyles.

48. Merida's affinity for apples has a hidden and sentimental meaning in the movie.

The name Lord "MacIntosh" is a common Scottish surname, as well as the name of a type of apple.

On the deeper level, it's a reference to the Apple brand. As a co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs played a big role in Pixar and the movie is dedicated in part to him with this quote at the end credits: "Dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs, our partner, mentor and friend."

Take a bite out of that trivia!

49. Reese Witherspoon was originally slated to voice Merida.

Reese Witherspoon was originally announced as the voice of Princess Merida, but she had to pull back due to scheduling conflicts.

Kelly Macdonald replaced her. We have to say, it turned out for the best.

Moana Trivia

50. Moana is the most recent Disney Princess to join the ranks.

The first Polynesian Disney princess (and the second Polynesian Disney movie after 2002's "Lilo & Stitch") has been deemed an official Disney Princess, and we couldn't be more excited!

Except...

51. Moana has yet to receive an official Disney Princess coronation.

Unlike several of her predecessor's, Moana has not (as of yet) been the recipient of an official coronation ceremony.

52. Moana shares some special common ground with a few of her fellow Disney Princesses.

Following in the footsteps of Pocahontas, Moana is the second Disney Princess who is the daughter of a chief.

Moana is the fifth non-caucasion Disney Princess, after Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tiana.

And she is the second Disney Princess not to have a love interest, like her immediate predecessor Merida.

Unofficial Disney Princess Trivia

53. There are 43 unofficial Disney Princesses, also known as Disney Heroines.

Much to many people's surprise, Elsa and Anna of "Frozen" have not, and likely will not, become official Disney Princesses, reportedly because their franchise is so popular on it's own.

The list of unofficial Disney Princesses, who may or may not join the official line-up in the future, include:

  • Maid Marian from Robin Hood
  • Nala from The Lion King
  • Kiara from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
  • Megara from Hercules
  • Atta from A Bug's Life
  • Dot from A Bug's Life
  • Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron
  • Jane Porter from Tarzan
  • Melody from The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea
  • The six daughters of Triton (Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, and Alana) from The Little Mermaid
  • Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  • Ting-Ting from Mulan II
  • Su from Mulan II
  • Mei from Mulan II
  • Kilala Reno from Kilala Princess
  • Giselle from Enchanted
  • Nancy Tremaine from Enchanted
  • Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph
  • Sofia from Sofia the First
  • Amber from Sofia the First
  • Anna from Frozen
  • Elsa from Frozen
  • Elena from Elena of Avalor
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Daisy Duck
  • Miss Piggy from The Muppets
  • Faline from Bambi
  • Alice from Alice in Wonderland
  • Tinker Bell from Peter Pan
  • Wendy Darling from Peter Pan
  • Tiger Lily from Peter Pan
  • Shanti from The Jungle Book
  • Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Jessie from Toy Story
  • Jane Darling from Peter Pan II: Return to Neverland
  • Shuri from Black Panther
  • Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Leia Organa from Star Wars

RELATED: 13 Valuable Lessons We Can All Learn From The Disney Princesses

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Alexandra Churchill is a digital editor based in New York City who currently works for Martha Stewart Living. Her work has been featured on numerous sites including The Huffington Post, Her Campus, USA TODAY College, and Northshore and Ocean Home magazines.