40 Magical Facts About Our Favorite Disney Princesses

There’s more to Disney princesses than sparkly shoes and pretty dresses. Every Disney woman had a vast amount of work put into her creation. You may not know these 40 things about the most beloved princesses and their movies, but those are the little details that helped make them so popular.

Mulan is the only non-royal princess

All other Disney princesses were either born royalty or married into it. The characters who don’t call themselves “princesses” — Pocahontas and Moana — still are technically royalty among their communities, as they’re both daughters of a chief.

Mulan is the one exception. She’s an imperial consul, married to a general, but Disney still counts her as a princess nonetheless. And her courageous character proves there's more to being a Disney princess than just floaty dresses!

Jasmine was the first princess to have two voice actresses

Linda Larkin was cast as Jasmine before “A Whole New World” was added to Aladdin. She told Media Mikes in 2010, “When they added the song they came to me and asked, ‘Do you sing?’ And I said, ‘I do… but not like a princess!’ And they said, ‘No problem, we’ll find a singer to match your voice.’”

And they did just that! The woman for the job ended up being Lea Salonga. “That opened up the world of Disney animation to everybody. They no longer needed actors who sang,” Larkin said.

Belle has a cameo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame both take place in France, so it kind of makes sense that Belle would have a cameo in the latter film.

She appears during the “Out There” sequence when the camera pans over the streets of Paris. Appropriately, she’s reading a book while walking. (The Magic Carpet from Aladdin can be spotted in the same scene!)

Rapunzel has very heavy hair

If you were to consider the real-life proportions of Rapunzel and her hair, then there's a high chance that she probably wouldn’t be able to move. According to the Tangled animators, her hair is 70 feet long and has 100,000 strands in it.

So, if you add all of those strands together, then her barnet would probably weigh about ten pounds. However, this is a Disney film, and her hair is magical, so this potential problem is never mentioned.

Cinderella helped save the Disney studio

World War II made a massive dent in the Disney company. People simply weren’t going to see films at that time, and as a result, three films that would later become classics — Bambi, Pinocchio, and Fantasia — flopped at the box office.

Disney was going bankrupt by the time Cinderella came out, but thankfully, that iconic princess was able to pull them back from the brink. It made $85,000,000 worldwide and cost the enterprise a lot of heartache to boot.

Aurora’s actress was in the right place at the right time

Aurora of Sleeping Beauty was played by Mary Costa, who was lucky to be cast. She was at a party in 1952 and Disney’s music director happened to hear her singing.

“He asked me to audition the next day,” Costa told The Guardian in 2014. When she went to the studio, Walt Disney himself was there. “[He] knew after the first bar that I was what he'd been seeking.”

Tiana has the most costume changes

Now, you back be thinking that Tiana spends most of her time in the movie as a frog, but that doesn't mean she isn't still a fashion icon! In fact, she actually goes through more dresses than any other Disney princess so far.

She has nine in total, including her famous green dress, which is reminiscent of a lilypad. Two of them are wedding gowns! And that’s not even counting the dresses she’s seen wearing as a child.

There's something wrong with Cinderellas's ears

If you're ever watching the original 1950 Disney movie Cinderella, you may notice something a little strange with the title character's ears, in that, well... she doesn’t appear to have any!

Or at least, they’re vaguely visible in some scenes, but conspicuously missing in others. So for Cinderella’s appearance in Ralph Breaks the Internet, the artists deliberately gave her extra prominent ears.

The Disneyland castle is named after Sleeping Beauty

Even though her film hadn’t yet come out when the famous Disneyland castle was finished, the structure in Fantasyland is still named after Sleeping Beauty. In case you’re wondering about the one at the Walt Disney World Resort, that one is Cinderella Castle.

As yet — and as far as we know — there isn't currently a Snow White Castle, although Disney did once refer to the Sleeping Beauty Castle by that name. Maybe they share one?

Jasmine is the only princess without her own song

Most Disney princesses have their own song — think Cinderella’s “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” or Ariel’s “Part of Your World.” Jasmine, however, does not. She sings part of “A Whole New World” alongside Aladdin, but that’s it.

She does get to do more singing in the Aladdin sequels (where she's voiced by another actress, Liz Callaway), but she still isn't granted a signature solo all of her own.

Merida got her personality from a real teenager

Merida is one of the most headstrong princesses, so perhaps it’s not a surprise to learn she was based on the teenage daughter of co-director Brenda Chapman. “She has been quite a challenge to my “authority” since she was five years old,” Chapman told MS magazine in 2012.

“I love that she is so strong, but it sure doesn’t make my job easy! She is my Merida… and I adore her.” We'd recommend that Chapman refrain from gifting her daughter a bow and arrow, then!

Belle’s the only person in her town who wears blue

One of Belle’s most famous dresses is her blue “peasant” dress. But if you look closely, you’ll see that she’s the only person in her whole town to wear blue. It’s because she’s different, and the color makes her stand out.

“It is a practical color and a color that you can work in,” designer Jacqueline Durran told Allure in 2017. “In that sense, it is full of active strength.”

Mulan is based on an ancient Chinese legend

The story of Mulan existed for a very long time before Disney released its version. The original story dates back at least to the sixth century and tells the story of a brave Chinese woman called Hua Mulan who takes her father’s place in war.

Disney changed her family name to Fa and added characters such as Mushu. The tale has actually been told many times, not just by Disney, but by production companies in China and beyond.

Only three princesses have two love interests

What do Love Actually, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Casablanca all have in common with Frozen and Pocahontas? No, it's not talking raccoons or suppressed special powers — it's love triangles. Despite the popularity of complex romantic scenarios in many of our most beloved movies, curiously, Disney rarely adds a love triangle into the mix.

In fact, only two Disney princesses have had affection for more than one man. Anna of Frozen had both Hans and Kristoff as her romantic interests, and Pocahontas had Kocoum and John Smith. Alas, neither of those situations ended well for all of the characters.

Rapunzel was the first princess to have supernatural powers

Though magic is central to many Disney stories, Rapunzel was the first-ever Disney princess to have actual magical powers. Thanks to her iconic hair, she is able to heal.

All the other princesses are ordinary people (or, in the case of Ariel, ordinary for a mermaid.) Elsa with her ice powers came along in 2013, but let's get it on record — Rapunzel was the first.

Jasmine is named after an actress

Aladdin is based on the old Middle Eastern legend “Aladdin and the Magical Lamp.” In that story, the beautiful princess goes by the name of Badroulbadour. So why did Disney ditch the original moniker?

Well, as you might have already realized, Badroulbadour is a bit of a mouthful. Writers wanted to give her a shorter name, so they settled on “Jasmine” after the actress Jasmine Guy, who had also helped popularize the name in the ’90s.

Aurora has only 18 lines in Sleeping Beauty

Even though the movie is named after her, Aurora doesn’t speak much in Sleeping Beauty. To be precise, you could count her lines on your fingers and toes, and still have some digits to spare!

Over the years film reviewers have suggested that Aurora isn’t the real hero of the movie, and nor is Prince Philip — the true protagonists are the three good fairies, who have much more screentime and many more lines.

It took years to create Merida’s hair

The first thing viewers are likely to notice about Merida is her vast mane of curly red hair. This is a good thing, considering it took a very, very long time for the animators to get her character's hair looking natural.

“We used 1,500 hand-placed, sculpted individual curls,” simulation supervisor Claudia Chung told Inside Science in 2012. “It took us almost three years to get the final look for her hair.”

Pocahontas is the only tattooed princess

When people think of Disney, their brains probably don't jump straight to tattoos. And rightly so, almost none of our favorite characters have been inked. In fact, only one princess has. And that’s Pocahontas. Look closely, and you might have spotted the red marking around her upper arm.

What's more, it’s accurate to history, as a real Native American woman of Pocahontas’ age would have gotten tattooed at that time. The real-life Pocahontas almost certainly would have had one.

Another fictional bookworm inspired Belle

If you've ever had a nagging feeling that Belle feels familiar, then you'd have been right. When writer Linda Woolverton began working on Beauty and the Beast, she sought inspiration from the book Little Women, particularly the character of Jo.

“Though the character of Jo is more tomboyish, both were strong, active women who loved to read — and wanted more than life was offering them,” Woolverton told the Orlando Sentinel in 1992.

The princesses have official ages

None of the princesses are as old as you’d expect. Now, get ready for some numbers... The oldest ones are Tiana and Cinderella, who are both 19. Rapunzel and Pocahontas are 18, while Belle is listed as being 17.

Mulan, Merida, Ariel, and Aurora are 16, and the youngest ones are 15-year-old Jasmine and 14-year-old Snow White. Even Elsa, a queen rather than a princess, is only 21. Phew! Did you get all that?

Reese Witherspoon had to quit her role in Brave

Back when Brave was called The Brave, Reese Witherspoon was attached to star as Merida. She dropped out in 2011 with vague “scheduling issues” cited and was replaced with Scot Kelly Macdonald.

But in 2011 Witherspoon implied the real reason. “I tried to do a Scottish accent once, it was bad. I had to quit the movie,” she said on the talk show Lorraine.

Moana wears red to symbolize her rank

Moana was Disney’s first Polynesian princess, and elements of her culture were included in the movie. Before she came along, Disney princesses didn’t often wear red — but Moana did.

That’s because, in the Pacific Island culture, red (as well as yellow) is the color of royalty. Had Moana existed, she might have worn red clothes made out of feathers.

Aurora was the last princess Walt Disney oversaw

Walt Disney died in 1966, and the last “princess” movie he created was 1959’s Sleeping Beauty. What's interesting, then, is that Disney’s iconic line of princesses was not likely something he would ever have envisioned in his lifetime.

In fact, it took many decades for the princesses to become their own franchise: Ariel was the first of the new ones when The Little Mermaid came out in 1989.

Ariel might have a famous cousin

Greek mythology is complicated — fact! But within it, there is an interesting connection between Ariel and another character adapted by Disney. We'll keep things brief — Poseidon is the brother of Zeus, father of Hercules.

Are you with us? Good! Poseidon is also the father of Triton, a.k.a. Ariel’s dad, King Triton. That would make Ariel and Hercules related as first cousins once removed. Crossover time?

Mulan borrowed a tic from her actress

Have you ever noticed that Mulan has a habit of touching long black locks? If you watch the movie closely, she often has her fingers in her hair, and that’s because her voice actress Ming-Na Wen also does this.

In 2018 Wen herself confirmed it on her Twitter account. “Very true. I still touch my hair a lot,” she wrote in response to a tweet declaring the Mulan trivia.

Rapunzel isn’t a G-rated princess

Curiously, Tangled was the first Disney princess movie to get a PG rating, rather than a G. It may seem like a dramatic move, but in fairness, there is a scene with visible blood.

A few years later, Frozen also gained a PG, as did the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. The very dark The Hunchback of Notre Dame is still a G, though…

Ariel is based on a famous actress

When the artists on The Little Mermaid began work on Ariel, they based her face on that of popular ’80s actress Alyssa Milano. “I didn’t know when it was going on!” Milano said on The Wendy Williams Show in 2013.

“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 was based on pictures of me from when I was younger.”

Elsa was originally supposed to be a villain

Back in the early days of its conception, Frozen was based on the fairytale The Snow Queen. In keeping with the story, Elsa was originally supposed to be the wicked titular character. But the writers changed things as they went along.

They eventually decided to make Elsa Anna’s sister and a tormented heroine rather than a full-blown baddie. Hans, though? He was a dirty rotten traitor right from those early drafts.

Merida isn’t technically a Disney princess

Although Brave's leading character falls under the banner of “Disney princess,” Merida actually came from Pixar, not Disney. A fact that is referenced in the movie Ralph Breaks the Internet.

When all the princesses get together, Anna and Moana comment on Merida’s thick Scottish accent. “We can’t understand her. She’s from the other studio,” they playfully explain in a beautifully meta moment.

Belle was very fond of the Beast

At the end of Beauty and the Beast, the Beast of course turns back into a human. But there was originally a line in there to imply Belle might have preferred him as a monster.

Animator Glen Keane requested that Belle ask the Beast at the end, “Do you think you could grow a beard?” It was cut — but it did appear in the 2017 live-action version.

Ariel’s hair is red for a reason

When The Little Mermaid was in development, the animators took note of the hit mermaid film Splash, starring Daryl Hannah. And just like Hannah's character, Madison, at one point in the production, Ariel’s hair was blonde.

However, some of the creative team thought it would make her look too much like Splash’s mermaid. So her hair was changed to red, and now Ariel is one of the animation world’s most famous redheads.

There was nearly an earlier Rapunzel movie

After Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came out in 1937 and proved a hit, Disney started looking for other fairytales to adapt. These included The Little MermaidCinderella, Beauty and the Beast… and the tale of Rapunzel.

Of course, all of them became films eventually, but it took a lot longer for Rapunzel to reach the big screen. In the end, Tangled was only released as Disney’s 50th animated feature.

Rapunzel pops up in Frozen

Watch Elsa’s coronation scene closely and you might see some old friends. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are among the guests. This has led to fan theories about the two royal families being related, and even one about the Arendelle parents having been en route to Rapunzel’s wedding when they died.

However, Rapunzel’s voice actress Mandy Moore debunked that idea, telling TV Line in 2017, “I don’t know if we need any crossovers at this point.” Well, that puts an end to that then!

“Part of Your World” was almost cut

We think everyone can agree that Ariel’s song sequence “Part of Your World” is one of the most memorable moments in The Little Mermaid. However, it was nearly cut out of the film entirely.

You see, Disney’s chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg insisted children wouldn’t like it. Long-time Disney lyricist Howard Ashman fought against that decision — and won. Children still love it to this day.

Mulan holds a particular record

While fighting for the Chinese army, Mulan comes up with the idea of causing an avalanche to bury the opposing Huns. The avalanche kills almost all of them, and that’s a whopping 2,000 people.

Not only is that by far the highest kill count among Disney princesses, it’s higher than any Disney villain, ever! Pretty impressive when you consider the atrocities carried out by the likes of Judge Claude Frollo and Scar.

Beauty and the Beast recycled some animation

When Belle and the Prince dance at the end of Beauty and the Beast, Disney diehards may feel the sequence looks familiar. That’s because it is, in fact, recycled animation!

Artists ran out of time animating that particular scene, so they used a similar dance from Sleeping Beauty. Disney actually reuses animation a lot — this is a process called rotoscoping.

Beyoncé could have played Tiana

Lots of stars wanted to play Disney’s first African-American princess. Beyoncé was reportedly one of them… but according to casting director Jen Rudin, she didn’t want to audition for the role.

Plenty of other big names did audition, though. Rudin claimed in her autobiography that these included Jennifer Hudson and Tyra Banks. Eventually, the part went to Beyoncé’s Dreamgirls co-star Anika Noni Rose.

Sleeping Beauty was actually a flop

These days Sleeping Beauty is considered a classic, but it was a complete failure at the box office back in 1959. Part of that was due to its massive budget, which was $6 million (think $52 million in today’s money.)

Alas, it was such a flop that Disney wouldn’t even consider making another princess movie, or a movie with a female lead, for a staggering 30 years afterward. We can all rejoice that they changed their minds eventually.

Not every princess needs a prince

It’s true that most Disney princesses come with a prince attached — think Jasmine and Aladdin, or Ariel and Eric. But not all of them! Neither Elsa, Merida, nor Moana had a love interest throughout the course of their respective movies.

They join other solo Disney heroines such as Judy Hopps in Zootopia, Mirabel from Encanto, and Asha from Wish. And hey, who knows — perhaps other single princesses will follow in their wake?