Welcome to my new 50 Facts Friday series! Every other Friday, I’ll share my favourite 50 Facts about well beloved pop culture franchises. I’m kicking this series off with one of my personal favourite subjects to talk about, so, without further ado, here’s 50 facts about Disney Princesses!
1. The Disney Princess media franchise was created in the late 1990s by the Walt Disney Company. There are currently 11 official Disney princesses in the franchise. They are: Snow White (1937), Cinderella (1950), Aurora (1959), Ariel (1989), Belle (1991), Jasmine (1993), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998), Tiana (2009), Rapunzel (2010) and Merida (2012).
2. Although Anna, Elsa and Moana are technically the 12th, 13th and 14th princesses respectively, Frozen and Moana both proved so successful that they are branded as individual franchises of their own, rarely being featured amongst the other princesses in media and merchandising.
3. Snow White is the youngest of the Disney Princesses, being only 14 years old during her movie. Cinderella is the eldest at 19 years of age.
4. Merida is the only princess of the line-up to be of Pixar property, and the only princess in the official line-up to not have a love interest or sing on-screen.
5. If Merida were to straighten her curls, they would be 4 foot long!
6. Pocahontas and Mulan are the only characters in the franchise to not be of actual royal status at any point in their movies. However, they are the only two to be inspired by real life historical figures of the same names, although Mulan is more of a legend as there is no evidential proof she actually existed.
7. Cinderella, Belle, and Tiana are the only princesses to not be born of royal status. This is characteristically distinguishable by the fact they are the only three princesses shown wearing opera gloves with their ballgowns.
8. Unofficial animated Disney princesses/heroines include (but are not limited to) Alice, Maid Marian, Tiger Lily, Eilonwy, Nala, Esmeralda, Megara, Jane, Kida and Tinker Bell. The majority were “tested” as part of the official line-up in merchandising, but eventually were all declined for either of the following reasons; being too young/not being human/hailing from commercially unsuccessful movies/developing their own franchises.
9. Giselle from Enchanted was also to be added to the franchise in 2007, but later declined as the company would have to pay royalties to actress Amy Adams for using her likeness.
10. Sofia, Elena and Star Butterfly are not included in the official line-up because they are each from their own Disney Channel TV series.
11. Rapunzel was the first princess in the franchise to have magic powers. Rapunzel is also the only princess to change her hair colour during her movie. She is commonly shown with her 70 foot of golden hair in merchandising and in Disney Parks.
12. Ariel is the only princess in the franchise to not be born human. However, she is not the only to be magically transformed, as Tiana is transformed into a frog during her movie.
13. Both Snow White and Aurora share a lot in common; apart from the obvious falling asleep and being awoken by True Love’s Kiss, a deleted scene from Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs later wound up being used in Sleeping Beauty.
14. Lea Salonga (the singing voice of Jasmine) successfully auditioned for the role by singing Part Of Your World from The Little Mermaid. Almost 20 years later, the casting directors of Frozen listened to recordings of Kristen Bell singing the same song, landing her the voice role of Anna.
15. Lea Salonga also provides the singing voice of Mulan, making her the only actress to have voiced two Disney princesses!
16. Mulan and Tiana are the only princesses shown to be left-handed.
17. Rapunzel has the biggest eyes of all the princesses, and the only princess to have green eyes. Aurora is the only princess to have violet eyes.
18. Ariel and Belle were nearly blondes! Ariel was changed to a redhead to avoid confusion with fellow popular 80’s mermaid movie Splash!, and Belle became brunette to deliberately contrast with every princess before her. Concept art of the characters with blonde hair still exists.
19. Jasmine is the only princess to be a secondary character in her movie (Aladdin). The rest of the princesses are the main protagonists in their movies.
20. Aurora is the quietest princess, with only 18 lines of spoken dialogue.
21. It is a common rumour that the ladies of the ink and paint department at Walt Disney Studios actually used their own rouge make-up to colour Snow White’s cheeks to get the perfect hue during production in the 30’s.
22. The same animation sequence of Aurora and Philip’s dance from Sleeping Beauty was reused over 30 years later for Beauty And The Beast in the finale scene.
23. The magical dress transformation scene from Cinderella was quoted as one of Walt Disney’s personal favourite animation sequences his company ever created during his lifetime. Walt also told Cinderella’s voice actress, Ilene Woods, that Cinderella was his favourite heroine.
24. Cinderella’s shoe size is officially given as 4 1/2.
25. Aurora is the tallest princess.
26. Ariel’s sisters are Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella and Alana. Ariel is the youngest at 16, and the only one out of her sisters whose name doesn’t end with an “a“. She is also the only one who doesn’t match the colour of her shell bra to her tail, or constantly wear hair accessories. This signifies how unique Ariel is compared to her sisters.
27. Cinderella and Ariel are the only two princesses shown to be implied nude during short scenes of their movies.
28. Snow White is the only princess to have a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, awarded to her in 1988, 51 years after her movie debuted in cinemas.
29. Pocahontas is the only princess with two love interests: John Smith, and John Rolfe in the sequel. These were both real men Pocahontas was involved with during her actual lifetime, although we only know Pocahontas saved John Smith from death rather than there being a romantic relationship between them. Pocahontas did indeed marry John Rolfe and together they had a child.
30. Jasmine is the only princess to actually kiss the villain of her movie, Jafar.
31. Ariel and Merida are the only princesses with biological siblings. Ariel has sisters, Merida has brothers, and the rest are the only child of their parents.
32. Aurora, Mulan, Rapunzel and Merida are the only princesses with both parents alive for the whole duration of their movies.
33. Tiana is the only princess with dimples.
34. Some aspects of the princesses costumes and appearances have been altered in media over the years. This includes a blue dress with platinum blonde hair for Cinderella (originally silver and strawberry blonde), and a brand new green ballgown for Ariel.
35. Aurora is shown solely in her pink version of her gown in official merchandise, despite the fact she wore the blue version for the majority of her scenes in Sleeping Beauty. This is mostly to avoid confusion to other princesses who wear blue dresses, and so she can be the only pink dress princess on merchandise.
36. Belle’s appearance is based on both Judy Garland from The Wizard Of Oz and Julie Andrews from The Sound Of Music. Belle is the only person in her village to wear blue to show how different she is from the other villagers, and has a single strand of hair that keeps falling into her face, signifying that although beautiful, Belle isn’t perfect. The falling strand of hair is also characteristic of Belle’s voice actress, Paige O’Hara.
37. Pocahontas is the only princess with a tattoo.
38. Snow White, Cinderella and Rapunzel are the only princesses to have parental figures be the villains of their movies.
39. Out of all the princesses in the franchise, Tiana sings the most . Tiana sings (either solo or as part of an assemble) on a total number of 5 songs in her movie: Down In New Orleans (Prologue), Almost There, When I’m Human, Dig A Little Deeper and Down In New Orleans (Finale). Tiana is voiced by Broadway star Anika Noni Rose, so Tiana’s love of singing makes complete sense!
40. Beyoncé Knowles was nearly the voice of Tiana. Beyoncé lost out on the role by refusing to audition.
41. Even though Belle sings on three songs during her movie, Belle is the only princess not to sing the main theme song. Beauty And The Beast and Be Our Guest are both sung by secondary characters (Mrs Potts and Lumiere, respectively.)
42. Tiana and Pocahontas are the only American princesses. Snow White and Rapunzel are German, Cinderella, Aurora and Belle are all French, Ariel is Danish, Jasmine is thought to be Persian, Mulan is Chinese and Merida is Scottish.
43. Despite the several princesses stories being set in multiple countries around the world, Merida is the only princess with an non-American accent.
44. Ironically, the live action counterparts of Aurora, Cinderella and Belle also have non-American accents despite their original animated portrayals. Both Emma Watson (Belle) and Lily James (Cinderella) are British while Elle Fanning (Aurora) is American.
45. Emma Watson was originally asked to play Cinderella in the live action remake but turned it down, as she did not feel that Cinderella was a healthy role model. Despite her refusal, she was later offered Belle and instantly accepted as she has apparently loved the character since her childhood, and considered getting to portray her as a lifelong dream.
46. Lily James originally auditioned for the role of one of the step-sisters in live action Cinderella, but was ultimately cast in the title role as the casting directors loved the tone of her voice.
47. The role of Ariel wasn’t the first time voice actress Jodi Benson had voiced a princess. Jodi also voiced Thumbelina for the Don Bluth animated movie of the same name. Jodi Benson’s other Disney voice roles include Weebo from Flubber and Barbie from Toy Story!
48. Paige O’Hara, the original voice of Belle, is not only an accomplished actress, but also a professional artist. Paige has created a series of paintings of Belle and various Beauty And The Beast scenes, aptly titled “Belle By Belle“, which have been displayed at the Pop Gallery in Downtown Disney, Florida.
49. Actress Sherri Stoner was the live reference model for both Ariel and Belle, which is why the two princesses share similar features and expressions. Sherri, a natural comedian, would often improvise during sessions. Some of her improvised material (such as the way Ariel play charades to tell Eric she’s a mermaid, but ultimately falling off the rock) made the cut!
50. Several Disney princess voice actresses appear in Enchanted: Jodi Benson (Ariel) plays a secretary, Paige O’Hara (Belle) plays a tv actress, Judy Kuhn (the singing voice of Pocahontas) plays a flat neighbour, and both Ilene Woods (Cinderella) and Mary Costa (Aurora) play two elderly ladies at the ball. Ironically, Idina Menzel’s character in the movie, Nancy Tremaine, ultimately marries Prince Edward in the finale, making her a Disney Queen years before she was famous worldwide for voicing Queen Elsa in Frozen!