The Disney Princess franchise has a long, rich history. From the 1937 animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to 2020’s live-action adaptation of Mulan, there are lots of unpopular yet interesting facts about Disney Princesses that only hardcore fans know. Some of these trivia will delightfully surprise you, while others will change the way you look at your favorite Disney Princess movies forever. Click through the slideshow below to discover 40 of the biggest Disney Princess secrets.
#1 There’s an official Disney Princess lineup
Created by former Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney, the official Disney Princess lineup does not include all female characters from the entire Disney-owned media, but only refers to specific characters from the studio’s animated and live-action films. The current official Disney Princess lineup is comprised of Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and Moana. Though Elsa and Anna are often mistaken as official Disney Princesses, both aren’t really included in the list, because Elsa is a queen in Frozen and Anna becomes a queen in Frozen 2.
#2 Mulan and Pocahontas are technically not princesses
Mulan doesn’t come from a royal line and doesn’t marry a prince. She, however, ends up tying the knot with Li Shang, who is the son of an army general. Like Mulan, Pocahontas doesn’t also have royal blood. Though she has more than one love interest in two of her movies, none of them is from a royal family.
#3 Cinderella is Walt Disney’s favorite princess
Ilene Woods, the actress who voiced Cinderella in the character’s eponymous 1950 animated film, said that Walt Disney once told her that she is his “favorite heroine.” When Woods asked if Disney was referring to Cinderella, the film producer said, “yes,” before adding that “there’s something about that story” that he associates with.
#4 Cinderella’s dress transformation is Walt Disney’s favorite piece of animation
While it’s not exactly clear why Disney loves that scene, a lot of movie aficionados are convinced that it’s the one that started the popular makeover theme in movies and TV series. “Ever since Cinderella ditched those rags and threw on a ball gown and a pair of glass slippers, movie audiences have fallen for the beloved transformation storyline,” StyleCaster wrote. The Independent Florida Alligator even hailed the scene as the “makeover of makeovers,” putting it on the top of its list of the best movie makeovers ever.
#5 Jasmine is the only Disney princess to kiss a villain
In the latter part of the 1992 animated film Aladdin, Jasmine tries to distract Jafar as Aladdin attempts to steal back Genie’s lamp from the villain. But when Aladdin’s cover is about to be blown, Jasmine is left with no choice but to kiss Jafar on the lips to prevent Aladdin from getting caught. Jafar, however, sees Aladdin’s reflection on Jasmine’s shiny crown, ultimately messing up the former street rat’s plan.
#6 Anna is the only Disney princess who performs a duet with a villain
In the first act of 2013’s Frozen, Anna performs a romantic duet with Hans titled Love Is an Open Door. At that time of the performance, Hans is portrayed as an honest and noble prince, but in the final act of the movie, he is revealed to be deceptive, calculating, and cruel in nature. Written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the song is inspired by the date featured in the 1984 film The Karate Kid.
#7 Aurora only has 18 lines in Sleeping Beauty
Since Aurora is the movie’s titular character, this fun fact is quite surprising. But if you consider the plot of the 1959 film, in which the character just spends most of her time sleeping, it does make sense that she only has less than 20 speaking lines.
#8 Part of Your World was almost removed from The Little Mermaid
Former Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg initially ordered that Part of Your World be removed from the final cut of the film due to concerns that the ballad would bore young children, after some kid in a test audience spilt his popcorn while the sequence was playing during a test screening. Fortunately, the song was spared after audience members appeared to enjoy it during a subsequent test screening, and after directors Ron Clements and John Musker, as well as lyricist Howard Ashman, and animator Glen Keane managed to convince Katzenberg that the song is an important part of the film’s narrative.
#9 Belle is the only person in her village who wears blue
This was done to show that she was an outcast among the villagers. Interestingly, Belle’s signature outfit matches the color of Beast’s eyes, suggesting that they’re really perfect for one another.
#10 Cinderella has very dainty feet
In 2007’s Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, it is stated by the king that Cinderella’s iconic glass slipper is a women’s size 4½.
#11 Jasmine and Mulan are the only Disney princesses who wear pants
Jasmine wears harem pants of different colors and styles in all three Aladdin animated films. Mulan, meanwhile, wears pants as part of her karategi-like outfit and warrior attire in 1998’s Mulan.
#12 Hercules and Ariel are technically uncle and niece
Though Ariel is not part of Greek mythology, most characters in 1989’s The Little Mermaid and 1997’s Hercules are based on Greek gods and goddesses. In Greek mythology, Ariel’s mother, Athena, is the half-sister of Hercules, making Hercules and Ariel uncle and niece.
#13 The disagreement over the color of Aurora’s dress is based on a real dispute in the studio
In the movie Sleeping Beauty, Flora wants Aurora’s dress to be pink while Merryweather likes it to be blue. This argument between the two fairies was said to be inspired by a real wardrobe squabble in the studio. Though Aurora’s dress is blue in the original movie, her ball gown is depicted as pink in later appearances and merchandise items.
#14 Beyoncé almost voiced Tiana
Several well-known African American female celebrities expressed interest in voicing Tiana, including Tyra Banks, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and even Beyoncé. Queen B allegedly didn’t think she should have to audition, so her Dreamgirls castmate Anika Noni Rose, who tried out for the role three times, got the gig instead.
#15 Merida is the only Disney princess who doesn’t have an American accent
Merida has a Scottish English accent, which makes sense because the 2012 film Brave is set in the fictional Kingdom of DunBroch that is said to be located in the highlands of Scotland. Merida is also voiced by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, who was hired to take over the role from Reese Witherspoon.
#16 All Disney princesses are right-handed except for Mulan and Tiana
Prior to meeting the matchmaker in the movie, Mulan uses her left hand to paint notes on her right arm, making a lot of viewers believe that she’s left-handed. But because she’s also seen using the sword in her right hand in many instances, the character may actually be ambidextrous.
Meanwhile, one trait that Tiana shares with her voice actress Anika Noni Rose is that they’re both left-handed. Rose personally asked Tiana’s animator Mark Henn to make the character left-handed just like her.
#17 Belle is the only Disney princess who has hazel eyes
While most Disney princesses have blue and dark brown eyes, Belle is the only one with hazel eyes. The reason behind the color choice is not clear, but it’s confirmed that Belle was given slightly smaller eyes than Ariel’s to make her look more “European” than the princesses before her.
#18 Aurora is the only princess who has violet eyes
Though the color of Aurora’s eyes changes throughout the Sleeping Beauty movie, their official color is violet. At the beginning of the film, Aurora’s eyes are violet because she’s under a curse. But when the curse is broken and she awakens from her long sleep, her eyes turn blue. Interestingly, in the dance scene at the end of the movie, her eyes are color brown. Hercules’ Megara also has violet eyes, but she’s not an official member of the Disney Princess lineup.
#19 Ariel is created with red hair to distinguish her from the mermaid from Splash
Five years before The Little Mermaid hit the big screen, 1984 fantasy rom-com film Splash introduced the mermaid character named Madison to the world. The blonde mermaid played by Daryl Hannah became so popular in the ‘80s that Disney decided to give Ariel a fiery red hair to differentiate her from the live-action character.
#20 The wisp of hair that keeps falling in Belle’s face has a deeper meaning
Commenting on creating Belle’s physical appearance, Linda Woolverton, who wrote the screenplay for Beauty and the Beast, said: “The only thing I wrote [to describe Belle physically] was ‘she has a little wisp of hair that keeps falling in her face.’ Because I wanted her not to be perfect. It was important that not every hair be [sic] in place.”
#21 The color of Elsa’s ice palace changes to reflect her feelings
The palace’s ambiance responds to how Elsa feels inside. The palace is blue when she’s happy and empowered, purple when she’s sad, red when she’s afraid, and yellow when she’s angry.
#22 Anna and Pocahontas are the only princesses with more than one love interest
In Frozen, Anna is both pursued by Hans and Kristoff, though only the latter has good intentions. At the end of Frozen II, Kristoff proposes to Anna, making him her fiancé.
Pocahontas, meanwhile, is courted by both Kocoum and John Smith in the first Pocahontas movie and gets another love interest in the form of John Rolfe in the sequel.
#23 Pocahontas is based on a real person
Unlike the other Disney princesses, Pocahontas is loosely based on an actual historical figure of the same name. The real Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan living in Tsenacommacah, the area encompassing all of Tidewater region of Virginia. Captured and held for ransom by the colonists in 1613, she was encouraged to convert to Christianity and was baptized under the name Rebecca. Though Pocahontas didn’t tie the knot with John Rolfe in the second Pocahontas movie, the real Pocahontas married the real John Rolfe in 1614, and gave birth to a child, Thomas Rolfe, a year later.
#24 Mulan is based on a legendary character
Mulan is based on a legendary Chinese warrior Hua Mulan from the poem the Ballad of Mulan. According to the legend, Mulan takes her aged father’s place in the conscription for the army by disguising herself as a man. After prolonged and distinguished military service against nomadic hordes, Mulan is honored by the emperor but declines a position of high office. She retires to her hometown, where she is reunited with her family and reveals her sex, much to the astonishment of her comrades.
#25 The dance sequence featuring Belle and Adam at the end of Beauty and the Beast is a reused piece of animation from Sleeping Beauty
The animation of Belle and Adam dancing at the end of Beauty and the Beast is actually a reused animation of Aurora and Phillip dancing at the end of Sleeping Beauty. Disney resorted to this trick because they were running out of time and budget during the production of the 1991 film.
#26 Cinderella loses her shoe multiple times throughout the movie
The Disney princess loses her shoes three times in the first Cinderella film. First, when she’s delivering breakfast trays to her stepmother and stepsisters; second, when she’s fleeing the prince’s castle right after the clock strikes midnight; and lastly, when she and Prince Charming are running down the stairs right after their wedding.
#27 Belle’s personality was partly based on a Little Women character
Although Belle being well-read is mentioned in the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, the character’s love for books was expanded upon in the Disney movie. Beauty and the Beast screenwriter on Linda Woolverton said she drew inspiration from Katharine Hepburn’s portrayal of Jo March in the 1933 film adaptation of Little Women to demonstrate Belle’s intelligence and open-mindedness.
#28 Tiana is the only princess who had a paying job
Prior to opening her own restaurant and becoming the Princess of Maldonia, Tiana worked as a waitress at Duke’s Café and Cal’s Diner. Though Cinderella worked as a housekeeper for the Tremaines, she didn’t get paid for it.
#29 Pocahontas almost had a different sidekick
Pocahontas’ sidekick is her pet racoon Meeko. The original plan, however, was to give her a talking turkey sidekick named Redfeather. But following the death of Redfeather’s intended voice actor, John Candy, and after Disney came to a decision to have all animal characters in the movie be mute, the turkey character was ultimately dropped from the film.
#30 Snow White is the youngest Disney princess
Disney’s version of Snow White is only 14 years old. But in the original fairy tale by the Grimm brothers, Snow White is only seven years old when she incites the jealousy of the Evil Queen.
#31 Elsa is the only princess who is not a teenager
According to Frozen screenplay writer Jennifer Lee, Elsa is 21 years old at the time of her coronation. Since it is believed that Elsa was born on the Winter Solstice in 1817, then her December 22nd ― the exact date the winter solstice occurred in Norway that year.
#32 Mulan and Belle were the only princesses to encounter snow
Prior to the release of Frozen, Mulan and Belle were the only princesses to encounter snow. One of the most memorable battle scenes in Mulan involves an avalanche, while the Something There sequence in Beauty and the Beast sees Belle and Beast playing in the snow.
#33 Aurora was the last princess to be created before Walt Disney’s death
Out of the 12 official Disney Princesses, only three were created under the supervision of Walt Disney: Snow White in 1937, Cinderella in 1950, and Aurora in 1959. Disney died from complications of lung cancer in 1966 ― 23 years before The Little Mermaid was released.
#34 Ariel became Disney’s first princess in 30 years in 1989
After 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, it took 30 years for Disney to produce another animated princess feature, and that’s The Little Mermaid featuring Ariel as the titular character. Since a lot had changed during the intervening decades, Ariel is far different from the three Disney Princesses that came before here. Unlike her predecessors, “Ariel is fully realized female character who thinks and acts independently, even rebelliously,” popular film critic Roger Ebert wrote of the mermaid character.
#35 Elsa was initially conceived as a more straightforward villain
“When we started off, Anna and Elsa were not sisters. They weren’t even royal,” Frozen producer Peter Del Vecho told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. “Anna was not a princess. Elsa was a self-proclaimed Snow Queen, but she was a villain and pure evil — much more like the Hans Christian Andersen tale.”
The original ending involved a big epic battle with snow monsters that Elsa had created as her army, but the producers didn’t find it satisfying mainly because they had no emotional connection to Elsa. In an attempt to remedy this issue, they made Elsa and Anna sisters. “That led to making Elsa a much more dimensional sympathetic character, and instead of the traditional good vs. evil theme we had one that we felt was more relatable: Love vs. fear, and the premise of the movie became that love is stronger than fear,” explained Del Vecho.
#36 Rapunzel’s hair is at least 70 feet long
Tangled animators have said that Rapunzel’s hair is approximately 70 feet (840 inches), and consists of about 100,000 strands. But on page 66 of the behind-the-scenes book The Art of Tangled by Jeff Kurtti, it is stated that the character’s hair has a length of 75 feet.
#37 Merida’s hair is actually 4 feet long
If her curls were unwound, Merida’s hair would measure 4 feet long and would reach the middle of her calf. Another hair-related fun fact is that Pixar engineered an entirely new software program just for Merida’s hair. The studio created her locks with “1,500 individually sculpted curves, distinct points in a three-dimensional space, that are programmed to bounce and interact in relation to one another via a new software system.”
#38 Pocahontas is the only Disney princess with a tattoo
Pocahontas has a red tattoo around her right bicep. Another Disney character with visible tattoos is Maui from 2016’s Moana.
#39 Tiana is the only princess with dimples
Tiana’s dimples are inspired by the dimples of the character’s voice actress Anika Noni Rose.
#40 Ariel’s appearance was partly based on Alyssa Milano
Developed by animator Glen Keane, Ariel’s original design was based on the appearance of Charmed actress Alyssa Milano when she was 16, and model-comedian Sherri Stoner, who provided live-action references for the animators during the development of the film.