Disney Princess Movies: Tales as Old as Time


Abigail Felan

The world of Disney has many more nuances than we realize when first watching the films as children.

Abigail Felan, Staff Writer

Disney princess movies are classic tales brought to life on screen with more depth and color to the characters. Beyond the magic of the movie, there are personalities that belong to the individual characters. Analyzing the persona of different princesses offers a greater insight into the protagonists and heroines themselves. Various princess movies offer various morals based on historical events, the challenging of gender norms and overcoming barriers placed by society. Here are some of the deeper meanings behind some of the classic films we have grown to know and love.

Snow White
My childhood favorite, Snow White, can be seen as somewhat of a problematic movie, primarily due to Snow White’s age. Of course, as a child watching this movie, the princess’s age did not play a factor in the love I had for this movie. A moral that prevails across all Disney princess movies is that good always wins. Her tale is the origin of that theme. Snow White escapes evil to find kindness and compassion in her new family of the Seven Dwarves. The magic of her being awoken by a prince simply adds to the fantastical world that is the realm of Disney. Some of the main themes of this movie are family, goodness, and the general idea that love conquers all. Although the focus of this movie might be the mirror on the wall or the evil magic of the apple, the true heroes in this story are not the prince and his castle, but the Seven Dwarves. Snow White discovers an unusual family in the dwarves and they protect her from harm as much as they can. They recognize her kind heart and do not take advantage of it.

The Little Mermaid
A current favorite of mine is The Little Mermaid. Ariel’s story is entertaining and relatable with a wonderful soundtrack to sing along to. Her longing to be human shows some insecurity regarding her own identity as a mermaid and her willingness to conform to what she thinks Prince Eric wants in a girl shows a lack of backbone. This being said, she is always in search of knowledge about the world she doesn’t know, she stands up to her father and she takes matters into her own hands when he forbids her from going near the surface. She displays courage and integrity when entering an unknown world to follow her dreams. Her dream happens to be that she is in love with a prince. In this case, I find her story to be a magical, dreamy and full circle story that explores concepts of love, deception and individuality.

“What fascinates me about Disney princesses is that they put so much work and background story into it which entertains everyone. My favorite princess is Belle because she is in love with the soul of the beast despite his scary facade,” junior Rachell Aguilera said.

Beauty and the Beast
This movie is a tale as old as time about finding love and comfort in an unknown world. With a moral placing importance on a person’s character rather than superficial qualities, Belle exemplifies a woman of courage and confidence who sees good within someone who struggles with his past. Similar to The Little Mermaid, the score for this movie creates a mysterious yet romantic atmosphere for the characters. Set in a small town in France, Belle defies the gender norms of her time by being an “out of the ordinary” girl who enjoys reading tales of far off lands, learning about the past and being in no rush to wed. Gaston’s character is an ego-centric narcissist who attempts to claim Belle as his own, these moments are a testament to her character because she is independent as well as confident with her choices and not giving into pressure. Upon falling in love with the Beast, Belle is appalled because she fell in love with his personality without allowing the superficial aspect of romance interfere. Throughout the movie, Belle is the protagonist with a kind heart who also is not afraid to be straightforward and confident. She shows young girls that they can be different from others and still be secure with who they are.

“I love how there are a variety of princesses of different ethnicities and social classes. These movies are appealing to people who aren’t children because they have interesting stories and tales that remind us all of our childhood” junior Cristina Abello said.

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Moving on to Aladdin, right off the bat this movie underestimates the heroine. The movie is named after the lying streetrat who is attempting to court Jasmine. There is not much more to say because this story is centered around Aladdin when, in reality, Princess Jasmine is the true main character. She chooses who she wants to marry and decides that she wants to rule her Kingdom of Agrabah. Jasmine does what she can to take control of her situation as princess when everyone from her father to Jafar to Aladdin is trying to control her life and her decisions. Princess Jasmine is ready to rule Agrabah but everyone has yet to realize the commitment she has to her people.

Disney princess movies might seem childish or unrealistic to some, but when given the chance to analyze the characters, theme and plot, there is much more to the movie beyond magic wands, daring sword fights and princes in disguise. The beauty of these princess movies is the inescapable world that is Atlantis or Agrabah or Arendelle; the concept that your fairytale is just around the riverbend or your Prince Charming will appear after you wish upon a star. Disney princess movies offer a sense of hope and magic in a world where that is rare.