The Top 10 Worst Disney Heroes

Not all of these Disney characters make the list.  Check out which ones do.
Not all of these Disney characters make the list. Check out which ones do.

The List of the Worst

In the land of Disney, heroes are always the good guys. They make the right choices, learn their lessons and always have a happy ending. They are noble and just and are role models for both child and adult.

They are so sweet that my teeth are rotting as I read this aloud. But, not all Disney heroes are created equal. Some heroes are better left on the drawing board. These heroes are glorified, even though their bad behavior, spoiled demeanor and ‘woe is me’ attitude is not what he want people to aspire to. These heroes are the worst of the good guys.

Are They Really That Bad?

So, how do these heroes fall so far from glory? What makes them so bad that earned their spot on this list? They are the opposite of the Best Heroes in more ways that one. Let’s break it down.

Most Disney heroes have moral character. They might do the wrong thing (Robin Hood, Robin Hood), but they do it for the right reason. What about those characters who do the wrong thing for the wrong reason? This includes spoiled brats and those special snowflakes that feel that someone they are owed more in the world just because. Spoiled.

The hard, cold truth is that not all Disney heroes are smart (Hercucles, Hercules). What a hero lacks in smarts, they should make up in other areas. There are, however heroes that don’t. It is also the case that some have better reasons for lacking in brains than others, so that should be considered, but no one likes to deal with a dummy. OK, I’ll be nice, we’ll just call that: naïve.

There was a trend in Disney’s earlier years that the heroes were passive beings that things just happened to. Oh poor ‘Hero’ who didn’t deserve that to happen to them and oh look so and so is coming to help them save the day. It’s that nice? Nah, not so much. What type of hero constantly needs to be saved? Not the kind I’d want to look up to, that’s for sure. Passive.

There’s always a need for a hero to face adversities. Always. If that weren’t the case, we’d be watching a dog chase his tail, because there wouldn’t be much of a movie. So, how do these adversities come to be? Do they cause their own drama (Sulley, Monsters, Inc.), or are they just trouble magnets? Trouble?

There are other things to consider when weeding the great heroes from the wannabes. These are things that might make them a little more tolerable, like being a hard worker or a child. Or it could swing the opposite direction and sink them deeper like being self-righteous or hardheaded? These are the type of behaviors that can move a hero closer to the worse or bump them entirely off the list. Wild Card.

The last thing considered is the movie itself. Is it a classic, or did it suck altogether? What type of message does the movie send? Was the hero memorable or did someone else steal the show? Movie.

The Fairy Godmother and Cinderella
The Fairy Godmother and Cinderella

10. Cinderella (Cinderella, 1950)

So why would a humble, hard working girl make this list? She works like a servant for her nasty stepmother and wretched step sisters and she does so with a song in her heart and a smile on her face.

She’s lived her entire life serving a woman who treats her like dirt, yet she’s surprised when Lady Tremaine makes it almost impossible to go to the ball and even more surprised when her step sisters rip the dress mice made for her. Does she stand up to them? No, she cries helpless until her fairy godmother shows up (where was this fairy the entire time she was treated like crap?).

Not only does her fairy godmother provide a way to the ball, she gives her a dress and servants out of those same mice who spent all of their time helping her in the first place. And when Cinderella finds herself locked away, her mice buddies find a way to save her yet again.

All of this is for a guy she met and danced with the night before. Ah, So This is Love and what it looks like. You know, cause if you’re good, you’ll grow up and meet a prince who will whisk you away from your problems. Happens all the time.

The truth is, however, that Cinderella is the go-to girl of all princesses. The Disney version of the story is a classic and that castle you see at Disneyland and Disney World? That’s all her.

9. Lady and The Tramp (Lady and The Tramp, 1955)

This sweet little cocker spaniel is so persecuted. Not only does she have to adapt to a band new baby in the house, but she has to deal with a babysitter, Aunt Sarah, who doesn’t like dogs. Sure, Aunt Sarah’s nasty Siamese cats set her up, but her naivety will only get her a muzzle and put outside in a dog house. A dog in a doghouse?? Gasp.

Lady ends up out in the world where she meets Tramp, a Footloose and Collar-Free stray dog with a penchant for begging, getting himself into trouble and a way with wooing the lady dogs. That last part is why Lady eventually gets mad at Tramp…the horrors, she wasn’t his first lady in heat. Of course, it all ends well because he apologizes. He also saves her owner’s baby, which is a good thing.

The movie brings an interesting perspective. The audience start off with Lady as a pup and by the end she’s popping out puppies and looking like an old soul. A few days outside of the mansion will age you by decades, believe me.

Lady and The Tramp is a classic film and the scene where the pair eat spaghetti until they kiss is a part of cinematic history. It is even included in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Passions as the #95th greatest love story ever told on film. Not bad for a couple of dogs.

8. Alice (Alice in Wonderland, 1951)

Alice is a young girl who doesn’t care to listen to the history lesson her sister is reading. Instead, she’d rather daydream, sing and play with her cat. It doesn’t seem that bad, but if you take the era and place into consideration she could be doing what most children her age would be forced to do: working, taking care of the household or starving. Harsh, I know, but a little perspective never hurt.

All of this happens because she’d rather live in a nonsensical world where nothing makes sense. She’s actually a very smart girl; unfortunately she rarely follows her own Very Good Advice. Every bit of trouble she gets to is of her own making. She handles things rather well and with a great amount of logic, which is interesting because she so wanted to exist in a non-logical world. I guess she figures out that reality isn’t that bad.

Alice in Wonderland is a cherished film that has catapulted The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts and The Cheshire Cat into visual icons adored world wide. This doesn’t mean that Alice is ignored. Since she is one of the few very young girls featured in the Disney world, she will always have a niche in their market.

Very Good Advice

7. Duchess (Aristocats, 1970)

Duchess is a pampered cat with three kittens that gets kidnapped by her butler and dumped on the side of the road in the country. She and her kittens are stuck in the middle of nowhere with no food and no idea how to get home.

So, Duchess bats her eyelashes and pleas to a cat, Thomas O’Malley, to help her family get home. I guess the eyelashes and the sultry, accented voice of Eva Gabor do the trick. Not only does he save her kittens several times, he gets them home, gives them a place to stay, feeds them and keeps them entertained, because it is well documented that Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat. Those eyelashes have magical powers, I'm positive of it.

I will note that Duchess doesn’t really figure out until it’s too late that the butler did it for the inheritance she would collect if her owner dies. It seems all a bit much since the owner isn’t dead.

The Aristocats is one of the often forgotten Disney films, which is odd because it is the last movie Walt Disney approved of personally. Duchess, on the other hand, is rarely brought up at all. If there is a character that makes an appearance now and then, it is Marie, Duchess’ only girl kitten.

6. Ariel (The Little Mermaid, 1989)

Hear me out for a few moments before you attack me with your spears and tridents for adding one of the most beloved princesses on this list.

Ariel is a 16 year who has everything a mermaid could want. That is, however, not good enough. She doesn’t want to listen to anyone. She ignores her dad, who just wants her to keep her promises, not get herself into trouble and stay out of danger. She ignores Sebastian who warns her that messing with humans is dangerous and she ignores Flounder, her best friend when he tells her that she might be getting herself into trouble.

Why does she do all of this? To be human, something she’s not. Is life Under the Sea that bad? Even worse, she gets infatuated with Prince Eric. Why is it these girls never fall in love with the local baker or farmer?

One thing is for sure, she’s not a passive minnow. She actively gets herself deeper and deeper into trouble as she tries to escape who she really is: a mermaid. By the end of the movie, Ariel marries Eric and we learn that’s it’s OK to not like yourself, just get your dad to magically turn you into someone else and you’re life will be better.

Attack me if you aren’t convinced, because I know people love this movie. It is a modern day classic and the soundtrack is amazing. As for Ariel, she is a Disney princess staple and is the biggest seller of swimwear Disney ever had.

Under the Sea

5. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, 1959)

Aurora is a princess blessed with beauty and a great singing voice. She is also cursed by Maleficent, an evil fairy angry she wasn’t invited to the christening. Her parents send her off to be raised by the fairies and she’s ends up being the most perfect girl in the world.

Of course, she meets the prince she’s already betrothed to while she’s dancing with the animals in the forest. They instantly fall in love, but it isn’t soon that Aurora finds out she’s the princess, that she must marry her betrothed is returned home.

What would you do if you found out you were a princess? Cry? Well, that’s what she does, because after meeting him once in the forest, she’s in love and only wants him.

It isn’t soon before she’s tricked into pricking her finger on a spindle and falls into a deep sleep. Seriously, that’s what our heroine does for the rest of the movie. They had to name the song Once Upon a Dream, for that reason alone. What else would she sing about? She sleeps, while Prince Phillip does all of the hard work and dragon slaying. At least he has a name.

Walt Disney really liked his heroines on a bed, quiet and ready to be kissed. Cinderella is no exception.

The movie is a classic; but when you ask most people what Sleeping Beauty’s name is they have no idea, even though they could use Aurora or Briar-Rose, the name the fairies gave her. Although Maleficent is a stand out villain, Aurora is a staple in the princess franchise and often little girls’ favorite since she’s the princess in the pink dress.

Lightning McQueen and Mater
Lightning McQueen and Mater

4. Lightning McQueen (Cars, 2006)

This animated car wants to ditch his old sponsor and move up in the world. He disrespects the people that help him become successful and pushes the Mack Truck that gets him to where he’s going to the brink of exhaustion. Life is a Highway and all he needs is wheels, the road and speed.

Lightning is an aggressive car who breaks the law, does a shoddy job with his community service then tries to skip town when things don’t go his way. Just when you think he couldn’t get into more trouble, he figures out a new way to do just that.

Lightning is a hotheaded, self centered and egotistical car. He does learn that he can't’ do everything by himself and that it’s better to have friends that care about you than a title to put on your mantle. Not a bad message at all.

Cars was a major hit on release and the sequel was just as successful. It gave Disney hope they could do more films aimed at boys and families, instead of focusing entirely on the princess films. Though there is a lot of merchandise with Lightning’s grill on it, the true break out star was the country tow truck, Mater. The sequel and a series of children’s books all featured the rusty tow truck, not the shiny lead. Get ‘er done.

3. Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, 1937)

It’s hard to be the fairest one of all. This is especially true when you have a jealous step mother, The Evil Queen, who wants to dead, because you’re just too darn pretty.

Innocent of any wrongdoing, Snow White is first saved by the kindhearted Huntsman, then by the forest animals who show her where a little house is. She’s a hard working girl who cleans and cooks for the dwarves, who warn her not to talk to anyone.

Apparently she either has a faulty memory or is just dim-witted, but she ignores the dwarves, talks to an old beggar woman (The Evil Queen in disguise) and eats a poisoned apple. She then lies in a glass coffin and waits for a prince to kiss her and bring her out of her coma. And what was his name, Snow White? No name for that prince? Ugh.

The only thing she accomplishes on her own is cooking and cleaning, but don’t worry, that and her pretty looks will ensure her motto that Someday My Prince Will Come to whisk her off to his kingdom. It happens to every girl, just ask Cinderella.

The worst thing about Snow White is that chipmunk huffing helium then smoking crack while being hurled down a wind tunnel voice she insists on singing with. I want to take a pitchfork to my ears every time she speaks.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is the first animated feature film Disney ever made and for that reason alone she’s a part of cinematic history. Although the magic mirror and The Evil Queen have made a lasting impression, Snow White is the OP (original princess) and no one can take that from her.

To Share My Pain

2. Pinocchio (Pinocchio, 1940)

After being made, this puppet is brought to life by the Blue Fairy who tells him to turn into a real life boy he must be “brave, truthful and unselfish and able to tell right from wrong by listening to his conscience”.

The Blue Fairy then appoints Jiminy Cricket as Pinocchio’s conscience. Does the wooden boy listen to anything the fairy said? Of course not. I really can’t blame Pinnochio for being hard headed, except…yes, I can. He’s is told over and over again by Jiminy what is good and bad, but he just doesn’t listen. He is naïve enough to allow just about any two-bit crook a chance to get one over on him.

He and other boys are taken to Pleasure Island where he gambles, smokes, drinks and wrecks havoc. He may be wooden, but he’s a little boy. He begins to turn into a jackass. Subtle, no? He then lies about the whole thing. This kid deserves to be on an episode of Beyond Scared Straight with prisoners yelling at him about become their wifey. What was this kid thinking?

They do show that gambling, smoking, drinking and causing a ruckus isn’t something children should do and that kids should follow their conscience. In the end, it does not erase all of the trouble Pinocchio caused himself for no reason.

This classic film wasn’t initially successful, but has found a small place in the Disney franchise. A very small place, unfortunately.

Pinnochio Causing Trouble

1. Kuzco (The Emperor’s New Groove, 2000)

The Emperor’s New Groove is about a teenaged emperor who is so spoiled, he’s willing to destroy someone’s house and livelihood for his own benefit. There’s no point in describing how many time Kuzco behaves like a spoiled brat, because that’s the basis of the movie.

As a result, his trusted advisor tries to kill him, but accidentally turns him into a llama instead. Think being turned in a llama would be humbling? Not for this guy. He naively believes he still has power and control of his situation, even though he is being helped by the man, Pacha, whose house he wanted to destroy. And though Pacha helps the brat time and time again, Kuzco still finds new ways to get himself into trouble.

The worst part is the fingernails scraping down a chalkboard, then picking it up and slamming it over your head a few times voice of Kuzco (i.e. David Spade). That voice is so utterly annoying when not balanced next to Chris’ Farley (R.I.P).

The Emperor’s New Groove was an utter failure at the box office. If you don’t remember any character from this movie, you’re probably better off for it.

Who do you think is the worst Disney hero?

See results without voting

That’s it. That’s my list of the worst of the good guys. Though a nice chunk of them are fan favorites, if you look deeper at them and the way they behaved, you have to wonder what the heck was Disney thinking. Or maybe it’s just a look at the date the movie was made to sigh and thank the powers that be that we’ve progressed a lot since then.

More by this Author


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England

Another enjoyable hub Vanessa, I voted for Kuzco, it's the one I'm least familiar with.

I couldn't pick Pinocchio because he's the main character in one of the all time great Disney animations. And he's supposed to be a dumb little wooden boy who does become a hero at the end, and is rewarded.

Looking forward to your Top 10 Worst Disney Villains. :)

Voted Up and awesome.

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Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

In "Sleeping Beauty", she wasn't the hero, but the damsel in distress. It was really the prince and three good fairies who I considered to be the heroes, even as a child.

Pacha was the hero, even though most of the attention is focused else where...

I think Ariel was a well-spotted bad hero. I wanted to call her out on how shallow she was... you fell in love because he's cute?!

As for Snow White, the reason her voice was so high was because they wanted Shirley Temple to do it, but because of her contract she wasn't allowed and had to find a woman who sounded a little like her... tragic but true.

I think, by far, the worst hero has to be that annoying princess from Aladdin. She wasn't a bright young woman... she was a *Bleep*! A total brat! I wanted to slap her and remind her that if she spoke logically to her loving father, she could have done whatever she pleased! Instead she runs away to get freedom? Freedom from a castle, food, clothing, respect and even the possibility to make others have better lives by ruling a kingdom. For what? A guy that has no idea how to rule a country and who only likes her for her slim figure? Distasteful.

vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Steve. I can't argue with Kuzco being your worst as he was also my husband's worst. The reason I put Pinnochio as number one is because he does all those things that made Gaston make the most evil villain.

Phoebe, when I discuss heroes, I think of them as the protagonists of the story. I can see why you would consider Pacha and Prince Phillip the heroes in the most traditional sense, but from a filmic perspective, they aren't the people whose stories we are intended to follow, because they lack that growth factor. It's the same criteria I used when picking my best heroes and why I am continuing along those lines.

It's funny because the more I wrote about Ariel, the worse she read to me. She could have been closer to #1, lol.

I remember reading about the whole Shirley Temple as Snow White somewhere and always wondered how old was she when they wanted her to do that, because if she was still a preteen, then that's kind of icky.

As for Jasmine, she didn't make the list, because she's not the protagonist of the story. Aladdin almost did, but couldn't justify it since he protects the weak and all that.

I almost feel like writing a hub about the Princesses and why most of them are spoiled, incompetent and horrific role models.

Thanks you both for checking this out and giving your insights. I may have to move things around, because Ariel...yeah, not good.

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Interesting hub. I say Aurora gets my vote simply since she does the absolute least and for the princess franchise she is lazy.

Ariel gets a close second simply because she's too much of a brat and she's irritating to a fault.

I agree with you on the Princesses and how they are bad role models. They really don't do much but perpetuate the myth of women falling in love with Prince Charming.

vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I think both Aurora and Snow White just don't really do anything throughout their respective movies. To think that was considered the best possible light to put women in is insane.

Thanks Alecia!

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

I have to say I don't disagree with any of your picks, as all these characters deserve to be on this list. Although I think you can easily forgive Pinnochio for his faults though, as he is just a boy; thus they're not really expected to know right and wrong right away.

Plus, he was literally born yesterday before he got started getting conned by those two bit crooks in the movie, so it's kind of expected that he'd be a little bit curious about the world considering it's his literal first day being a sentient being. Therefore, I think you can probably forgive Pinnochio on some of his faults. Not saying that he doesn't deserve to be on this list, but I don't know if I'd rank him at number one though.

As for Kuzco, I couldn't agree with you more. Although, I thought the film was okay. Nothing really special, and it's probably not something that I think most people would expect Disney to ever make for an animated feature. I think like "Lilo and Stitch", "Atlantis", and "Treasure Planet", it was just one of those movies that Disney was experimenting with to try to diversify their animated features with something new and different. Unfortunately, "Emperor's New Groove" was just one of those misses for Disney.

As for the "Little Mermaid", I remember a while back before I saw the Disney version that there was an anime version of the same story on some public access channel. I remember watching it as a kid, but unlike the Disney version, the mermaid never gets the prince, and dies at the end. It's kind of a sad story. I remember asking one of my teachers about it afterwards, and she told me it's true the "Little Mermaid" did actually die in the original version.

After that, I saw the Disney version where we both know what happened in that one. It was from there, I learned that Disney would often take old stories, and alter their endings for the sake of commercialism. lol. I was nine years old when I found out about this, as I never did quite see Disney the same way again afterwards. Don't get me wrong, I do respect Disney in a lot of ways for it's contribution to animation, but i just find it kind of funny thinking about sometimes.

Anyway, thanks for formulating another well written hub on this topic. :)

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Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

You know who else bugged the heck out of me? Melody from the second Little Mermaid. That girl was so spoiled! She runs away because of a necklace! Seriously?! On top of that she treats her parents like they are awful and then doesn't even miss them in the slightest, nor does she care about them until they save her. She is also uncaring towards the only human boy was remotely nice to her and ignored him over a crab.

AND she also broke every single rule her parents had. Stay in the wall, don't talk to strangers, don't swim alone... I'm shocked she didn't get killed long ago!

vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I always love your responses Steven, you're always so on point. I really am reconsidering shifting Pinocchio down a few notches, because I don't think I weighed his age enough, especially since he was brought into the world only a short while before being sent to school. What the heck was Gipetto thinking on that one?

Originally I thought that because Jiminy was there it should balance his naivete, but I dunno. I think I'll have to sleep on that one.

I agree, The Emperor's New Groove and the ones you mentioned almost destroyed the idea that Disney could do films aimed at boys and families. Thank goodness for Pixar and Cars, because they showed that it wasn't the target audience, it was a mediocre script and subpar voice casting.

I used to read the original Grimm tales when I was a kid on the 80s and new that stories were really sugar coated. There's a lot of nasty business going on in some of those tales. I remember reading Rapunzel and just knew that the prince wouldn't lose his vision and she'd be cast out, almost near death. I had no idea they'd ditch the prince altogether, but Disney will do what they redo.

I actually appreciate the way they tell a fairy tale sometimes. My daughter is 6 and I'd hate to have to explain some of the more seedy things, like the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland, to her. There's more than enough time for her to enjoy these wonderfully made fluff films and when she gets older read the books which inspired them.


@Pheobe, I was forced, forced I tell ya, to watch this movie with my daughter and it was painful. I agree that Melody was the epitome of the spoiled brat and it's no surprise that she's Ariel's daughter. My daughter had a phase of watching this one and the original, but luckily she's over that and back to watching the Dinosaur Train.

Hopefully they'll just end the video series right there and leave good enough alone. Though Ariel's not a great role model, at least it was a good movie and the music was worth listening to. The second one? Not so much!

lostinmusic89 profile image

lostinmusic89 5 years ago from KCMO

Only the first few princesses fall in love with a prince. Then Disney became slightly more realistic. Pocahontas fell in love with a common explorer. Jasmine fell in love with a thief and she was able to make him a prince/sultan. Rapunzel also fell in love with a thief. The list goes on.

Voted up.

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Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

As for Alice in Wonderland, I think she shouldn't be on the list at all. Firstly because Disney mostly used Alice in the Looking Glass and not the first novel to base their story...

Alice is a very young girl, who was actually feeling quite alone because her sister was very "reasonable" and wouldn't allow any games. Well, Alice is in her garden in the book, and was bored because it was a warm, sunny day and she found a textbook boring. Every child that young would rather play in such nice weather than read a book they found repulsive. And Wonderworld made perfect sense... it was just what those living in it had as society. She didn't mean to fall asleep and in the book she was certain she was dreaming at several points.

I think she is an awesome hero because she always says the truth even when it is risking her life to save another. She is kind, intelligent, and a playful little girl. That's just it... she's a little girl! She was seven-years-old! Far too young to be excepted to be grown-up enough not to daydream.

Though few know it, Alice was actually based off a real person that the author knew. Alice Liddell. When she was a child she would be around the writer and he was inspired by her and that's where he got the idea for the book.

vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

@lostinmusic, I really do appreciate that the folks at Disney really changed with the times. I thought it was interesting that under the man himself, Walt Disney, good women were useless and always needed to be saved while bad women were always step mothers. There's a little thing about Aunt Sarah Lady and the Tramp, she was supposed to be Jim Dear's mother and darling mother in law. They only changed it because she ended up being kind at the end. Kind must be she's an aunt.

@Pheobe Pike, you really do know some interesting tidbits about these characters don't you! Very good to know! I do want to differentiate the Alice from Disney from the Alice from Lewis Carroll's book.

Though I've read the book many times and even have a second edition of it, I look at it from a film theorist's perspective. Though she's very young in the book, Alice is a pre-teen to early teen in the movie. She's between 11 and 13.

I also don't disagree that as a young girl she would rather be daydreaming than learning her history lesson, but she is actually very lucky. She's rich, doesn't have to work, take care of family duties and the like as most children her age at the time would be doing. Also, all the trouble she got into is of her own making.

I agree that she's a smart girl, however think about the situation she's caused herself. She wants to live in a nonsensical world...when she does she complains how nothing makes sense.

I did forget her honest streak, but it's not enough to erase her spoiled disposition, her knack for getting herself into trouble and the bad decision making while knowing full well she's making a bad decision. With Disney heroes it really is a fine line, because they're all good. They usually mean well and they all do the right thing at the end.

Thanks again Phoebe, you really made me think about her good traits a little bit more.

vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

OK, Steven, after some consideration and review of the top two, a change has been made. When you put Pinocchio and Kuzco right next to each other, while taking Pinocchio's younger age and in general demeanor, Kuzco is the worst between the two.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 5 years ago from Malaysia

My vote goes to Kuzco. Like you said, he is so spoilt and arrogant. Disney managed to portray a spoilt rich brat very well.

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Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

I'd also like to remind you that she respects her elders... like getting the rabbit's gloves even though she could have very well shouted her real name and marched off... she also "fell" down the rabbit hole and was forced to go through the door because there was nowhere else she could go! She could have decided to stay put and try to climb out, but a ceiling had taken over... there was nowhere to go but to Wonderland.

She also spoke when spoken to and had remarkable manners in most of the situations. She also was very kind. She was still a child, too young to truly define herself.

She also did not want to live there, every step she took was to find a way home or to the white rabbit. She was simply a curious little girl. The lesson it gave was that home is where we all truly desire to be, despite what we may fantasize about. I think through her mistakes, she grew. She wasn't truly spoiled otherwise she would have been rather rude to being ordered about by the rabbit.

vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

@greatstuff, I was finally convinced that Kuzco is the worst of the heroes, because he is pretty awful for most of the movie. Thanks a bunch!

@Phoebe, You make a very good argument about Alice. Of the heroes on this list, she is my favorite. Do you think that she should be #10? Remember that Cinderella is just as respectful and doesn't cause her own problems. Or should she be #9 and beat out Lady and the Tramp? If you still think she doesn't deserve to be on the list at all, who should replace her? What film protagonist is just as bad?

Any case, I was really nitpicking with those at the bottom of the list, because they are all heroes after all! :D

Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England

Hi Vanessa I see you swapped the last two round and Kuzco is no.1, better that way, Pinocchio wasn't meant to be a hero until the end of the film.

Btw the numbers before each title is still the same, kuzco still has the 2 and Pinocchio the 1. Maybe I'm the only one seeing that?

vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Thanks for the heads up Steve, I totally forgot to change the numbers. They were on there incorrectly.

There were so many good arguments why Pinocchio should have more consideration when it comes to his age and lack of experience versus Kuzco who is also young, but not (literally) born yesterday, lol.

Much appreciated!

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Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

The Swan Princess should replace Alice. She was a total jerk and then "falls in love" with the prince even though she KNEW he only loved her beauty... she was also unintelligent and over all, a bad role model.

Not only does she do nothing about her condition, but she wasn't even bright enough to outsmart that bumbling villain!

vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Hey Pheobe. I remember catching bits of that movie as my daughter watched and just couldn't handle it. I normally like to watch a cartoon when she watches it for the first time so that I can make sure she understands right from wrong and all that, but she couldn't be bothered to watch the whole thing. Tells you a lot about that one right there!

I can't, however, add it to the list since it's not a Disney movie. But, if it was that would be reason enough to add it. :)

You do know your animated feature films!

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Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

We had to do a research paper on animated movies for college and I slaughtered a lot of the "classics" for sexism and a long list of changes to the original stories.

Simba was a bad hero... he didn't care about his home and he was a wild child... even though he knew better than running off to the shadowy elephant graveyard, he didn't care. He even attacked his female friend when she wasn't looking, a cheap shot by all accounts. He also was rude and generally annoying. I disliked his attitude and he was a spoiled cub.

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Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

I wonder how you would rate the original fairy tales Disney edited. These were women's teaching stories and were often horrific. I like what new writers are doing with these tales. There seems to be a trend toward rewrites with more substance.

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vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

@Pheobe, I'll write one up for Simba and see how that rates out. I'll do it after I watch Lion King again, because I remember him attacking Nala, but that was because she was trying to kill Timon and Pumba.

@Storytellersrus, I think there is a beauty to a lot of the original Disney tales. But, they are really awful in regards to their vision of women. I am considering doing a hub on the role of women in disney films, but that would take some time and research and I'm not sure how interested people would be to read it.

I can't wait to see the new Snow White. I'm not a fan of that Twilight chick, but she's decked out in armor, so I'm in just to see that.

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Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

There is a fascinating Hansel and Gretel coming out also. Have you read any Gregory Maguire? As in Wicked? Interesting twists. Also Ella Enchanted and others by Gail Carson Levine. There was a profound twist on fairy tales called Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan that won the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards you might read, on rape also.

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vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Good to know. I haven't read Wicked, because when it came out I was up to my ears in school work. I will have to start catching up on a lot of those books and movies I missed while I was in school. Thanks a bunch!

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Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

When Simba was a cub he attacked her because she pinned him...

I honestly believe she could have taken Scar out since she can beat Simba.

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Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

I love these type books. If you like fantasy, read Hunger Games before rhe movie comes out- in March, I believe!!! Thanks for a great hub!

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vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I'll watch it this weekend to refresh my memory Pheobe.

@Storytellersrus, I do too. I have some old school books I read to my daughter and others I love that I'll have to wait a few years or so, because even now they're a bit much. Thanks!

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arusho 5 years ago from University Place, Wa.

Interesting hub, I'm not sure I think these are all the worst Disney heroes, they are really the protagonists in each movie. They are probably not the best role models, but they are just movies and stories and role models should be based on real people in our lives.

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vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Arusho, I don't disagree that Disney cartoons shouldn't be considered role models, but I did a best of hub and did this as a counterpart. I specifically used the protagonists of each story because I feel that these are the characters we follow and who go through a learning curve in an effort to teach a lesson. I admit that Disney was less interested in teaching lessons earlier on, but I decided to treat them all the same. I thought it showed quite a bit of growth for the company the further along they went. Thanks for your input!

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gjfalcone 5 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

That was enjoyable reminiscing of the days of long ago.


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vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Me too, I love the older films as much as the new ones!

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Ddraigcoch 5 years ago from UK

I adore your perspective on this subject. Why oh why can't one of these Disney Princesses just save themselves? That is what I want to show my daughter, not that if you drool after a man long enough he will make you worth something, urgh! Thank you for SHARING anyway. I will end up dreaming of those Bone headed Disney bimbos now, reading this close to bedtime( in the UK).

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tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York

This gives me a whole new perspective on Disney heroes/heroines. I never looked at them that way. Now the 'villains' are another story. I've been Cruella, Malificent, and the Queen from Snow White on different Halloweens. You sure did your homework! Voted up.

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vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

@Draigchoch, I'm glad you enjoyed the read. I think somewhere in my future I'll write about the princesses. I'm not entirely sure how I'll tackle it, but since they're such a phenomenon, it's worth a look.

@tillsontitan, have you checked out my best villains hub? They are my favs and I think you'll enjoy. There's a link on top.

Thank you both!!

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brielise 5 years ago

I am a HUGE fan of Disney, but the farther you go back the less competent the princesses get. I wouldn't even really call them heroes, and I'm not even sure they were ever meant to be. They were the damsel in distress and the prince, or fairy god mother, or even their father were the ones who helped them get out of that mess they got themselves into in the first place. Cinderella: you really thought they were going to just step down and let you go to the ball? How naïve. Snow White: Didn't anyone ever tell you to not talk to strangers? I know those dwarves did! And as for Ariel: You knew better than to sign a contract with the devil. You have to look to the 90s and beyond to start seeing some feminine activism: Pocahontas, Mulan, Belle, Rapunzel. Belle has always been my favorite. She spoke her mind, was smart and accepted the fact that she was different, and fell for the beast instead of the handsome jerk. Yes, I've heard the complaints: she taught girls to stay with an abusive man in the hopes that he'll change. But I never really saw the beast as abusive, just misunderstood and ignorant of social graces. After all, he only yelled at her that first night.

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brielise 5 years ago

Sorry, I know that comment was wrong but one more thing. I know Pinocchio is a classic, but my child will never be watching that movie. It is terribly disturbing and Pinocchio makes the worst decisions ever. Sure, he comes through in the end, and everyone is allowed to make mistakes but, really Pinocchio???? Gambling and smoking? You clearly didn't think that one through.

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vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

brielise, I don't see anything wrong with your assessment. I do think the further you go back, the less heroic the princesses get. And though there were some complaints about Pinnochio since he's so young, they eventually used parts of the movie with him in it to urge children not to drink or smoke. He really made some bad choices and ignored his conscience.

I hadn't really thought about Belle as an enabler. I guess I can see that from one point of view. I do think that it's better for heroes to have shades of grey in their character, it makes them more human and therefore, more relatable.

Thank you so much for your insight.

brielise profile image

brielise 5 years ago

I just realized I typed "wrong" when I meant "long". Again, great hubs on Disney!

Adway 4 years ago

I agree with your assessment of Ariel, but I still cannot stop loving her. Nice article, BTW.

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vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Adway, the movie is great, the soundtrack is super amazing, but damn it if you break down what Ariel is actually doing and for what reason, she is a not a girl for other little girls to look up to. But in the end? I still love that movie too! LOL. It really is that good.

Thank you, Dr Funom.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 3 years ago

Very well done. I like your reasoning.

UndercoverAgent19 profile image

UndercoverAgent19 3 years ago

I agree with the majority of heroes/heroines on this list, particularly the princesses. Even as a little kid, I didn't quite understand why these women were so obsessed with marrying a man they didn't really know. Also, did you know that Princess Aurora appears in less than eighteen minutes of her own movie? Pretty lame.

Cornflower 3 years ago

Cinderella didn't really have much choice. I mean do you except her to dive in a dumpster or trash can to get food? That's what would have happened if she ran away. The dressed being ripped was stuff going from pot into the fire. She never wanted a prince specifically all she (and Snow) wanted was for someone to treated them as an equal.

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baybpnk 2 years ago from Michigan (the Mitten), United States

I love Disney movies. SOME Disney movies, for different reasons. Even though they are childrens movies, I feel like I have a different appreciation for them with age. I agree with all of these, and I like most of these movies! I do have favorites of Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan (the book, mostly), Bambi, The Sword in the Stone, and 101 Dalmatians. Those are just childhood favorites without looking any deeper than what they mean in the adult world. In the kid world, they are just fun and entertaining to watch, keeping a childs interest and (for me) helping my imagination grow.

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vmartinezwilson 2 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I love almost every Disney movie on this list. The earlier ones get a pass because they truly were being innovative with their art. This, for me, is just a fun list because if you look past the cuteness and sweetness, there's something a little odd going on with some of the heroes. Especially seem with modern eyes.

butt 2 years ago

I think samba is the worst...he was annoying as a child and a cowardly jerk as an adult

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Willem Verheij 2 years ago

It is best to judge movies by the time they where released in. And that a movie is named after a character does not always mean they are the main character, sometimes it just means they are the plot device.

Aurora was the plot device, and the three fairies where the heroes.

Female characters simply where not allowed to be too adventurous at the time, it did not really happen much in the movies released at the time either. Times luckily did change but it is something to keep in mind.

ldldldldl 2 years ago

do not mske

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