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A Brief History of Disney Princess Movies and a List of Disney Princesses

Updated on March 19, 2012

There's no need to question whether or not little girls love Disney Princesses, they all do. The only question worth asking is which Disney Princess is their favorite. Each princess has a distinctive personality, voice and style. With nine princesses and counting little girls are sure to find at least one Disney Princess with whom they can identify, relate and admire.

With their warmth, strength of character and plethora of catchy tunes, Disney has proven that even adults are not immune to the charms of a Disney Princess or two. This article briefly outlines the history of each Disney Princess and their first movies in chronological order.

Snow White

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was Walt Disney's first full-length film. It was released in 1937 during a recession within the Great Depression. The costly film, with expenses totaling almost one and half million dollars, was lauded as a ray of happiness during dark times.

Snow White is a kind and trusting person. Some may argue that she is too kind and trusting, for these qualities lead her to take the poisoned apple from her stepmother in disguise. However, those traits are truly her saving grace as they inspire loyalty and love in others; specifically the prince, the dwarfs and her animal friends.


Cinderella is similar to Snow White in her compassion for people and animals. Cinderella and her mice friends made the best of a difficult situation. They worked hard to create a dress that would allow Cinderella to attend the ball; when the dress was destroyed she placed her faith in the good nature of the world and was rewarded by her fairy godmother. The lesson Cinderella has to teach is one of perseverance and faith.

Cinderella's namesake film was released in 1950; it was one of the first fully-animated full-length films that Disney had released since Bambi in 1942.


Sleeping Beauty took nearly nine years to make and was released in 1959. Many fans feel that she lacks the depth of character that the other princesses' possess. Fans may feel this way due to the fact that Aurora is only present in eighteen minutes of the film out of seventy-five.

When Aurora is hiding in the woods from Maleficent she uses the pseudonym Briar Rose. Briar Rose is the name of sleeping beauty in the Brothers Grimm version.


Strong willed and adventurous Ariel was introduced to the world in the 1989 film The Little Mermaid. Although her story is loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen story with the same title; Ariel does not suffer the tragic fate of the original mermaid.

The Little Mermaid was the first Disney fairy-tale since Sleeping Beauty; there were forty years between the two. It is interesting to note that Ariel is the only Disney Princess with full-blood siblings (Cinderella has two step-sisters).


Cerebral in her love of books and devoted to those she loves; Belle captured the hearts of audience members around the world in the 1991 film Beauty and the Beast. The film also won the hearts of critics, four Grammys, three Golden Globes and an Oscar nomination; in addition to many other awards.

Disney contemplated making a version of Beauty and the Beast as well as The Little Mermaid during the 1930s.


Princess Jasmine embodies the independent spirit of young girls and the quest to discover if the grass truly is greener on the other side.

Featured in the 1992 film Aladdin she is the only Disney Princess who is not the main character of her story.


Pocahontas was released in 1995 featuring a beautiful, courageous and adventurous girl of the same name. Pocahontas is inspiring in her ability and desire to look beyond the surface of a person or a situation. The film won two Oscars for its music.

The real Pocahontas was a member of the Powhatan tribe; its members are also referred to as Virginia Algonquians. The name Pocahontas was a nickname, her real name was Matoaka.


Brave and heroic, Mulan is a strong role model who proves that hard work and dedication will pay off. Although technically not a princess, she is a celebrated war hero and considered by most to be a Disney Princess.

Mulan's full name in the movie is spoken "Fa Mulan", in Chinese the family name is said before the individual name. Mulan is based on the Chinese story about a girl named Hua Mulan. There is a great deal of debate surrounding the story and whether or not it is based on fact. The Disney Mulan was released in 1998.


With the 2009 release of The Princess and the Frog Disney celebrated its return to traditional hand-drawn movies. It features a hard-working, driven and tenacious girl named Tiana. Working toward and actualzing her dream of opening a restaurant Tiana proves that it is possible to achieve your dreams and find love at the same time.

The movie is loosely based on ideas adapted from the Brothers Grimm story "The Frog Prince". 

Which Disney Princess is Your Favorite?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great hub!! I love Disney!

      This hub actually made me think of another hub I recently read that focuses on Mulan.

      You should read it! It's called "Mulan. Is She a Princess or Not?"

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Aurora is actually much deeper than many of the newer ones, and I wish more noticed that. she wants more out of life but is too responsible, loving and sensible to run away selfishly to follow her own way. Good hub!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      They forgot to mention Rapunzel. Tangled was a great movie that I love watching with my girls. The rescuing kinda goes back and forth between her and the guy (who is not a prince, which I like). and the frying pan as a weapon...awesome.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are all from my era also although the newer versions of Disney princesses are also cute. Good hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      I was raised on the 'old' princesses: snow white, cinderella and sleeping beauty. I actually danced in the ballet production of sleeping beauty eons ago.

      Very creative hub. Nice job.


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