So we’ve talked about the ladies, but what about the guys? Disney has been known to create some pretty 3-dimensional characters before 3-D animation even came into play. With the multitude of memorable Disney guys to choose from, it would be an insult not to acknowledge them here.
Just as stated in the Ladies’ list, I have not included our male Disney villains as they deserve an explanation all their own. Check back for my Top 10 Disney Villains list in the near future! With that out of the way, let’s get started!
10. Eugene Fitzherbert (Tangled)
I know what you’re wondering; why is the oh-so-charming Flynn Rider so high on this list? Well, keep in mind that this list is not based on looks and charm, but on what’s inside. Eugene had to learn honour, having once believed the only person in world who mattered was himself. However, he soon realized that not all treasure could be sold and stolen. Real value comes from the people you love who can only be attained through honesty and loyalty. Eugene may still hold the heart of a thief and a very mischievous nature, but overall he is a good man with a knack for making people laugh. That and he was one of the first animated Disney characters to question why everyone around them randomly burst into song. I think that moment was a little too real, don’t you?
9. Mickey Mouse
Let’s face it; Mickey Mouse is the godfather of the Disney ideal. Always positive, cheerful and unwavering in his faith that remaining positive is all you need. Cunning and good-hearted, Mickey is a source of the zany humour and family values that Disney was built upon back in the day. Alongside his lady-friend, Minnie, these two make an unstoppable duo, and an inseparable pair. Truly unforgettable.
8. Robin Hood (Robin Hood)
Heroic, witty and a romantic at heart, Robin Hood was the friendly, fun-loving furball that taught us the value of doing what’s right and aiding the less fortunate. While thievery is not exactly the best policy, his heart was definitely in the right place. Bringing light into the lives of those who had all but lost hope just goes to show how powerful a positive outlook, a courageous constitution and a little fun can be, no matter the squalls. After all; faints hearts never won fair lady!
7. Prince Eric (The Little Mermaid)
Prince Eric seems to be a typical “nice-guy” stereotype, but just like Ariel, he is always in search of something more. He proves to us that he is brave, adventurous, fun-loving and humble, and he will stop at nothing to show appreciation for those who have aided him throughout his life. Loyalty and honour go a long way on this list, and Eric’s got it in spades. We also know that he sees the beauty in marrying for love, rather than advantage, which is a value I can definitely get behind. And let’s face it; any guy that will climb back onto a burning, sinking ship to save his dog is a total badass, and a definite keeper.
6. Adam (The Beauty and the Beast)
I know, I know; Beast? Well, hear me out. Self-improvement is a big factor in this list, and Beasts’ whole deal is about inner growth. Starting out as a cold-hearted prince with no regard for the struggle of others, he was forced into a horrible curse and at first, he really seemed to refuse to learn anything. However, throughout the film, we see Belle’s influence on his beastly demeanor. We really see him struggling against what’s wrong, and in the end, we see the curse broken by love, but it was a love that could only be achieved through learning and inner perseverance. This may be a tale as old as time, but it is a story that only gets better with age.
5. Aladdin (Aladdin)
Make way for Prince Ali; this one tends to be the fan favourite for most Disney enthusiasts. Even as a thief, he shows through his longing and spirit that he is a dreamer at heart. Quick on his feet and clever to boot, he is the first to stick his neck out to help someone in need, just as he did with Jasmine during their first encounter. As most of us do, Aladdin lost his way when he figured he had it all, but he eventually realized the value of friendship, keeping one’s promises and never forgetting who you are, and where you’ve come from. That alone says enough in my books.
4. Simba (The Lion King)
Here to remind us that a good heart knows no gender or species, is the king of the jungle himself, Simba. A favourite of many, we all remember seeing Simba’s journey from cub to royalty; we remember the struggles he faced and we remember his inner conflict between two ideals he had grown to believe; Hakuna Matata, and to do what was right. He taught us all that there is a time to sit back and let a situation unfold, but there is also a time to stand up and fight for what’s right; even if that means facing your greatest fears in the process. After the death of his father, he fled Pride Rock; through the fear and guilt that Mufasa was dead because of him. However, to save his home and his pride of lions, Simba returned to Scar and was forced to deal with what had happened. As the truth was revealed, he took back his homeland and returned the balance it had lost.
3. Hercules (Hercules)
Hercules may be the son of a god, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have to find himself through the pain of adversity and the struggles of a man who just doesn’t seem to fit in. While the actual legend of Hercules in greek mythology is much different, Disney portrayed him in a way that taught us how important it is to always believe in yourself, no matter who tells you otherwise, and to keep that kindness and compassion alive in your heart. A true hero doesn’t just fight monsters and act strong; a true hero always does what’s right. Hercules is not known only for his physical strength, but for his strength of heart.
2. Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
As his name entails, Quasimodo may not be the most outwardly attractive person, but it cannot be denied that his inner strength is extraordinary. He reminded us all that outer beauty counts for nothing when push comes to shove. All that matters is that you are true to yourself, and that you always do what’s right. Having grown up with shattered confidence, Quasimodo had to learn that whether or not the world accepted him was not his weakness. His weakness simply lied in not accepting himself. Anyone else in his situation would have turned bitter, cold and selfish, but he persevered as a true hero and never stopped doing the honourable thing, and remaining loyal to his friends. Saving a damsel in distress does not mean you will win her heart, but to risk it all to save someone’s life without expecting anything in return is real strength.
1. Prince Naveen (The Princess and the Frog)
Now, I have to be honest; I wasn’t fond of Prince Naveen during most of the movie. He seemed to be to be immature, irresponsible and selfish. However, that’s what helped him get to this spot on this list! If a person manages to show such growth through a difficult situation and as a result, come through as a genuinely better person, I value that effort above simply being born a certain way. Tiana helped Naveen to value effort and hard work. While things were rocky for our two heroes, they overcame every obstacle, even when all odds were stacked against them; including the odds of managing to surprise me when I thought I had already made up my mind about him. He reminded me to appreciate personal growth and to understand not just the result, but the struggle. Naveen started out as a spoiled brat, but came through as a charismatic, hard-working, good-hearted human being. Ray and Evangeline would be proud!