This is probably one of the most debated topics among not only fans but snarky Disney movie watchers who just want to be snarky.
There is a difference between a “Disney Princess” and a princess in a Disney movie.
"Disney Princesses" is a franchise made by the Walt Disney Company. It plays a major role in marketing and merchandise. It’s formed in 2000 and practically saved the company in the stores sales department, making the dolls and costumes finally easily accessible to all who could visit their local mall.
Pictured in the advertisements back in 2000 were eight Disney heroines; Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine, all titled princess in their movies, as well as Pocahontas and Mulan. The excuse for Pocahontas has been made that she was a princess of her tribe. This does not apply to this specific tribe. Pocahontas’ father was chief, it does not mean she is a princess. There’s no excuse for Mulan, her parents aren’t royal, her husband isn’t royal. She is somewhat ‘knighted’ someone has pointed out but it doesn’t the respect of the emperor does not make her his daughter.
So there’s no excuse but there is a reason. This group is dubbed “Disney Princesses” because of who they are, not what they are. It was decided that these were the female faces of the company they wanted to push forward and were the best role models and the most beloved. Why not Alice, Wendy, Maid Marian, Eilonwy, Jenny, Penny, Esmeralda, Meg or Jane? I can’t answer that. While most of these heroines display at least grace, generosity, kindness, bravery or other qualities we respect in the “Disney Princesses” line up they were not chosen to represent the company.
Between 1998 and 2009 the line up has not changed. Sometimes it featured Alice. The reason behind this I can only assume is the same reason Kida was not added to the list despite being an actual princess of her people. You can’t deny that Alice in Wonderland is one of if not the most trendiest and popular of the 50 Disney animated features. Adding another “princess”, an extremely popular one from an extremely popular movie among the teens and up branched out to more people. Who wouldn’t want that? And you can’t deny that there’s a large chunk of people out there who did not go see Atlantis. I don’t blame them for adding Alice into the imagery every now and then.
Only in 2009 when Disney gave us a new musical princess did we get a new “Disney Princess”. In October there will be official 10 “Disney Princesses” in the franchise, Rapunzel who they claim to be the last. That’s a good number to end on. Merida is way too cool, anyway, I’m sure she doesn’t feel snubbed.
Alright, I have a sister. I’ve seen A Little Princess a bizillion times. All women are princesses. What the Disney Princess franchise really translates to is “The Popular Disney Female Role Models”. They’re princesses because Disney considers them to be, just like you consider your daughters and little sisters when they’re in and out of their princess costumes. Disney calls it “princesses” because it sounds a lot more magical than “role models”, don’t you agree?
For the sake clearing it all up, whether they’re royal by your standards, Disney’s standards or just their people’s… here’s some lists:
(Some princes and princesses BECOME kings and queens, but are listed only once. Disney home entertainment movies are included. I’m human forgive me if I skipped someone.)