Last week I went to go see Frozen, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, (I’m actually already planning on being Elsa for Halloween because I have a dress that would work perfectly) it of course got me thinking about Disney and Princesses and Princes and wanting more than anything to get back to Orlando and go to Disney World Again.
But add that to a popular Buzzfeed quiz that’s been going around where it chooses not which Disney Princess you are, but which Disney Prince is most suited to you and my decision to start revising my own princess story this week, I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the princes and princess that have haunted and defined so many childhoods. So I’m going through the Disney Princes one by one. Some of these will be cheats because they aren’t technically princes until the end of the movie, or maybe not at all. Also, there are spoilers for all of the older Disney movies, and for Frozen, but not until the very end.
When I took the quiz I got Aladdin, which wasn’t like totally out there, I’ve mentioned before how the earliest princes had little to recommend them personality wise, so to me, that rules out both Snow White and Cinderella’s princes. Prince Charming and The Prince are their names respectively.
They both just don’t have much going on in the personality department. But they are excellent singers and pretty dedicated to finding their lady loves, so there’s that.
But then came Prince Phillip.
Unlike his two predecessors, Phillip had an actual personality and stuff to do. He’s willing to rebel against his father to marry the girl he loves instead of his betrothed (turns out, conveniently for him, they’re the same person) then he fights a dragon to save her and granted the whole “kiss while asleep” thing is vaguely date rapey, but hey, it was the only way to break the spell and at least unlike Charming up there, no one thought that Rose/Aurora was dead.
Of course, it would be 50 years before we met the next Prince, and he’d be the prince to beat them all. I’m talking about the one, the only, Prince Eric.
I love Eric. It might be because I’ve known him since I was two and my Aunt Mary took me to see The Little Mermaid in the theater. It might be because he has a boat. (I like boats. It’s the prep in me.) It might be because he and Ariel rescue each other. All I know is that I’m crazy about Prince Eric. He’s the freaking best.
Then comes the Beast/Chet
OK, according to the interwebs, the Beast’s actual name is Prince Adam, but according to my friends and I after several glasses of wine in college his name is Chet, because doesn’t he look like a Chet? Anyway, a gruff exterior that shelters a heart of gold, I’ve never particularly loved him per se, but I do love Beauty and The Beast, even if it made me weep like a baby because I was terrified of The Beast the first five times I saw it as a child. I’ve learned to love it, especially as a theater geek, because it’s one of the greatest musicals of all time. It was also the first animated film ever nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. It lost to Dances With Wolves, which I doubt anyone knows by heart, because I’ve never met anyone who’s stayed awake through the whole thing.
Then comes my match (apparently) and that’s Aladdin.
He’s kind of the man. He shares his limited food with starving children. He wins the heart of Princess Jasmine with his adorable personality. (And some hijinks and a genie.) He’s got ridonkulous abs, and he’s voiced by DJ Tanner’s perfect boyfriend Steve. Honestly, there wasn’t much else a girl from the mid 90’s could want in a guy. Plus he has the distinction of being the only guy on this list who’s movie is named exclusively after him. (Beast gets half credit.)
Now we’re entering some murky teritory since after Jasmine there was a stretch of not really princesses who still get counted in Disney’s count. But they had some stellar dudes after them, so let’s talk about John Smith for a second.
John Smith barely counts and not just because Pocahontas is a subpar Disney flick. He’s an actual historical dude, who lived and junk. Also he’s voiced by Mel Gibson, who’s hunk cred was already wearing thin in the late 90’s. But, Ally over at Fandom Obsessed casts Chris Hemsworh as him, and I’m inclined to agree so that earns him some points.
But seriously folks, let’s get down to business and talk about General Li Shang, who, is again, not a prince and Mulan is not technically a princess, but they’re pretty great so I want to talk about them anyway.
Shang might have the best character song (musical theater term!) of any Disney character ever. You know just about everything you need to know about Shang from “I’ll Make A Man Out of You.” It doesn’t hurt that it’s being delivered by the great Mr. Donny Osmond. And you’ve got to love the Shakespearean style of falling for Mulan while she’s dressed as boy Ping. And the fact that they’re both warriors and enter into their relationship as equals. It’s a pretty cool deal, as far as everything goes.
Speaking of entering a relationship as equals, that’s kind of the theme moving into the new millenium, or in the case of Prince Naveen, Tiana is just his superior in every way, but she puts up with him because he’s pretty cute and makes her lighten up.
Whether it’s being transformed into a frog together, or eventually running their restaurant down on the bayou, there’s something very special about the way that Tiana and Naveen fall in love. Also, I kind of love that he’s clearly North African and she’s African America. It’s just a super cool dynamic and so Louisiana.
But when I really think about the “new age” Disney Princes, there’s only one guy who makes the cut. Like Prince Eric before him, there’s Flynn Rider, and then there’s everyone else.
Yes, he’s a theif and a scoundrel. (But as a fangirl raised on Han Solo, I don’t see much of a problem with that.) Yes, his actual name is Eugene Fitzherbert. Yes, he kind of takes major advantage of Rupunzel’s naivete, at least at first. But he comes around and sacrifices himself to save her from Goethel, and then she saves him. And do I need to reiterate the awesome Zachary Levi-ness?
I couldn’t find any pictures of the various princes who come to win Princess Merida’s hand, which frankly, is kind of awesome, but here’s some equally as awesome fan art by Paola F, known on deviant art as Irrel of Merida and Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon, which is actually a brillaint couple.
And then we have, well, Frozen had two princes (kind of) and I’m going to talk about them both. Let’s start with the first, Prince Hans.
What’s kind of cool about Prince Hans, aside from the fact that he’s the bad guy in the most obvious twist ever, is that he’s a deconstruction of a Disney Prince. He’s shallow, dresses the part, Prince Anna falls in love with him at first sight and they get engaged after having the interaction of one evening. Basically, everyone else in the movie thinks this is insane. In fact it’s what sets off the whole plot, because it’s what sends Anna’s sister Queen Elsa over the edge. Also, he’s voiced by Santino Fontana, who also played Prince Topher in the Broadway Cinderella. So he’s not new to this party.
Then of course there’s the real deal in Frozen, and that’s Kristoff, an ice merchant who was raised by trolls and has a pet reindeer named Sven, who is his best friend.
I wasn’t totally sold on Kristoff, and mostly figured he would get by on the inherent charm that Jonathan Groff brings to everything he does and Flynn Rider goodwill. Then he sang “Reindeers are Better Than People,” and it was all over. I was Team Kristoff. Then he reluctantly takes Anna to Elsa and is blown away by Elsa’s powers. He takes Anna to the trolls to try to save her life and eventually battles his way through Elsa’s storm to do it. (Anna winds up saving her self and her sister and it’s fantastic.) In the end, Anna buys him a new sled, they kiss and presumably get married.
So, that’s my tour through the princes of Disney. And if anyone feels like giving me about $1500 so that I can go to Disney World, I’d really super appreciate it!