Disney will always be a huge part of my life, which is why I feel like I should write about all of Disney—the good and the bad. The Disney Princes are a group that embody this duality. That is why I decided to rank the men in terms of how they treat women and how I view them as a child and now. In some cases, their looks and how much I liked the movie they were in plays a part in my decision.
To preface, I loved almost all these movies as a child. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve realized that many of these relationships aren’t realistic. While many Disney movies are fantasy, it’s still hard for a dreamy-eyed child to grow up and learn that’s not how life works. This list also isn’t meant to undermine how bad*ss some of the princesses are (see: Rapunzel, Mulan, Jasmine, Anna, etc.), but just to examine the men’s actions.
Also, a Disney Prince (to me) is defined as a man who is either born with royal blood, marries into royal blood or is a ruler of a group of people (or animals).
Note: This is meant to be a fun article that I hope people don’t take too seriously. These are my interpretations of these characters.
So, from least favorite to most favorite, here are my Disney Prince rankings.
15. Prince Florian from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
I haven’t watched this in ages, but if I remember correctly, Florian (I didn’t even know he had a name) is only seen once. He also kisses a woman he doesn’t know to wake her up. He had never met her before, so the true love’s kiss is invalid. This is just a grown man kissing a 14-year-old girl. I get that it’s a different time period, but that’s still disgusting.
14. John Smith from Pocahontas
I almost put John Smith last, but Disney makes him look better than he is in real life. In the movie, Pocahontas and John fall in love. He saves her from death. He also turns against the English. In real life, however, John Smith is a less than desirable man. I can’t fully remember history (and I wasn’t there), but he probably took advantage of the real Pocahontas and her tribe. Most of the early explorers took advantage of Native Americans, and there was definitely tension even if Smith wasn’t awful. Yet, history is written by the winners, so who really knows what happened?
13. Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty
Philip also kissed a woman without her consent while she was sleeping. Yes, it’s supposedly true love’s kiss, but that still doesn’t excuse how he kissed her without her knowledge. While he did meet Aurora and fall in love before she went to sleep, he still fell for her because of her voice and looks. He didn’t really get to know the real her. I’m not down for that.
12. Prince Charming from Cinderella
Prince Charming is the dumbest man ever. He doesn’t recognize Cinderella after spending a magical dance with her. Yes, she’s all gussied up, but if really loves her, he’d know rather than relying on a shoe. He also barely gets to know her before putting a ring on her. As a child, there was a part of me who wished for a Prince Charming. Yet now I understand Cinderella and Charming never really had a relationship. She didn’t even tell him about Fairy Godmother and the mice until one of the sequels. Partners should be able to tell each other anything, especially before marriage.
11. Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid
Eric helps defeat Ursula even after learning Ariel is a mermaid, which is great. I guess it’s hard for me to accept Eric because Ariel changes to a human for him. While he technically didn’t ask her to, it’s hard to reconcile that any man would allow a woman to change everything about herself and leave her family behind for him. In addition, Eric only likes Ariel at first because of her looks since she can’t talk. After, he falls for her because he realizes she is the one who saved him. Overall, he doesn’t do much.
10. Tarzan from Tarzan
I’m not that into the whole “king of the gorillas” situation. It’s an endearing movie, but it’s just not my favorite. Tarzan does everything he can to save his makeshift family, the jungle and Jane. While he learns English pretty quickly, I guess it throws me off that he’s never lived with humans. I love nature, but I could never live outdoors indefinitely. This is why he ends up at number 10 on my list.
9. Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog
I didn’t like The Princess and the Frog at all, though some of the music is amazing. I hated the concept of Tiana and Naveen turning into amphibians. It just weirded me out that they were frogs. In the movie, Naveen is cut off from his parents because he’s an immature prince, and this is evident by how he’s trapped by Facilier, who promises him everything. Naveen falls in love with Tiana as they try to turn human again. He is even willing to give up his dreams and remain a frog forever to be with her. That takes guts, but I just don’t love the idea of the movie.
8. Hercules from Hercules
Hercules is the prince of Olympus. Plus, he’s a demigod. I love Greek mythology, but it’s odd admitting that Hercules wasn’t a favorite of mine. I obviously love the movie and the music, but I’ve come to love Hercules more, too. While it’s cool that he beats a ton of mythical monsters, that’s not why I like him. Hercules sacrifices his mortality to save Meg, not knowing that this act would restore his status as a god. He’s also an insecure boy who lost his way and found his destiny. I think that any man who fights for what he believes in is great in my book.
7. Prince Adam/the Beast from Beauty and the Beast
I’m sure I’m not the only girl who thought that Prince Adam isn’t the most attractive man when he turns back from being a beast. Yet, I obviously don’t think that a beast is attractive, either. The reason Beast is lucky number seven is because he experiences a major character arc. Prince Adam was rude to an old lady, so he suffered the consequences. Yes, he kidnaps Belle, which is really bad; however, for the people arguing Stockholm Syndrome: He let her leave after he rescues her from the wolves! Belle goes back to him and decides to stay after fighting him and escaping! As a beast, Adam genuinely changes for the better. He finds love and rules with kindness.
6. Milo from The Lost City of Atlantis
Milo’s love interest is the queen of Atlantis, and he marries her in the second movie, so he counts. I’ve only seen this movie a few times, but he’s very respectful of other people and cultures. He saves the entire city of Atlantis. He’s also very bookish, which I appreciate a lot. Milo doesn’t give up on his dreams, revealing a dedicated man with ambition.
5. Kristoff from Frozen
Kristoff is engaged to Anna, so he will actually become king. Anyway, Kristoff is high on this list because he’s not afraid to tell Anna she’s crazy to marry a man she just met. Despite this, he still does everything to get Anna to he who shall not be named. He will do anything for Anna. Kristoff is also a great friend and businessman. Overall, Kristoff is a total sweetheart.
4. Peter Pan from Peter Pan
I’d classify Peter Pan as the King of Neverland. I’m a 21-year-old woman so I don’t love Peter Pan, but he’s still a favorite. That’s why he’s higher on this list. Now, it’s more that I love the ideals that Peter Pan stands for. The whimsical idea of never growing up and living life to fullest appealed to me as a child. It’s something I need to remember now. There’s nothing like believing in a little magic.
3. Li Shang from Mulan
Shang isn’t a bad boy, but he fights like one. Shang is honorable and lives by his principles, but he knows when things are wrong. He learns to overcome biases and gender norms when he listens to Milan. He joins their temples in the second movie. The fact that he’s a beautiful man helps. Shang is a great guy, and he willingly learns a lot from Mulan.
2. Flynn Rider from Tangled
Flynn is borderline my favorite, but I can’t take him seriously with the name Eugene. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t do anything for me. Flynn starts as a thief but learns to love. His growth as a man is inspiring, and I rooted for him to change. Flynn does everything in his power to save Rapunzel, including breaking out of prison. His smolder is kind of frightening, but he’s still good-looking.
1. Aladdin from Aladdin
Aladdin was my favorite prince as a child and still is. I can’t really explain it, but I was drawn to him. Maybe it was how kind he was to the children who were starving despite being a homeless man himself. Perhaps it’s because of how scrappy he is. I’m not sure. While I don’t appreciate how he lies to Jasmine, he owns his mistakes. Like Flynn, he changes for the better. He sets Genie free and gets the girl. Plus, he’s quite the hunk. I guess I’m just drawn to bad boy princes.
After seeing my list, you must be seeing some sort of theme at this point. I prefer characters who have complex histories and experience a positive change arc. Aladdin and Flynn are the best examples of growing as characters and men. Shang also learns to trust Mulan as a warrior and helps to dismantle the patriarchy.
A developed character arc is something that I’ve always loved—whether watching movies or reading books. So, the princes higher on my list generally experienced the most growth as a person, except Peter Pan, Kristoff and Milo who are already perfect and deserved to be recognized. There are other princes who experience change arcs, but I can’t help that I also considered looks and how much I liked the movie.
How would you rank the Disney Princes?