The Case of the Best Disney (or Pixar) Princess Part 2

Welcome Back, Cassettes! This week we’re following up with our second episode of our Disney Pixar Princess March Match-Up!

This week we have:

Ariel v Moana

Jasmine v Rapunzel

Belle v Pocahontas

Tiana v Merida

Special thanks to Haley Osburn for being our guest judge! You can follow Haley @mspook11 on Twitter or @haley_is_fearless on Instagram. You can also visit her Youtube channel:




  • Ariel
    • First appearance in the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale, though the character she is based on has no name
    • She is “officially” the fourth Disney Princess after Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora (although there were other princesses before her)
    • The Little Mermaid (1989) is the known as the film that started the Disney renaissance, and for that reason quite possibly the most important Disney animated classic; It saved the studio
      • It’s worth noting that without Ariel, no other DIsney princess after the 1980s would exist
    • Voiced by Jodi Benson, Ariel is a strong-willed and passionate character known for her beautiful singing voice
      • Although she follows the trope of falling in love with someone she didn’t know, her headstrong personality set the stage for Disney princesses of the renaissance and after
      • Ariel is loving–she has many friends that help her on her quest to be with her true love
      • Her song “Part of Your World”
    • The Little Mermaid was also the first Disney film scored by Alan Menkin, who’s music is partially responsible for making Disney the animation powerhouse of the 1990s
  • Moana
    • Disney’s studio created the storyline for Moana based on Polynesian culture
    • The name Moana means “Ocean” and the film explains “The Long Pause” when Polynesians stopped voyaging for nearly 2000 years
    • Auli’i Cravalho was 14 years old when she was cast as the title character
    • Moana is strong-willed like many other Disney princesses of her time, and disobeys her father’s wishes much like Ariel
    • Moana, however, achieves her goal of saving her people and doing what’s best for them; her motivation is her love for her people and not romantic love
    • Moana (2016) was directed by the same duo that directed The Little Mermaid (1989) Ron Clements and John Musker

Jasmine v Repunzel

  • Jasmine
    • Based on the character Princess Badroulbadour from the Aladdin tale added to 1001 Arabian Nights
    • She first appears as Jasmine in Aladdin (1992) and is officially the 6th Disney Princess
    • Jasmine is free-spirited and unwilling to follow the rules set by her kingdom’s tradition
    • Jasmine is independent, despite the fact that she has lived a lavish life within the palace. She isn’t afraid to go for what she wants in life.
    • During the climax of Aladdin, Jasmine seduces Jafar; This is an important moment for her and the movie because she distracts the villain enough for him to be defeated
    • Despite not being the main character of the film, Jasmine is a scene-stealer and is more than just a love interest for Aladdin
    • Jasmine is the catalyst for the Aladdin story while also telling s story of her own
  • Rapunzel
    • Her character and story has loosely been adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
      • This movie expands upon why Rapunzel was locked away in a tower away from everyone else.
      • Disney added Rapunzel’s healing power which adds to her character
    • Rapunzel is the first Disney Princess that holds a magical power of her own with a movie centered around her and that power.
    • Voiced by Mandy Moore, Rapunzel is free-spirited and rebellious
      • Despite the fact that she is literally locked away, she doesn’t see herself as someone in need of rescue
      • When Rapunzel leaves her tower, she does so on her own and only because it’s her decision to do so
    • Rapunzel is a trusting person, never truly questioning why she’s been locked away until she finally sees the outside world
    • Her character undergoes a great change throughout the film, but her strong will and faith in others still stands, despite the fact that the person she trusted most lied to and manipulated her

Belle v Pocahontas

  • Belle
    • Based on the protagonist in La Belle et la Bête, Belle is voiced by Paige O’Hara
    • She is known as the most beautiful girl in town despite the fact that she is also considered “peculiar”
    • It’s important to note that Beauty and the Beast (1991) was the first ever animated movie nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars
      • The critical acclaim this movie received helped cement Disney’s place as an animation juggernaut and put the Disney Renaissance in full swing
    • Belle is smart and kind, known for disregarding her own dreams of adventure in exchange for her father’s freedom
    • Because of Belle’s indifference toward conventional beauty, she is able to accept the beast for who he is and saves him and all the people in his castle from a lifetime of torment
  • Pocahontas
    • This character is based on the real Native American woman of the early 1600s
      • The movie is not accurate to her life, though she did ease tensions between English settlers and the Powhatan Tribe
      • Her rescue of John Smith is debated; According to John Smith’s account, his head was to be crushed before Pocahontas intervened. However, some historians believe that he might not have been in danger at all
      • Pocahontas also had no romantic relationship with John Smith, and him leaving for England while injured at the end of the film did happen
    • She is voiced by Irene Bedard, her singing voice by Judy Kuhn
    • Pocahontas is another free-spirited princess, not wanting to conform to tradition and ready to live a life of adventure
    • It’s her wisdom that helps the people of her tribe and the settlers alike to understand each other in the film (and from historical accounts, real life)

Tiana v Merida

  • Tiana
    • Voiced by Anika Noni Rose, Tiana is the last of the 2D animated princesses
    • Tiana is arguably the hardest working of the princesses, her work ethic and restaurant dreams being a major plot point of the film
    • Tiana is not royal at at the beginning of the film and has no interest in being a princess, yet she eventually falls in love with Prince Naveen
    • It’s important to note that Tiana is the only princess from the United States (where Disney Animation is located); The only Disney princess in the 20th century, and the first and only African American Disney princess
    • Tiana is her own hero, determined to solve her own issues and ready to make her own dreams come true through hard work
      • Ultimately she learns not to focus too much on her dreams, but to find a balance between work and other important parts of life
  • Merida
    • Merida is the first human Pixar princess
    • Voiced by Kelly MacDonald, Merida is the only Scottish princess
    • Brave (2012) was an original story, though it contains elements of Scottish folklore
    • Merida is known for being headstrong and skilled with a bow and arrow
      • She defies her parents’ wishes and fights for her own hand in marriage, which goes against the customs of her people
      • Wanting to control her own fate, Merida does whatever she can to make her own wishes come true until it’s at the expense of her mother
    • Merida is able to go through a change in the movie that ends with her finding some middle ground between her and her mother
    • She’s a relatable princess for every young girl that has been at odds with her mother at some point in time

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