Discover the 13 Oldest Disney Princesses (Ranked)

largest media companies

Discover the 13 Oldest Disney Princesses (Ranked)

Disney is, without a doubt, one of the most well-known and adored film companies. The endearing animation, eclectic musical scores, and engaging characters make their movies popular with kids and adults alike. Although the extended cast is often memorable in their own right, the princess protagonists are hallmarks of Disney movies and leave the biggest impression among fans. Here, we explore the 13 oldest Disney Princesses, ranked by the year they were introduced. Let’s see if your favorite is on the list!

What Makes a Disney Princess Official?

As with any fanbase, there are discussions over who can be called a Disney Princess. There are a bunch of characters throughout the movies that are technically princesses, but not considered “Disney Princesses” overall. Luckily, Disney has released an official lineup. The official princesses always hold the “Princess” title, and are always the protagonist of their associated film (or at least one of the primary protagonists.)

Unofficial Disney Princesses

There are some princesses that, while they’re unofficial, are still considered to be a princesses by many. The main three unofficial princesses are usually thought to be Tinker Bell (from Peter Pan), Esmeralda (from Hunchback of Notre Dame,) and Jane Porter (from Tarzan.) This is because all three were part of the official Disney Princess franchise when it was launched in 2000. They all meet the requirements but are no longer part of the lineup. In the case of Tinker Bell, this was largely because she kicked off her own franchise. Elsa and Anna (Frozen), Elena (Elena of Avalor), and Mirabel (Encanto) also have their own franchises.

On the flip side, there are some princesses who were dropped because their movies weren’t commercially successful. For example, Princess Ellonwy (The Black Cauldron) and Kida (Atlantis: The Lost Empire.)

Oldest Disney Princesses (In Chronological Order)

#13 – Snow White (1937)

Disney on DirecTV
Snow White was the first Disney princess to be created.

The oldest Disney Princess of the bunch is Snow White, who debuted all the way back in 1937 in the film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Snow White is largely based on the Brothers Grimm character from their 1812 fairy tale. Although she isn’t quite as strong-willed as many of Disney’s more modern princesses, Snow White is an icon in her own right as the first-ever Disney Princess.

#12 – Cinderella (1950)

Cinderella is the most popular princess.

Even though Cinderella didn’t make history as the first princess, the film was innovative in the animation industry. The scene where Cinderella’s dress transforms into a gown was ahead of its time, and a personal favorite of Walt Disney himself. Cinderella is based on a French fairy tale from 1697, called Cendrillon. She’s thought of by some these days as similarly passive toSnow White but is a much-loved princess regardless, often considered the most popular.

#11 – Aurora (1959)

Aurora is the third oldest Disney princess.

Aurora is a fairly elusive princess, speaking fewer lines than any other princess during her movie (she was asleep most of it, to be fair.) One of the most memorable scenes is undoubtedly the one where her fairy godmothers are fighting over whether to make her dress pink or blue. This is most likely a nod to the similar disagreements between the artists and animators. Sleeping Beauty didn’t perform as well as Disney hoped, so their princess lineup was put into hibernation for a while afterward.

#10 – Ariel (1989)

ariel little mermaid
Ariel was the first Disney princess in 30 years.

The Little Mermaid not only reinvigorated Disney as a whole (starting the era known as the Disney Renaissance) but brought us one of the most popular princesses ever – Ariel. Who would’ve thought one of Disney’s most-loved creations wouldn’t be human at all? Taking inspiration from The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, Disney revamped the tale into a musical masterpiece with a delightfully independent protagonist.

#9 – Belle (1991)

Belle is popular for her strong will and determined nature.

Following on from Ariel‘s success, Disney adapted Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast into an animated marvel with a strong lead character.Belle is determined and resolute, perhaps even more so than Ariel, and would influence many princesses to come. The movie is acclaimed for its music, animation, and romantic storyline, andBelle is one of Disney’s most adored princesses.

#8 – Jasmine (1992)

Jasmine wasn’t the main protagonist, but is much loved among fans.

Disney’s theme of independent, unyielding princesses would continue withJasmine from Aladdin.Jasmine would also be the first non-Caucasian princess, giving audiences diversity and representation that had previously been absent. Jasmine doesn’t take center stage quite as much as Aladdin does (who’s arguably upstaged by Robin Williams as the Genie). However, she’s a pivotal part of the story and an inspiration for many young fans. Fun fact: Jasmine was the first princess to have a separate voice actor for her singing scenes.

#7 – Pocahontas (1995)

Pocahontas didn’t perform as well as other Disney movies, but the princess is still memorable.

Pocahontas is another smart and strong princess, but, unfortunately, she couldn’t strong-arm the critics into loving the movie. The film was loved for its beautiful animation but criticized by many for its historical inaccuracies (Pocahontas was loosely based on a real Native American woman) and meandering plot. Nevertheless, Pocahontas is an influential princess and a mainstay in the franchise.

#6 – Mulan (1998)

Mulan is known to be a fiercely independent princess.

Marking the end of the Disney Renaissance was Mulan. This movie is based on the Chinese book The Ballad of Mulan and introduces Disney’s first Chinese princess. Unlike many other princess movies, Mulan focused on the titular character’s strength, heroism, and honor, rather than her romantic pursuits. Interestingly, Lea Salonga was the singing voice for both Mulan and Jasmine.

#5 – Tiana (2009)

Tiana was the first princess to be of African-American descent.

It would be over 10 years until Disney would add another princess to their lineup, but Tiana was pretty revolutionary. As the first African-American princess, Tiana starred in The Princess and the Frog, another Disney movie that was inspired by a Brothers Grimm tale. Although audiences rated the movie highly, many viewers were disappointed that Tiana spent most of the film in frog form. But for her intelligence and attitude, Tiana was a great addition to the lineup. She’s also the first princess to put an end to the movie’s villain.

#4 – Rapunzel (2010)

It would take Disney a long time to finally make Rapunzel into a Disney princess.

Disney had tried to adapt the fairytale of Rapunzel (another Brothers Grimm story) several times during his life, but each time, the project was halted. Eventually, Rapunzel came onto our screens in 2010, marking a shift from traditional animation to computer-animated graphics. Disney continued with the theme of creating spunky princesses with active roles, making Rapunzel a hit with audiences.

#3 – Merida (2012)

Fans love Merida for her strength and bravery.

Merida is Disney’s first completely original princess and the first to be produced by Pixar. As a Scottish princess, Merida was the most fiercely independent princess to date. The narrative revolves around her desire to live her life on her own terms. There’s no romantic suitor featured heavily in this story. This is because Merida wants to be in control of when and how she marries. As a result, Merida was received extremely favorably by fans and critics alike. Disney even registered her clan’s tartan officially.

#2 – Moana (2016)

Moana was well-received by critics and audiences for her down-to-earth nature.

Moana is set in ancient Polynesia, giving Disney the opportunity to feature lush and vibrant landscapes not often seen in their animated movies. Although inspired by Polynesian myths, the story itself is original. The titular princess is as strong-willed as they come, tasked with saving her people from a curse and becoming their chief. The themes, animation, and cast were highly rated, with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson adding some welcome comic relief.

#1 – Raya (2021)

Raya is a powerful princess and the third to be of Asian descent.

One of the newest inclusions to the official Disney Princess lineup is Raya, from the 2021 movie Raya and the Last Dragon. Raya is an original character, just like Moana and Merida who came before her. In addition, Raya is the third princess to be of Asian descent (alongside Jasmine and Mulan), and the third daughter of a chieftain (after Pocahontas and Moana.) Some critics consider Last Dragon to be too broad in its cultural representation. But Raya is a powerful warrior princess whom younger fans love to look up to.

Summary of the 13 Oldest Disney Princesses:

RankPrincessYear Introduced
13Snow White1937

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the oldest Disney Princess?

The oldest and first Disney Princess is Snow White, who was introduced in the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Who is the newest Disney Princess?

The newest princess is Asha, the star of the Wish movie, which came out in November 2023.

How many Disney Princesses are there?

In the official roster, there are 14 princesses to date. Jane Porter, Esmeralda, and Tinker Bell were at one time considered princesses, but not anymore.

What are the requirements to be an official Disney Princess?

To be an official Disney Princess, the princess must star as a protagonist in her associated movie(s), but not have her own separate franchise. The princess must also be referred to with the “Princess” title.

Who is the most popular Disney Princess?

According to surveys, the most loved Disney Princess is Cinderella, closely followed by Snow White and Belle.

To top