Top 20 Must-watch Disney Princess Movies

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  • There are 13 official Disney princesses and 15 official Disney princess movies.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first Disney princess movie.
  • The most famous live action Disney princess movie is “Beauty and the Beast”.
  • “Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment” is the only Disney princess movie that features all princesses.

Disney princesses are an integral part of every kid’s childhood. Many of us, even today, are guided by the righteousness of Mulan or the kindness of Snow White. They teach us moral values and allow us to enter a world filled with magic.

But that’s not all. Have you noticed the dresses and the animation? Each movie is a representation of the year it was released and the place where the original story comes from. Moana gives us a glimpse into Polynesian life; Mulan shows us the world on the other side of the globe; Aurora shows us what life was like in the 14th century, etc.

So from the long list of Disney princess movies, which ones are a must-watch? Let’s dive in and see!

How Many Disney Princesses Are There?

Before we get to the movies, you should know that there are only 13 official Disney princesses. Once a young girl fulfills the requirements set by the Mouse House itself (which we still don’t officially know), they are ready to enter the glorious realm of Disney princesses.

But, even though there are 13 princesses, note that Disney has 15 official Disney princess movies. How come?

If you check the list of Disney princesses, you’ll see that Frozen’s Elsa and Anna are not there. “Why?” you ask? Because they have a franchise of their own!

Frozen seems to be too big to be placed along with the other princesses, so these two are not considered part of “the crew.” But their movies are still part of Disney – hence 15 of them (“Frozen” and “Frozen 2”).

20 Disney Princess Movies Everyone Should Watch

If you want to start a Disney princess marathon the right way, then obviously, you should start with the first Disney movie ever – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! Snow White is also the most-watched Disney Princess movie.

But how do you continue after that? Lucky for you, we made this list of the top must-watch Disney princess enchanted tales.

Disney’s Old Princess Movies

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Adapted and heavily edited from a Brothers Grimm story, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a cult classic Disney princess movie. It has the usual Disney formula of a beautiful princess, a wicked queen, and one of the most heroic Disney princes.

Made after the wars, Snow White is a fantastic animated film that captivates your attention from the start.

Fun fact: Walt Disney himself worked on the production and was afraid the film won’t be successful. But it ended up being an amazing achievement.

  • Cinderella (1950)

“On the stroke of twelve, the spell will be broken.” Familiar? Add a magical pumpkin, mice that can sew and a glass slipper, and what do you have? Cinderella!

Loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson story, Cinderella is a similar story of a young girl who’s more than just forgetful. Stuck with her wicked stepmother, lady Tremaine, and stepsisters, Cinderella spends her young life slaving away doing chores.

It may seem like a cruel story, but the lesson in it is far from it. Thanks to her friends and her fairy godmother, Cinderella managed to escape her harsh life and become one of the most beloved princesses today!

  • Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Another adaptation from the Brothers Grimm stories, Sleeping Beauty is a story about a cursed sleeping princess.

After her parents got on the nerves of the wrong evil fairy, princess Aurora was cast in a maleficent-like coma, but not before she met the handsome prince Phillip. Sleeping Beauty is the first animated Disney movie that includes a wickedly animated fight scene between the prince and Maleficent, melodic music, and imaginary but loveable characters.

Aurora is one of the top few princesses that are of royal descent. That means she is an actual princess, with a king and queen as her parents.

New Disney Princess Movies

  • The Little Mermaid (1989)

Headstrong Ariel is a heroine adapted from Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale. This mermaid is ready to give up her life under the sea for a chance to be human. Enchanted by the gadgets and gizmos of shipwrecked debris, Ariel wants to experience the world outside of her borders.

Coincidentally, she falls in love with Prince Eric. But then the story takes a twisted turn. We all know about the trade – her voice for a chance to walk on land. She’s known as the mermaid that gave her voice away for the prince’s love, but there is much more to this princess. To this day, some are amazed by the love and determination Ariel shows when it comes to following her dreams.

The Little Mermaid is pivotal in the Disney Princess franchise because there’s a shift in animation. The characters are much more colorful, and the princess is given much more personality and character development.

  • Beauty and The Beast (1991)

Tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast is a magical story that teaches that what counts as beautiful is on the inside. It’s a clear show of the well-known phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Unlike other princesses, Belle is a bookworm that is oblivious to her beauty. In fact, Belle is not a princess, to begin with. She is one of the young women that get the title of “Princess” through marriage.

The movie is filled with great animation and an enticing story; the love one can have for their family and the lengths they’re willing to go to. It has many loveable characters like Chip, the tiny teacup, or Mrs. Potts, the kettle. And how can we forget Lumiere and Cogsworth? 

All of these make the movie extra fascinating, bringing to the front the wonderful and educational story of a boy cursed for his cruelty and paying for it.

Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney’s best works. That’s why it’s the only one among all the Disney princess movies to get an Academy Award in 1992. 

  • Aladdin ( 1992)

Situated in Agrabah, Arabia, Aladdin is a cinematic masterpiece that captivates from the first scene. With incredible voice acting by Hollywood darling Robin Williams and songs that are good enough to make adults dance, Aladdin is worthy of its praise.

Among the many Disney princesses, Aladdin has princess Jasmine. She is the daughter of a sultan, which makes her an official princess. However, princess Jasmine is forced to marry, so she runs away. Then she meets the ‘diamond in the rough’ Aladdin, who mistakenly befriends her, thinking she is a commoner.

Through several ups and downs, Aladdin finds what we all wish we could – a Genie! And that is where the most interesting part of the story begins.

With a lot of flair, colorful scenes and dancing, accompanied by amazing musical pieces (remember “Friend Like Me” or “A Whole New World”?), Aladdin is a must-watch by anyone old and young!

It’s no wonder that it is the second most-watched Disney princess movie of all time.

  • Pocahontas (1995)

Partly based on a real-life American legend, Pocahontas is one of the most underrated Disney princess movies.

The story is about a Native American girl that meets the colonial English settlers and falls in love with their captain. Unlike most animated films on our list, Pocahontas does not have a happy ending. She and Captain John Smith do not end up together. It’s the first Disney princess movie where the princess herself takes the initiative and saves the prince.

Although it’s often criticized for its controversial topic, Pocahontas has some of the best animations in Disney history. The characters are enjoyable, and the music is spot on.

  • Mulan (1998)

Mulan is the first Disney princess that saves herself. Actually, Mulan is not even a princess but a warrior. She is the one “princess” that takes her father’s place and wins the Chinese war against the Huns at impossible odds.

You must be asking yourself, “Why is she a princess then?” Simple – a princess can be anyone that is brave and courageous; anyone that takes initiative born out of selflessness and guided toward saving others.

The first film to ever feature cross-dressing, Mulan gets rid of her feminine traits and disguises herself as a male soldier. But Mulan is never alone. In this movie, we can see the respect toward the older generations that lived many many years ago and how that respect can manifest in times of need.

To help her in her epic journey, her ancestors send a magnificent dragon – Mushu. And he’s voiced by non-other than Eddie Murphy!

Mulan is the first among all princess movies to put emphasis on female empowerment. It teaches the value of family, honor, and independence.

  • The Princess and the Frog (2009)

disney princess

After years of deliberation, Disney decided to project the story of the Princess and the frog prince. “The Princess and The Frog” is one of the most pivotal princess animated movies. With princess Tiana Disney introduced the first ever black princess into the animated world.

“The Princess and The Frog” is set in New Orleans during a sensitive time in black history. Ambitious Tiana is a restaurant worker dreaming about her own joint.

She is loveable and caring, trying to make her dreams come true in a world that is against her. When she’s invited to a party and kisses a frog, things start to turn.

Unlike the old story, Disney pulls a fast one on the audience and transforms Tiana into a frog too. Together with the prince, they encounter a hilarious adventure in search of the VooDoo Queen, that can help them break the curse.

What makes this a must-watch? “The Princess and The Frog” teaches us that great things can come from hard work. But it also tells us that planning and having faith should be part of our everyday life.

Newest Disney Princess Movies

  • Tangled (2010)

Loosely based on the story of Rapunzel, “Tangled” is a story about a long-lost princess locked up in a tower. With golden locks that stretch for miles and magical capabilities, her hair held the key to the fountain of youth.

“Tangled” is the start when Disney ditched hand-drawn animation for modern 2D digital techniques. It was an experiment gone right as the audience embraced the new wave of animation.

Meeting the goofy yet loveable Flynn Rider, Rapunzel embarks on an adventure to reach her dream – see the yellow lights in the sky that happen to show only once a year. Little did she know that there was something far greater waiting for her on the other side!

  • Brave (2012)

“Brave” is the first among all princess movies not to feature a prince. It’s a film that dwells on the complex dynamics of mother-daughter relationships. Apart from that, it sheds light on sportsmanship, with Merida being a very talented archer.

It wouldn’t be a Disney princess movie if it didn’t have a dash of magic. After fighting with Merida, the mother, queen Elinor gets transformed into a bear. They must “mend the bond, broken by pride” for the queen to become human again.

Brave won the Academy Award for the best-animated feature in 2013. It’s a princess movie worth watching, as it teaches courage, sacrifice and family love.

  • Frozen (2013)

Is there a Disney fan that hasn’t watched “Frozen”? After all, it is the biggest-grossing and the most popular of the newest Disney films.

“Frozen” is one of the first Disney stories to put a feminist twist on it and show that love can be found in all places and people. The bond that Anna and Elsa have goes way beyond their relationships with any other characters. So much so that Anna is willing to risk her life in order to find and save Elsa. And Elsa is willing to spend a lifetime of loneliness if that means her sister is safe.

Of course, the whole adventure wouldn’t be as fun without Olaf and Swen. These two are some of the most beloved secondary characters in all of Disney!

“Frozen” has some of the best music from the newest Disney films. It was nominated for Best Song and won Best Animated Feature in 2014.

  • Frozen 2 (2019)

The sequel to the amazing “Frozen” gives an even deeper view into Elsa and Anna’s relationship and love for each other. It shows a glimpse of their past and focuses more on Elsa’s powers, answering some hidden truths of the past.

What’s even more amazing about this sequel is that the animators went even deeper into making the whole movie more realistic. From the hair movement to the clothes, everything was made with extra care and way more details than any other move – you can even see each strand of hair on Elsa’s head if you zoom in on a clear picture.

Fun Fact: It is said that Elsa’s hair alone has 400,000 strands, as opposed to the average human head, which has 100,000.

  • Raya and The Last Dragon (2021)

Released in 2021, “Raya and the Last Dragon” is among the newest Disney princess movies. Raya is also the last official princess of Disney. How did she become a princess? The same way Mulan did. Although, unlike Mulan, she is the daughter of a tribe’s chief.

Raya is brave and courageous and shows that no matter how many times life sets you back or pushes you down, picking yourself up and taking a step forward is the right thing to do!

Other Unofficial Princesses and Movies

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Other interesting princess movies include the Disney live-action princess movies remakes. 

  • “Cinderella” (2015)

If you like the animated version, you will love this live-action Cinderella. Its cinematic features are breathtaking – it’s watching the magic of the animation come to life! The gown of that movie is an inspiration to many runways to this day.

  • “Beauty and The Beast” (2017)

Watch Emma Watson take on the role of Belle and show you on screen that a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover and that there is no shame in loving to read. The CGI used in this movie to give us the Beast was the big start for this feature in all other movies after it. 

  • “Aladdin” (2019)

Have you ever wondered what the magic flying carpet would look like in real life? Well, this is your chance! This namesake of the animation adds a bit more emotion to the story with the actors’ lively performance, as well as the melodious tunes accompanying their movements. 

  • “The Little Mermaid” (2023)

Waited for years, this movie is bound to stir some talk. The live version of this animated movie found some controversies in the fact that Ariel is played by Halle Bailey – a black woman. But her wonderful voice and stellar acting skills made her perfect for the part!

  • “Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment”

Disney also produces sequels to the originals and even some Disney Christmas movies. These Christmas princess movies are usually in short format focusing on the celebration of the holiday with a certain princess in mind. The most popular one is “Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment”, which features all the princesses.

  • The Princess Diaries Movies

Other Disney movies worth your time are definitely the Princess Diaries movies. For all the fans out there of this live-action princess classic, you’d be happy to know that there are some talks about “Princess Diaries 3“.

Wrap-Up: Must-watch Disney Princess Movies

As you can see, there are plenty of Disney princess movies you can choose to watch. You can start watching along the chronological time line of Disney princesses, or you can go with someone other that catches your eye.

There are animated options and live versions – both an adaptation to an already existing story or a completely new Disney princess movie.

Now grab some popcorn and put some magic into your next movie night!

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