Top 10 Modern Disney Animated Characters

Script written by Craig Butler. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck – meet your grandkids. For this list, we’ve included only lead characters in animated movies, starting in 1989 with the release of “The Little Mermaid.” Pixar films are not included. If you didn’t see a character you think should be on the list, be sure to check out our video on the Top 10 Classic Disney Animated Characters. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 modern Disney characters. Special thanks to our users Emily Carlstrom, Andrew Dushek, Philip Folta, Jasmine Rider and Emily JoAnn Warden for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Craig Butler.

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck – meet your grandkids. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 modern Disney characters.

For this list, we’ve included only lead characters in animated movies, starting in 1989 with the release of “The Little Mermaid.” Pixar films are not included.

#10: Tarzan
“Tarzan” (1999)

Tarzan is cool. End of story. He’s buff, he swings around on trees, and he lives with gorillas. Okay, that’s not so different from a lot of frat boys, but Tarzan is also incredibly brave, conscientious and sensitive. It doesn’t hurt that he has some sweet Phil Collins tunes that follow him wherever he goes, either.

#9: Rapunzel
“Tangled” (2010)

Mix wide-eyed innocence and childlike excitement with determination, selflessness and just a pinch or two of goofiness – and you’ve got Rapunzel. Easily one of the most endearing characters ever to grace a Disney film, Rapunzel is so full of joy that even sourpusses find a soft spot for her. Plus, she packs a mean frying pan; what else could one want in a person?

#8: Belle
“Beauty and the Beast” (1991)

Disney films have always had awesome heroines, but Belle was really the first one who could be considered a modern woman. Others before her were smart and brave, but none are as self-sufficient or as filled with an ambition to discover all life has to offer. Yes, Belle still gets rescued by Beast in the film, but she also rescues him – making them true equals in love and life.

#7: Emperor Kuzco
“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)

Most Disney heroes are essentially goodhearted and noble, if occasionally flawed. But with Kuzco, you first have to travel through a lot of selfishness, ego and vanity to find any good. Even when turned into a llama, this Incan emperor remains as egocentric as ever – and his sassiness and self-absorption make him irresistible. Sure, he’s taught a lesson by the end – but he’s still got a lot more to learn.

#6: Elsa
“Frozen” (2013)

Elsa, the snow queen of “Frozen,” is easily one of Disney’s most fascinating characters. She’s born with a power she doesn’t want and doesn’t know how to use; worse, she’s taught to hide and be ashamed of it. Is it any wonder that when it breaks free, it transforms her? Elsa’s struggle strikes a chord with anyone who has felt ashamed of their differences; her triumph over it teaches us all how to accept ourselves as we are. Plus, that ice power is just wicked.

#5: Pocahontas
“Pocahontas” (1995)

Disney’s Pocahontas is keenly intelligent but also possesses the kind of innate wisdom that only comes from living, not learning. The native American princess is also proud of and loyal to her own people but is also able to see the value in other peoples; plus she is brave enough to offer herself to save the one she loves. Even more impressive, she can give up the one she loves for the good of her people. The girl has got it all going on.

#4: Mulan
“Mulan” (1998)

Mulan continued the modern tradition of presenting heroines with lives not defined by the search for a man. Mulan instead poses as a man and goes to war – and not for her own needs but in order to save her dear father. No other Disney character is as brave as she is, and few are as resourceful or as selfless. And she’s got some epic moves with that sword!

#3: Simba
“The Lion King” (1994)

You know how it is: your uncle kills your father and then convinces you it was your fault. Okay, that’s enough to give any kid a complex he never gets over. Sure, it affects Simba, but when push comes to shove, he mans up and avenges his father’s death. Simba’s character growth from cute little cub to someone deserving of the title Lion King is inspiring, exciting and fun.

#2: Ariel
“The Little Mermaid” (1989)

Ariel is a lovably engaging heroine who, like all of us, isn’t perfect. Her determination to get what she wants leads to all sorts of trouble for both herself and those nearest and dearest to her. But it’s that same determination that leads her to make any sacrifice to correct her wrongs. And audiences love her for it.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Hercules “Hercules” (1997)
- Wreck-It Ralph “Wreck-It Ralph” (2012)
- Tiana “The Princess and the Frog” (2009)
- Quasimodo “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)
- Stitch “Lilo & Stitch” (2002)

#1: Aladdin
“Aladdin” (1992)

Aladdin tops our list, but we gotta give props to Princess Jasmine as well: she’s got everything that Aladdin has – except a genie, of course. Our guy Al is wily, crafty, brave, quick thinking and overflowing with street smarts. He may be a petty thief, but he’s also got the soul of a hero. Whether throwing a ready quip or thinking up a scheme to save the kingdom, Aladdin is always at the top of his game – and the top of our list.

Do you agree with our choices? What other Disney superstars should we have added to this list? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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