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Top 10 Best Disney Mentors

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Laura Keating
Even heroes need a helping hand. For this list, we’ll be looking at the mentors who helped to bring the Disney hero/heroine to their full potential. We will be focusing on those characters who are more guides and teachers, rather than sidekicks, as fun as they are. We’ve included Tala from Moana, Flora, Fauna & Merryweather “Sleeping Beauty”, Baheera from “The Jungle Book” and more!

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Top 10 Best Disney Mentors

Even heroes need a helping hand. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Disney Mentors.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the mentors who helped to bring the Disney hero/heroine to their full potential. We will be focusing on those characters who are more guides and teachers, rather than sidekicks, as fun as they are.

#10: Tala
“Moana” (2016)

Growing up on her island, Moana has always dreamed of what lays across the sea. As the daughter of the Chief, she knows that her responsibility is for her island and her people, first and foremost. While she takes this more seriously than other heroines in the Disney canon, she cannot help but wonder. In Tala, she finds a kindred spirit. The old grandmother is thought of as a bit odd by the rest of the community, but she teaches Moana the importance of being true to yourself, helping her to see that following your heart, especially in pursuit of helping others, is one of the greatest gifts a person can give.

#9: Flora, Fauna & Merryweather
“Sleeping Beauty” (1959)

Raising a princess can’t be easy – especially when you’re used to magic and have to do everything spell-free. When the grown Aurora meets Prince Philip a little early, they worry that things might have gone awry, but still they follow through in bringing her back to the castle. Ever the attentive badasses they are, when Aurora is cursed after all and Philip is captured, they step in and save the day. Not only did they spend years raising a princess, but we can also all agree on who the true heroes of this story are.

#8: Bagheera
“The Jungle Book” (1967)

Not only does this level-headed panther deliver the little man-cub to the wolf pack to be raised with a family, but also when there are whispers that the tiger Shere Khan has returned to the jungle, he steps up to guide young Mowgli back to the village. While Mowgli does not want to leave the jungle, like a watchful parent Bagheera only wants what is best for him, whether the boy likes it or not. While Baloo teaches the kid how to make the best of every day, he is reluctant to return the man-cub, although he eventually also sees the wisdom in the decision and is willing to risk his life for the boy.

#7: Fairy Godmother
“Cinderella” (1950)

When Cinderella needs a friend, her Fairy Godmother shows up like a good wing-girl (get it?). There is no way Cinderella is going to sit around all night and miss out on this ball! She may not have much screen time, but in a brief encounter she fixes Cinderella up with some new threads, a ride, and some amazing slippers, all while playing a catchy tune. She is not letting her girl have a lonely pity party, but like any responsible helping hand, she reminds her to take care and not stay out too late.

#6: Grandmother Willow
“Pocahontas” (1995)

If there is one thing that’s for sure, it’s that fun old ladies know when to help a girl out. Just because she’s a tree doesn’t mean that she doesn’t give sage advice, and seeing how old trees can get, she might just know a thing or two. Even the merry woodland critters listen to this grand old lady. When Pocahontas begins to question what she wants in life and grapple with this inner struggle, Grandmother Willow has some simple guidance: follow her heart. A spiritual leader, as well as a teacher, she teaches Pocahontas the importance of listening to the world around her.

#5: Philoctetes / Phil
“Hercules” (1997)

When Herc shows up on Philoctetes’ doorstep, he is no hero; he’s just a clumsy kid who barely knows his own strength. Phil might claim to be retired, but after meeting the young demi-god, he is convinced (with a little divine intervention) to help the boy out. The famed trainer has tried to make a hero out of a lot of students, each one a disappointment, so his tough-love approach is just what Hercules needs to get into tip-top shape, and without his guidance he might have just stayed a zero.

#4: Timothy Q. Mouse
“Dumbo” (1941)

After his mother is unfairly locked up, little Dumbo is shunned by the other elephants and left all alone in the world. Timothy Q. Mouse, feeling bad for the poor pachyderm, decides that what he needs is a friend, and takes it upon himself to help the big-eared elephant baby. With Timothy’s encouragement, Dumbo becomes the star of the circus. When things go badly, and Dumbo is made into a clown, Timothy takes it upon himself to cheer him up, taking him to his mother and helping him discover his most unlikely of gifts.

#3: Merlin
“The Sword in the Stone” (1963)

This is a mentorship that is literally legendary. When squire Arthur – or Wart, to his older foster-brother, Kay – goes hunting, he meets Merlin the Wizard. The eccentric magician informs Arthur that he can see the future and announces that he will be henceforth the boy’s teacher. With a hands-on approach that would impress Ms. Frizzle, he teaches Arthur about cleverness and patience. When Arthur is made a full-time squire to Kay, Merlin is furious that the boy doesn’t know his own potential. They fight, and Merlin blows himself to Bermuda, but even still his pet owl Archimedes is there to step in. However, when Arthur truly needs him, he’s right back by his side.

#2: Rafiki
“The Lion King” (1994)

This wise, respected, old mandrill was the one to present the future king to the animals of the savannah. Watching him grow from afar, Rafiki was, like the rest of the pride, devastated when he believed that little Simba had been killed along with Mufasa in the stampede. So when he literally picks up his scent and realizes he’s alive, the old shaman is overjoyed. However, the young lion has been living in the past and trying to shut out his feelings and responsibilities by living a carefree life. But Rafiki is there to knock some sense into him, reminding him of who he is, and that his father’s spirit lives on within him.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here’s few honorable mentions:

“The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” (1977)

“The Little Mermaid” (1989)

#1: Jiminy Cricket
“Pinocchio” (1940)

When the Blue Fairy grants Geppetto’s wish and turn his puppet into a boy, she doesn’t quite finish the job. She tells Pinocchio that the only way he can be a real boy is if he is brave and thoughtful of others. To help him along, she appoints Jiminy Cricket to be his teacher and guide. He takes his job of being the wooden boy’s conscience very seriously, losing no time in teaching him about right and wrong, and always urging the puppet-boy to tell the truth. Pinocchio doesn’t always follow his advice, but in time Pinocchio learns that to do good, you really do need to let your conscience be your guide.
I agreed with this list even Number 1.

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