My Top-10 Disney Characters

Well, I do love me some Disney animation, whether it’s on TV or in a movie, I don’t think it’s possible to discuss anything related to animation without having Disney come up somewhere in the conversation.

By request from my pal, Gexup, I decided to list my top-10 Disney characters. This proved to be an insanely difficult task considering I like to make lists where the gender division is roughly 50-50 and also, I like having as much variety on the list as possible.

However, I was happy with the final results…

10. Yago (Aladdin)

Aladdin is an important Disney movie for me since it was the first Disney film I went to see in the theatre. The movie has stood the test of time pretty well, but picking a favourite character from it for me was a tough choice. The Genie would appear to be the obvious choice, but I really like Robin Williams better in live action which is why I didn’t want to go with it. Aladdin and Abu were also potential candidates, but not really the most interesting protagonists around. And though I like Jafar, I had already picked my favourite villain for this list.

Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have a favourite Disney henchman picked out and that’s when I realised that Yago beats them all easily. Yago, voiced by comedian Gilbert Gottfried, is an absolute roar and I still love him. What makes him unique as a Disney henchman is that he wasn’t so much an underling to Jafar than his evil buddy who followed him around. The rapport between these two was just priceless.

Now yes, Return of Jafar did turn Yago into one of the good guys but I didn’t mind so much since it meant I got to see more of him in the Aladdin TV series, probably one of the few good things to have come out of that horrible straight-to-video sequel.

9. Bernard & Bianca (The Rescuers & The Rescuers Down Under)

I was very careful not to put too many Disney couples on the list, because then it would have turned into a repeat of my Top-10 Cartoon Couples list. However, I decided that if someone deserved a shout-out more than any other couple it has to be the heroic mouse duo of Bernard and Bianca from the Rescuers movies. Notably they star in the only theatrical Disney sequel that is also considered part of the Disney Animated Canon.

Bernard is a somewhat reserved but, at the end of the day, heroic handyman turned Rescuer who does his absolute all to save the day. Bianca is more determined but not necessarily smarter half of the duo, but they complement each other extremely well (Spoiler: no surprise they end up married at the end of the second film).

Also, Bianca is voiced by Eva Gabor and I just find her Hungarian accent absolutely wonderful.

8. Rafiki (The Lion King)

The Lion King is yet again such an obvious place to pick up a character for this list, but it’s also a movie where I personally never really identified with most of the characters for some reason. Most of them are just really bland. Even as a kid I found myself enjoying the comical characters more and it seems that as the years have gone by, my favourite character from the movie has consistently been Rafiki.

The baboon shaman who knows kung fu is just such an oddball character, the fact that he’s a talking baboon aside. He somehow just stands out amongst all the characters, adding an element of mystery and deep wisdom, but cleverly concealed under a disguise of goofiness and slapstick.

Timon and Pumba did come close to being on this list, but when it comes to comedic supporting characters, no-one tops Rafiki for me.

7. Peggy (Goof Troop)

Goof Troop is still one of my favourite Disney TV shows, which is the result of a number of things. Firstly and mainly that Goofy was the main character, secondly that the series actually lead to two excellent spin-off movies and thirdly, underneath its very self-evident slapstick, there was a really well thought out character dynamic.

One of my favourite characters from the show (and I suppose my favourite Disney mom) was Pete’s wife, Peggy. Peg was the perfect foil for her husband, who was always scheming or coming up with different ways to be lazy or become richer, sometimes at his own family’s expense but mostly at Goofy’s. The fact that she and Goofy were such good friends also made her a bit of cool whistle blower and she also had plenty of really funny lines of dialogue throughout the show.

You can imagine how disappointed I was that Peggy (and Pete’s daughter Pistol) didn’t, for some reason, appear in either of the Goofy Movies. I only hope that if they ever make Goofy Movie 3, they explain what the hell happened to Peggy (and Roxanne as well).

6. Scrooge McDuck (Ducktales)

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about Disney without bringing up the Duck Universe somewhere along the line. Being a Finn, the stereotypical answer to “Who’s your favourite Duck character?” would be Donald. And in fact I do like Donald, I saw my fair share of classic Donald cartoons growing up and we were even subscribed to the official comic-book.

So how come does Scrooge still trump Donald in my book? Maybe it’s that while Donald was cartoony, Scrooge was an actual character. I grew up watching Ducktales in English at a time when I couldn’t understand a single word any of the characters said and still I somehow connected with the world’s richest duck who literally bathes in gold coins. I think it was just the interaction that Scrooge had with everyone around him that made him so likeable (even if he could be both rude and a cheapskate).

The appeal of Ducktales was probably that it had the best combination of Duck Universe characters, which lead to both a style and an atmosphere unequalled by any Duck-show since, not even the “funny in its own right” Quack Pack.

5. Tinker Bell (Peter Pan & The Tinker Bell movies)

What’s this? Did I just pick a Disney character on pure sex-appeal? Of course not, but I think it’s time for an honest confession. I hate Disney’s version of Peter Pan. Captain Hook isn’t threatening, the main cast is annoying and Peter himself looks like a complete tool. So why do I like Tink so much? She was a total bitch in the film for the most part, wasn’t she?

Well, specifically, I like the way Tinker Bell was portrayed in her own stand-alone movies. You may be more than a tad sceptical, but honestly, these straight-to-video CG animated films are about the best fully computer animated films I’ve seen from Disney. Best of all, Tink actually gets to show a lot of character and actually have meaningful exchanges instead of just pantomiming everything she does, like she did in Peter Pan. If you’ve overlooked the Tinker Bell movies or scoffed them off as mere children’s entertainment, you need to give these an honest watch.

And yeah, she is pretty hot too.

4. Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

Best Disney Villain by far? Most definitely! Now, considering the wide array of Disney films, there were many great villains to choose from. However, a constant character trait that’s common to many of these villains, be it Scar, Hades, Jafar, Gaston or Professor Rattigan, is that most of them are, in some inherent way, comical. That’s where Frollo breaks the mould.

Frollo is by far the darkest character from any of the Disney films. He’s technically the foster father of Quasimodo (whose mother he killed), he is a judge responsible of monitoring the gypsies in Paris (whom he despises) and he wants to either bang Esmeralda, kill her or both.

He is by far the most memorable Disney Villain and by far the most sinister. I’d buy that guy a beer.

3. Megara (Hercules)

Disney leading ladies haven’t always been the most interesting characters, butMegarafrom Hercules definitely ranks in my top-tier. Firstly, she proves that it’s possible to be sexy without having nice perky, cartoon boobs. Secondly, she just has a lot of attitude and I like it.

Thirdly, she has a dark past. For the first part of the movie she’s (figuratively, not literally I assume) in bed with Hades and tries to earn her freedom by helping him defeat Wonder Boy. However, she turns good when the two of them fall in love which is the point where she ironically becomes Hercules’ Achilles’ heel.

I just love the complexity ofMegara’s character. Sure, towards the end of the film she sort of becomes a damsel-in-distress (or as Danny DeVito would put it “your standard D.I.D.”) but she does her fair share for the movie’s plot and does deserve recognition for that.

2. The Beast (Beauty and the Beast)

As for my favourite Disney lead character, I don’t really think anyone or anything can top the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. The Disney version of the fairytale is definitely my favourite. Even though The Beast is cursed because of his own selfishness and vanity, he’s still a tragic and sympathetic figure.

I also just love the look of the Beast. He seems to be a combination of wolf, bear and has some strange bull-like horns on his head and tusks jutting out from his mouth. He really can’t be described as anything other than a beast. But the Beast kicks ass and even more so, he’s a character who comes off as very genuine, beastly but still essentially human underneath.

Even as a kid I loved the Beast and he’s still my favourite Disney hero.

1. The Entire Cast of Atlantis: The Lost Empire

My biggest concern when making this list was in deciding how I was going to make sure that the characters from Atlantis wouldn’t utterly dominate the list. So finally, the only solution I could come up with was to make them all into one entry. There really is no other way for me to put it, the cast of Atlantis was just perfect.

Firstly, you have a massive variety of character types, but not only that, every single character gets to say or do something interesting as the story progresses. There are no characters I feel didn’t get to shine enough or were over-used. Not to mention this film has one of the most original villains and by far my favourite couple from any Disney movie.

This was really the only way to go, because otherwise I would have had to have excluded the whole cast in order to keep the list varied, but this truly does reflect my opinion. Atlantis: The Lost Empire is my favourite Disney movie and, in no small part, it’s because of the cast.