Even though Disney has made some decisions that have been boneheaded, I can't help but feel affection for the Mouse House. I was a Disney kid growing up. I still have the very fondest memories of the characters who taught me so much about story, character types, and what impact a story can have. It is because of them that I lament the demise of Disney, and wish they'd get back to the basics.
Number 1: Princess Jasmine.
Jasmine was the second princess I loved (first was Ariel) but the one I have the fondest memories of. I watched Aladdin over and over and the TV show when I could get it. Jasmine's feisty spirit, but ladylike demeanor inspired the characteristics that would eventually inform many of my own characters.
Number 2: Mulan.
Mulan inspired my love of all things Asian. The characteristics that endeared me to Jasmine also called out from Mulan. As brave as she is beautiful, Mulan was the one who demonstrated that you could be both a fighter and a lady.
Number 3: Winnie the Pooh and Company.
Winnie the Pooh and friends form some of my earliest memories of watching cartoons. My mother was a huge Pooh fan as a child, and made sure we had the original shorts on VHS and had the "New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" series on VHS as well. They taught me that no one is too small to make a difference, and while I don't have any characters directly inspired by Pooh or his friends, they did teach me about story structure and you don't necessarily need anything extraordinary to happen to tell a good story.
Number 4: Kim Possible.
Kim Possible was the main character of the TV Show "Kim Possible" which played on Disney Channel from 2002 to 2007. Kim was a high school student who was active in her community, captain of the cheer squad, and crime fighting super-heroine. Her can-do attitude and good nature, and the fact that I, as a regular person, could be like her (in the attitude and helpfulness category anyway) endeared her to me, and I still love her.
Number 5: Snow White.
When I was younger, I thought Snow White was kind of a wimp. (I swallowed that feminist lie hook, line, and sinker!) But as I got older, I realized that she is perhaps one of the strongest princesses. Let's think about this for a minute. Her mom dies, then her dad, and her stepmother takes away all of her rights and privileges as a princess and makes her a scullery maid. But does that get her down? NO! To top all, her stepmother plans to murder her and she has to run for her life into the woods. Does that break her spirit? NO! Through all her trials she keeps a positive attitude and a heroic outlook on life. She may not be as "active" but she has spirit!
Number 6: The Spring Sprite from Fantasia 2000.
The Spring Sprite is from the last segment of Fantasia 2000, which was set to the music of Igor Stravinsky's "The Firebird". The Sprite is a nature spirit who brings spring to a place in the grips of winter (primarily based on the Mount St. Helens) and accidentally wakes the ravenous Firebird, the spirit of destruction. When all her handiwork is destroyed by the vengeful Firebird, the Sprite renews her territory in one of the most beautiful scenes in Disney history. Because Fantasia is basically silent, the Sprite is an enigma as far as characters go, but we know that she is kind, gentle, and creative. It was mainly her imagination-sparking powers that earned her a place on this list, as she has inspired me since I laid eyes on her.
Arbutus, Aladdin TV Series.
Who? Arbutus made a single, memorable appearance in the Aladdin TV Series, where he acted the part of the Beast in a "Beauty and the Beast" plot. I never really considered him a villain, more of a Byronic hero, (though at the time I didn't know what this was) leading to his downfall. This guy inspired several (really bad) fan-fics when I was a child, but more recently was one among many inspirations for Lord Rhodon, the subject of my Writing Wednesday posts.
Princess Mira Nova of Tangea, Buzz Lighter of Star Command.
Here was a kick-butt princess! Mira Nova sought out becoming a Space Ranger over living as a princess. Never was Mira rescue fodder, never was she seen as an incompetent. Mira served as Buzz's second in command and was considered one of the most skilled Rangers in Star Command. She showed that girls could be just as intelligent and competent in law enforcement roles as men, and were even necessary for some missions.
Princess Merida of DunBroch, Brave.
Why isn't Merida higher on the list, you ask? Well... Merida can be a bit of a brat. Crack archer, princess, not all that interested in romance, and adorable as all get out, Merida demonstrated that you can tell a fairy tale without a romance. Her relationship with her mom is also rather touching for us strong willed girls...now if she would've learned to be less of a brat earlier...
Detective Elisa Maza, Gargoyles.
Street smart NYPD detective Elisa Maza thought she had seen everything... until she was introduced to the Manhattan Clan of Gargoyles. The five Gargoyles formed a close partnership with Elisa, who was their only true human friend. Goliath, the leader of the group, fell in love with the able detective (Yeah, weird, I know) and they were often together fighting crime throughout New York City. I can't deny that Elisa has influenced the creation of my own detective duo, also NYPD cops.
I'm T.K. Wilson, Read my blog for great information and stories about dolls, toy restoration, Christian Fantasy and so much more! Blog updates Fridays.