Freeform’s 30 Days of Disney kicks it up a notch today with the start of Singalongs Week. The first film to get the singalong treatment is Walt Disney Animation’s latest musical Moana. Reflecting back on Moana got me thinking about what really makes a Disney Princess, and more specifically, a part of the official Disney Princess brand.
To settle any confusion right away, Anna and Elsa are not official Disney Princesses. Yes, that does seem odd considering the massive success of Frozen, but that success is most likely the reason they are kept separate to begin with.
That being said, there are many Disney princesses that exist like Princess Leia or Princess Eilonwy, but in order to be a Disney Princess (with a capital “P”), you need to be officially inducted into the group. So what makes a Disney Princess special?
Basically, it just means that they are a part of the Disney Princess brand, which just happens to be the fourth-largest entertainment brand in the world, with over $2 billion in global sales (as of 2017 values). Pretty much everything related to the princesses that is sold in stores is created through this brand. In other words, arguably Disney’s most popular characters are all connected in one mega-brand, so you need to have a certain level of prestige to join the group.
Via USA Today
Of course, it would be remiss of me to write an article about the Disney Princesses and not mention the awesome scene from Ralph Breaks the Internet. (Well, all the Princesses plus Anna and Elsa.) I know I’m not alone in that a scene like that one was something I had dreamed about for years because all of the characters have a ton of similarities, so why wouldn’t they be friends in “real-life”?
It doesn’t seem like there will be many chances to do something like that in the future, but why not do a similar experience like that in the parks? I feel like it would be a really fun meet-and-greet if you had the chance to talk to two unrelated Princesses at once and see how they interact with each other as much as how they interact with you.
But to bring it all together, let’s jump back to Moana. After seeing Anna and Elsa be passed over in branding, it was a welcome surprise to see Moana welcomed to the fold almost immediately. She joins the mold of Pocahontas who does not have a true prince to call her love, but even beyond that, she doesn’t have any romantic interest in the film and isn’t even a princess, instead serving as a chief. Personally, I still think she really fits into the mold of the Princesses who came before her, so I’m glad that she managed to sneak her way in there, especially so quickly after the film was released.
Moana’s addition helped the lineup became more diverse, as well. If you look at the more recently-released Princesses like Tiana, Jasmine and Pocahontas, the brand managers have done an awesome job ensuring that there is more representation amongst the Princesses, so people everywhere can have a Princess they can relate to better.
Moana airs at 8:30 PM this evening on Freeform, and the basic cable channel’s 30 Days of Disney programming block runs throughout the month of September. It will also be available on Disney+ when the streaming service launches on November 12.
Cole Geryak is a college Disney fan making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.