Author Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote that it is “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” It’s one of those cold, hard truths about life. But thanks to the magic of Disney, we can enter a world of fantasy and magic that, when mixed together with a dash of creativity from Disney writers, becomes a place where love is never lost, never over, never forgotten. Such is the case for most of the couples in Disneyana—those really lucky duos who have the good fortune of being in love and happy forever. Here are 10 Disney couples who fell in love with each other so that we could fall in love with them.
10. Cinderella and Prince Charming
Though we had our doubts about Prince Charming, we love Cinderella and her beau. After all, it’s normal to be somewhat leery of a guy who dances with a girl for hours, goes on a search for her the next day, and rather than looking for a girl who fits the physical description of Cinderella, he instead sends the Grand Duke to every girl’s home in the kingdom to see who fits the glass slipper. But despite his flaws, we have to be thankful for a guy who saw Cinderella for who she was, instead of what she wasn’t, as her stepmother had done. And no matter how many times we watch Cinderella, diehard Disney fans still cheer for Cinderella when she one-ups her evil stepmother by having the matching slipper after the villain intentionally trips the Grand Duke’s servant, causing him to drop the other slipper, at which time it shatters into a million pieces. Cheers to the underdog in this beautiful love story that was—for many of us—our first taste of Disney.
9. Aurora and Philip
Ah, Sleeping Beauty—the most beautifully told and richly illustrated animated Disney feature film of the 20th century. Aurora, the daughter for which King Stefan and his wife had long pined, begins her life like any other princess. But during a ceremony in which she is presented to the Kingdom, the roadmap of her life is forever changed. Thanks to a hot-headed villain with horns, Princess Aurora is cursed, and her doom involving a spinning wheel is foretold. Sweet Merriwether, the blue Good Fairy, lessens the curse, replacing the princess’s impending death with only sleep. But for good measure, the King orders every spinning wheel to be burned, and the three Good Fairies take on the role of mothering the royal infant deep in the woods, in a woodcutter’s cottage.
For sixteen long years, Princess Aurora is only referred to as “Briar Rose,” and she lives in the cottage with the Good Fairies, without any human contact. Thanks to Disney destiny, however, the secret princess has a chance meeting with a handsome man on a horse, but she has no idea that he’s Prince Philip. Romantically, he already knows the words to the song she’s singing—Once Upon a Dream—and she is smitten forever. Inviting him to the cottage that night to meet Flora, Fauna and Merriwether proves dangerous for the prince, for upon his arrival, he is taken captive by the evil Maleficent and later chained up in her dungeon.
Thankfully, the story ends with Prince Philip giving Aurora true love’s kiss, thus awakening her from a slumber cast upon her by Maleficent’s spell, and the two finally realize the other is royalty as well. Their love and marriage would unite their fathers’ respective kingdoms, thus creating happy endings for everyone involved.
8. Ariel and Eric
This nautical love story is one that takes place under a strange set of circumstances. Ariel, a mermaid and one of King Triton’s daughters, has one of the most beautiful voices in all the sea. Her naturally red hair surely could have caught her several mer-beaus, but after a terrible shipping accident at sea, Ariel sees a human man drowning and brings him to shore, thus saving his life. Ariel feels a bit saved herself because she falls in love with the human and dreams of a life away from the ocean—one where she trades her fin for feet. She sees no way to make this happen, outside of entering into an agreement with Ursula, the sea witch, to trade her beautiful voice for a pair of human legs. Ariel gets her legs, but she doesn’t instantly get her guy, since Ursula doesn’t play fair. Eric comes within seconds of marrying a fraudulent version of Ursula, but she is defeated, Eric realizes Ariel is who saved him once she has her voice back and begins to sing.
Not that trading your soul for love or directly defying your father’s wishes are the ways to go, but this love story is timeless, and every time we watch The Little Mermaid, we find ourselves waving good-bye to the newlyweds and wishing them well alongside the merfolk as the wedding ship sails off toward the horizon.
7. Tiana and Naveen
Why the nation of Maldonia would ever send its prince to the bayous of Louisiana is beyond me, but it proves a good move for both Tiana and Prince Naveen; without his journey to the States, the two would have never met. Oh, but they do meet—not as lady and prince—but as frog and frog. The two seem polar opposites as their story unfolds. Tiana is a hard-working waitress in New Orleans who is determined to let nothing get in the way of her dreams. Prince Naveen, on the other hand, leans more toward the lazy side. He even tells Tiana that his wealthy royal parents cut him off financially because he’s a “leech.” And as the story goes on, the amphibious duo bickers and criticizes one another until a spark is lit between them and they begin to see their similarities. The two fall madly in love with each other and are later returned to their human selves, at which time they are married in one of the most beautiful Disney weddings ever, complete with Mama Odie officiating. Naveen should be nominated “Husband of the Year” for his selflessness in helping Tiana finally realize her dream of owning a restaurant on the bayou.
6. Lady and Tramp
The story of Lady and her Tramp is somewhat akin to the love story of Tiana and Naveen—at least when it comes to their differences one day uniting them. Lady is a beautiful cocker spaniel living the life of luxury with her owners Jim Dear and Darling. Tramp is a mixed breed fella living day to day with no strings attached. The two meet, and Lady is anything but impressed by Tramp and his lack of etiquette and social graces. It isn’t until Tramp saves the life of Jim Dear and Darling’s baby boy that Lady falls in love with him. The canine couple go on to have a litter of sweet little mini-Ladys and mini-Tramps. It doesn’t get much more precious than that.
5. Anna and Kristoff
Arendelle’s most famous couple met while Anna was engaged to Hans of the Southern Isles. Anna was beginning her search for her sister, the newly-coronated Queen Elsa, when she happened upon a shop in the snow. At the shop, she is able to secure warm clothing, and it is here that she meets Kristoff, an ice harvester. Since Queen Elsa has frozen everything in Arendelle, business was hard for Kristoff—you can’t sell ice to a population who’s already sick of it. Anna pays for the mountain gear and carrots that Kristoff is unable to afford, and Anna asks for his help traversing the mountain in exchange for her good deed toward him. Kristoff seems tough on the outside, but on the inside, he’s got a soft heart. When they first meet, Kristoff seems only annoyed by Anna, but throughout the film, we watch the two slowly fall in love, and then we watch as both Anna and Kristoff realize their love, especially after it is revealed that Hans is a villain. The last scene of Frozen shows Anna lovingly replacing Kristoff’s sled, and the two live happily ever after. We have proof of this in Frozen Fever, during which the two are still proclaiming their love for one another.
4. Pongo and Perdita
Another romantically-involved canine couple is Pongo and Perdita from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. Of all the romantic relationships portrayed in Disney films, Pongo and Perdita’s love seems one of the strongest. The two meet because of Pongo’s determination to be introduced to Perdita by introducing his owner to Perdita’s owner. The two owners get married in the same ceremony in which Pongo and Perdita are married. Over the course of the feature film, we see the two canine lovebirds prepare for the births of their puppies, spend nightly family time with their fifteen puppies in front of the television, go on long walks at night together, rescue their lost puppies, defeat a villain and then adopt 84 more puppies. Any couple that can parent 101 little ones together has got to be in love!
3. Belle and the Beast
The relationship between Belle and the Beast is an unconventional one, to say the least. It begins when the Beast holds Belle captive in place of her father, who was caught trespassing in the castle. Belle’s pure heart and selfless love for others is evident from the beginning; she offers to be the prisoner in her father’s place because she doesn’t want him harmed. She’s the only character in Beauty and the Beast who is unafraid of the Beast—to the point of putting him in his place and even chastising him. Over time, Beast falls in love with Belle for her determination, her fearlessness and her kind heart toward him. Belle loves Beast—not for what he looks like on the outside—but for who she learns he is on the inside. It is Belle’s proclamation of love for the Beast that saves him and returns him to his former self. Their relationship seems a very positive one, in that Beast grows from a selfish, arrogant youth to a kind and loving young man, and Belle falls in love with him despite his hideous appearance.
2. Carl and Ellie Frederickson
This PIXAR couple is often overlooked, but theirs is a sweet love story that continues even after Ellie passes away. The two meet when they are just kids, and they later fall in love and get married. They are overjoyed to find that they are expecting a little one. But that joy is overshadowed only weeks later when Carl and Ellie learn that they have lost their baby. It is heart-breaking as they walk through a grieving process together. In time, though, they find their joy again, and the couple begins to plan a trip to Paradise Falls. Several times a week, Carl and Ellie drop coins into a savings jar toward their dream trip. But, as luck would have it, as soon as they have money saved up, they have a flat tire or another scenario that warrants a break of the bank. Through all their ups and downs, the Fredericksons dream together, grow together and enjoy life together. So it’s even more heartbreaking when the couple discover that Ellie is ill. Some time later, Ellie passes away, but Carl is so in love with her still, that he is determined to continue their dream of visiting Paradise Falls. The feature film Up is largely about Carl’s journey to fulfill the couple’s dreams. He chooses to do so by staying in the home he shared with Ellie and floating their house in the sky, tied to hundreds and hundreds of brightly colored balloons, all the way to Paradise Falls. Theirs is by far one of Disney/PIXAR’s best love stories!
1. Mickey and Minnie
No list of Disney couples would be complete without the Mouse and his lady. Theirs is a love that has lasted through generations of Disney fans. Disney shorts, cartoons and even Disney Junior animated series depict Mickey and Minnie’s life together. Fans come from all over the globe to the Walt Disney World Resort to meet the two famous Disney icons. Mickey and Minnie’s relationship is at the center of Disney’s theme of love, and no other Disney characters have a better love story than theirs. After all, theirs is nearly 90 years in the making, and they’re still going strong!
Love stories are an important part of Disney storytelling, and these are just a few of the couples that help tell those stories. Many other Disney couples embrace their relationships as well. Which ones are your favorites, and what about their love stories is sweetest to you?