HomeEntertainment News10 Strongest Female Disney Characters Who Are Not Princesses

10 Strongest Female Disney Characters Who Are Not Princesses

When it comes to female Disney characters, everyone’s minds typically go straight to princesses. Classics like Cinderella and Snow White, Disney Renaissance gals like Ariel and Belle, or strong young women who knew they didn’t need a man like Moana and Mulan.


But not every strong Disney female character has a tiara and a castle. From badass Pixarwomen to inspiring little girls to a fairy you do not want to mess with, Disney’s strongest female characters aren’t always crowned princesses.

Updated on May 25, 2023, by Hannah Saab:

Princess Ariel is getting her moment in the spotlight once again through the live-action The Little Mermaid (May 26), but she’s just one among several of Disney’s female characters who are noteworthy for their bravery, strength, and unforgettable stories (many of whom are not princesses).

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10 Tinker Bell – ‘Peter Pan’ (1953)

Tinker Bell

Although she’s no longer considered a Disney princess, Tinker Bell always has been and always will be a badass fairy that you won’t want to mess with. Known for her sassy attitude and bratty behavior, Tink may be puny and sparkly, but she’s one of the Disney girl characters who are a force to be reckoned with.

Despite her stubborn temper, Tinker Bell demands respect and nothing less from those she encounters in Peter Pan and beyond, which is why she continues to literally shine as one of Disney’s leading ladies.

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9 Megara – ‘Hercules’ (1997)

Megara in Hercules
Image via Walt Disney Animation

An unofficial Disney princess character from Hercules, Megara has always been a fan favorite for her snarky attitude and secret soft side. Despite the dark past she faced and the cynical attitude it left her with, Megara still finds a sliver of hope after meeting Hercules.

Strong and independent, Meg became the heroine of her film after sacrificing herself to save Hercules, despite the movie following Hercules’ own heroic journey. And while she was unwilling to admit she was in love at first, when she finally does, her feelings for Hercules never take away from her self-assured nature.

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8 Colette Tatou – ‘Ratatouille’ (2007)

Ratatouille

While Ratatouille mostly centers around Remy’s love of cooking that sends him on a journey to working alongside clumsy chef Linguini, Colette plays an integral role in both the rat’s story and Linguini’s.

While she ends the film as part of a beloved Pixar super couple, Colette is introduced as serious and hardworking, allowing no time for Linguini’s antics. Although reserved at first, when Colette learns Linguini and Remy’s secret, she decides to help them succeed because while wishes to impress in the kitchen, she’s also a firm believer in Gusteau’s motto “anyone can cook.”

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7 Edna Mode – ‘The Incredibles’ (2004)

Edna Mode in The Incredibles

Edna Mode has got to be one of the most popular Pixar characters, despite being a side character in The Incredibles and the sequel. Although she’s small in stature, this woman has a big personality hiding.

As the fashion designer to the supers, Edna knows all when it comes to super suits, and is never afraid to tell it like it is to her super friends. But despite her confident and quick-witted attitude, as soon as Jack-Jack enters a room, she turns into Auntie Edna and allows her maternal instincts to shine as she examines the baby super’s powers.

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6 Joy – ‘Inside Out’ (2015)

Joy in Inside Out

Joy is exactly that in Inside Out – a joy. Despite being surrounded by intense feelings of sadness, fear, anger, and disgust all day, Joy always manages to stay on the bright side and see the positive in any situation.

Similar to the way Woody must navigate Andy growing up, Joy learns the struggles of Riley becoming a moody teenager who finds it tougher to see the joys in life, but it never stops Joy from trying to help Riley remain positive when Sadness wants to creep in. She doesn’t get everything right, but she learns and keeps persevering, making her one of Pixar’s strongest female characters.

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5 Nala – ‘The Lion King’ (1994)

Nala in Lion King

The Lion King may center around a lot of males – King Mufasa, aspiring King Simba, the evil Scar, and beloved best friends Timon and Pumbaa – but none of them hold a candle to the confident and independent Nala.

As a young cub, Nala is carefree during her adventures with Simba, daring to explore the elephant graveyard with her best friend. As an adult lioness, she’s mature and poised when she reunites with Simba, skipping the princess part and going straight to Queen of the Pride Lands.

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4 Mirabel Madrigal – ‘Encanto’ (2021)

Mirabel from Encanto

Among the best animated movies from recent years, Encanto revolves around the Madrigals, a family with extraordinary powers that each member receives when they reach a certain age, all except for the vibrant protagonist, Mirabel. While she tries not to let her lack of magical ability bother her, things soon get complicated when she seems to be the only one who can sense that the family is in danger.

Aside from being a fantastic lead for the musical numbers, Mirabel stands out for her story’s strong message about what it means to be special. Women are already powerful just being who they are, and magic can come in different forms and from many unexpected places. Plus, Mirabel’s relatable personality makes her more than just a badass, she’s also incredibly likable.

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3 Bo Peep – ‘Toy Story 4’ (2019)

Bo Peep in Lamp Life

While Bo Peep may have been a side character in Toy Story despite being Woody’s love interest, when she did take center stage in scenes, she always presented herself as level-headed among the frantic toys.

By Toy Story 4, Bo’s unexpectedly difficult journey comes to light, revealing where she had been since she was last seen in Toy Story 2. Out of all the toys in the franchise, Bo became one of the strongest not only for her survival skills, but her tendency to continue loving Woody as if they were never separated.

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2 Lilo Pelekai – ‘Lilo & Stitch’ (2002)

Lilo and Stitch wearing a flower crown and a grass skirt dancing

A Disney movie about outcasts finding their place, when Lilo & Stitch isn’t following the story of a wayward alien learning to find his way on earth, the film is all about Lilo Pelekai and her happy-go-lucky attitude despite the trials she’s faced, and continues to face.

At only 6 years old, Lilo has always experienced the tragic loss of both of her parents, leaving her in the hands of her loving teenage sister who is still trying to find her way herself. Despite all the loss she’s experienced and the bullying she endures, Lilo was always on track to becoming a strong, independent woman.

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1 Captain Amelia – ‘Treasure Planet’ (2002)

Captain Amelia from Treasure Planet

An underrated character from an underappreciated Disney movie, Captain Amelia is a badass who deserves more attention (as does Treasure Planet). The talented captain of the R.L.S. Legacy makes a great impression from the moment she’s introduced, immediately demonstrating her strength, quick wit, and unique energy.

Though most of Treasure Planet revolves around Jim Hawkin’s story, Captain Amelia plays a strong supporting role that’s notable for not being dependent on a romantic storyline (at least, not all throughout). The 2002 film is worth watching again just to see her brave actions and well-written arc.

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