What does your most beloved fairy tale say about your favorite romantic reads? There might have been a Disney princess that you always pretended to be while playing dress up or whose story you wanted to hear over and over again. The fairy tale could have influenced your expectation as a reader. Do you have an emotional connection with a character type like a female warrior or the swashbuckling hero? Perhaps you’re drawn to plot devices and themes like the road romance or the rags-to-riches story.
It could be that you like the movie because of the music or the side characters, but just in case, here’s a mix of twelve official and honorary Disney princesses whose love stories were featured in cinematic films. One of the fairy tales might inspire the next book you read.
(Note: I would have included Pocahontas in this list because she’s the daughter of a chief and demonstrates heroic qualities. However, Pocahontas’s true story was anything but a fairy tale as explained in Adam Ruins Everything’s “The True Messed Up Story of Pocahontas”.)
Snow White and the Prince
She’s kind and takes care of others. She might have been raised as a princess but she knows her way around a forest. Snow even managed to cope when she discovered her stepmom ordered a hit on her. Her only flaw is that her childlike innocence can get her into trouble. She might also be too trusting. After all, she falls for a guy by the wishing well just after one song. But the guy comes in handy when Snow is poisoned by the Evil Queen and the only antidote is true love’s kiss.
If Snow White is your favorite fairy tale, look for stories that feature damsels in distress and waifs in need of protection. Not sure how to find them? A romance novel with the words “innocent” or “virgin” in the title or used to describe the woman in the book description will probably have an ingenue or vulnerable heroine.
Cinderella and Prince Charming
This poor girl has it rough. She’s an orphan and really has nowhere else to go. She endures the cruelty of her relatives but there are still signs of her sass and strength. Just when she’s at a breaking point, her fairy godmother shows up. The hardworking heroine gets to glam up for a night out with the chance to find her one true love before the clock strikes twelve. No pressure.
If you like the love story between Cinderella and Prince Charming, first decide if the makeover aspect of the story is what appeals to you, or if it’s the rags-to-riches trope that caught your attention. If it’s the makeover, look for stories about transformations and Plain Janes. If a romance book has the word “Cinderella” in the title or on the back of the book, the story probably has a poverty-stricken heroine being swept into a glamorous world.
Princess Aurora and Prince Philip
Aurora in Sleeping Beauty is a lost princess. She lives a simple life, not knowing that she is the daughter of a king–or that there’s a bounty on her head. She meets a handsome man in the forest and falls in love, not knowing he’s Prince Philip and that she’s already betrothed to him. It’s as if they were meant to be. Lucky for Aurora, Philip feels the same about her (or wouldn’t that have been awkward?) and he saves her from Maleficent and breaks the curse with true love’s kiss.
If you liked the love story between Aurora and Philip, look for romances that feature cursed heroines. Another trope to look for is the fated love story. The hero and heroine are destined to be together. It can come across as love at first sight or what readers will describe as “instalove” in their reviews.
Princess Ariel and Prince Eric
Ariel is unlike the classic Disney princesses. She’s rebellious, curious and adventurous. She makes reckless decisions (was that contract even legal?) and will leave everything she knows to be with Prince Eric. All she needs is a kiss from him before the deadline is up. Unfortunately, she gives up her voice as collateral and can’t speak to Eric, who, by the way, can’t stop thinking about the mysterious woman he heard with the most amazing voice.
If The Little Mermaid is your favorite fairy tale, look for romances that deal with one of the characters in disguise or there’s a case of mistaken identity. Perhaps what you really like about the story is Ariel learning Eric’s world. If so, look for romances where one of the characters is a fish out of water. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Belle and Prince Adam/The Beast
Beauty and the Beast was very popular when the animated film came out in theaters. Prince Adam was cursed by an enchantress because he judged her appearance and denied her hospitality. Now he must earn the love of a woman to return to his former self. The only woman hanging around his castle is Belle, a smart and studious woman who doesn’t back down. Unfortunately, she’s the only woman in his proximity because he’s holding her captive after he had imprisoned her father. It’s not a good start for him.
If you enjoyed the love story between Belle and Adam, then look for romances that deal with a tortured or beastly hero. Another trope to consider is the captured or kidnapped heroine.
Princess Jasmine and Aladdin/Prince Ali
In the animated fairy tale Aladdin, Jasmine does not want to be sheltered and she definitely doesn’t want to be treated as a prize. When she meets Aladdin, she’s intrigued by the charmer who can outwit anyone. She prefers him as the street rat than as his Prince Ali persona. He’s fun and exciting, which is what Jasmine really needs in her life. The guy promises adventure and a whole new world.
If Aladdin is your favorite fairy tale, look for romances that feature daredevil heroes who introduce a fantasy life to the heroines. They are con artists, rogues and thieves. They might also be described as black sheep, scoundrels or outlaws.
Megara and Hercules
Megara is added to this list because in the animated film, Hercules is the son of the “king” of gods. Meg is cynical and has every reason to be, having given up her soul and freedom to Hades to save her boyfriend from the Underworld (only to have her boyfriend dump her for another woman). So Meg has some serious trust issues. At first she doesn’t even know what to make of Hercules. He seems too good to be true, but eventually wins her trust and she learns how to love again.
If you like the love story between Megara and Hercules, try finding stories that feature a ruined or defeated heroine. You want to read about a woman who has been humbled by a hard life and the biggest risk she can make is to hope again.
Princess Kida and Milo
Princess Kida is from the Atlantis: The Lost Empire animated film and she’s on a mission to save her dying civilization. She possesses physical strength and political savvy. She can heal as well as protect her people. She is a warrior princess. When she meets Milo, the nerdy hero, your first thought is that he’s not going to keep up with her. But everything that makes him an outsider with the exploration crew—his enthusiasm, knowledge and curiosity—are the strengths that appeal to Kida. She soon realizes that Milo will risk everything to save her and her culture.
If you like the love story between Kida and Milo, look for romance books with female warriors who are on a crusade or mission. You can find kickass heroines within romantic suspense or romantic adventure stories in contemporary, historical and paranormal worlds.
Tiana and Prince Naveen
In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana is a waitress and a workaholic. She wants to open her own restaurant but her dream has become an obsession and she doesn’t know how to relax or have fun. Naveen, on the other hand, is a lazy disinherited prince who would rather marry rich than find a job. When the two fall under a curse and are turned into frogs, their combined strengths help them survive the ordeal. As they fall in love, Naveen teaches her how to enjoy life and Tiana shows him that work can bring a sense of fulfillment.
If you like the love story between Tiana and Naveen, look for romances with the opposite attract trope. See if you can find ones with a straitlaced heroine who doesn’t know how to live life to the fullest until she meets the dashing playboy.
Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder/Eugene
In the animated film Tangled, Rapunzel is another lost princess living in isolation. When Flynn, a fast-talking charming thief, stumbles into her world, Rapunzel decides to break out of the tower for one night and live it up. Flynn is her reluctant guide, but as they make their way through the forest (what is it with the forests in these fairy tales?) on their way to the lantern festival, they discover hidden talents and capabilities as they fall in love.
If this version of Rapunzel is your favorite fairy tale, look for road trip romances. The hero and heroine are out of the depths and must rely on each other. As they face danger and obstacles, the couple realizes that their relationship is the greatest adventure.
Princess Anna and Kristoff
Longing for opportunities to connect with others, Princess Anna in Frozen has a surprisingly upbeat attitude about life. Sometimes her relentless optimism can be a problem and her romantic illusions make her vulnerable to fortune hunters. However, there is no instant connection when Anna and Kristoff meet. She can only get his help by appealing to his pragmatic nature. Kristoff’s care and concern for Anna grows as their journey continues, and he does whatever is necessary to protect her. That can mean returning Anna to her fiancé so true love can save her life, or by putting himself and his heart at risk.
If Anna and Kristoff are your favorite fairy tale couple, look for friends-to-lovers romance stories. The connection is very important to the characters and there’s a fear of ruining everything if one of them asks for something more. If the Anna-Kristoff-Hans storyline intrigued you, try a romance novel featuring a love triangle story.
Princess Leia and Han Solo
Why is Leia included in this list? After all, she’s not a fairy tale or animated character. But when Disney purchased LucasFilms, many argue that Princess Leia is unofficially a Disney Princess. This woman is a born leader and she can’t figure out why she’s attracted to the insubordinate Han Solo. She’s a princess and he’s a smuggler. She’s fearless when it comes to fighting for her cause and Han cares more about money than people. Or he did at first.
If you like the love story of Princess Leia and Han Solo, try the enemies-to-lovers romances. The hero can’t help but antagonize the heroine and she gives as good as she gets. They bring out the best and the worst in each other. Eventually they discover they are better together.
Want to find more types of characters? Follow my Hero & Heroine Archetype series.
(Images via Giphy and Tenor.)