If there's one thing that Disney's lengthy history of animated films is renowned for, it's the perfection of the genre of the princess film. The Disney princess films have been a key feature in the studio's history since the 1930s, and the many official and unofficial princesses have become truly emblematic and iconic features of pop culture history.
As is true with most conventional fairy tale narratives, these princesses usually find themselves falling in love, either with a prince or a commoner. Most of these romances wind up getting a well-deserved happily ever after, but not every romance that these movies have introduced really deserves the grand, romantic conclusion that Disney is so well known for. Here are 5 such Disney romances that deserved their fan acclaim, and 5 that fans openly reject.
10 Fans Were Behind: Anna and Kristoff
Disney's blockbuster Frozen might have been about the love between royal sisters Elsa and Anna, but that wasn't the only love story featured. Over the course of their unplanned adventure, Anna and the lovable ice harvesting hero Kristoff fell for each other.
The two have an adorable back and forth banter for much of the movie's action, and quickly come to care very deeply about one another. By the end of the movie, they're open in their love for each other, and subsequent shorts and the forthcoming sequel have only increased the focus on their relationship.
9 Fans Rejected: Pocahontas and John Rolfe
Technically speaking, the relationship between Pocahontas and John Rolfe depicted in the sequel Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World is historically accurate. But that doesn't make their romance any easier to accept, after viewers rooted so strongly for the ill-fated romance between Pocahontas and John Smith in the original film.
Pocahontas II is a largely forgettable film, and that's due in large part to the fact that it's practically impossible to get invested in this relationship, which drives much of the film's story. John Rolfe is a Disney character we could have done without.
8 Fans Were Behind: Mulan and Shang
Nothing shows how invested fans can be in a relationship like controversy erupting when a new adaptation is announced. The fact that Li Shang won't be included in the live action version of Mulan led to online outrage, with fans pointing out just how significant the romance between Mulan and Shang is.
Their relationship is one of the most understated in the entire Disney princess canon, and understandably so given the conditions under which they meet. But all of their scenes are filled with sincerity, fondness, and genuine compassion toward one another, regardless of the scenario.
7 Fans Rejected: Belle and Gaston
Beauty and the Beast's iconic, brilliant heroine Belle is one of the most beloved in all of Disney princess history, and she undergoes some of the most difficult struggles in Disney canon, too. But one of the most obnoxious things she is forced to endure is the aggressive, one-sided courtship of the egotistical, boorish Gaston.
Gaston is misogyny personified, and he never seems to understand that Belle has no interest in him and deserves far better. From the moment they meet, it's clear that no one could possibly root for this pairing.
6 Fans Were Behind: Ariel and Eric
The Little Mermaid has stood the test of time as one of Disney's most beloved princess films. Even if modern analyses of the film occasionally try to find fault in Ariel's overall role, the movie on the whole still remains one of the studio's best, featuring a strong and kind heroine who falls in love with one of Disney's most compassionate princes.
Ariel and Eric both fall in love with each other at first sight, even if their first sights happen at different times. Their love is one that transcends words, overcomes the influences of evil magic, and spans both land and sea.
5 Fans Rejected: Aurora and Philip
Sleeping Beauty is one of the most visually stunning movies in all of Disney history. But not even amazing animation and moving music could convince Disney fans to care for the relationship between Aurora and Prince Philip.
The two share a song, and some mistaken identity hijinks before Aurora spends much of the film under a sleeping curse - from which Philip is forced to awaken her with a kiss. It's more than a little creepy and confusing. No matter how sweet they might be in certain moments, there's too much working against this relationship from the beginning.
4 Fans Were Behind: Aladdin and Jasmine
You'd be hard pressed to find many scenes in the entire Disney princes canon more romantic than some of the courtship scenes between Aladdin and Princess Jasmine in the beloved classic Aladdin.
Even if much of their early relationship occurs when Jasmine believes Aladdin is actually Prince Ali, not even the clear subterfuge at play here can lessen the purity and genuine nature of their relationship. From the moment they meet in the marketplace, long before their magic carpet ride, it's clear that these two are meant to be together.
3 Fans Rejected: Snow White and Charming
Something that's not often discussed is the fact that Snow White, a young woman who goes on to fall in love with Prince Charming and work and care for the seven dwarfs, is only 14-years old. She is, therefore, the clearest depiction of a child in Disney, even if the rest of the princesses are only a few years older.
That alone makes it difficult to get invested in the relatively boring relationship. Add to it the fact that he has to save the day by kissing her in her slumber not unlike Sleeping Beauty, and it's just too much.
2 Fans Were Behind: Belle and Adam
It truly is a tale as old as time. The most meaningful Disney princess romances feature characters overcoming great obstacles, false impressions, and internal struggles. No relationship exemplifies these better than the beloved romance between the lovable beauty Belle and the guarded beast Prince Adam.
Belle sees the kindness in Adam, and Adam learns to embrace his gentler nature through his love of Belle. She makes him a better man, and he consciously chooses to better himself in turn. Their love is so strong that it breaks the most wicked of spells. It doesn't get more romantic than that.
1 Fans Rejected: Anna and Hans
There have been plenty of Disney films that featured heroic princesses being aggressively pursued by loathsome villains. Meanwhile, Frozen was the first to find a princess unwittingly entering into a relationship with the man who would later be revealed as the film's true villain.
Hans comes off sweet enough for almost the entire film's run. His manipulations are convincing, and he wins Anna and the audience over for quite some time. But in the end, once his selfish evil ways are revealed, it's entirely impossible to view the film in the same way ever again.