When it comes to official Disney Princesses, there are specific criteria they must go by. They must appear human, marry or be born into royalty, and/or perform a heroic deed in their film. Characters like Cinderella, Mulan, Tiana and Moana all fit the bill.
But in some cases, iconic Disney characters get cheated out of the title despite being given the crown or being a heroine. Even for characters who become princesses during their films like Dot and Anna, they still didn’t get acknowledged as Official Disney Princesses.
Dot (‘A Bug’s Life’)
Dot is the little sister of Princess Atta, the ant gearing up to take the throne as queen A Bug’s Life. By the end of the film, once Atta is crowned queen, it’s Dot who is made princess and celebrates by flying around with her newly-grown wings.
But despite her princess status in the film, Dot could never be made an Official Disney Princess because she’s an ant and not a human. But her courage to fight off the evil bugs who come her way and help Flik save their colony should count as an act of heroism worthy of official princess status.
Nani (‘Lilo And Stitch’)
Nani may not have been born royal, and David certainly isn’t royalty, but her selfless acts throughout Lilo and Stitch should rank high on the heroic scale to be worthy of being considered a princess.
Nani not only confronted several aliens in an attempt to save Lilo from being accidentally taken to space, but the way she stepped up to take care of her little sister after their parents’ death and fought to keep her when Cobra Bubbles threatened to take Lilo away.
Megara is a woman who likes to be the hero of her own story, and definitely won’t say she’s in love with the titular character Hercules throughout the film.
If all of Meg’s heroic deeds don’t make her a princess, then her inevitable marriage to Hercules, part of the royal arms of Greece, automatically makes Meg a princess.
Esmeralda (‘The Hunchback Of Notre Dame’)
While Esmeralda was not a princess The Hunchback of Notre Dame, nor did she perform an act of heroism, she was actually once considered an Official Disney Princess.
Esmeralda joined princesses like Snow White, Aurora and Ariel in the lineup when the endeavor began in the early 2000’s. But due to a lack of marketing and her mature depiction, Esmeralda was removed from the official list in 2005, along with Tinker Bell.
Princess Melody (‘The Little Mermaid II: Return To The Sea’)
Princess Melody is the preteen daughter of Ariel and Eric who is first introduced The Little Mermaid 2000 direct-to-video sequel The Little Mermaid: Return to the Sea.
Melody checks all the boxes for being an Official Princess: human appearance, royalty, and follows in her mom’s footsteps with acts of heroism. But the thing that keeps her off the list is the fact that she only stars in a sequel, automatically disqualifying her from making the list.
Princess Leia (‘Star Wars’)
Of all the characters not on the Official Disney Princess list, Princess Leia is the most deserving. Not only is she a literal princess, but she performs several heroic deeds throughout star wars, including helping to destroy the Death Star.
But the only reason Leia cannot be considered an Official Disney Princess is the fact that she was not originally a Disney character. Leia didn’t join the Disney family until 2012 when The Walt Disney Company purchased the rights to Lucasfilm.
Despite all of her acts of heroism throughout Tarzan – from befriending Tarzan and teaching him about human life to helping Tarzan rescue the gorilla herd – Jane is not considered an Official Disney Princess.
Although she was included on the list in the beginning, she was since dropped for unknown reasons, but one could very well be that she is not royalty. The only way to get her and Tarzan back on the official lists would be for the Tarzan-is-Anna-and-Elsa’s-brother theory to become canon.
Amy Adams played Giselle, a princess who sang with animals and dreamed of finding Prince Charming in the 2007 animated/live-action film Enchanted.
Despite fitting all the criteria of an Official Disney Princess: born royal, heroic, and human. But it’s the being entirely human part that’s Giselle’s downfall, because the only reason she was never officially crowned a Disney Princess was that the company found it difficult to secure the life-long rights to Adams’ face.
Alice (‘Alice In Wonderland’)
As far as characters not on the official Disney Princess list go, Alice from Alice in Wonderland is the only one remotely close to being considered.
Deemed an “honorary princess,” Alice often joins her princess friends despite not actually meeting any princess criteria. Other than being human, Alice is not royal and does not perform any prominent acts of heroism throughout the film, but her closeness to the title allows her to often be mistaken for a true Disney Princess.
From Anna and Elsa Frozen are the trickiest of the bunch. Despite their royal status – Elsa becoming Queen and Anna being a Princess – as well as being human and performing plenty of acts of heroism, it’s not enough to get them on the official list.
While Elsa’s queen status holds her back, many theories have circled around why Anna doesn’t make the cut despite being a literal princess from a Disney film. She’s human, is royalty, is heroic, and even including the most bizarre of Disney Princess rules, has an animal sidekick in Sven, but it’s possibly her royal sister’s inability to make the list that keeps her off it as well.
NEXT: The Best Unofficial Disney Princesses and Why Each of Them Deserves Their Shot at a Crown