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Top 10 Disney Transformations

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nick Spake Growing up is a rough transition, but at least Disney's there to help get us through it. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 Disney transformations. For this list, we're taking a look at scenes in animated Disney films where a character undergoes a magical change in form or appearance. Special thanks to our user Andrew Warren for submitting this idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Disney Transformations

Growing up is a rough transition, but at least Disney’s there to help get us through it. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Disney transformations.

For this list, we’re taking a look at scenes in animated Disney films where a character undergoes a magical change in form or appearance.

#10: Human Again
“The Princess and the Frog” (2009)

Disney’s welcome return to hand-drawn animation went back to the studio’s roots with classic themes regarding princesses, wishing stars, and transformations. In a clever spin on the familiar fairytale, it isn’t just the handsome prince who’s turned into an amphibian. Our leading lady’s slippery fate is also sealed with a kiss. This amounts to a leaping love story in which the two frogs realize what they each need in order to be complete human beings. After locking lips for the second time, they’re given a storybook ending that overflows with traditional Disney magic.

#9: Wizard’s Duel
“The Sword in the Stone” (1963)

Of all the movies in Disney’s animation library, “The Sword in the Stone” quite possibly features the most character transformations. The film’s masterstroke is an exhilarating wizard’s duel between the mad Madam Mim and Merlin. Mim bluntly takes on the form of various wild predators. Merlin meanwhile favors brain over brawn. Just when it looks like Mim has her opponent bested when she changes into a dragon, Merlin proves that sometimes the smallest of beings can be the most deadly. With eye-popping colors and inventive twists, their showdown is nothing short of spellbinding.

#8: A Llama!
“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)

This buddy comedy has one of the more bizarre setups for any Disney movie, but that’s what makes it so funny and unique. In a murder plot gone wrong, the sinister Yzma and thickheaded Kronk mix up a poison potion for Emperor Kuzco with essence of llama. Kuzco’s sheer obliviousness to the transformation is hysterical, but the villain’s bumbling reactions are what leaves us laughing ourselves silly. This scene from “The Emperor’s New Groove” exemplifies Disney at its comedic best with sharp animation, fast-paced slapstick, and an over-the-top cartoony vibe.

#7: A Real Boy
“Pinocchio” (1940)

Where Lampwick’s transformation into an ass proves that nightmares can come true, Pinocchio’s transformation into a real boy shows that dreams can also come true. Like any child, this wooden puppet is tempted by the glamor of cigars, booze, and pool halls. His conscience gets through to him before it’s too late, however, helping Pinocchio to demonstrate bravery, honesty, and selflessness. Ultimately, Pinocchio is rewarded for his virtue with the most miraculous of transformations, the happiest of endings, and the most timeless of songs.

#6: Sprouting Legs
“The Little Mermaid” (1989)

Convinced by one of Disney’s finest villain songs, Ariel signs over her angelic voice to Ursula in exchange for a pair of legs. The Sea Witch holds up her end of the bargain through a transformation full of elegant animation, a devious color scheme, and conveniently-placed shadows. Ariel’s set to win her prince over now, but little does she know Ursula can also take on a variety of shapes and sizes. When all’s said and done, though, Ariel is the one left standing tall in the light of day.

#5: A Dress Fit for a Princess
“Cinderella” (1950)

The prince is giving a ball and Cinderella has just about all the accoutrements required to attend – except for the proper attire and transportation. Her fairy godmother fixes that with a flick of a wand and a bibbidi-bobbidi-boo of course, transforming Cinderella’s torn dress into a dazzling gown of perpetual sparkles. And transportation? Also no problem. Hailed by Walt Disney as his favorite piece of animation, this transformation sums up the entire theme of “Cinderella” with a single action. Even when a person is that their absolute lowest point, their hard work can still pay off and their dreams can become a reality.

#4: Cowardly Snake
“Aladdin” (1992)

Jafar gets to take on several forms in “Aladdin,” each fitting to his slithery, deceitful nature. As a sorcerer who’s recently taken control of the magic lamp and its included wishes, the Arabian baddie uses his powers to turn into a colossal cobra. The snake gives the street rat a run for his money in a thrilling showdown, but Aladdin outwits Jafar by pointing out he’s only second best compared to the genie. Jafar thus uses his final wish to become an all-powerful genie as well. What he doesn’t realize is that with great power comes great responsibility…and itty-bitty living space.

#3: A Perfect Disguise
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937)

Sometimes our fondest childhood memories are ironically the ones that frighten us the most. This exquisitely animated scene from “Snow White” builds malevolence as the queen concocts a potion comprised of menacing ingredients. Her disorienting transformation from the second fairest in the land to hideous hag is like a fairytale created by Alfred Hitchcock. As the queen reveals her new face, every child in the theater is guaranteed to jump in horror. From an adult perspective, however, this before and after makeover is truly a trick and a treat.

#2: Release the Dragon
“Sleeping Beauty” (1959)

Maleficent is often viewed as the mother of all evil mistresses. Some say that’s because of her devilish design. Others say it’s because of her pure love for all things wicked. What really solidifies Maleficent as the ultimate Disney villainess, though, is her ability to change into a friggin’ dragon. Her transformation makes for one of animation’s most epic and iconic climaxes as Prince Phillip faces off against the fire-breathing beast. It’s everything one could want from a final showdown with dazzling swordplay, gothic scenery, and good triumphing over evil.

Before we cast a spell on our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Mother Gothel’s Demise
“Tangled” (2010)
- Becoming a Bear
“Brother Bear” (2003)
- A Frozen Heart
“Frozen” (2013)

#1: The Spell Is Broken
“Beauty and the Beast” (1991)

Disney’s most romantic, uplifting, and enchanting transformation easily earns our top spot – and well deserves it. Cursed with a monstrous exterior to match his empty heart, the prince turned beast must prove himself capable of love to break the spell. Through the compassion of a beauty, the beast becomes progressively more human on the inside and eventually on the outside too. Complete with captivating animation and Alan Menken’s majestic musical score, it’s a testament to why Disney’s charm will never age and never die.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Disney transformation? For more wonderful Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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