Top 10 Disney Ensemble Casts
VOICE OVER: EB
Script written by Nick Spake
Here are our picks for Top 10 Disney Ensemble Casts! For this list, we're taking a look at animated Disney movies that stand out due to their unforgettable casts of characters. We've included Frozen, Zootopia, the Jungle Book, Big Hero 6, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Aladdin and Toy Story!
Top 10 Disney Ensemble Casts
No matter how many new characters they introduce, the House of Mouse never seems to reach maximum capacity. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Disney Ensemble Casts.
For this list, we’re taking a look at animated Disney movies that stand out due to their unforgettable casts of characters.
#10: “Frozen” (2013)
The early trailers for “Frozen” primarily showcased Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer. While they’d go down as beloved characters, it was sisters Anna and Elsa who made audiences fall in love with this Oscar-winning blockbuster. These two are among the most unique and progressive Disney princesses ever created. Both endure significant changes throughout the film, as Anna develops from a naive young girl to a resilient woman and the icy Elsa learns to embrace her gifts, as well as her family. The male characters also prove to be more than meets the eye, as loner Kristoff opens his heart and Prince Hans reveals his frozen heart.
#9: “Zootopia” (2016)
“Zootopia” transports us to a wondrous world where sloths work at the DMV, an Arctic shrew runs the mafia, and a wolf lurks in sheep's clothing. At the center of everything are a wide-eyed rabbit named Judy Hopps and a cynical fox named Nick Wilde. Although the citizens of Zootopia seemingly live together in harmony, social tensions continue to divide predators and prey. Part of what makes this ensemble so memorable is that the audience can see a reflection of their own society in these characters. Making commentary on everything from prejudice to politics, the cast shows us that nobody is perfect.
#8: “The Little Mermaid” (1989)
“The Little Mermaid” revisited several common fairytale character tropes, like the beautiful princess, handsome prince, and diabolical villain. Yet, the filmmakers managed to give all of these characters a little something extra. At the time of the film’s release, Ariel was easily Disney’s most independent princess and Eric demonstrated that princes could be more than just pretty boys. Sea witch Ursula flooded the silver screen with her deliciously evil presence while King Triton spoke to father figures everywhere. Furthermore, scene-stealers like Flounder, Scuttle, and Sebastian made audiences wish they could live under the sea. Finding just the right balance of old and new, this stellar cast sailed Disney animation into a new golden age.
#7: “Tangled” (2010)
Well after Disney’s ‘90s renaissance, the animation studio continued to evolve their brand by revisiting another classic fairytale in “Tangled.” The well-known story of Rapunzel was given a fresh coat of paint thanks to some one-of-a-kind characters. The cast features a plucky princess who is always saving the day, a cocky thief that emerges as an unlikely hero, and comedic relief that doesn’t require dialog to get a laugh. Then there’s the two-faced Mother Gothel, who can transition from nurturing, to condescending, to flat-out evil in the blink of an eye. Perhaps the most striking character of all is Rapunzel’s hair, which somehow manages to pack in a ton of personality despite its inanimate nature.
#6: “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” (1977)
“The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” isn’t exactly the most plot-driven Disney movie. There isn’t a bad guy or even many life-threatening scenarios. It’s just Pooh and company partaking in a series of adorable misadventures. These characters are so timeless however that we’ll gladly follow them anywhere. One can’t help but envy Christopher Robin for having so many friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, including the gloomy Eeyore, the motherly Kanga, little Roo, tightly wound Rabbit, the timid Piglet, and the wise Owl. Let’s not forget fan favorite Tigger, who practically bounces off with the whole show. Of course the film truly belongs to Pooh, who is just about as sweet as honey.
#5: “Inside Out” (2015)
This Pixar film takes us inside the head of eleven-year-old Riley, following the personified emotions of Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger. Since these characters all embody a specific feeling, you’d expect them to have one-note personalities. Even the most basic emotions can have many different layers, however. Sometimes Joy needs Sadness to see the importance of crying. Sometimes Sadness needs Joy to dry those tears. Sometimes an imaginary friend, like the lovable Bing Bong, can feel more real than an actual person. Each emotion serves a crucial purpose and Riley would be incomplete without all of them. The movie gets this message across with characters that are complex and yet so simple.
#4: “Aladdin” (1992)
With unlimited cosmic powers and the voice of Robin Williams, the Genie alone is like a dozen characters rolled into one. “Aladdin” is far from a one-man show, however, as the cast comes complete with several diamonds in the rough. In addition to the Genie, our titular hero gets help from his loyal monkey Abu and a magic carpet that expresses itself without saying a word. The irritable Iago, on the other hand, isn’t afraid to speak his mind while plotting alongside the dastardly Jafar. As colorful as these supporting players are, they don’t overshadow the central love story between Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, both of whom are so much more than meets the eye.
#3: “Toy Story” (1995)
Cowboys were all the rage before the astronauts launched into space. This adds another layer of wit to the rivalry between Woody and Buzz Lightyear, two toys competing for the love of their owner, Andy. While it would’ve been easy to make one of these two a villain, “Toy Story” wisely develops both into likable characters with three-dimensional personalities and identifiable insecurities. Together, Woody and Buzz make a surprisingly strong team. Aside from them, Andy’s room also hosts a plethora of other playthings, from the vulnerable Rex, to the wisecracking Ham, to the sarcastic Mr. Potato Head. Once the credits roll, you’ll want to bring the whole cast home to live in your toybox.
#2: “The Lion King” (1994)
They might be animals, but the characters in “The Lion King” feel practically Shakespearean. That’s probably because the film was inspired by “Hamlet,” centering on a young prince who must follow in his late father’s footsteps after his bloodthirsty uncle usurps the throne. Although he’s apprehensive about returning to Pride Rock, Simba receives assistance from childhood friend Nala, as well the wisecracking duo Timon and Pumbaa. Simba must not only overcome the devious Scar and a legion of hyenas, but his own inner demons as well. He ultimately rises above it all, however, summoning the strength to rule the animal kingdom. In the end, every character plays a vital role in the circle of life.
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937)
“Big Hero 6” (2014)
“The Jungle Book” (1967)
#1: “Beauty and the Beast” (1991)
It was lyricist Howard Ashman’s idea to occupy the Beast’s castle with enchanted objects that possess distinctive personalities. We largely have him to thank for immortal characters like Lumière, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip. Although these players all make us feel like welcomed guests, this tale as old as time is truly about the titular couple. Belle remains one of Disney’s strongest heroines, showing girls they don’t have to wait for their prince to come. Speaking of which, the prince in this case is a Beast that must learn to love, which perfectly contrasts the villainous Gaston’s transformation into a monster. Like a song as old as rhyme, this ensemble never hits a false note.