Underrated Disney characters teach us powerful lessons


Graphic provided by Grace O’neil.

Ava Charnley, Staff writer

Disney is well known for its amazing animated films full of adventures with heroes, princesses, princes, and quirky sidekicks. However, Disney has more to offer us than great animation and the film thrills that last lifetimes. The characters offer us life advice if only we look hard enough. In my opinion, there are a few Disney characters that are underrated in what they have to offer us. 


  • 1. Jim Hawkins (Treasure Planet)  

Jim Hawkins is the main character in the film Treasure Planet, and he struggles with finding a purpose in life, and his talents get him into trouble frequently. However, Jim comes to find that he has a place in life. This starts when he opens up to others and allows people to care for him. He finds true friendship and starts to understand family and how they might not always be the people we want them to be. At the end of the day, Jim shows us how small actions can change who we are. He also shows us that life doesn’t always go to plan, but we can choose how we react to change. 


  • 2. Esmeralda (Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda of Hunchback of Notre Dame is a young woman who is often sexualized, shunned, and looked down upon. She struggles to find a home, as others look down on her for being a gypsy. However, this doesn’t stop Esmeralda from showing kindness to those that need it most. She has a genuinely warm heart and cares for others no matter what society or others think of her. Esmeralda can teach us all to be kind and generous to everyone no matter what our circumstances in life may be. 


  • 3. Audrey Rocio Ramirez (Atlantis

Audrey, from Disney’s Atlantis, is a simple side character, but her role and what she accomplishes is amazing. Audrey is a young teenage girl who is world-renowned for her abilities in engineering and finds herself in the search for the lost city of Atlantis. While she is not front and center in the film, when push comes to shove Audrey makes the hard decisions. She is the first person to stand up for what’s right and makes the main character feel at home. We all can learn to be the first person to do the right thing and to make others more included from Audrey. 


  • 4. Tiana (Princess and the Frog

Tiana is a young woman who strives to make her dreams come true, no matter what the cost. She works long shifts and never complains about it because it all will help her dreams come true. When things don’t go to plan, she never complains and makes the best out of her situation. She also makes sure to care for others, putting others before herself. Tiana teaches us the importance of hard work, determination, and caring for others. 


  • 5. Pacha (Emperor’s New Groove

Pacha is a father who cares deeply for people. In the film, Pacha’s home and his village are going to be ripped from him by the emperor for his own amusement. However, Pacha is a selfless man who would do anything for the people he cares about and those that he may not even know. Even in the most trying of circumstances he continues to be earnest and willing to help the emperor, who is not always polite nor considerate, out of his kind heart. At the end of the day most of us could take a page out of Pacha’s book and I hope we do. 


  • 6. Little John (Robin Hood) –

Little John, Robin Hood’s right hand man, often doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He is just as selfless and follows Robin into danger with little regard for himself. He also gives back to the poor, just like Robin, without all the fame and recognition. I think we all could learn to do things out of the sake of kindness instead of our desires for appreciation, fame, or recognition. 


While there are several characters that are not present in this article, I believe that these characters hold values and ideals that all of us can use in our everyday lives. These heroes, princesses, and side characters show us how to stand up for what we believe in and how to show compassion and empathy to those around us. I believe that all of us should be a little more like some of Disney’s most notorious risk takers, believers, and adventurers to create a happier world where all of our dreams have a chance to come true.