The Top 5 Parents in Disney

A tribute to the unsung heroes that raised the true Disney heroes with loving devotion...
April 29, 2009
"The Top 5 Parents in Disney"
By Morrow Gordon

The Disney collection of films have all had a special place in many people's lives for generations. Every main character is relatable because they all have hopes and dreams/principles and morals that we all share.

Even the lesser known films with poorer reviews still have a charm to them that is lacking in most children's films.

Because the characters are put through so many trials they become heroes in our hearts. However, many forget to notice the heroes behind the heroes...their parents.

Even though the parents can even be a road block for the characters at first, they usually end up supporting their children with more love than before...

This is a small tribute to the unsung heroes that raised the true Disney heroes with loving devotion:

5. "Mr. Darling" from Peter Pan

Mr. Darling is on this list because his character has many depths. He is mad and crazy in the beginning, lashing out at the children for being too rambunctious (aka acting like children!). Similar to the play, Captain Hook is played by the same actor who plays Mr. Darling, contrasting the character in an imaginative way. However, in the end, Mr. Darling lightens up and gives us a wonderful glimpse into his own childhood dreams that are still hidden inside him...

("You know, I have the strangest feeling that I've seen that ship before, a long time ago when I was very young..." - Mr. Darling)

4. "Pongo and Perdita" from 101 Dalmatians

Pongo and Perdita are probably the first Disney parents that are actually the main characters in the story, that is, the story revolves around them. No one can match the bravery of this couple as they head out to try to save their kids from the evil Cruella DeVil. Even after they save the children and care for them through harsh weather, they even adopt the other 86 saved puppies to live with them in their home! (Let's not forget the kindness of their owners, Roger and Anita!)

("Perdy... I'm afraid it's all up to us..." - Pongo)

3. "Goofy" from A Goofy Movie

I hope everyone here remembers "The Perfect Cast!" In Goofy's very own movie, we are first introduced to his son, Max. What makes this film so interesting and funny is the real life relations between the characters. Max is a pretty average teenager. He feels a form of alienation in school, has girl problems, and especially doesn't relate to the older generation. Goofy is a genuine father, but he is clueless to the generation-x and is often embarrassing to Max. The trip they take together has many ups and downs and it is great to see Goofy display real emotions as he tries to bond with his son.

("You're my son, Max, no matter how big you get you'll always be my son..." - Goofy)

2. "Geppetto" from Pinocchio

Geppetto is a great character because he starts off with nothing but his workshop. He is old and lonely and the only thing he wants is to have a son. It is touching because he deserves to have his wish granted. His genuine character has given so much happiness to the world, so it is only right that he should be happy as well. Possibly his greatest trait is that he perfectly depicts the parental emotion of forgiveness. Even though Pinocchio is reckless and even puts Geppetto in some tough situations, he still forgives Pinnocchio and is only concerned with his son's safety and well-being, even when his own life is in danger...real aspects from a true loving parent.

(" yourself. Don't mind me son. Save yourself..." - Geppetto)

1. "Mufasa" from The Lion King

What can I say about Mufasa? He is the leader of his kingdom in the circle of life! However, he is also a dedicated father as well. An important part of the film is when he talks with young Simba about life and death, a tough subject for children and parents. He explains the circle of life and promises that he will always be around. However, after he is killed by his brother, Simba seems to feel a resentment towards his father's promise, like it was a lie. But this one of the greatest and most haunting moments in Disney history, he realizes that his father is still alive inside his heart and spirit.

("Whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you. And so will I..." - Mufasa)

I hope everyone enjoyed this list! I believe these characters are so important to these films because they add a personality for the parents/adults in the audience to relate to as well as identify with. Usually, the magic of the films evoke the wonder and excitement of their own childhood. This is what truly makes a great "family" film.

On a side note, I didn't include the Disney produced Studio Ghibli films. I only wanted to focus on the films made in the US. If I did, one character would definately make the list, Tatsuo Kusakabe, the father from "My Neighbor Totoro."

Mr. Kusakabe is a different character because he doesn't have any conflict with the children's dreams the way many Disney parents do (i.e. King Triton), in fact he actually promotes their imagination!

(If anyone here is a Disney fan and hasn't stepped into the world of Ghibli, they are truly missing out on some of the best films in the world.)

Thanks for reading!

P.S. These are my choices for 6-10:

6. "Marlin" from Finding Nemo
7. "Kala and Kerchak" from Tarzan
8. "Mr. Incredible/Elastigirl" from The Incredibles
9. "King Triton" from The Little Mermaid
10. "Hiram Flaversham" from The Great Mouse Detective
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