Non-Definitive, Completely Biased Ranking of Disney Dads

This post is going to be a little different format from my typical pointless questioning. With Father’s Day just around the corner, it’s got me thinking about being a dad a little more than usual. When it comes to Disney, most of the father examples provided to us are what I would consider lacking. The ones that tend to be the best are often killed off as fast as they are introduced. So when I think about the question of who is the best Disney Dad, I decided it was only best to create a list of 15 Dads and rank them. Why 15? Because Father’s Day is on June 15th this year. (that’s not true…just a happy coincidence.)

(15 Disney Dads ranked Best to Worst)

1. James – The Princess & the Frog
This father is the perfect example of a good dad that is gone too quickly. He pops in, gives some good fatherly advice and then dies a hero. This guy is my number 1 because he doesn’t just talk a good game, the way he lived his life instilled values in his daughter that made her strong & self-sufficient.

Marlin - finding nemo2. Marlin – Nemo’s Dad in Finding Nemo
Sure he is over protective but after the loss of his wife and other kids, you can’t blame the guy. Stopping at nothing and facing his fears to find his kid across a whole ocean is definitely commendable. Rapunzel’s dad should’ve watched this movie on how to respond to a lost kid…Oh, and his jokes are terrible. That’s a prerequisite for an awesome dad!



3. Pongo – 101 Dalmations
I have to say that Pongo is along the same caliber of dad-ness as Marlin. When his kids are taken, he and his wife do everything in their power to save them. He also is willing to adopt 84 other puppies and raise them as his own. He is dad to the bone. (sorry for that)


Mufasa4. Mufasa – Simba’s Dad in The Lion King
James Earl Jones’s voice can make anything sound more grand than it is.  This fact leads us to believe that Mufasa has this thing parenting down. Most think this dad should be number 1, but I have to disagree. Unfortunately we can see from Simba’s ‘Can’t wait to be King’ song, that he is learning more from Mufasa’s actions than his words.

5. King – Elsa & Anna’s Dad in Frozen
This dad has gotten a lot of slack for isolating Elsa but as I discussed in my previous post, that might not have been the worst idea for the Kingdom’s sake. That said, his isolation actions punish Anna as well and create lots of ‘daddy issues’ that result in an engagement to a scoundrel and the freezing of a kingdom.

6. King Triton – Ariel’s Dad in The Little Mermaid
Not only is he running a Kingdom but also raising six girls on his own. This would be a hilarious 80’s sitcom come to think of it. Triton gets grief for being prejudice against humans but I think we can assume this is well founded. His harsh treatment of his daughter’s fondness of the dark side is a little misguided but can’t fault him too much for it. However, I don’t understand him giving up so easily against Ursula (see post) nor changing his whole belief system regarding humans because of one good encounter with Eric.

7. Fa Zhou – Mulan’s Dad
At the end of the day, this guy is a product of the culture. His treatment of his daughter is based on societal norms. We find it limiting and wrong but that’s because we are looking at it from a western, twenty-first century perspective. So, let’s calm down. Plus, he is the coolest looking bald guy in all Disney movies for sure!


8. King Stefan – Sleeping Beauty’s Dad
So he’s willing to not see his daughter for 18 years in order to hide her and keep her safe. Then he has her brought back to the palace the last day BEFORE the curse ends? That’s a mix of amazing fortitude and poor planning. Couldn’t he have had the celebration the next day?



9. The Great Prince of the Forest – Bambi’s Father
If people don’t even realize that you are Bambi’s father until his mom dies, maybe you are being a little too aloof. This buck’s cold attitude toward Bambi can be seen by many as helping Bambi into manhood…but I think there could be a better way to do it.


10. King – Rapunzel’s Dad in Tangled
I give this guy a lot of credit for honoring his lost daughter for 16 years but the rampant security issues in his castle are one of the main contributing factors to his daughter’s kidnapping in the first place. Also, you would hope that if his guards scoured every inch of the countryside they would have come across the tower that held Rapunzel. He really needs to shore up his ship.

Cinderellas dad11. Aristocrat Widower – Cinderella’s Dad
Points to this guy for understanding the importance of a mother in a young girl’s life. But even more demerits for both being duped by and willingly marrying Lady Tremaine.

12. King – Snow White’s Dad (not pictured)
This guy apparently read from the same playbook as Cinderella’s dad. He’s not even technically in the story, but we know that he was married to Snow White’s mother and then after her death, remarried a smoking hot queen who was evil. If you have kids, you might want to take them into account when choosing a step-mom…

13. Mr Incredible – The Incredibles
For being a super hero, I can’t say that this guy is very extraordinary when it comes to fatherhood. I get that he is in a rut for having to hide his powers, but becoming a father mean sacrificing…it’s just part of the gig. And he doesn’t really get this even at the end. He has his happy ending because he gets to go back to crime fighting. I think it is just icing on the cake that his family is with him.

George Darline14. George Darling – Wendy, Michael & John’s Dad in Peter Pan
I don’t think you could consider George a very ‘present’ father. Letting his pre-teen daughter live in a nursery with two younger brothers while a dog serves as nursemaid wouldn’t win him any parenting awards by today’s standards. But what can you expect from a former lost boy right?

And the worst father award goes too……

The sultan15. Sultan – Jasmine’s Dad in Aladdin
If you read my previous post on this guy, you probably saw this one coming. Only thing left to say is that while he does choose to allow his daughter to marry for love, he does the opposite of the King in Frozen and potentially sets up his kingdom for ruin. A street rat does not a great ruler make.

I know I haven’t exhausted the Disney dads with this post…that’s why I called it ‘non-definitive’. I may do another one…who did I miss that should have definitely been included in the next 15?


More to come. Follow me here ——> @DadsQuestions

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  1. Great list, however Marlin and Mr. Incredible don’t count in my book as they’re Pixar properties, not pure Disney 😛 !

    I really adore Mr. Darling and feel that he’s extremely overrated. Actually when I most recently saw ‘Peter Pan’, he was the only character that I liked.

    Merlin would make a good father too, I think, if he had kids.

    1. I was going to call the post ‘Non-Definitive, Completely Biased Ranking of Disney and Disney-Owned Subsidiaries Dads’…but it didn’t have the same pizazz. 😉

  2. I never was a fan of Pochohantas’ dad Chief Powhatan, now don’t get me wrong, you could tell he loved his daughter, but his choice in the perfect “groom”…I mean seriously did Kococum ever smile? I would rather marry my daughter off to the one of the meek then Mr. “I am man” Kococum, at least Pochohantas would not have to spend a life washing off his spears.

    I totally get her concern over her involvement with John Smith, I mean he had to worry about his tribe and here were strangers being led by a madman but still listening to his daughter might have made a bit of sense, I mean at least meet the guy, hear him out…instead Pochohantas sneaks behind dad’s back, her best friend Nakoma instead of trusting her friends instincts goes running to “I am man” Kococum they might have learned earlier that John Smith was a decent guy before Kococum met an untimely death (I mean I am sure there was a woman in the tribe who might have liked his 24×7 scowl) and John Smith left Pochohantas with a bullet hole in his chest.

    1. Yeah, I hear you on Powhatan. I was going to include him but decided not to because I think he is pretty much the same archetype as Mulan’s father. Just a man who refuses to look outside of established norms…that seems to be an easy go to for dad characters. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Awesome pick with Tiana’s dad as #1! I like how you also included Pongo. And in fairness to Trident, I can see his belief system changing if someone who you thought only cared about destroying mermaids then defeated the person who harmed your daughter and restored your own power, lol.

    You forgot one of my favorite dads though. Maurice aka Belle’s dad. He might be crazy sometimes, but he’s a great listener when talking with his daughter.

    1. You are probably right about Triton. Maybe he is a better man that I am. I’m not sure if I had carried a bias against a group for my whole life because they consistently killed & ate residents in my kingdom, that I could overcome that. But, the I guess the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ right?

      1. “Little Mermaid” is fresh in my mind after writing about Ariel, but there’s an interesting line Triton says in that he also thinks human are incapable of any feelings. But Eric proves otherwise, showing he does have feelings, especially for Ariel. And Ariel loves him too. Triton went a little soft, but don’t all Disney movies, lol?

  4. I am really missing Maurice, Belle’s father on this list. He is a little weird, but always encourages his daughter to follow her heart and do what makes her happy. Sure he is a little distant and does not see all the bad in people, but in my book that is a rather nice trait to have.

    When he goes missing Belle goes looking for him and after she’s given up her freedom for her father’s he still goes looking for her even though no one believes him.

    To me, Maurice is one of the best Disney dads there are.

    1. Yeah. Probably a bad omission on my part. Crazy old Maurice, eh? Yeah, for some reason I don’t really care for him. He seems to me more like a bumbling grandpa than a dad…maybe that’s why I left him off….

      1. I see your point. Maurice and Mrs. Potts both seem a bit more like grandparents than actual parents, though when you think about it there is something about both of them. I can imagine Maurice being married to a caring and beautiful woman who unfortunately never got to raise their daughter for him so he really tries the best that he can, which is probably why I care for him so much.

    2. Maurice is a good man, but not the best father. It seems to me that Belle needs to take care of him more than he takes care of her. I’d still hang out with him, but be concerned about him as a dad. – Though, he does try to venture back and save his daughter when no one will help.

    1. Yeah, I am not a fan of the first two. Maurice is so absorbed in his inventions to see the potential in his daughter. I think I am biases against Zeus b/c of reading too much greek mythology in college. Jim Dear is a good callout though…haven’t watched Lady & the Tramp in forever!

      And thanks for the compliment. I bet your list would look differently than mine. You should still post it!

  5. I have always had problems with the Sultan.

    BTW, I nominated you for the Most Influential Blogger Award. You make my day.

  6. Hah, I’m thoroughly with you on King Stefan. The curse says “before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday the princess will prick her hand on a spindle” – and they arrange for the party to start exactly at sunset, meaning she has to be brought to the castle before that, getting right in the way of the spindle. Not particularly bright, that guy. I guess we know where Aurora gets her naivetë from.

      1. It’s pretty different mostly because it is from the “villain’s” point of view. I wouldn’t take really little kids to see it because there are parts that are really dark. But if King Stefan was an idiot in the cartoon, he is even worse in this adaptation.

  7. You forgot a couple of dads…especially Olivia’s father from “The Great Mouse Detective” deserves a high place on this list, considering that he does everything to protect the daughter he raised alone. Or Professor Porter – totally supportive of Jane’s intelligence and choices. Well, I guess Kerchak belongs more on the “bad dad” pile, and Zeus or Maurice….don’t get me started on THEM (though the latter is at least still around, unlike Snow White’s dad). But what about Aurora’s dad? He at least has a reason to not being around and actually bothers to take her feelings concerning the impending marriage in account (unlike King Hubert).

    1. Good points there. Will definitely include them on the next go round. I did get Aurora’s dad…King Stefan….not great with timing, that one. Thanks for weighing in!

      1. What a lovely post! Came across your blog in the ‘Blogs You May Like’ section and really enjoying it so far. Tiana’s father is a great candidate for No. 1! He never got what he wanted, but he had what he needed.

        Although Triton makes some major errors in judgement call for discipline, his heartbreak when he discovers that his daughter has run away (or ‘swam away’ in this case) is tragic, and of course, the poignant moment of letting her go at the film’s end. In a documentary on ‘The Little Mermaid’, there was a wonderful moment in which someone discussed a father who had had a strained relationship with his daughter before seeing the film, but watching ‘The Little Mermaid’ made them resolve their differences and they became very close.

  8. My Dad took me to watch The Little Mermaid when I was about four years old. When Ariel sails off into the sunset with Eric at the end I sobbed. My Dad asked me what was wrong, I said I was sad because she was leaving her Dad. I’m glad to see the great Triton in your top 15. 😀

  9. I agree with all your points except the one about Mufasa. I like to think that in the song “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”, Simba lists the things that HE wants to do when he is king. He is not yet mature enough to understand his responsibilities as future ruler. He thinks that being a ruler is all about having a mane and not having people telling you what to do all the time (which is understandable cause he is just a kid), but that doesn’t mean that he has learnt all that stuff from Mufasa. Mufasa was a great ruler!
    It is evident from the contrast between Scar’s and Mufasa’s rule over Pride Land. When Scar takes over, even the Hyenas secretly agree that life was better when their enemy, Mufasa was king.

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