Why Belle?

For those of you who know me well”¦and you know who you are”¦you are probably aware that I have an unbelievable crush on a certain Disney princess.

I get kidded about it a lot”¦and I mean A LOT.

What amazes me is that although I get kidded by tens”¦no hundreds of my friends I have never been asked the question, “Why Belle?”

So I thought it was about time I asked this question myself and let in on why this particular Disney Princess has captured my attention.

As a young boy, I was exposed to Disney on film, Disney on television, and Disney on records.
As I watched each film, enjoyed every television program, and listened to every record my mind was formulating certain profiles.

For instance, when watching my boyhood hero Zorro I learned about good and evil; I learned the difference between right and wrong and how important it was to help those in need.

Like all of you, I did not realize that I was receiving life lessons while watching Guy Williams (he played Zorro”¦.don’t give me this Antonio Banderas nonsense”¦Guy Williams was the first and only Zorro) was saving the poor people of “Cal-LEE-fornee-a” from tyranny.

While watching the Mickey Mouse Club I sat in front of my 10 inch black and white and watched shows like “Annette” and “Spin and Marty” and “The Hardy Boys” and witnessed what relationships were all about and saw how they can work in a positive way”¦as well as a negative way,

I remember listened to Dennis O’Connor sing “The World is Good to Me” on my old Johnny Appleseed album and thinking about how Johnny Appleseed had a good attitude”¦.always smiling”¦.doing good deeds”¦and he was so happy.

It made sense to me”¦if you help people and always have a smile on your face then you will be happy.

Life lessons.

Now when it came to the Disney princesses”¦things became a bit more complicated.

There weren’t that many Disney princesses around for me back then.

Oh sure there was Snow White, and Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty”¦but that was it.

I was into comic books at the time”¦especially Superman so I had female models like Lois Lane, Lana Lang, and for those of you who are real comic book fanatics a very special female figure named Lori Lemeris who to this day has always struck me as the most positive figure ever to grace the pages of a comic book.

Anyway, with the three princesses named above, I found myself looking at them and seeing no difference whatsoever and I began to think that all princesses were alike”¦very pretty”¦but sort of naive and at times helpless. Don’t blame me”¦blame the animators”¦or better yet”¦the storytellers.

Anyways, as we got into the 80’s and 90’s, I believe Michael Eisner dubbed the 90’s the “Disney Decade” we saw Disney pump out a lot of films”¦films with princesses or princess like figures.


I’m talking about Ariel from the Little Mermaid, “Belle of course from Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas from “Pocahontas, Jasmine from Aladdin, Mulan, and Esmeralda from the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

If I missed one or two don’t worry”¦.I’m sure I’ll hear about it and pass it along to you.

Anyway, with these princesses came some individuality and I applaud Disney for finally doing so”¦albeit late.

Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” was very much the first princess to be somewhat of a free spirit. I really see her as being a very carefree and loving figure”¦willing to sacrifice everything for love.

She was the first I felt to break the mold.

Jasmine I cannot figure out. There are times when I see her as being just another princess born with a silver spoon in her mouth and the next minute she’s like the girl next door. She is very confusing to me.

Pocahontas is of course a very strong woman and seems to have no flaws”¦she struck me as being unrealistic.

I really like Mulan. I think her appeal is her courage and her loyalty to her family, especially dear old Dad. But there is something lacking there”¦.cannot put my finger on it.

Now is you ask any of my male friends to use one word to describe Esmeralda from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame“ I believe that the three letter word “hot” would be part of the discussion.

It is true that of all the Disney princesses it is Esmeralda who many would say is possibly the princess who you would like to be with because of so many things”¦.she’s funny”¦she’s very beautiful”¦she is smart”¦.and she is quite the catch.

For me”¦.nope”¦..maybe it’s the gypsy thing”¦I don’t know”¦just not sure that Esmeralda would be the type of girl I would take home to Mom”¦maybe to Dad”¦ but not to Mom.

And now we get to Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.”

I admit that the first time I saw the film I was more in tune with the animation than the characters and storyline.

I think it was about a year or two later while watching the film that I noticed I took special interest in Belle.

She seemed quite different from any other Disney heroine I could remember.

Where do I start?

Well, she was smart. Her nose was always in a book. She loved to read. She loved to dream.
That said volumes about her personality”¦makes me see her as having an open mind. Who wouldn’t want to be around anyone with an open mind?


She shows she likes to have fun”¦witness the snowball fight she had with Beast.

She’s very elegant”¦.for peasant girl”¦she seemed to show all kinds of elegance when she had that golden gown on and danced with Beast.

She is a dedicated daughter and very brave”¦look at what she risked for her father”¦.then she comes back to see Beast before he potentially dies”¦be still my heart.

She’s not a pushover for sure”¦not helpless like the original three princesses I mentioned earlier in this blog.

I’m still not sure I totally buy the fact that Belle was in love with Beast. I guess that’s where the phrase “willful suspension of disbelief” really comes into play here.

Okay, so why of my obsession with Belle?

It’s very simple.

First”¦.she is not a real princess”¦which means she appreciates everything and is probably very humble.

Humility is very appealing to me.

Her loyalty to both her father and to beast”¦wow”¦loyalty works for me.

Intelligence”¦.hey”¦.smart is sexy. need I say more?

Courage”¦she shows it throughout the film”¦not helpless in the least

She is not shallow at all”¦.shows it in her approach to Beast.

When I have thought of all the princesses”¦..I looked at which one seemed most realistic while at the same time represented all that could be admired in a young woman.

Hands down she possesses more positive character traits than any other Disney princess.
Think about all the princesses and think about which one you would like to spend a day with at Walt Disney World.

That’s easy.

It’s Belle.


It’s not Belle who I am so obsessed with as much as what she represents”¦and that is all that is most positive and what we all look for in everyone.

Yes”¦I’m a big Belle fan”¦

“¦and as a tribute to Paul Harvey let me say”¦.

“¦.”now you know the rest of the story.”

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17 Replies to “Why Belle?”

  1. Dear Mike, Just stumbled on this as I was wandering through the site today. As a mother of two young children (twins, boy and girl age 3 1/2) I struggle with the impression of women in both of their minds. While I know of other Moms who do not allow Princess items in the house at all, I have relented. I do, however, clearly express my preference for Belle regularly and firmly – the music, the story, everything is just better. While I prefer her for all of the reasons you mentioned, at age three the best I can give to my kids is because she loves books. The more complex issues of confidence, independence, not having your every happiness tied to marrying a prince at a young age, etc. will have to come later.

    Thanks for thr great article!


  2. I loved your post about Belle. As a mother of two boys I haven’t spent much time with the newer Disney princesses, and therefore did not have much of an opinion of Belle or the others. Recently during a sudden rainstorm in Epcot my family darted into the character building. As we stood around dripping, waiting to make a dash to the land for Soarin, we checked out the character lines. They were all too long for us to bother with. All except Belle’s line. I encouraged the boys, but NO WAY were they getting into a line for a princess. So we just stood their waiting. I found myself mesmerized by Belle’s performance. She interacted with each darling little girl with such sincerity and good humor. She did not act like Snow
    White (who would have to be my favorite for nostalgia’s sake) or Cinderella (yawn) but was plucky and friendly and fun as she helped each child to pose. She whispered secrets, laughed out loud and seemed poised and ladylike without ever seeming prissy. In short, she seemed like someone you would want as a friend. I never took her picture or anything, but I will always feel that I met the true Belle, my modern day favorite. Yes, in her blue gown.

  3. I am in college and we had a very in depth conversation about Disney Princesses. Although Gizelle is my favorite (Enchanted) because of her 1/2 glass full mentality and her talents at the sewing machine, no thanks to the hack job on the curtains, plus her way with attracting rodents to clean the house and convincing a divorced couple to reunite, I would have to say that Belle reflects on her inner feelings, with reading, while raising her self esteem, from knowledge. And still, she has a way of getting her point across to that hideous excuse of a man (gaston) while still remaining a lady. I too agree. Belle is the choice of Princess.

  4. im a girl who grew up during the disney age, and 100% agree the belle is the best princess! beauty and the beast is my all time favorite disney movie and belle is my absolute favorite character. I recently realized that i love her so much because we are so alike. i love that belle is not like the other people in her “provincial” town and sees past the beast’s ugliness, and sees his true beauty and understands how sweet he really can be. She is extremely courageous, and stood up the mob. She is so loyal to her father and gave up her life to save his. She is and always has been a role model for me. As a child, my mom bought snow white dolls and costumes for me, but i just wasnt that into her. She was the cliche damsel in destress who is saved by her prince. Belle is just the opposite, with her strong, confident personality and she actually saves her prince.

    im glad you and tons others agree with me!!

  5. I also really like Belle.

    One of my best times at Epcot was because of her. I was entering the International Gateway and saw Beast with a crowd around him by the railing. Across the way sat peasant Belle under a tree reading a book with no guests even paying attention to her. I asked her what she was reading and she showed me it was “Cinderella”. I asked her if I could sit and read with her. After a non-verbal conversation between her and her nearby handler she said OK. I sat, started to read, and she then started commenting as each page was read. After about a minute we began reading together – her one page and then me the next. For about 5 minutes this went on and then Beast pointed her out to guests and they came and ask for her autograph. I thanked her for our time together, thanked her handler, and left a complimentary note at Guest Relations about them both.

  6. I like Belle because she does not judge people by their outward appearance. A trait we all could strive to acquire.

  7. Mike,

    This was an especially illuminating blog. I have always known you “liked” Belle, but I never knew the story behind it, or that you had put this much thought into it. I agree that with The Little Mermaid, the Disney Princesses started to be individuals, and that’s a trend that continues today (and hopefully through The Princess and the Frog and Rapunzel).

    Now, let’s see what they can’t do about the bland parade of Disney Princes…

  8. Well, that’s what sold my husband on you a few years back. Belle in the blue dress has been a favorite of his since it’s debut. Thanks for the blog…I’ve missed your articles. Thank goodness for WDW Today to get my Scopa fix.

  9. Speaking as a girl (ok grownup princess wannabe), I do agree with you about why she is the best. She is an excellent role model for girls today. However, most little girls are more attracted to the superficial glitz the others seem to possess in their attire. Plus, who has the biggest castle? Then there is the matter of clothing. Cinderella has the soft blue gown, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). Then there is the Mermaid, she has a really fun costume & lives in the sea. Then there is one of my nieces favorites, Jasmine. I think the older little girls love her costume because, well, it is hip & revealing like alot of the clothes they see in stores today. I think Belle would appeal to the more shy (dare I say nerdy) little girl. Belle is sweet & kind & approachable. I really like her in her maiden outfit. I met her 2x in that attire, & yes, she is more approachable. However, she does not have the prettiest ballgown-bright yellow, I don’t think so. But then again, a girl who is more into inner beauty & what counts, does not worry about those petty things.
    I like Belle the maiden, however, I confess, my favorite is Cinderella. It is the castle thing. lol.

    My true favorite, Tinkerbell.

    This is the opinion of a girl who has not fully grown up. I will never grow up!
    Connie L.

  10. I really enjoyed this entry…in part because I wrote my master’s thesis on the increasing arc of independence in the female heroines in the Disney films of the 80’s/90’s and focused on Ariel, Belle, Pocahontas, and Esmeralda! Belle has always been one of my favorite princesses!

  11. [Nerd alert]

    I always wondered why Superman, who could arguably have had any woman on the planet Earth and beyond, would have spent more than a millisecond on Lois, who seemed like a total whack-job–peevish and jealous, and totally obsessed with marrying him.

    Actually however, if you look at the original comics, she’s a much smarter, stronger character. In fact half the time Superman spends most of his time flying around saying things like “gone! Well I guess I’ll just go back to the Daily Planet and see what Lois has dug up.” It was pretty evident that she was genuinely smarter and more driven than all the other men in the office at that time–it was only in the 1950’s that she began to be re-written as useless and clingy, probably a reflection of the post-war era.

    You would think, however, a fan of Lori Lemaris would go for Ariel–personally, my hero was Wonder Woman. Thanks for the column!

  12. Bravo-I like Belle a lot too. I like the fact that she reads and shows intelligence. I also love the fact that she will do what needs to done for the ones she loves-that’s the sign of good character.


  13. Ok so I just wanted you to know that your blog 0n Belle made my horrible day a little bit better. I had 5 midterms in a row today so of course I’m super pooped. Well I just had to let you know that Belle is my favorite too because she sees inner beauty in everyone and everything. I relate to her in ways such as I love to use my imagination and I love escaping through books. So thank you so much for making our girl Belle a subject to help make a not so happy day a bit happier.

  14. Dude, it has to be Esmeralda fo the simple reason that she is the first (and only) princess to pull off a pole dance in a Disney flick.

  15. I can totally support your love of Belle – she’s my favorite princess for many of the same reasons. My favorite Disney character is Jiminy Cricket and he shares a lot of those same characteristics – humility, positivity, loyalty, courage…

    Just a quick correction, though, I think you’ll find that the Johnny Appleseed song (which I also love!) was called ‘The Lord is Good to Me’ and was sung (wonderfully) by Dennis Day.

  16. Hi Mike,
    Wonderful article. Everyone should have a crush on something worthwhile in life. I grew up with Disney like you, and never looked at the princesses that way.
    I do agree with your analysis now that it has been explained. BELLE is the one !!! Enjoyed our short conversation at Mousefest, hope to run into you at The World during one of our many trips.