Favorite Disney Dads

Joan Feder

Feature Article
This article appeared in the June 8, 2021 (#1140) edition of ALL EARS®

Editor’s Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.


Mr. Incredible

Over the last 80 plus years, Disney cartoons have shown us a variety of parenting styles from many types of dads. With Father’s Day coming up on June 20th, this is a perfect time to share a list of some of our favorites.

Geppetto — Pinocchio (1940): The Devoted Dad

Geppetto carves his own son from wood and, with a little magical intervention, Pinocchio comes to life. Geppetto loves Pinocchio from the start, even though he is not a real boy.

After Pinocchio runs away to Pleasure Island, Geppetto goes after him, refusing to give up his search. He sloshes through a relentless rainstorm. He heads out to sea. Even after being swallowed by Monstro, Geppetto’s main concern is his lost child.

Fun Fact: Tom Hanks will play Geppetto in Disney’s new live action version of this classic film.

George Darling — Peter Pan (1953): The Hardshell Dad

Wendy, John and Michael Darling are obsessed with Peter Pan. Mr. Darling doesn’t believe in such nonsense. He is so exasperated with this foolishness that he takes harsh action. He banishes their nursemaid, Nana to her doghouse and pronounces that Wendy must grow up and leave the nursery.

Yet, deep inside George Darling’s hard exterior is a marshmallow. At the end of the film he sees Captain Hook’s ship (or is it a cloud?) pass through the sky. He recognizes it from his own childhood, and remembers what it means to believe in magic. In the end, Nana and Wendy get to return to the nursery.

Fun Fact: Hans Conried played both George Darling and Captain Hook in Peter Pan. He was also the live action reference model for another Disney dad: Sleeping Beauty’s father, King Stefan.

Pongo — 101 Dalmatians (1961): The Resourceful Dad

Pongo feels responsible for the wellbeing of his human “pet” Roger, including finding him a suitable mate. Pongo uses his cunning to arrange a meeting with a Dalmatian named Perdita and her “pet” Anita. The couples fall in love and get married.

When Pongo and Perdita have 15 puppies, they are kidnapped by Cruella DeVil. Pongo cleverly uses the Twilight Bark to track them down.

But there is a complication. Cruella has collected 84 more puppies, 99 in all, in order to make herself a fur coat. Refusing to leave the others to their fate, Pongo and Perdita decide to rescue them all. To sneak them out unnoticed, Pongo has them roll around in soot; after all no one will be looking for 101 black labradors!

Fun Fact: According to Disney’s new live action film, Cruella, when Pongo was a puppy he was given to Roger by none other than Miss DeVil!

King Triton — The Little Mermaid (1989): The Tough Dad

Triton is the ruler of the merfolk who live in Atlantica. He is a single dad to seven daughters, including the youngest, Ariel.

The King is something of a hot-head when provoked, and Ariel provokes him—a lot. Triton has no patience with her love of humans. It is his destruction of Ariel’s human treasure that leads her to make a deal with Ursula the sea witch.

But Triton also loves Ariel deeply. He is distraught when Ariel goes missing, blaming himself. He willingly trades his life for his daughter’s, becoming Ursula’s prisoner in exchange for Ariel’s release.

After Ursula’s defeat, Triton realizes that he has to let Ariel grow up, granting her wish to become human so she can spend her life with Eric.

Fun Fact: Ariel and Hercules are related through their dads. According to Greek mythology, Triton is Poseidon’s son, and Hercule’s dad, Zeus is Poseidon’s brother. That makes their children, Ariel and Hercules, cousins!

Maurice — Beauty and the Beast (1991): The Eccentric Dad

From the beginning of this film, it is clear that the villagers consider the independent and book smart Belle a bit odd. They think even less of her dad. “Crazy Old Maurice” is an inventor and the town laughing stock.

None of that matters to either Belle or Maurice. They would do anything for each other, and do.

Belle gives up her freedom so that the Beast will release Maurice. Loving father that he is, Maurice disregards his own well-being, and tries to save Belle on his own, after the villagers refuse to help him.

Fun Fact: Maurice’s clothing highlight his eccentricity—he is always wearing mismatched socks!

Mufasa — The Lion King (1994): The Wise Dad

The King of the Pride Lands, Mufasa is an even handed leader and great father. He is dignified but can be playful. He also takes his responsibility to teach Simba how to be a good ruler very seriously.

Like many of the other dads on this list, Mufasa is willing to do anything to protect his child. In this case, he jumps into a deadly wildebeest stampede to save Simba’s life.

HIs fatherly advice to Simba continues even after Mufasa’s death. He appears to his son as a spirit and encourages him to return to the Pride Lands and take his rightful place as King.

Fun fact: Mufasa is played by legendary actor James Earl Jones, who also voiced Luke and Leia’s dad, Darth Vader.

Professor Archimedes Q. Porter — Tarzan (1999): The Supportive Dad

It is the early 1900s when Professor Porter leaves England to go study gorillas in their natural habitat. Porter is obviously a forward thinker, as he chooses to bring his daughter, Jane, with him to explore the jungle.

Professor Porter also supports Jane’s right to live her own life. It is with his encouragement that she chooses to stay with Tarzan.

He then goes one step further. Instead of returning to England, the Professor decides to stay in the jungle, near his daughter. He even learns how to swing from a vine!

Fun Fact: There was an urban legend that Tarzan was Disney royalty. Chris Buck, who co-directed both Tarzan and Frozen, publicly stated that in his mind, Tarzan’s parents were King Agnarr and Queen Iduna of Arendelle—that would make Tarzan Elsa and Anna’s little brother! Several years later, the plot of Frozen II proved that this was not the case.

Marlin — Finding Nemo (2003): The Helicopter Dad

This not so funny clownfish has every reason to be serious. At the beginning of the film, his wife and 399 unborn children are eaten by a barracuda. He is naturally overprotective of his one remaining child: Nemo.

When Nemo is nabbed by divers, Marlin puts aside his own fear to go and save his son.

Marlin’s love for Nemo drives him to travel thousands of miles and overcome many dangers including sharks, jellyfish and nearly getting eaten by a whale!

Marlin learns from these experiences, and realizes that he needs to do more than protect Nemo, he must give him the room he needs to grow.

Fun Fact: The barracuda that destroyed Marlin’s family got his just reward. He is stuffed and mounted, hanging on the wall of the antique store in Toy Story 4.

James — The Princess and the Frog (2009): The Role Model Dad

Tiana’s dad works himself to exhaustion at multiple jobs to keep his family afloat. Yet he is a loving and present father who adores his daughter.

Tragically, James dies fighting for his country in World War I. Even though he is gone, he continues to be a positive influence on his daughter.

Tiana shares James’ dream of owning a restaurant. She embraces his work ethic, and willingly makes many sacrifices to turn that dream into a reality.

Fun Fact: Another Disney dad on this list makes a cameo in The Princess and the Frog. King Triton shows up as a float in the Mardi Gras parade scene.

Bob Parr — The Incredibles 1 & 2— (2004 and 2018): The Super Dad

Mr. Incredible is a hero, and so is his secret identity, Bob Parr. In the first film, Bob gives up his life as a super and settles down into the life of a family man.

As an “ordinary” dad, he is willing to take a soul-sucking job at an insurance company to pay the bills. As a super, he is devastated when he thinks that Syndrome has killed Helen and the kids. He realizes that his family is “his greatest adventure’ and more important to him than anything else.

In The Incredibles 2, Bob becomes a stay at home dad. He has to cope with everyday problems, like a sulking teen and helping with impossible math homework. There are also the extraordinary issues, like trying to keep up with Jack-Jack as he flexes his new superpowers.

Bob realizes that he badly he underestimated how hard being a stay at home parent would be. After all, Helen had made it look easy for all those years!

Fun Fact: The Incredibles’ writer/director Brad Bird named Jack-Jack after his middle son.

As this list shows there are as many kinds of fathers as there are children. But, it is safe to say that with or without super powers, all of these Disney dads are incredible!