The 20 Most Under Appreciated Disney Animated Characters

When it comes to Walt Disney Animation, one of the studio's most cherished achievements is its collection of characters. From beautiful, strong princesses who go on thrilling adventures to terrifying villains who sneak their way into fans' imaginations, Disney certainly has a way of creating some truly memorable animated individuals. And with 60 feature films and counting in their filmography, the studio continues to add to that impressive list with every new project they produce.

Yet, even within such a memorable catalog of protagonists and antagonists, there are a few characters that never seem to get the recognition they deserve. With that in mind, here is a list of some animated Disney characters that are in significant need of some major love. This list covers quite a few corners of Disney's animated legacy, from truly horrifying villains to adorable yet supportive sidekicks. So grab your mouse ears and let's give some much-needed attention to some truly unique (and underappreciated) Disney animated characters!

Wiggins from Pocahontas

Considered one of the messier films in Disney's animated catalog, "Pocahontas" still has some good qualities. The most obvious is the incredible music by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz and the stunning art direction filled with vivid pastel colors. The hidden gem in this 1995 film is one character that fans rarely talk about: Wiggins, who might seem like just a throwaway sidekick but is so much more.

Brought to life by actor David Ogden Stiers and supervising animator Chris Buck, Wiggins is the assistant to the film's villain, Governor Ratcliffe (also played by Ogden Stiers). While not getting as much screen time as the film's other characters, Wiggins stands out with his witty commentary, his well-timed jokes, and his attempts to lighten the mood of the most dramatic of situations. Yet, why does he make this list? While "Pocahontas" has its humorous moments, Wiggins has the best jokes in the film. He's also the most self-aware of the events playing out around him. And with Stiers' incredible voice acting, he's a sidekick that needs more love, respect, and memes.

Megara from Hercules

Remembered for her sassy one-liners and stunning good looks, Megara (voiced by Susan Egan) from Disney's "Hercules" has her fans. But in the grand scheme of the Disney character catalog, she's a heroine who doesn't get nearly the amount of attention (or merchandise) that she deserves. Megara knows how to rock a purple dress like a pro and has great hair (thanks to her supervising animator Ken Duncan). She is the complete package. Megara is complicated, and her intense backstory (and connection to the movie's villain, Hades) proves it.

Most Disney heroines have their quirks, but Megara is one of the few animated ladies who had her heart broken before meeting her soon-to-be true love. She also has a hard time letting her guard down and trusting others — something fans of all ages can connect to. And with the beautiful vocal performance of Susan Egan breathing life into this memorable character, Megara sticks out from many other Disney characters. Plus, she gets to sing one of the greatest songs in Disney history ("I Won't Say I'm In Love"), and that's reason enough to love her.

Lucifer from Cinderella

Many Disney villains come in the form of witches or wizards, but "Cinderella" has quite a few antagonists of a non-magical sort, including Lady Tremaine's cat, Lucifer. With his sparkling, devilish eyes and unique smile, this cat has a lot going on in his feline noggin, especially when figuring out how to defeat his ultimate foes, mice Jaq and Gus. Jaq and Gus always seem to outsmart their feline frenemy no matter what tactic Lucifer tries.

But what lands Lucifer on this list is how under-appreciated a villain he is. He goes to great lengths to mess up the lives of all of Cinderella's friends, but he also has no compassion for the movie's protagonist. Lucifer also makes himself a much better accomplice to Lady Tremaine than her daughters. Plus, thanks to the brilliant animation of Ward Kimball, Lucifer has arguably some of the most significant facial reactions in Disney history, especially during the teacup sequence.

Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

One of the most underappreciated villains in all pop culture is Frollo from Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Though quite different from Victor Hugo's character, Frollo (brought to life by iconic character actor Tony Jay and supervising animator Kathy Zielinski) is everything horrific (yet excellent) about a Disney baddie put into a cinematic blender. He has a memorable appearance, great dialogue, and most importantly, one of Disney's best villain songs.

Yet, even with all of these fascinating qualities, Frollo is often forgotten in Disney fandom. He might not have magical powers, nor does he have any traditional aspects of other more fantastical Disney bad guys, but that's what makes Frollo an antagonist that deserves another look. He seems much more believable than others. Sure, every Disney villain has connections to real-world events, but Frollo evokes the problematic men that have flooded history. Seeing his demise feels even more justifiable because of that fact.

Louis from The Princess and the Frog

With his big personality and an even bigger smile, Louis from "The Princess and the Frog" (brought to life by actor Michael-Leon Wooley and supervising animator Eric Goldberg) is one of Disney's cutest sidekicks — even though he's an alligator. Regardless, Louis' heart and talent as a musician make him a memorable personality, especially when he dreams of playing with "the big boys" of the Jazz community in one of the funniest moments in the movie.

What makes Louis a prime candidate for this list is how he's often forgotten in Disney's sidekick line-up. Louis isn't the typical fuzzy, tiny creature that people think of when it comes to the characters that help out Disney princesses. Yet, in Louis' case, he proves that you should never judge someone by their appearance. While he might seem like an intimidating creature, he's a softy that will do anything for his friends — even if he's scared of almost everything. Still, Louis is a friend to the end.

Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove

When it comes to Disney villains who deserve more time in the spotlight, Yzma from "The Emperor's New Groove" is easily at the top of the list. From her stunning collection of purple outfits to her endless supply of potions, this evil sorceress steals the show. While there is a laundry list of reasons why this show-stopping antagonist needs much more appreciation, there's one aspect that trumps them all — she's flawed.

Most Disney characters are far from perfect people. Whether they've been put under a curse or need to learn an important lesson, many of Disney's most incredible characters have some sort of quirk. Yet, when it comes to Yzma, she's one of the few villains who doesn't have all of the pieces. She makes mistakes, hires people who make even worse mistakes (Kronk), and rarely gets anything right. This is refreshing to see and is hilariously realized by voice actor Eartha Kitt and supervising animator Dale Baer. Ultimately, it's fantastic to see a Disney baddie like Yzma fail in the most relatable (and comedically brilliant) ways.

Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

When it comes to Disney's animated heroes, none are quite as interesting as Quasimodo. With his untraditional appearance and unique backstory, Quasimodo is far from the typical Disney protagonist. With the heartbreaking vocal performance of Tom Hulce and the beautiful work of supervising animator James Baxter, Quasimodo is a remarkable Disney character. Not only does he represent all who have felt misunderstood, but he (like Frollo) represents real-world problems.

From being raised in a toxic environment to having his heart broken for the first time, Disney's Quasimodo has experienced every terrible thing a protagonist can. Yet, unlike the original Victor Hugo version of the character, this Quasimodo gets quite the redemption arc in which those around him see him for the goodness inside of him rather than continuing to judge him on his appearance. Quasimodo's story deserves to be appreciated for those reasons.

Helga Sinclair from Atlantis: The Lost Empire

With her signature blonde locks and smokey voice, Helga Sinclair (brought to life by supervising animator Yoshimichi Tamura and voice actor Claudia Christian) from "Atlantis: The Lost Empire"  evokes all of the best parts of old Hollywood glamor. She has a little bit of Mae West mixed with '80s icon Linda Hamilton for good measure. Yet, in a movie full of unique characters, Helga falls to the wayside when it comes to the characters fans love from "Atlantis." Helga doesn't come from a remarkable lost civilization, nor does she have any sort of magical abilities. It's her complex duality that makes her memorable.

As with some of the best action movie heroines before her, Helga isn't just a one-dimensional character. At first, she seems to have an allegiance with Milo and the expedition. Yet, as Helga's ulterior motives become apparent along with her connections to Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke, she's revealed to have a more villainous nature. By the end of the movie, it's clear that Helga is far from a pushover and will do just about anything to hold power in any situation. Her mystery and complexity make her quite a character.

The Horned King from The Black Cauldron

Based on "The Chronicles of Prydain" books by Lloyd Alexander, "The Black Cauldron" is certainly not your typical Disney movie. The Horned King (played brilliantly by John Hurt) is the No. 1 reason for that statement. With his horrific design and desire to unleash an army of immortal soldiers, the Horned King leaves a haunting impression. That is why this underappreciated baddie had to be on this list.

While there's no denying that Disney has some genuinely demonic antagonists, many of the House of Mouse's most iconic villains have something humorous about them. Yet, when it comes to the Horned King, nothing is accessible. From his shadowy origins to his horrific demise, the Horned King is pure '80s nightmare fuel. Much of this is due to his appearance. The mystery around the Horned King (and how he embodies evil) makes him fascinating to watch. The Horned King lets the audience's imagination soar with fright.

Alan-a-Dale from Robin Hood

Some Disney sidekicks are memorable because they're cute, fluffy, and, let's face it, marketable. Yet, some of the best Disney animal pals are the ones who bring exciting new energy to a familiar story. That's why Alan-a-Dale (voiced by musician Roger Miller) is a fantastic addition to the Disney catalog. Not only is he a significant variation on the classic "Robin Hood" minstrel, but he's easily one of the best narrators in any Disney movie. With Miller's smooth voice and carefree persona, this character is the definition of cool.

Even with his occasional guitar mishaps, Alan is a rooster that tells it like it is. In addition, Alan-a-dale always tries to look on the sunny side of things — even when Sherwood Forest isn't at its best or when Robin Hood himself is being hunted by the evil King John. Ultimately, Alan-a-Dale is an underappreciated narrator full of swagger and chill vibes. He's a rock star whom others have tried to imitate (mainly Don Bluth with his take on Chanticleer in "Rock-a-Doodle"), but no character can compete with the magnificence that is Alan-a-Dale.

Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective

When it comes to Disney baddies who are a perfect blend of fabulous and frightening, Ratigan from "The Great Mouse Detective" certainly tops the list. He's got everything: the delicious dialogue, the glorious wardrobe, and an underappreciated villain song. With the fact this character is voiced by horror icon Vincent Price, it's nearly impossible not to love Ratigan. Yet, not enough people have taken the time to see "The Great Mouse Detective", let alone bask in the glory that is "the World's Greatest Criminal Mind." That is a fact that, hopefully, this list will change.

From his marvelous introduction (via a portrait inside the home of Basil, the titular mouse detective) to his terrifying battle inside of Big Ben, Ratigan certainly leaves a significant impression on any viewer. The brilliant animation by Glen Keane and Price's voice work make Ratigan a cut above the rest. Without the work of these two, Ratigan wouldn't evoke the elegance and campy energy required for such a character. With the addition of his memorable antics (especially when he tries to kill Basil and his friends with a record player), it's clear that Ratigan is a Disney bad guy who deserves some appreciation.

Georgette from Oliver and Company

There's no denying that Disney animation has quite a unique collection of canine characters. From all 101 of those dalmatians to Lady and Tramp, the list goes on and on. Yet, one fabulous addition, Georgette from "Oliver and Company," seems to always be forgotten, which is a crime considering she's got it all. From being voiced by the iconic Bette Midler to being designed by Glen Keane, Georgette is the right balance of fancy and ridiculous. Aside from her entertaining and hilarious lifestyle, Georgette lands on this list because of her character arc.

Many of Disney's most famous characters have to go on adventures outside of their comfort zones. And along the way, they have to learn some tough lessons that test the core of who they are. Georgette, who resides in the most beautiful of Manhattan homes and gets everything she ever wants, has to learn to become selfless. How Georgette transforms by the end of the movie and (in her special way) learns to be more open-minded makes her a refreshing character.

Uncle Waldo from The Aristocats

Remembered for its collection of charming characters, "The Aristocats" is one heck of an aesthetically pleasing Disney movie. From the Parisian setting to the whimsical color palette, it's a great animated adventure. One character who is nearly impossible not to love yet isn't as glamorous as Duchess and her kittens is Uncle Waldo. Voiced by the great Bill Thompson and primarily animated by Ollie Johnston, this clumsy goose is full of good-natured fun. His memorable entrance and equally delightful (yet brief) impact on the movie make him an obvious candidate for this list.

From the moment he's thrown out of the kitchen onto the street, audiences see that Uncle Waldo isn't your typical goose. He's got a few "loose feathers" (metaphorically speaking), and that makes him a fantastic character. Yet, it is the visual juxtaposition of Uncle Waldo and his two lovely nieces, Abigail and Amelia, that provide some of the most hilarious bits in the movie. Uncle Waldo is his quirky self while his nieces are the definition of pastel perfection. With his yapping and hollering in the street, Uncle Waldo proves he's the life of the party.

Vanessa from The Little Mermaid

Considering that she's just the alter ego of a certain infamous sea witch, Vanessa from "The Little Mermaid" might seem like an odd choice for this list. Yet, even with Vanessa and Ursula essentially being the same person, they are quite different. While Vanessa has a small but dedicated fanbase, she's still an underappreciated character. With her fierce design by Andres Deja and her intimidating persona, Vanessa deserves the spotlight in Disney's pantheon of villains.

From her haunting entrance on the beaches of Eric's kingdom to the song (performed by Jodi Benson) that she sings to her reflection, Vanessa is a delicious blend of camp and glamor. Since she's Ursula in disguise, she contains all of Ursula's best qualities. Since she's also attempting to be a replacement for Ariel, there's a great duality in her visual presentation. Future animated movies like "The Swan Princess" would try to copy this dynamic in their character designs and art direction. There's no denying that Vanessa is the original, and no evil sorceress in a similar disguise will ever be as fabulous as she is.


While some would argue that the titular hero of Disney's "Tarzan" shouldn't be on this list, he's here for a reason. Sure, he's yet another variation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic hero, but when it comes to Disney's take on the character, he's a protagonist for the '90s. His focus isn't on his masculine energy and animal instincts but the emotional complexities at his core. This Tarzan is on a quest to find a place to belong, making him much more relatable than other cinematic versions of the iconic character.

The other aspect that makes Disney's Tarzan more than just a handsome animated hero is how he admires the women in his life. From his romantic interest and respect towards Jane to his deep connections to his gorilla mother, Kala, this Tarzan values women more than most earlier versions of the character. With emotional animation supervised by Glen Keane and incredible music by Phil Collins, Disney's take on Tarzan forever changed the way audiences see this famous hero.

Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6

Rendered in bold colors and filled with enthusiasm, Honey Lemon from "Big Hero 6" is in a class all her own. Voiced by Genesis Rodriguez, this fashionable, dorky, and incredibly smart heroine is no one to mess with, especially when it comes to her passion for chemistry. Although "Big Hero 6" fans and the cosplay community appreciate her, Honey Lemon's fandom doesn't extend too far from there. Nevertheless, a character this adorable, reliable, and intelligent has to be included on this list.

From the moment she enters the lab and shows off her unique creations to her final scene, Honey Lemon evokes all of the bubbly yet relatable energy of many iconic anime protagonists. She's supportive of her friends (very much like Usagi in "Sailor Moon") while also standing her ground. Plus, with her amazing character design by artist Shiyoon Kim, Honey is quite a trendsetter. With her style, spunk, and amazing scientific abilities, Honey Lemon is a Disney lady to admire.

Long John Silver from Treasure Planet

When it comes to animated characters, none are quite as multi-dimensional as the emotional antagonist Long John Silver from Disney's "Treasure Planet." Brought to life by supervising animator Glen Keane and the voice work of Brian Murray, Silver acts tough but, deep down, has a heart as big as the universe. He has a deep connection to Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in a fatherly bond sort of way. Still, the mysterious pirate doesn't want to be distracted from his goal of gaining the treasure at the center of the film's plot.

This duality of good and bad is what makes Silver a fascinating figure. Most Disney characters fall more solidly into definable categories of good and evil. Yet, Long John Silver exists in a moral gray zone. Like most fictional pirates, he wants to find treasure and glory, but his admiration for Jim challenges his ideals. Plus, it's clear that Silver also makes a significant impact on Jim, proving that their lives is changed for the better by each other. All of this, combined with Silver's supremely cool cyborg look, makes him a unique Disney character.

The Colonel and Sgt. Tibbs from One Hundred and One Dalmatians

When it comes to "One Hundred and One Dalmatians," most Disney fans tend to remember the adorable puppies or the terrifying nature of the film's main antagonist, Cruella DeVil. Sadly, the supporting characters often go unnoticed. Still, they add an extra bit of delightful comedic flair. This is especially true of the Colonel and Sgt. Tibbs. Voiced by J. Pat O'Malley and David Frankham, this dynamic dog and cat are not only essential to getting Pongo and Perdita's puppies to safety, but their comedic chemistry also makes them one of the funniest duos in Disney history.

From the beginning, it's established that the Colonel and Tibbs have odd energy between them. Tibbs has a more youthful but respectful vibe, acting as the straight man in the pair. The Colonel is an old-timer who might not be the sharpest tool in the shed. This sort of relationship is not only wonderfully animated by the likes of John Lounsbery and other talented artists, but is the blueprint for other famous Disney duos such as Timon and Pumbaa from "The Lion King." So, for their hilarious efforts and their impact on future Disney characters, the Colonel and Sgt. Tibbs need some major respect.

Archimedes from The Sword in the Stone

While there are many animated birds in the Disney canon, few have as crazy a job as Archimedes in "The Sword in the Stone." Sure, it might seem fun to be the pet of an all-powerful being on paper, but Archimedes (voiced by Junius Matthews) proves that such a job might not be all it's cracked up to be. In many ways, Archimedes is a babysitter to almost everyone in the movie, acting as the voice of reason in the chaotic film. Unlike other Disney birds, Archimedes is far from a pushover.

Like any sidekick, this owl has his flaws and concerns. Despite them, Archimedes' endless litany of sassy remarks and his brutal honesty make him a character worthy of more attention. He also tends to be a more practical thinker, which comes in handy while Wart (aka King Arthur) advances in his studies. Plus, it's always wonderful to see any character teach another one to read. While some viewers wouldn't want Archimedes as their teacher, he greatly influence the young king.

Percival C. McLeach from The Rescuers Down Under

Some of the greatest Disney antagonists are the ones who seem like they could exist in the real world. Among those who seem the most authentic is Percival C. McLeach from "The Rescuers Down Under." First of all, it's quite the task to try to top the campy insanity of the previous "Rescuers” bad guy, Madame Medusa. What Percival lacks in colorful aesthetics, he makes up for in maniacal tactics. Percival will go to extremes to get what he wants, even if that means harming an innocent child.

That cutthroat tenacity is what makes Percival a terrifying villain. Sure, he has silly one-liners and a charming (yet creepy) sidekick in his pet, Joanna the Goanna. Yet, underneath all of his entertaining qualities, Percival is a heartless poacher who won't let anything stand in his way. With the voice of George C. Scott and the animation talents of Duncan Marjoribanks behind him, Percival stands as an underrated, horrifying example of how truly unnerving some Disney villains can be.