Redesigning the Disney Princesses

The Disney princesses had to be completely redesigned so that they looked like they all belonged in the same computer animated world. The production decided on a more cartoony version of the princesses because it fit the style of the OhMyDisney website. To plan out the placement of the characters in the scene, they used a mix of Disney Infinity figures and other toys on a desk.

In the original scene, the Princesses were wearing pajamas, but it was decided that they looked too relaxed, so they landed on the middle ground of comfort clothesL t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, etc. They spent weeks designing ideas for the princesses’ shirts and had hundreds of ideas, but had to settle for one design for each. Here’s how they break down:

  • Cinderella wears baby blue yoga pants and a shirt with a pumpkin carriage graphic and the text “GTG” on it.
  • Snow White wears a poison apple with the word “Poison” underneath.
  • Elsa wears a cool blue sweater with the words ‘”Just Let It Go.”
  • Anna wears a green checkered flannel shorts and a t-shirt with the words “Finish each other’s” written over a graphic of a sandwich.
  • Mulan wears a red and yellow bomber jacket with Mushu dragons on the shoulders, jeans, and red Chucks.
  • Pocahontas wears a purple long-sleeved shirt that says “Blue Corn Moon.” Again, very on brand.
  • Moana wears an orange tank top with an illustration of a crab and the word “#shiny” written on top.
  • Rapunzel wears a striped hoodie and purple leggings with printed floating lanterns.
  • Tiana wears a light green shirt with “NOLA” written on it.
  • Merida wears a green flannel top, with a t-shirt featuring an illustration of a roaring bear with “Mum” written at the center.
  • Aurora wears a striped long-sleeved shirt that says “Nap Queen.”

The backstage dressing room for the princesses was inspired by the Dream Suite at Disneyland. All the cubbies have details inspired by the princess that uses it. For example, Snow White’s dressing room has the magic mirror, Rapunzel has painted a mural in hers, and Ariel’s has her thingamabobs and treasures.

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Princesspalooza 2016

The team held an event in 2016 called Princesspalooza, a small lab to help design and animate the princesses. When they could, they returned to the source material to try to get the translation just right. They looked back at Glen Keane’s original drawings to try to translate Ariel’s hair in three dimensions. The animation department even took a research trip to Disneyland to “meet” the princesses.

All the living original voice actresses returned to voice the characters. They not only read their lines, but were sometimes about to improve (AKA “plus”) their behavior with insights as to how their character would act or how something would be said by the character. For example, Jennifer Hale objected that Cinderella “Would never make a contraction!” The animators held question and answer sessions with them and videotaped them for reference.

Walt Disney’s original Snow White voice actress Adriana Caselotti died in 1997, so that character needed to be recast. For the storyboards and animatics, co-writer Pamela Ribon provided the scratch voice for Snow White, and they got so used to her voice in the role that they decided to use her for the final film instead of recasting it with a voice actress. Ribon has a BFA in Acting from the University of Texas and moved to California to become a voice actress before finding her career as a writer – so it all came full circle.

They’ve even tried to include some subtle homages to moments from the characters in the scene. For instance, Cinderella putting her finger on her chin while she’s thinking is a reference to a moment in the original movie. Some callbacks are more evident than others. Mark Henn, who animated many of the Disney princesses, served as an advisor for the film to try to bring a higher level of authenticity to them. He provided some hand-drawn animation to inspire how they should move in CG.

And don’t worry, this one scene isn’t all we have – the writers teased that we will see a little bit more of the princesses in the movie.

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