A Tribute to Notable Nannies and Caretakers in Disney Entertainment

Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins
Credit: Images

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, most folks are mainly focused on Mom, and rightly so. But how about giving a shoutout to all those other non-mom caretakers? From live-in nannies of all different kinds to dutiful nursemaids that go above and beyond their usual tasks, Walt Disney Entertainment has introduced us to a wide range of characters who see to the needs of their charges with kind, caring commitment. So, to honor them, we’re selecting eight exceptional examples from film and television for the ultimate tribute to notable nannies and caretakers throughout the history of Walt Disney Entertainment.

Related: Disney Characters with the Most Giving Nature

8. Mary Poppins

Practically perfect in every way, there aren’t many who would disagree with our assessment that Mary Poppins is perhaps the most notable nanny off all time. She first popped onto the Disney scene back in 1964 with the release of the film Mary Poppins from Walt Disney Pictures. Brought to life onscreen first by Julie Andrews, actress Emily Blunt resumed the role at the recommendation of Julie Andrews herself, for the long-awaited sequel Mary Poppins Returns several decades later in 2018.

Mary Poppins (plural)
Credit: Buena Vista Distribution/Walt Disney (

As a live-in nanny, Mary Poppins exudes a magical persona of sorts.  She goes above and beyond those qualities and abilities that limit other “ordinary” caretakers in the day-to-day. From taking her charges on magical adventures to making magic out of duties, chores, and everyday daily life in general, Mary Poppins is certainly the ideal nanny and one that any child would simply love to have taking care of them.

Mary Poppins and Banks Children doing chores
Credit: Scrubbi

Related: Do You Remember “Mary Poppins?”

7. Eloise’s “Nanny”

Actress Julie Andrews is no stranger to filling the role of an onscreen caretaker to children. In addition to having portrayed the iconic Mary Poppins character on film, many fans are equally familiar with her role as the nun-turned-governess-turned-stepmother, Maria von Trapp, in The Sound of Music from 20th Century Studios a year later in 1965.  But in getting back to the role of live-in nanny specifically, we next turn our attention to her designated “Nanny” status back in 2003. We are, of course, referring to Disney’s made-for-television production of Eloise at the Plaza, which was followed that same year by Eloise at Christmas Time. A live-action adaptation of the classic storyline, which follows a little girl named Eloise living at New York’s Plaza Hotel, Julie Andrews appears in both movies as “Nanny” the English nanny and caretaker to the title heroine.

Julie Andrews as Nanny

6. Nana the Nurse Maid

While we all love taking care of our pets, sometimes our pets in turn take care of us. And that’s clearly the case with Nana—the Darling family’s lovable dog in Peter Pan. Because she is a character in the original Peter Pan story, it goes without saying that she would be included in both Disney’s original animated adaptation from 1953 as well the live-action version from 2003.

Nana from Peter Pan

Admittedly, the idea of Nana being the nursemaid to the Darling children is a silly concept, which is totally in par with the theme’s many other silly nonsensicalities. For all intents and purposes, she’s really just a large St. Bernard in a bonnet—more of a household pet and guardian to the home than an actual nanny tasked with taking care of the children in the way a regular live-in nanny would. All the same, she is counted amongst the official Disney nannies regardless and deserves the recognition rightly owed to her.

Related: These Are the Disney Pets We Wish We Owned

5. Maudie

While playing a minor part in Disney-Pixar’s computer-animated film Brave back in 2012, the character of Maudie is still a nanny figure worth mentioning. Her role is really that of nursemaid to Merida’s three younger brothers—Hubert, Harris, and Hamish. And we must say, she does put up with quite a lot throughout the movie. From the triplets keeping her busy with all their troublemaking antics to getting caught in the crossfire of inner family conflicts, we really have to hand it to Maudie for keeping up with her role as caretaker.


Related: Bearing Through Tough Times with Mom: A ‘Brave’ Break in Disney Movie Traditions

4. The Good Fairies

Without a question, we can certainly bestow a nanny-like status on the three good fairies—Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Disney’s animated adaptation of Sleeping Beauty from 1959. They did, after all, look after Princess Aurora as she grew up, keeping her safe as would any loving live-in nanny. Magical fairies or not, their caretaking abilities are most commendable indeed.

Good Fairies

Related: ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Gets Another Retelling

3. Shane Wolfe

Disney’s live-action movie The Pacifier from 2005 introduced us to a very unlikely caretaker in a very unconventional situation that plays out in a most original way. When Navy SEAL Lieutenant Shane Wolfe is assigned to stay in the family home of a recently killed government worker on what was to be a security mission, he soon finds himself forced into a full-time role as nanny and caretaker when the former household’s nanny up and quits. An adventure that no amount of training could have prepared him for, we have to agree that Lt. Wolfe does a commendable job in manning the house and keeping the family’s five kids (and pet duck) safe and sound.

The Pacifier
Credit: Disney

2. Jessie Prescott

Next, we turn our attention to this titular protagonist of the Disney Channel Original series Jessie, which ran for four successful seasons between the years 2011 through 2015. The storyline follows the pursuits of a young 24-year-old woman, who moves to New York from Texas where she accepts a position as nanny to a family living in a multimillion-dollar penthouse on the Upper West Side. A family-friendly show filled with comedy and amusing misadventures, you can’t help but like Jessie and its versatile cast of characters. This of course includes Jessie Prescott herself who we just have to hand it to for doing such an excellent job as nanny and friend!

Credit: E! Online

1. Fairy Godmother

While we cannot truly bestow the title of “official” nanny or caretaker on this magical motherly figure, who is present in both of Disney’s adaptations of the classic tale of Cinderella, we have to give her an honorary tribute just the same. Although the character of Cinderella is far too old to still be under the care of a nanny during the time of her story, the lack of a motherly figure at any age leaves a void. And that’s where Fairy Godmother comes in, taking over the role of confidant and caregiver at a most vulnerable time. And because it is within her magical capabilities to make dreams come true for her charge on such an elevated scale, she delivers accordingly, going above and beyond in the process. That’s the true exemplification of an ideal caretaker if ever there was one.

Fairy Godmother

Related: Here’s Exactly How To Be Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother For Halloween

There have been several other caretakers of many different kinds throughout Walt Disney Entertainment in addition to the diversified lineup we just presented. In truth, Disney characters of all types are committed to compassion, care, and showing love for one another. So, is it any wonder that they would boast such an exceptional ensemble of caretakers? It’s all just a part of what you should always expect to find in Disney Entertainment.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.

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