Disney Princesses usually shine in our favorite Disney films, but we can’t help but fall in love with the characters shaping them. Whether animated classics or modernized CGI hits, most Disney movies set the stage with complex family dynamics that keep us invested in our beloved Disney characters.
With Mother’s Day upon us, there’s no time like the present to acknowledge some of Disney’s most iconic mother figures who have cemented themselves in the hearts of Disney fans for decades. It’s impossible to rank these dynamic characters, so here are Disney’s best movie moms in no particular order.
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1. Kala (Tarzan)
We’re not crying, you are—and Kala would comfort us all by saying, “Stop your crying—it’ll be alright.” The relationship between the adoptive mother, Kala, and baby Tarzan will always be in our hearts. She takes baby Tarzan under her wing when she discovers him in a tree house after Sabor, the leopardess, has killed his parents. Kala defends and protects Tarzan as her own, and their instant connection is unforgettable.
2. Helen Parr/Elastigirl (The Incredibles)
How do you juggle crime-fighting by day and crafting a homemade meal by dinner time? You might need elastic arms—and the super-human strength displayed by Elastigirl (Helen Parr) in the top-rated Disney film. Helen stretches herself thin to keep her kids happy, her husband sane, and the world safe. She became an instant fan favorite when The Incredibles aired in 2004, and her problem-solving skills remain unmatched.
3. Nani (Lilo & Stitch)
There’s something special about mother figures who take on the weight of the world while showing nothing but unconditional love to their younger family members. Nani, Lilo’s older sister in Lilo & Stitch, is the supportive center of their family and cares for Lilo like she’s her daughter. She works tirelessly to provide for Lilo while creating a safe space for her to be herself—oh, and that goes for her alien friend, Stitch, too.
4. Mrs. Potts (Beauty and the Beast)
She may have been transformed into a tea kettle, but there’s no chip on her shoulder—just her son Chip under her wing. Mrs. Potts is the unofficial mother of the castle in the famed film Beauty and the Beast. Her charm, amplified by Angela Lansbury’s portrayal of Mrs. Potts, showed us how steeped in love motherhood is. Her patience, guidance, and reassurance make her one of Disney’s most memorable moms.
5. Sarabi (The Lion King)
There are some moms you don’t mess with, and Sarabi is one of them. In The Lion King, Sarabi meets Simba and Nala where they’re at—answering their questions while showering (or tongue-bathing) them with love. She stands up against the evil Scar, remaining loyal to the true King even in the worst times. Her strength, compassion, and loyalty to Mufasa make her a classic Disney movie mom.
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It would be impossible for any Disney fan to highlight every beloved Disney mom on one list, but all demonstrate mother figures’ incomparable love for their children. In the spirit of Disney capturing motherhood in all forms, it’s the perfect time to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to the mother figures in our lives.