As we celebrate our own dear old dad on Father’s Day, we’re paying homage to a few of the most iconic doting fathers around — Disney dads. Take a look back at some of their finest parenting moments, from King Mufasa (TEAR) to “crazy old Maurice.”
1. James in The Princess and the Frog: Tiana’s dad James not only encourages his daughter in her endeavors by hailing her homemade gumbo “the best he’s ever tasted,” he proudly shows off her skills to the neighbors, inviting them all to taste her creation. Later, while discussing his plans to open his very own restaurant, he dedicates it to his daughter, dubbing the spot ‘Tiana’s Place” to make her feel included. Talk about sweet!
2. Fa Zhou in Mulan: While Mulan and her father share several touching moments throughout the film (he famously tells her at the end that “the greatest gift and honor is having [her] for a daughter”), our fave occurs when Mulan fails to live up to society’s standards of a “proper” young lady following a B-A-D matchmaking appointment. Dad, Fa Zhou, gives Mulan the pep talk she so desperately needs. Pointing out the beautiful blossoms surrounding them, he calls special attention to one that has yet to open. “Look. This one’s late! I’ll bet that when it blooms, it will be the most beautiful of all,” he says, tenderly placing a blossom pin in Mulan’s hair. The message is not lost on her: She is the late blooming flower. Awwwwwww!
3. Bob Parr AKA Mr. Incredible in The Incredibles: Bob Parr gave up a life of crime fighting as Mr. Incredible to become a husband and dad. Though he longs for the excitement he once enjoyed outside of his home life, spending much time away from the family, he quickly realizes how good he has it with his brood, giving them the most moving speech of the whole film. “I’m sorry. I’ve been a lousy father. Blind to what I have. So obsessed with being undervalued that I undervalued all of you.” So sweet! All’s well that end’s well, with his family ultimately forgiving him his selfishness and returning to life as it was — albeit with an added act of family heroism or two thrown in, of course.
4. The Sultan in Aladdin: Though Princess Jasmine and her father, the Sultan, have their fair share of disagreements throughout the film (largely revolving around his desire to see her settled down with a suitor already), he has a change of heart by the film’s conclusion, going so far as to change the laws of their fair city of Agrabah to allow Jasmine to marry whomever makes her happy. “Well am I Sultan or am I Sultan?” he asks. “From this day forward, the princess shall marry whomever she deems worthy.”
5. Maurice in Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s dad Maurice may be slightly… err… distracted, but the love between these two is something fierce, as Belle proves when she offers to take Pop’s place in Beast’s imprisonment. Ensuring that her arrangement will free her father before committing, Belle agrees to the Beast’s terms, all but dooming herself in order to save her dear old dad. Hey, if tethering yourself to an unsightly, hairy monster for all eternity isn’t love, well, we just don’t know what is.
6. King Fergus in Brave: Though King Fergus is rather outspoken and even brutish at times, like Triton, he’s a big old teddy bear when it comes to his little girl Merida. His best moments with her come early on, with Fergus eager to pass on his knowledge and skills onto his offspring, traditional gender roles be darned. Teaching her how to defend herself, how to ride and, perhaps his greatest gift of all, how to shoot, he presents the young princess her first bow and arrow set for her birthday. In essence, King Fergus is arming her with everything she needs to become what is arguably one of Disney’s most independent princesses to date, and really, what more can you ask for in a dad?
7. Chief Powhatan in Pocahontas: There is a deep respect between Pocahontas and Chief Powhatan — she’s even able to change his mind by the end of the film about John Smith and friends. “My daughter speaks with a wisdom beyond her years,” he tells his followers. “We have all come here with anger in our hearts. But she comes with courage and understanding. From this day forward, if there is to be more fighting, it will not start with me,” he vows in the ultimate show of admiration.
8. Marlin in Finding Nemo: Having lost his wife to the vast blue ocean, single father Marlin is sligggghhhtttly overprotective, sure, but it’s only because he loves his only son with such a fierceness that he wants to keep him safe at all costs. Practically the entire film is a testament to Marlin’s love for Nemo, as he faces his fears and traverses what seems to be the entire ocean to find his little clown fish after he’s captured by a diver. Our favorite part, and possibly Marlin’s sweetest gesture, occurs before Nemo is even born, as Marlin whispers to his little egg (his last hope for a family), “Daddy’s got you. I promise; I will never let anything happen to you, Nemo.” Marlin proves to keep his word, bringing his little boy home once and for all.
9. Mufasa in The Lion King: Mufasa’s final moments in The Lion King are tragic, but it’s a lighthearted moment between father and cub Simba that will give you the feels. After the mighty king rescues his son from the clutches of Scar and his evil hyenas, Mufasa confesses that even kings get scared when their loved ones are in danger. “I thought I might lose you,” he tells Simba in earnest. Mufasa goes on to tell his son that the great kings of the past are all watching over them as stars in the sky, and that “whenever he feels alone, [remember] that those kings will always be there to guide him — and so will [he].”
10. King Triton in The Little Mermaid: As children of the ‘90s, there was no greater dad in Disney history than the sea king, King Triton. Sure, he ruled the waters with an iron fist and all, but he’s a big old softy when it comes to daughter Ariel. In an ultimate show of love, Triton chooses her happiness over his own when he uses his powers to turn her into a human for good. Their goodbye scene at the end has to be the most touching father/daughter moment in all of Disney history (literally choking up just thinking about it!). Whispering “I love you, daddy” with tears in her eyes, Ariel hugs her father in her (non-mermaid) wedding dress. The king, in turn, nods to her prince, and touches her chin before lowering himself back into the sea. Mascara, GONE.
What’s your favorite Disney dad moment? Tell us over @BritandCo!
(Photos via Disney)