Walt Disney was a visionary, a mad genius, a Victor Frankenstein in the making because he was able to use scraps of his imagination to give life to the most endearing and immortal souls ever to be known to mankind. Yes, we’re talking about the famous Disney cartoon characters, the ones that entertained, inspired and moved several generations before us, and would continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

However, his legacy for great imagination has been carried down the ages, by some great torch bearers making sure that every generation comes with its set of iconic characters that everyone simply loves. Back when I was a teenager those characters were Nemo, Woody, and the likes. And now I see Else and Olaf are all the rage. And surely all of them would be remembered for several decades to come. While it is impossible to rank the popularity of these Disneyland cartoon characters, all of whom have been voices of several generations, we shall try to do so.

10 Most Famous Disney Cartoon Characters

So these are some of the most famous Disney cartoon characters out there, those who have survived world wars and cold wars and kept us safe through our childhood years, and those that are yet fledglings, their tenacity as yet untested.

#1.  Mickey Mouse – Funny Animal

Famous Disney Cartoon Characters -Mickey mouse

While it is hard to determine the ranking and popularity of most Disney Cartoon characters, there is no contestation about who holds the crown, the one who started it all — Mickey Mouse. He was one of Walt’s own first inventions.

In fact, his silhouette is still used as a logo for Walt Disney itself. It really says something when a character is as popular now as it was almost a century ago. His warmth, cuteness, his crew, and the simple yet elegant story lines, they contributed to his everlasting glory.

#2.  Winnie the Pooh – Anthropomorphic Teddy Bear

Winnie the Pooh -famous disney characters

Another undeniable addition in one of the top spots, he came up as a sub-franchise of the Disney World. He had his own set of adventures that were separate from those of Mickey and gang, but they were no less charming.

There was a sense of magical sincerity in his attempts at picking the honey-pot, something undeniably cute about that pot belly and the crop top. He is one of the most endearing cartoon characters of all time.

#3.  Cinderella – Unfortunate Girl

Cinderella- list of disney characters

In the late 20th century she became the ultimate role model for the underdogs. A ragged girl ill-treated by her step mother and step sisters forced into being a maid. Her story was heartbreaking, and it was all the more enhanced by her inherent goodness. And then her magical transformation was at once cathartic and jubilant, and it had the power to make every girl dream of that radical transformation with adulthood, making their lives through difficult teenage years just a bit easier.

Of course, everything that the classic princesses signified would soon be questioned and turned over by the more feminist sentiments of the latter decades, but that doesn’t take away from their lasting fame.

#4.  Scar – Villain Lion 

Scar-list of disney characters

He was the person — er, lion — that we all loved to hate. The ultimate villain with the right set of perniciousness, a grudging countenance, and the menacing eyes. However, what most stood out about him was his ironic humanity, he robs Simba of his father, yet even as we hated him we couldn’t help but pity him for his jealousy and personal misfortune.

This character didn’t exist to make us feel better or exist to only make the hero look better, he could incite complex reactions from people, which really says something about Disney.

#5.  Donald Duck – Mischievous Duck

Donald Duck-famous disney characters

This adorable duck became popular in the 1930s as a counterpart to Mickey Mouse. While he was supposed to play a somewhat second-in-command to the Fame of Mickey, he quickly became an adored character all in his own rights.

His incoherent ramblings and short-temper made him all the more likable for being so flawed and human, as opposed to the almost-too-perfect Mickey.

#6.  Peter Pan – Adventurous Boy

Peter Pan -famous disney characters

It is really no surprise that Peter Pan and Neverland would be on this list. At an age when every kid is enthralled with the adult world and its supposed independence, at a time when all kids want to simply grow up, Peter Pan made it desirable for them to instead slow down.

He taught them to see the wonders of eternal childhood. He became so popular because he made children want to be children for as long as possible.

#7.  Dory – Funny Fish

Dory-disneyland cartoon characters

Now this is a relatively new addition to the list, having come out with Finding Nemo back in the early 2000s. In a movie that wasn’t even named after her, she still managed to steal the spotlight and be the most adorable, loving and sympathetic character.

With her unquestionable goodness and her memory loss which was at once heartrending and funny, she is definitely going down the annals of history and remain as one of the famous Disney Cartoon Characters.

#8.  Aladdin – The Arab Boy

Aladdin-disneyland cartoon characters

A street urchin meets a lovely princess and takes her on a magic carpet ride. Sigh. Even that brief description is enough to set all the dreamers afloat on that magic carpet.

And then you add to that a magical landscape, great costumes, a talking parrot and a genie in the bottle! Enough said.

#9.  Olaf – Lovable Snowman

Olaf -disney cartoon characters

He is the lovable snowman who unfortunately doesn’t realize that the sun’s his enemy. He is adorable, funny, and an instant icon. Who doesn’t simply melt away at that moment when Olaf is so enthralled by the warmth of the fire that he doesn’t even realize he is slowly dissolving.

In a moment wherein Anna might very well die, it is Olaf’s simple trysts with the fireplace which gets everyone to feel a lump in their throats.

#10. Elsa and Anna – Sister Princesses

Elsa and Anna -disney cartoon characters

Okay, there’s no denying it, these two are inseparable from each other, and deserve to be on the list. If for nothing else then the fact that despite having existed for only 3 years it already feels like they’re icons as big as Mickey Mouse.

The two sisters together took Disney into a whole new phase of enlightenment wherein they questioned all existing gender tropes and empowered young girls everywhere with the ideals of Feminism and the fact that they don’t need a warrior hero to save them, they’re Heroes in themselves.

So these are some of the most famous Disney cartoon characters out there. Of course, no list of Disney characters can ever satisfy everyone, because there are just so many. I’m sure a few of you will be miffed we didn’t include Tinkerbell, or Cruella, or the Little Mermaid, which is why you should feel free to vent out your rage down in the comments section below. Let us know which among the famous Disney cartoon characters most inspired you, and why? We’d love to hear from you!

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