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Best Supporting Characters in a Disney Film

Article and pictures (unless otherwise noted) by Florida Diva

With the popularity of animated films and TV shows these days, you would think that there might be an awards show strictly for that genre; and, if they ever get around to making one, there should definitely be a category for best supporting character in a Disney film. I truly believe that it’s these, smaller roles that really add polish and humor to the fabulous stories that Disney is so famous for telling.

Genie picture courtesy of Stephanie Demmler

The Lion King would not have had nearly the depth or entertainment value if not for Timon and Pumba. Aladdin would have been an absolute bore without the Genie and Mulan would have been way too serious if not for Mushu. So, out of the wide array of Disney animated features, who stands out above the rest? Here’s my list of top the 10 Disney supporting characters of all time.


10. Tigger- While the story of Pooh and his co-horts is really made up of an ensemble cast of characters, Tigger stands out above the rest. With his boundless energy he is the perfect contradiction to all the other characters he plays against. He is the eager go getter to Pooh’s quiet and lazy nature, he’s the spontaneous adventurer to Rabbit’s controling and uptight ways, he’s the cheerful optimist to Eeyore’s doom and gloom outlook and he’s the courageous leader to timid piglet. He livens up every scene he’s in and although we know his ideas usually lead to trouble, we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

9. Orville- Although his appearance is brief in The Rescuers, the albatross that is chartered to take Benard and Bianca to the swamp steals the show and added some much needed laughs to this sad tale of a kidnapped little girl. With the pre flight checklist complete it is priceless watching Orville clumsily run along the rooftop, his feet slapping the surface, the huffing and puffing and the obvious strain he’s under before he plummets over the edge of the skyscrapper into a nose dive. The glimpse of Bernard hanging on for dear life only highlights the charm of this classic character.


8. The Seagulls- Finding Nemo will go down in Disney history of one their crowning acheivements not only for the story and animation but also for the diverse group of characters that were introduced. Although Dori, who was so perfectly portrayed by Ellen DeGeneres, would seem the obvious choice, she was too prominent throughout the film to really qualify as supporting; and so the honor went to the seagulls.  I can no longer visit a beach, watch a flock of them swarm a Mac Donald’s parking lot looking for fries or see them fly alongside a boat sometimes landing to catch a ride without thinking of the ones perched in the marina in Sidney Harbor. The chorus of “mine, mine, mine, mine,” will forever be sound I hear when one squawks and I will always view them as selfish, opportunistic freeloaders thanks to how they were portrayed in this movie.

7. Maximus – Aside from the scene where Rapunzel and Flynn (AKA Eugene Fitzherbert) meet for the first time, Maximus has the best scenes in the movie.  His superior attitude and disdain for Flynn, sniffing around like a dog and his pouting after Rapunzel saves Flynn from his temper were absolutely hysterical. The personality of this horse simply makes every scene he’s in better. Definitely the star of the show.

6. P.T. Flea – Who can forget the tiniest of all stars from the movie A Bug’s Life? He may have been the smallest of all the insects in this film, but his character was definitely larger than life. The high strung, stressed out ring master of the hap hazard traveling circus made us laugh as he constantly tried to control his group of inept and bumbling divas.  Seeing him lose his cool in almost every scene was priceless. And, incidentally, P.T. was John Ratzenberger’s all time favorite character to voice. I wonder why?

Aliens Picture courtesy of Stephanie Demmler

5. The Aliens- Another stellar ensemble cast was featured in all three of the Toy Story movies, yet it was the first film where we saw these lovable green creatures and their hopeful desperation that they might be lucky enough to be chosen by “The Claw”. Their naive innocence and subsequent awe at the world they became a part of played nicely against the panic and turmoil the other characters were experiencing. The oohs and aahhs to the crisis unfolding around them added a humorous charm that young and old could appreciate.

4.  Vanellope- This poor little moppet who has been shunned because she’s a glitch in a video game has you in the palm of her hand from the first time we see her. Her tougher than jaw breakers exterior is highlighted with a no-nonsense candy cane lane street smarts, and her aggressive attempts to show everyone who’s boss, and the not often seen candy floss core that only longs to be included. As we watch her and Ralph go from a couple of outcasts to heroes, you find yourself as drawn to her as you are to Ralph, the main character. What’s not to love?

3. Kevin- As one of the best love stories of all time, UP showcases relationships and dedication on so many levels. When Kevin, a once thought extinct bird, befriends Russell, the simplistic charm of her actions and motivation add a depth and fun to every scene she’s in. It’s through her persistence and simplicity that the other characters come together and realize what’s truly important in any relationship, loyalty. The movie would just not have had the same impact if this colorful and lovable creature had not been included.


2. Mater- Where to start with this backwoods, stand-out star? His appreciation for the simple things, like an evening spent tractor tipping or helping others in need make him perfectly endearing in contrast to Lightening McQueen and his quest for fortune and fame. The lovable goof, who doesn’t mean to be funny, but yet is so entertaining, will go down in history as one of the best sidekicks of all time.

And finally, the hands down winner, that no others can compare to is…

  1. Edna Mode – She is by far the funniest supporting character of all time. Her snooty superiority, the mile high confidence that is only matched by the commanding presence of her 3 foot 2 stature and the dismissive impatience she shows for drama. Modeled after top designers of the fashion industry she could have just as easily been cast as Miranda Richards, played by Meryl Streep, in The Devil Wears Prada. Her focus, passion and brilliance are portrayed magnificently with the dry voice that says “Dahling” so perfectly. The way she hisses her advice and dismissively insists that Elasti-girl pull herself together had me in stitches, and her no nonsense way of insisting that superheroes should focus on their duty to save the world energized an already action packed movie. Bottom line; if Edna had her own show, I’d watch religiously.