POPSUGAR Love & Sex

11 Disney Dads Who Taught Us Valuable Life Lessons

Jun 13 2014 - 10:00am

Dads have always been around to pick us up when we fall down and give us advice on pretty much everything — from career choices to budgeting money (maybe not so much on boys) — and they were somehow never short on both wisdom and corny quips. Seriously, there's a reason why "dad jokes" are a thing. Disney dads are no different: they are goofy, sweet, wise, loving, and — when it comes to the serious stuff — able to put their foot down for the right reasons. Here are some of the most memorable patriarchs who played big parts in our favorite characters' lives.

Fa Zhou, Mulan

Mulan's love and respect for her father is what motivates her to take his place when he is called to war. When she returns successfully, Fa Zhou tells her that "the greatest gift and honor" is having her as his daughter. If that's not a proud papa, we don't know what is.

Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas

Perhaps the wisest of all the Disney dads, Chief Powhatan gives us food for thought in each line he speaks (like "Why will you take by force what you may obtain by love?" I mean, come on!). When Pocahontas chooses John Smith and asks for peace between the two sides, he respects her decision, saying that she must choose her own path in life.

King Triton, The Little Mermaid

We aren't going to lie: King Triton was a little intimidating when he busted out that trident and starting waving it around — rest in peace, Prince Eric statue — but he always had the best intentions. When it came down to it, he just wanted Ariel to be happy. Any dad who would take his daughter's place as a sad sea polyp and then magically throw some legs on her so that she could be with the love of her life deserves a gold medal in the dad department.

Mr. Incredible, The Incredibles

Bob Parr, or Mr. Incredible, is not your average father and husband. His incredible (yes, we went there) love for his kids and strong relationship with his wife contribute to their success as parents — they both have a deep mutual respect for each other and are equals as mother and father figures. He's definitely not afraid to step aside and let his wife take the reins if need be.

Roger and Pongo, 101 Dalmations

Ever heard that an owner and their pet take on each other's qualities? Prime example: Pongo and Roger. Both are extremely proud and protective dads of the spotted pups (and later, a baby — not spotted). Their rapport with each other and their resolve to find the missing dogs is just part of what makes them a great daddy duo.

Maurice, Beauty and the Beast

Kooky and brilliant, Maurice is the definition of a devoted dad. He accepts Belle for what she is — an introverted bookworm who just so happens to also turn the heads of all the eligible bachelors. He even gets on board with the whole Beast thing! Maurice and Belle are both different than the rest of their town, but they are alike in their eccentricities. Belle has a father who not only supports her, but also truly understands her. What more could a girl ask for?

King Fergus, Brave

We could not love this hilarious Disney dad more. King Fergus, on top of being the biggest, most lovable papa bear in the world, also happens to not care one bit about gender stereotypes in their era, and he hands his little girl a bow from the get-go so that she can get to shooting things — which makes Merida indescribably happy. You go, King Fergus!

James, The Princess and the Frog

James instills in Tiana some of the most important lessons a father can teach his daughter: that she is special, gifted, and loved. Though he has a sad ending, he gave her a foundation that she keeps with her all of her life. At least The Lion King prepared us for Disney tragedy, but come on — kids have to watch this stuff!

Marlin, Finding Nemo

Marlin is the poster dad for overprotective parenting. Don't get us wrong — he totally had reason to be a little anxious for Nemo, what with the whole barracuda-eats-wife-and-kids thing, so really we find his helicopter parenting style understandable and endearing. At the end of the day, this dad wouldn't let anything — not even giant sharks, jellyfish, and creepy anglerfish — stop him from helping his kid when he needed it.

Mufasa, The Lion King

The dad of all dads, Mufasa taught us about life, love, and loss. We know that like us, you still hear his booming voice in your heads when you're about to make a bad decision, reminding you to "remember who you are." Not even getting thrown into a stampede by his brother stopped this dad from returning in spirit to impart wisdom on his son.

The Sultan, Aladdin

Whimsical, silly, and sweet, Jasmine's dad, although a tad bit misguided, ultimately wanted what was best for his daughter. Like with some of our other favorite Disney princesses (Belle and Ariel, for example), the Sultan had to be both mother and father to Jasmine, and with a little help from Rajah, we think he did a great job. Poor guy was always fighting a losing battle with that tiger and his boxers, but bless him: he never stopped trying.


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