Enjoy These 60 Magical Secrets About the Voices Behind Your Favorite Disney Characters

Did you know that the woman who gave life to Ariel in The Little Mermaid almost voiced another princess? We have that and so many more secrets to share about your favorite Disney characters.

By Jenna Mullins May 31, 2021 12:00 PMTags
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Ready to revisit your Disney childhood favorites?

Every time you took a magic carpet ride with Aladdin in front of your TV, did you know the real famous face behind the Disney prince? Or that the actor who helped Lumière come to life wasn't French at all?  Did you know that a certain Scandal star is also the voice behind an animated Disney character? Or that the woman who gave life to Ariel in The Little Mermaid almost voiced another princess?

If you answered "no" or "nah" or "leave me alone, please" to any of those questions, then it's time you get some Disney education, dear friend. And no, we won't leave you alone. Not until you know the faces and fun facts behind some of Disney and Pixar's most famous animated characters.

From the original princess Snow White to everyone's favorite Frozen queen Elsa, we've dug up cool behind-the-scenes info on all of the actor and actresses who voiced your faves.

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Bambi, Bambi

During his brief stint as a child actor, Donnie Dunagan provided the voice of Disney's beloved deer for the 1942 film. He went on to become a highly decorated U.S. Marine.

Rapunzel, Tangled

Former teen pop star Mandy Moore voiced the princess with 70-foot long hair, who was also the first Disney royal to have supernatural powers. Natalie Portman was also considered for the role.

Mickey Mouse

Walt Disney himself voiced the character he created for almost 20 years, but was then replaced in 1946 by Jimmy MacDonald after the former became too busy. Rumor has it that Walt's voice was damaged by his smoking habit and he was unable to keep hitting the high notes in Mickey's voice, and that's why they needed a new Mickey.

Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty

Angelina Jolie may have played the iconic role in Maleficent, but before her it was all about Eleanor Audley. Eleanor was also the voice behind the evil stepmother Lady Tremaine in Cinderella.

Snow White, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The original Disney princess was played by Adriana Caselotti, an 18-year-old Italian opera singer. Walt Disney reportedly personally chose her for the role.

Randy, Monsters, Inc.

Boardwalk Empire star Steve Buscemi provided the voice for the villain in Monsters, Inc., but only after John Goodman (Sulley) pushed to have him cast.

Queen Elinor, Brave

Emma Thompson is the voice behind Queen Elinor, who turns into a giant bear due to a witch's curse.

Alfredo Linguini, Ratatouille

Lou Romano is no stranger to Disney movies, though this was his first starring role. He's also lent his vocal talents to characters in Cars and The Incredibles

Colette Tatou, Ratatouille

Comedian Janeane Garofalo admitted in interviews that she didn't know why she was chosen to voice the tough-as-nails chef, but she was "endlessly flattered" that she ultimately nabbed the part.

Helen Parr/Elastigirl, The Incredibles

It's a good thing Holly Hunter got some superhero experience from Disney, as she was later cast in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016.

Lightning McQueen, Cars

Owen Wilson gave life to Lightning McQueen in both Cars and Cars 2. This was also the first Pixar movie where the company really promoted the film using the actors behind the characters (Wilson and Paul Newman).

Carl, Up

Legendary actor Edward Asner provided the voice for grumpy Carl, a character whose face and personality are based on both Spencer Tracy and Walter Matthau.


Tony Goldwyn, the POTUS on Scandal and the man in love with Olivia Pope, is the actor behind the tree-swinging Tarzan.

Yzma, The Emperor's New Groove

You may have missed the nod to Eartha Kitt's role as Catwoman when, at the end of this film, her evil Yzma turned into a kitten. 

Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story

Tim Allen took the role of Buzz Lightyear after Chevy Chase turned it down. Allen has said that Chevy was one of the biggest influences in his career, and his idol passing on Buzz right before he was offered the part was the main reason he decided to do Toy Story.

Remy, Ratatouille

The one and only Patton Oswalt is the voice behind the rat who can cook better than most French folks.

Emperor Kuzco, The Emperor's New Groove

David Spade was in his mid-30s when he voiced Emperor Kuzco, who is supposed to be 18.

Gill, Finding Nemo

The coloration of Gil's face is supposed to simulate the lines around the mouth of the man who portrays him, Willem Dafoe.

Woody, Toy Story

Tom Hanks has said that he was interested in the role of Woody the cowboy because, as a kid, he always wondered if his toys would come to life when nobody was in the room.

Dory, Finding Nemo

Dory the forgetful fish was written specifically for Emmy-winning talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Marlin, Finding Nemo

Academy Award-nominee and regular Simpsons voice actor Albert Brooks was the only person considered for the role of the overprotective clown fish.

Jessica Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Kathleen Turner was nine months pregnant when she recorded her role as the smoldering, sexy Jessica Rabbit.

Merida, Brave

Boardwalk Empire star Kelly Macdonald used her own Scottish accent for the role of the unruly princess.

Princess Aurora, Sleeping Beauty

Mary Costa was already a well-known opera singer when she auditoned to play Princess Aurora in 1952. Walt Disney personally called her hours after her audition to offer her the role.

Lucius Best/Frozone, The Incredibles

Before he was helping out the Avengers as Nick Fury, Samuel L. Jackson was yelling at his wife to help him find his super suit!

Penny, Bolt

Miley Cyrus once gave her voice to animal-lover Penny in Bolt.

Kristoff, Frozen

Looking star Jonathan Groff is one of the few characters to not get a big song in Frozen, yet he's a very seasoned Broadway vet.

Ariel, The Little Mermaid

When Jodi Benson sang the iconic song "Part of Your World," she recorded it in the dark to get a more underwater feel.

Mr. Incredible, The Incredibles

Coach himself, Craig T. Nelson, spent over two years recording his part of Mr. Incredible.

Sulley, Monsters, Inc.

John Goodman not only voiced Sulley in both Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, but he also played the part of Pacha opposite David Spade in The Emperor's New Groove.

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This story was originally published on Friday, July 14, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. PT.