50 Great Disney Characters on 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney's Death

The media empire known as Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) got off to a rocky start in 1923 as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. Its first series of films, “Alice’s Wonderland,” debuted that year, and the studio created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 1927.

The brothers didn’t read their first distribution contract very carefully, and the result was that their distributor ended up with the rights to Oswald. In 1928, the studio released “Steamboat Willie,” the first cartoon starring Mickey Mouse, and the Disney’s first franchise was born.

Walt Disney died 50 years ago, on December 15, 1966, at the age of 65. Since then a variety of Disney-created characters have become a icons in their own right, and with recent acquisitions of comic-book giant Marvel, Star Wars creator Lucasfilm, and Pixar, Disney has extended its empire to include literally dozens of characters, all of which are nearly instantly recognizable to millions around the world.

Here’s a list of 50 Disney characters that most of us grew up with and that our children and grandchildren continue to enjoy.

  1. Mickey Mouse
  2. Minnie Mouse
  3. Donald Duck
  4. Goofy
  5. Pluto
  6. Chip ‘n Dale
  7. Ariel (“The Little Mermaid”)
  8. Cinderella
  9. Mulan
  10. Snow White
  11. Aurora (“Sleeping Beauty”)
  12. Jasmine (“Aladdin”)
  13. Tiana (“The Princess and the Frog”)
  14. Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”)
  15. Merida (“Brave”)
  16. Woody (Pixar’s Toy Story series)
  17. Buzz (Toy Story)
  18. Flik (Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life”)
  19. Hopper (“A Bug’s Life”)
  20. Elsa (“Frozen”)
  21. Anna (“Frozen”)
  22. Dory (“Finding Dory”)
  23. Nemo (“Finding Dory”)
  24. The Incredibles
  25. Lilo and Stitch
  26. Simba (“The Lion King”)
  27. Nala (“The Lion King”)
  28. Timon (“The Lion King”)
  29. Pumbaa (“The Lion King”)
  30. Sulley (“Monsters, Inc.”)
  31. Mike Wazowski (“Monsters, Inc.”)
  32. Peter Pan
  33. Wendy
  34. Captain Hook
  35. Wall-E
  36. Jyn Erso (Star Wars)
  37. Kylo Ren (Star Wars)
  38. Princess Leia (Star Wars)
  39. Darth Vader (Star Wars)
  40. Han Solo (Star Wars)
  41. Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)
  42. Captain America (Marvel)
  43. Spider-Man (Marvel)
  44. The Avengers (Marvel)
  45. Hulk (Marvel)
  46. Doctor Strange (Marvel)
  47. Iron Man (Marvel)
  48. Ant-Man (Marvel)
  49. Thor (Marvel)
  50. Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel)

And all of this (and more) rests on the back of a mouse. The House of Mouse, indeed!