Some Disney females are prettier than others, some are braver than others, some are sweeter, some are sassier, etc etc. These little details are what make them different. I find it fun to rank them on different quality/trait scales because it makes me look deeper at these characters and I end up learning more about them and why they are the way that they are. (This is made obvious by my many countdown lists.) So this time, I thought I would look at potential IQs. I have gone through and analyzed the actions of each character in her movie along with any other information I could use to try and rank them as accurately as possible. Additionally, with each icon I tried to pick a moment that shows off the respective character's intellect (are lack thereof). So, who are the smartest Disney females of all? Here are my results:
The very first we see of Penny is a bittersweet moment. She is being held kidnapped by a malicious woman with alligators for pets. However, she is sneaking away and sending out a message in a bottle (as shown in the picture) which will ultimately lead to her rescue. This act was a definite sign of Penny's intelligence for coming up with this plan as well as seeing it through. In addition, what Penny chose to write in the note was smart as well. The note was made out to the orphanage that Penny had been staying at. This was smart, not only because they were the only ones who knew her, but it helped anyone looking for her to know where she went missing from. Her spelling wasn't too good but she was pretty young and writing such big words as "orphanage". When Rufus was explaining the concept of faith to Penny, she understood it pretty quickly and very accurately. This was a definite sign of her intelligence as this is an abstract concept. When Bianca and Bernard try to come up with an escape plan and Bianca mentions the alligators needing to be "locked up in a cage", Penny immediately thinks of the elevator as a cage. This was smart thinking. Additionally, Penny is the one who thinks of using the fireworks as a distraction to steal Medusa's swamp-mobile.
The fact that Cinderella was able to make tiny clothes for the mice shows off some of her intelligence, especially where her creativity is concerned. When Cinderella was told about Gus, she also showed her intelligence when she relied on Jaq to help him relax and talk him out of the cage as she knew Jaq would be more successful at this than she would be. Since Cinderella was close to Bruno, as it was the dog given to her by her father, it was smart of her to try and keep Bruno out of trouble and keep him from going after Lucifer. When it came to feeding the animals however, it was not very smart to feed the mice alongside the chickens as they had to fight over the food. When Lady Tremaine read the invitation of "every eligible maiden"to go the ball, it was very smart of Cinderella to realize that it included her and to stand up for her chance to go. She smartly pointed out to Lady Tremaine that it was a "royal command" so that she could not be denied. The fact that Cinderella knew how to make her own dress and understood fashion as well as she did, was a good sign of her intelligence and creativity as well. Although it's understandable that Cinderella was excited about her dress and going to the ball, it wasn't exactly the smartest move to point this out and ask them about it as she came down the stairs. This is because she must know that she's hated by her step-sisters and step-mother so showing them her happiness could only make them want to take that away from her. However, it doesn't mean Cinderella is unintelligent for making this "mistake" either. Although the point is supposed to be that Cinderella is so humble that she doesn't realize she's with the Prince, it doesn't really make sense. They were dancing all alone on the floor, had a curtain pulled to give them privacy and walked/dance around the royal courtyard. Thanks to all of these obvious signs, Cinderella should have been able to tell that she was with the Prince, even if she was lost in love at the time. She also should have given the Prince - or regular young man she thought she was with - her name so he could find her, even while running away. It was her chance at love and freedom. When Cinderella found out that the Prince was the man she had spent the night with, and that he was looking for her, it was also foolish for her to let herself be so taken away by the notion and not pay attention to her surroundings. There's no way she could have known that she'd be locked in the tower but she knew enough not to trust Lady Tremaine and her daughters, especially after what they had done to her just before the ball. She made it way too obvious that she was the girl with the Prince and she should have played it cool until the King's men showed up. That being said, when Cinderella realized that Jaq and Gus had the key to get her out but were trapped by Lucifer, it was incredibly intelligent for her to think of telling the birds to go and get Bruno (as shown in the picture). This was really smart because she was in a high-pressure and very stressful and frustrating situation yet she was able to think of this and using Bruno's (natural) hatred of Lucifer to help get herself out of the locked tower and onto her happily ever after, once and for all. It was also incredibly smart of her to bring the other slipper with her downstairs, as the ultimate proof that she was the girl that the Prince was looking for.
The fact that Tiana showed so much ambition at such a young age was a definite sign of intelligence. She already had plans for her future and she already wanted to be a part of something bigger: "Bringing folks together from all walks of life." It's debatable whether Tiana knew what would result but either way it was very smart of Tiana to offer the advice to Charlotte of using food to get to the Prince. This was smart because it was good advice but also because it resulted in Charlotte paying Tiana for her food/cooking. When Tiana first encountered Naveen as a frog, it was smart of her to immediately ask who Charlotte was then dancing with. It was not smart that she let the frog-prince continue to mistake her for a "princess", as he kept calling her that multiple times before trying the kiss. This is why the frog-prince thought the kiss would work and Tiana should have known this - it would've saved her from turning into a frog herself! Even though it was very self-centered and somewhat cruel, it was also smart of Tiana to use her position in the tree as leverage to get Naveen to give her what she wanted when the alligators were coming after them in the swamp. When it came to dealing with the Frog Hunters, Tiana also showed some quick thinking and intelligence quite a couple of times as well. As Tiana got to know Naveen a little better, it was really smart of her to make Naveen do something for himself, specifically to mince the mushrooms (as shown in the picture). This was smart because it was teaching Naveen so many things in what seems like a really simple task. Despite her mother and father's advice along with Mama Odie's, it was very hard for Tiana to get in touch with her deeper needs of human companionship over the want for her restaurant. When Naveen set up a romantic night for him and Tiana, tried to wear a bow tie and was clumsy and nervous instead of conceited and arrogant, Tiana didn't seem to pick up on all of these signs. She and Naveen were really bonding and very comfortable together but she neglected the growing romance that was budding right before her very eyes. This was not a very smart move on her part as she was denying herself love. Also, when Tiana saw the human Naveen, it was not very smart of her to think this was the real Naveen. She knew a fake Naveen had danced with Charlotte before and there was no reason for her to think that frog-Naveen had already been transformed back to human again. However, when Tiana was tempted by Dr. Facilier to make her dreams come true in return for returning his medallion, it was very smart of her not to trust Dr. Facilier and to choose what she needed - love - instead. It was even smarter of Tiana to use her abilities as a frog to snatch the medallion from Dr. Facilier and crush it, defeating him in the process.
When a baby baboon steals Jane's book, it was not very smart of her to chase it through the jungle. It's understandable that she'd want her notes and drawings back but no one knew where she had gone and she was increasing her chances of getting lost or even dangerously hurt - which almost happened had Tarzan not intervened. When Jane saw the way Tarzan reacted to her human hand and heart, as well as the English language, she quickly realized that he was unfamiliar with humans and she responded appropriately. This was a sign of her intelligence. She also immediately realized that his group was the gorilla group as soon as she saw him interacting with them. When Jane was explaining about Tarzan to her father, she also showed her intelligence in her accuracy and analysis. Furthermore, she knew how to communicate to Tarzan so that she and her father could teach and understand him (as shown in the picture). It is heavily inferred that Jane takes after her father in terms of intelligence, especially when it comes to her curiosity and knowledge of the world. When Tarzan was teaching Jane how to speak ape, she seemed to be a quick learner as well, even though she wasn't taught too much.
The Princesses of China are betrothed to Princes that they have never met in order to keep peace between the 2 kingdoms. When Mulan says "Really? So you have no idea what they're like at all?" It was Ting-Ting who immediately picked up on Mulan's subliminal point and addressed this by saying "It's alright, Fa Mulan. It's our honor to serve the Emperor." This was a sign of Ting-Ting's intelligence as she was able to read between the lines and understand the point that Mulan was slowly getting at. It was also Ting-Ting who reminded Mei of their duty as betrothed Princesses when she spoke of her feelings for the soldier Yao. In addition, Ting-Ting was the only one of her sisters who decided to sit and read in her spare time (as shown in the picture) which is another sign of her intelligence. Furthermore, while Su was flirting with Chien-Po and Mei was flirting with Yao, Ting-Ting was the only one of the princesses who chose not to flirt as she was choosing to be mature and responsible, yet another sign of her intelligence. When the carriage that the princesses were riding in got loose, Ting-Ting smartly got both of her sisters out and given over to the soldiers very quickly, which saved her sisters. Her responsible actions and quick-thinking were signs of her intelligence in this situation. Even though Ting-Ting refused to laugh out loud at Ling's jokes, she understood every single one as none went over her head. After Shang caught the princesses and guards just after Mulan had, Ting-Ting was also the first to apologize to Mulan for what happened (later). When Mulan and the soldiers were fighting the bandits, it was smart of Ting-Ting and Su to help out by throwing rocks from their position above (as long as their aim was accurate).
Attina is very responsible and she easily puts herself in others' shoes. The ability to place oneself in someone else's positions and trying to see things from their point of view is a definite sign of intelligence. One of the first things we see from Attina (in Little Mermaid 3) is her trying to impart this lesson to Ariel, asking her to look at things from her father's point of view and what it's like to be responsible for an entire kingdom. When her father asks if Attina and her sisters have all been attending to their royal duties, she responds "Yes father, we've been working very diligently." This is not a very common adverb which shows that Attina has a wide vocabulary. In addition, the word means "in a way that shows care and conscientiousness in one's work or duties", which linguistically is also meant to signal just how intelligent Attina's character is. When everyone is questioning Ariel on where she was the night before past curfew and things get off-topic, Attina is the one to set things back on topic, another little sign of her intelligence as she's not as easily distracted. When Ariel twists the story about where she was, Attina confronts her (as shown in the picture) with evidence, forcing Ariel to come clean. This is again, yet another sign of her intelligence as she knows how to get the truth from Ariel and plays her cards right. After Ariel goes missing, Attina "looks everywhere" for Ariel but once she can't find her, she smartly goes to her father to fill him in on the situation, another sign of her intelligence as she knew when a problem was bigger than her and she needed assistance. Furthermore, it is noted in the special features that Attina loves to research the "history of the sea" and that her biggest pet peeve is "littering", showing that she cares about the big picture and long arch. These are also definite signs of intelligence.
We may not realize it at first, but the first time we see Kida, she is disobeying the rules of her culture by allowing Milo and his group to live. However, Kida sees that her culture and society is dying and she sees the wide range of talents in Milo's group - especially Milo's talents - and knows that this rule of isolation isn't helping her or Atlantis. Kida's father points out that in the past, Kida would not have disobeyed the law but she points out that in the past, Atlantis was not in such turmoil. While she wants her kingdom to flourish again, she is not too vain to see when she needs help from the outside world. As she tells her father, "Our way of life is dying" and expresses her hopes that the outsiders' knowledge may help give the city new life. This is a great sign of her intelligence. Not only does Kida want to learn more so that she can save her kingdom, but she also seems to just have a general curiosity and thirst for knowledge as well. This is another sign of her intelligence. Although Kida relies on pattern to assume that Milo is a scholar, she is not limited to pattern. She tries to think outside of the box and immediately asks Milo a ton of questions as soon as she has the opportunity to do so. The first question that Kida gets an answer to, is the question of how Milo and his people found Atlantis. When Milo pulls out a book and says he could not have found Atlantis without the book, she is immediately interested and tries to start reading the book (as shown in the picture). Unfortunately, no one in Kida's culture knows how to read but she does not let this stop her, as she asks Milo to read the book for/to her. Next, Kida shows Milo a transportation device that she hasn't been able to figure out how to work. Despite not being able to read, Kida has gotten pretty far with the written instructions, even though she hasn't been able to get the machine started. This is not the strongest sign of her intelligence but nonetheless it is definitely a point towards her intelligence for getting as far as she has (as even Milo points out). For not having anyone to really practice her English with, Kida is pretty fluent and able to pick up on nuances pretty well. This is shown when she sums up and recites the new information about Milo's companions to him. Kida had gotten confused when Milo first started explaining everything, which was to be expected, but she really got the hang of it all pretty quickly which shows her high intelligence. It seems that Kida's intellectual curiosity has motivated her to explore her entire city, which is how she was able to take Milo to the underground mural. However, it could also be that the mural was not underground when Kida first discovered it. Either way, after over 8,000 years, Kida never forgot about this mural and clearly understood it's importance, hence why she asked Milo to translate it for her. This is yet another sign of her intelligence.
As a child, Moana is prone to the sea and is constantly trying to run away there. However, as she gets a little older, she starts to be more mature about her role in her tribe and takes that more seriously. This sign of maturity is also a sign of intelligence, as she can think beyond herself. When the roof of one of the huts has a constant leak, she smartly figures out the source, and is able to fix it properly. Showing her love for sailing but also a sign of her creativity, Moana makes a little sailboat in her drawings (at a young age) and out of the material usually used for the baskets. After Moana foolishly tries to venture into the ocean and hurts her foot, she decides it’s time to give up this pursuit and take her place as Chief. When her grandmother doesn’t try to discourage her from this and starts to act weirder than normal, she realizes there is more beneath the surface and inquires about it, another little sign of intelligence on her part. Even though Moana has never sailed before, she adapts to it quickly for a first-timer. When she discovers HeiHei on her sailboat and he won’t stop walking off into the ocean, it was smart of her to keep him in the box underneath. When Moana’s boat crashes even after asking for help, she immediately gets upset at the ocean, kicking it and yelling at it. This was not very smart and a very emotional, impulsive moment for Moana. When Moana first met Maui and he sang his “You’re welcome” song, she got so distracted by the song and dance that she didn’t realize he was in the middle of saying “’Cause I’m gonna need that boat. I’m sailing away, away” and stealing her boat from her, as well as trapping her in a cave. This wasn’t a complete lack of intelligence on her part, but it didn’t show a strong intelligence either. When she was looking for a way to escape the cave, her first instinct was to try to push the rock out of the way, which is not the most sensible plan. However, it was smart of her to use the ladder and statue to get herself out – albeit very dangerous too (though just staying in the cave was also dangerous). When Moana turned the little “You’re welcome” phrase back around on Maui, this was a definite sign of intelligence. When HeiHei ate the “Heart”, it was smart of Moana to ask for Maui’s help (even if he didn’t help as much as he could’ve). The way she managed to retrieve HeiHei and the “Heart”, as well as orchestrate her escape and return to the boat was very smart and impressive. When Moana is trying to talk Maui into helping her return the “Heart”, it was smart of Moana to appeal to Maui’s ego, although it was manipulative as well. Asking Maui to teach her how to sail was especially a sign of Moana’s intelligence. However, trying to argue that she wasn’t a princess – even though she was the Chief’s daughter and next-in-line for the throne – was very nonsensical, since she is obviously a princess. If she wants to argue that she’s not an average or common princess, that would make sense; but arguing that she’s not a princess at all is silly. When Moana accompanied Maui to the Realm of the Monsters, she showed her improvisation skills by being able to distract the crab, especially when she came up with the fake “Heart” idea (as shown in the picture) so she and Maui could escape, which was very smart. When Maui couldn’t get his magical hook to work quite like it used to, it was smart of Moana to think that the root of the problem lied beneath the surface – and the way she prodded the story out of him was a clever choice. It was also smart the way she got him to cheer up as well as helped him practice his shape-shifting. As Moana watched Maui take on Te Ka, it was smart of her to see the opening to get past the “lava monster”, however her execution of her idea wasn’t as clever. Once Moana found herself alone, it was smart of her to question the ocean on why it chose her. When Moana realized that Te Ka was actually Te Fiti, the way she went about restoring the “Heart” showed her wisdom and maturity.
The first time we see Pocahontas, she is standing at the top of a cliff while her best friend announces that her father and the other warriors are back from defeating another tribe in war. Instead of taking the sensible route down to the river though, Pocahontas decides to jump off the incredibly and dangerously high cliff. This was definitely not smart as she could have gotten very hurt. When confronted with the decision of whether or not to marry Kocoum, Pocahontas very smartly chooses to weigh her options. In addition, she is intelligent enough to objectively understand that each option has it's own benefits and consequences, not just assuming that the choice she wants is completely beneficial and the other completely consequential. Furthermore, she does not take this monumental life-changing decision lightly, as she goes to her Grandmother Willow seeking advice. The advice that Grandmother Willow gives Pocahontas, is to follow her heart which shows that Pocahontas is someone who goes with her head more when choosing for herself. Choosing logic over emotion is a great sign of intelligence, as well as knowing when to choose which one over the other and being able to adapt accordingly, which Pocahontas can do. Pocahontas' curiosity and open-mindedness of John Smith and his culture also show a great sign of Pocahontas' intelligence (as shown in the picture). Perhaps it was Disney magic or just Disney's way of shortening a very realistically long time frame, but either way Pocahontas' ability to pick up English so quickly and accurately is yet another sign of her intelligence. When John Smith was excited about sharing his culture with Pocahontas and her people, she overreacted a bit. It's smart of her to want to protect her land but she should be more open to hearing his ideas (just as he should be open to hearing hers as well). It was very smart of Pocahontas to take John Smith to meet Grandmother Willow so that she could give an informed opinion of him. It was also smart of Pocahontas to question her choices about continuing to see John Smith or not. After Kocoum's death, even though Nakoma immediately admitted to Pocahontas that she had sent Kocoum, it was smart of Pocahontas to accept some responsibility for his death (but not all responsibility). It was smart of Pocahontas because she understood the chain reactions that led from her choices. When Pocahontas finally saw the compass for the first time, she immediately and smartly recognized it as the spinning arrow from her dream. The way that Pocahontas put herself in between her father and John Smith and the advice/explanation she gave to her father showed much intelligence and maturity on Pocahontas' part. Her wisdom helped to stop the two sides from fighting. It was not very smart of Pocahontas to give up on love and a whole new world to explore at the end though - especially considering her intellectual curiosity and adaptability skills.
Her intelligence undeniably sticks out as she is shown exhibiting quite a variety of intelligent skills throughout the film. She has a very eclectic and creative nature which are both signs of her intelligence. The way she was able to study the stars and figure out astronomy all because of her curiosity about why the lights are there, is one of her biggest signs of intelligence. She manages to keep Pascal hidden from Mother Gothel which is a little feat in itself as well. She seems to have a natural curiosity which is shown by her choice of hobbies when she's stuck in the tower as well as when she leaves the tower and enters the city for the first time. This is a major sign of intelligence. Even in her artwork you can see Rapunzel's intelligence. For example, on her bedroom ceiling, Rapunzel painted a mirror image of herself on the bed, which is pretty creative. When Rapunzel realizes that Mother Gothel isn't ever going to let her out of the home, she quickly improvises a plan to sneak out. While this is a risky move, it does show her intelligence as to how she pulled it off. When Eugene breaks into her house, she acts very quickly, imprisoning Eugene and then bribing him into getting what she wanted. The only inconsistency here is that she doesn't connect the dots she already has at this point. She knows the lanterns only appear on her birthday (as shown in the picture) and that Eugene said they were done every year for the princess, yet she doesn't even ask if the princess has the same birthday as her or anything. It was clearly only for the script that she didn't question more about this, as it would've changed the plot of the film. It's also a bit inconsistent that she never realized her "mother" was using her to stay young. But again, that would change the entire story. When she first entered the bar, she immediately realized that the bar did not seem safe, showing she wasn’t too naïve despite the fact that she had never met anyone like those in the bar. (Perhaps that was instinctual.) As unbelievable as every scene in which Rapunzel relies on her hair is, it does show her ingenuity to use it the way she does. She didn’t seem to pick up on Eugene’s criminal aspects in the beginning (despite "breaking" into her tower) but she definitely picked up on when he started having feelings for her. So for someone who has only ever been around 1 other person her entire life, her people skills aren't too bad. After all, she is being raised by a wolf in sheep's clothing! Her survival skills seem pretty good for someone locked in a small tower her whole life as well.
The first time we see Mulan, she is "studying" for her "test" with the Match Maker. While it's not really smart of her to write on her arm as she can get caught, it's not exactly an unintelligent decision either. In order to get her chores done faster and with less effort, Mulan devises a plan to attach food and a bone to her dog to get him to feed the chickens for her. This was incredibly clever and showing off Mulan's ingenuity. When Mulan brought her father tea, it was smart of her to carry a spare cup as she ended up needing it. While Mulan was getting ready for her meeting with the Match Maker, she stopped along the way to get involved with what looked like a Checkers type kind of board game. This showed off Mulan's intelligence, particularly when it came to strategy, long-term thinking and big-picture seeing. Even though her grandmother meant well, it was foolish of Mulan to wear a cricket into her meeting. It was also foolish of her to depend on the writing on her arm and not pay attention to what she was saying more closely. Instead of trying to snatch the cup away from the Match Maker, Mulan should have just told her about the cricket in her tea. Even though Mulan meant well, it was very foolish of her to disrespect her father by interrupting his accepting of the call to go to war. It's understandable for her to be against it and not want her father to go but it was not smart of her to embarrass her father in public like that. Once Mulan had decided to impersonate a man to take her father's place, it was smart of her to practice out loud a bit before she showed up. When Yao tried to start a fight with Mulan, she showed off her intelligence in the way she was able to quickly duck and get away from the violence without getting hurt. It's understandable that Mulan wouldn't know how to be a man but thinking there was a "manly urge" to kill things was definitely foolish and extreme. It took Mulan a long time to think of a boy's name and it was not smart of her to think of one before she showed up at the camp. It took ambition and dedication for Mulan to catch onto the process along with everyone else but it also took some smarts as well. Since Mulan was pretending to be a male, she should not have gotten fully naked to shower since the other soldiers could show up at any time. Mulan really displayed her intelligence when the Huns attacked them in the mountains. The best example of this, is when she came up with the idea to shoot her cannon at the mountain to create an avalanche to stop the Huns (as shown in the picture). The ingenuity of this action saved many of the lives of her fellow soldiers. This was also shown when she used the arrow tied to the string to save herself and company while falling down the mountain. When Mulan was accused of treason, it was very smart of her to immediately explain her case as well as to do so as concisely as she did. She didn't waste her time and chose her words wisely. It was a very intelligent sign that Mulan was able to reflect on her choice to join the army and how it wasn't entirely for her father but also somewhat for herself. The ability to look deep inside herself and understand the reasoning behind her actions was a very smart move. When Mulan saw that a few of the Huns had survived, it was really smart of her to try and warn Shang and the other soldiers instead of just going home and allowing a sneak attack to happen. When Shang did not believe her, it was smart of Mulan to tell the other soldiers to keep their eyes open as she was giving them their best chance by alerting them. The following battle scene with the remaining Huns and Shan Yu displayed a ton of examples of Mulan's very high intelligence, especially her ingenuity and improvisation. When Shang and the soldiers were trying to break through the doors of the Emperor's palace to save the Emperor from Shan Yu, Mulan came up with a very smart alternative based on what she had learned in training. This saved them time and allowed them to reach the Emperor safely as well as reserve more of their energy. It also provided a disguise for the soldiers to trick the Huns and get the upper hand. Mulan was smart and used what she had around her, to her advantage. This was very resourceful and clever. In addition, it was very smart of Mulan to tell Chien-Po to save the Emperor and get him away from the battle with Shan Yu. When Shan Yu was going to go after the Emperor, Mulan cut the line so that he could not get to him. This saved the Emperor's life. The entire plan with Mushu to lure Shan Yu to the roof and shoot fireworks at him was a brilliant idea. It was also clever the way Mulan used her fan to steal Shan Yu's sword as well as use it to keep him pinned in place so that he was a still-target. It was thanks to Mulan's intelligence that she was able to be so successful in saving China.
So what did you think about the ranking? Any surprises? Feel free to share your reaction and comments below! ❤