If Disney Princesses Had SPD/ASD

In all Disney movies, the “Disney princess” faces various, complicated obstacles. However, I cannot think of a single princess that has faced a real-life disability or disease. Then I thought, what if Disney Princesses had Sensory Processing Disorder? What if they were on the autistic spectrum?

The following is my prediction of what Disney princesses (and their stories) would be like if they had SPD/ASD.

(Also, for the first time ever, I did not draw any original illustrations for this post. Instead, I added my own bits to Disney pictures. I hope you enjoy it anyway.)



Ok, I’m skipping right to the part in the story where Cinderella goes to the Ball. Logically, if Cinderella had sensory issues, this would never work. Sure she could give it a good effort, but in the end, a meltdown is likely to ensue. No sensory sensitive princess leaves untouched after a large royal gathering.

We all know how that ends.




The most glaring problem here is the fact that Belle is in a relationship with an unstable beast. Belle would find herself overstimulated, unsupported and for lack of a better word, really turned-off by the beast’s intense personality.

Additionally, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that Belle could have soared around the library on that freaking bookshelf ladder.




While she does live in the peacefulness of nature, Pocahontas would most likely not be flinging herself over waterfalls and just around the river bend. Hello! This is too much to ask of any sensory sensitive princess’s motor skills.

Not to mention, she has to deal with a bunch of gun-wielding maniacs who want to destroy the Earth and Grandmother Willow. Talk about stress! Better hope a girl’s got some sensory tools in that longhouse of hers.



Merida & Rapunzel

All I can say is: HAIR.

I’m still adjusting to my shoulder length hair after years of having short hair. Of course, Merida and Rapunzel may find their excessive hair very soothing, but to imagine having the hair of either of these ladies is beyond my comprehension. The only exception would be that scene where Rapunzel wraps herself tightly in her hair after rolling down a hill. She’s got her own personal deep pressure device.





When I look at Jasmine, the first thing that pops into my mind are those ginormous earrings. Alright, so she’s royalty and gold earrings are traditional attire for your basic princess, still, Jasmine appears to have two heavy triangular-shaped fruits hanging by her face, smacking into her whenever she turns her head too quickly. The sensation of those ALONE would be enough to make any princess lose it.


Jasmine is lucky however, because she has a large tiger friend to provide her with lots of sensory tactile relief. I need a large animal to squish me and stuff.



This one’s pretty obvious: SHELL BRA.


No further comments.



I’ll admit that I’m kinda biased here because Mulan is my most favorite Disney Princess. Not only did she sneak her way into the Chinese military, but she defeated the vicious Huns and saved an entire country with some uncoordinated soldiers, the Eddie Murphy dragon, and a cricket.

mulan 2

If Mulan had sensory issues, China would have been overtaken by the Huns and everything would be terrible. Yes I said it.  She’s trying to save an entire country – I’m certain she would have no time to take sensory breaks. Even if she survived the military training, I do not think her sensory stamina would hold out for that entire duration. I’m talking about that scene where she shoots the rocket into the mountain and causes an avalanche, miraculously survives, and then goes to the city to fight the Huns with her gang of loonies. AND WINS.

mulan 1

The Emperor’s chaotic celebration ALONE would be a solid nope.

mulan 3



Technically Dory is not a princess. She is a blue fish who helped Marlin find his son. I’m including her in my list because, from my observations, Dory might have sensory/autism issues. We know that Dory has complications with short term memory, but aside from that, she’s got quirks much like those with sensory problems or autism.

dory 1

dory 2

Although she is friendly, she struggles with social situations, including lack of awareness of danger. Dory enjoys things like talking to whales and bouncing off jelly fish. I can only conclude Dory is a sensory-seeker. She is very sensitive, as she spends much of her time comforting others and generally being optimistic about the state of things even if the world looks bleak. She is a curious adventurer, and despite her peculiar behavior, Nemo would never have been found without Dory’s help. Perhaps things would have gone a bit smoother if Dory had brushed her fins with a sensory brush that morning.



Unlike our favorite fish Dory, I imagine Elsa is a sensory-avoider. I almost hate to include Elsa because she has become the “celebrity” Disney princess. She has made this list, however, because Elsa displays the closest thing to what a princess would be like if she had SPD/ASD.

Although Elsa has learned to control her ice powers, her behavior and life has been drastically shaped by her condition. The same thing can be said for those of us impacted by SPD/ASD.

Elsa’s parents responded to the difficulty of their child by locking her in her room. Obviously, this was never a good idea. Elsa grew isolated and depressed.

After having a meltdown in front of basically the entire town, she ran away into the snowy mountains and built herself a fortress of ice. In the sensory world, this would be similar to you coming home after an overstimulating trip to Target and building a couch fort with blankets and pillows, and trapping yourself in the safety of the sensory-controlled space surrounded by all your favorite fidgets.

elsa 2

elsa 1

It is only until Elsa learns how to channel and manage her ice powers does her life improve. She becomes Queen, sends the bad guys home, and restores order to Arendelle. Similarly, when those of us with SPD/ASD learn to manage our various issues, we could become royals, defeat bad guys, and restore order to an entire Kingdom.

Or, we could just manage basic life skills and that would be a big freakin’ achievement too. 

I may not be a Disney princess, and neither may you, but I like to dream that one day Disney will create an animated film about a princess (or prince!) with Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism. Not only will this character be most awesomesauce in every possible way, but the film will accurately portray the reality of these disorders. It will surpass Frozen and The Lion King in profits, and become the most beloved Disney film of all time ever in the history of mankind. No, my expectations are not too high. DISNEY CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.


There you have it.

Are you (or your child) a wannabe Disney hero with SPD/ASD or something else? Tell to me in the comments and maybe Disney will see it and make a film about you.


xo kelly


    1. Me too Annetta – we would have to wait until it came out on DVD or something. Then we can have our own private viewing! We could totally dress up as various Disney characters and it would be perfect. No loud theaters involved!

  1. Hair makes the best fidget ever. In my late teens I had hair down well past my waist. It was so long that my husband (boyfriend at the time) would walk up behind me when I was sitting on the floor and step on my hair (which sucked). I would sit with my hands behind my back and feel the ends of my hair all the time. ALL THE TIME. I miss that fidget, but I love not having someone stand or sit on it. I love having it off my neck. I love not having to get the tangles out of it. I have a pixie cut now and I love it.
    I would totally watch the movie that you described. I would buy it and watch it over and over again. Dear Disney, Please make this movie.

    1. Yes! What a perfect movie! C’mon Disney!

      I also had a pixie cut for a long time, and now I’m starting to grow out my hair. I can’t imagine having hair as long as yours was! You’re truly Rapunzel.

  2. Kelly, This was a great piece and I do hope Hollywood or someone with connections reads this…A genius idea..I’m sure parents and teachers so appreciate your input….Who would be better to address SPD/ASD than KELLY DILLON,our loving bright advocate…Go Kelly! Love you,Aunt Betty Sent from my iPad


  3. Love it!!

    Some alternative ideas (because it’s fun to play with):

    – Belle is actually pretty sensory-seeking and is totally disappointed when her wonderful furry boyfriend goes all smooth and human.

    – All the movies, but especially Little Mermaid: TOO MUCH NOISE, including singing. No wonder she’s always bailing on the family concerts. Also, she might be able to tolerate the surface for a grand total of 3 seconds before she realizes how much it sucks to have air and clothing against her skin instead of water.

    – Tiana: would probably have a lot of difficulty eating as a frog– slime and grit and wings oh my.

    – Sleeping Beauty– the ultimate chance to get away from it all! Sign me up. Although being brought up by 3 ADHD fairy godmothers would be pretty stressful– no wonder she spends her time out in the woods daydreaming.

    1. Never say never! Lots of Disney Princesses have long hair in up-dos. Just look at Rapunzel when Flynn Ryder AKA Eugene chopped off her long magical hair at the end of the movie, Tangled. She was a princess rockin’ the bob.

  4. I love this!!
    If you haven’t seen the movie Mary and Max its a must!! Disney should do a take on that!

    1. Thank you – I have seen that movie, and it’s one of my most favorite animated films of all time and forever. Such a beautiful story. I’m worried that Disney would remove so much of what makes Mary and Max so special. You have inspired me to consider writing a post about the movie – thank you again xoxo

  5. I loved your analysis of Elsa… One of my 3 favorite princesses in spite of the annoying Let It Go song…

    Depending on the exact nature of her issues, Belle may have been fine with the bookcase ladder… (Although even if she could, she would need to be the one getting it going… Someone else pushing the ladder would still be a no-go…) Beast’s unpredictability and loud outbursts would definitely have been the main problem. ((Belle is also one of my top 3, even if Be are guest is even worse than Let it Go…))

    Cinderella would definitely have been hiding in a corner or under a table at the ball if she was susceptible to sensory overload…

    ((No Love for Eilonwy?))

      1. I actually would have been more surprised to see you mention her… her main claim to fame seems to be as the poster child for Disney’s forgotten princesses. Disney seems to go out of its way to avoid mentioning the movie, and I’ll admit it is a bit rough… Nevertheless, she is one of my three favorite princesses.

  6. Hey I liked this a lot. I am autistic and I LOVE Disney princesses. So this definitely caught my eye. The only thing I didn’t like was the term “impacted by” autism. I am not “impacted by” my autism. I am “impacted by” a society that doesn’t cater to my needs 🙂 I but otherwise I loved it and I’d be wearing a different top but using the shells from ariels bra to make a fidget while sitting quietly in the corner of the beasts huge library. I’d live in there. 🙂

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