Kids always want to be just like the Disney princess or main character. That’s why costumes like Anna, Elsa, and Hercules are top-sellers every Halloween. Then you grow older and start understanding the villains better. Look, Mother Gothel was just trying to keep a youthful image without having to spend a ton of money at Sephora, can you blame her?
As you grow even older though and begin to rewatch some of your favorite Disney movies, you’ll realize the heroes and the villains aren’t the most important — it’s the sidekicks. The Pumbas and the Olafs are kind, caring, and always have an awkward joke ready to break the tension. If this sounds all too relatable then read on and appreciate the true Disney heroes: the sidekicks.
Timon & Pumba — The Lion King
When you think of Disney sidekicks, these two are always the first to come to mind. Timon and Pumba were there just to show Simba what having a good time and having “no worries for the rest of your days” was all about.
These two might have seemed like a bad influence on Simba at the start of the film, but when they realized he was destined to return to lead his pride, they were 100% supportive of him. These two were the original ride or dies.
Mushu — Mulan
Mushu, who is a dragon and NOT a lizard get it right or he’ll remind you of it, was the perfect combination of comedic relief and sass that Mulan needed. She was going through a full identity crisis and he was there just to help out and even help battle a hoard of Huns.
The best part about Mushu was that he grows in the movie too. After a series of embarrassing events, he puts his ego aside and becomes a caring, loving little dragon.
Thumper — Bambi
Everyone remembers the shock and horror of watching Bambi for the first time. It’s actually a pretty heavy Disney film and was probably the first time your parents had to discuss death with you. Luckily, Thumper was there for comedic and cuteness relief.
The cute little rabbit taught Bambi everything he needed to know about surviving in the forest, and gave us with the Thumper Rule a.k.a. “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
Genie — Aladdin
Genie was the comedic relief for the entire film and it actually worked thanks to being voiced by the late great Robin Williams. Genie also shows off his soft side and is willing to give up his freedom so that Aladdin can be with Jasmine.
It’s a toss-up between Abu and The Genie for which sidekick actually helped out Aladdin. In the end, Abu was just a kleptomaniac monkey who often got Aladdin in more trouble, while the Genie actually helped out. Abu never offered his freedom for Aladdin.
Lumiére & Cogsworth — Beauty And The Beast
This pair of sidekicks were unexpected heroes with Belle and the Beast. The two work because they are complete opposites so they balance each other out. Lumiére is fun and impulsive, while Cogsworth is much more rational.
At the end of the day, they put aside their constant feuding to rally the troops and fight off the townspeople in one of the best battle scenes in Disney history (sorry, Mulan).
Flounder — The Little Mermaid
Flounder is the best friend you could ever want. He might be timid, nervous, and a little clumsy, but he is always willing to accompany you on an adventure. Not only is he ready to explore and be adventurous but he’ll save your butt if it needs saving.
Flounder was willing to go against the Sea King Triton and fight the evil Sea Witch Ursula so that Ariel could be happy.
Baymax — Big Hero 6
You know that Baymax was destined to be a top Disney sidekick because he was practically a main character. All the advertisements for Big Hero 6 were focused on Baymax. He’s a giant inflatable nurse that becomes absolutely hilarious when his batteries are low. Baymax had the strangest body shape that made for great physical comedy.
Baymax embodies the two things that every Disney sidekick needs to be: hysterical, but smart and protective.
Olaf — Frozen
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of the most popular Disney sidekicks in recent years, Olaf. There’s nothing to hate about this goofy looking snowman with a heart of gold.
Since he was just made of snow he made for hilarious commentary when he’d lose his head or become impaled with an icicle. Olaf was also willing to melt for Anna which is a line every adult secretly shed a tear to.
Pacha — The Emperor’s New Groove
Pacha might be a sidekick, but his actions change the entire corse of the film. Before meeting Pacha after a series of unfortunate events, Kuzco was a spoiled brat who could care less about anyone other than himself.
Pacha was as down-to-earth and kind-hearted as you could imagine. Even after Kuzco constantly screwed him over, Pacha left room in his heart to forgive Kuzco and help him when he was in need.
Gus — Cinderella
Technically, Gus and Jaq were equally important in making Cinderella’s dreams come true, but once you become an adult you realize that Gus is the sidekick you really want. Yes, Jaq was much more useful at fixing a dress in a few hours but Gus was the comedic relief needed.
All Gus cared about was making sure Cinderella was happy, and eating as much cheese as possible. He taught us all that when in doubt, cheese is always the answer.
Pascal — Tangled
Pascal was Rapunzel’s only friend for the entire time she was imprisoned in Mother Gothel’s tower. Even though Rapunzel later connects with Maximus, Flynn’s horse, Pascal is her true confidant.
Pascal puts up with all of Rapunzel’s crazy antics in the tower to keep herself busy, but he’s also her coach and cheerleader. It was his influence, not Flynn’s, that got Rapunzel out of the tower in the first place. Plus, he’s cute as a button.
Pegasus — Hercules
Considering the fact that Pegasus was a gift from Zeus to his son to protect him and be his literal ride or die, it’s hard to find a better sidekick. He may not have spoked any words but he was, dare I say it, the brains behind Hercules.
Herc was just a naive, buff God who only cared about his ego and getting the girl. Pegasus was always there to snap him back to reality and save the day.
Meeko & Flit — Pocahontas
Just like Lumiére and Cogsworth, this pair of sidekicks work so well because they’re complete opposites. Meeko is a seemingly dim-witted raccoon who is playful but also mischievous. On the other hand, Flit is a stubborn, smart, and serious hummingbird whose main goal is to protect Pocahontas.
The two work together well because Flit will convince Meeko to use his mischievous ways to help out Pocahontas when needed. At the end of the day, they care more about her than the white men invading their land.
Jiminy Cricket — Pinocchio
You can’t really get a more effective sidekick than a grasshopper wearing a top hat giving you some surprisingly good life advice. Even thought Jiminy Cricket spent most fo his time singing about wishing on stars and being cynical, he was still there to be Pinocchio’s conscious.
In real life, your best friend is there to be sure you make the right decisions, so Jiminy Cricket is as real as it gets.
Baloo — Jungle Book
This laidback bear is cuddly and the ultimate bro to Mowgli. Yes, he uses Mowgli to his advantage in some situations but at the end of it all, he’s like Mowgli’s father figure.
Baloo might be about living with the bare necessities, but he is still willing to fight the jungle’s most terrifying predator, Shere Khan, just to keep Mowgli safe. If that doesn’t scream “ride or die” than I don’t know what does.
Heihei — Moana
This dimwitted, completely oblivious rooster didn’t exactly give Moana any sage advice on her soul-searching mission but he didn’t have to. The point of the movie was for Moana to go out and learn these lessons on her own.
Heihei was the perfect sidekick for a modern Disney movie because he was truly just comedic relief. He is a complete idiot that has no idea what’s going on, so he was a perfect ice breaker when things got tense between Moana and Maui.
Nana — Peter Pan
When you think of Peter Pan sidekicks you might first think of Tinker Bell, but I think we can all agree she was terrible. Tinker Bell was a jealous fairy who tried to have Wendy killed.
The real sidekick of Peter Pan was the Darling children’s dog Nana. She was caring and protective of the kids. She might have just been a dog, but she was responsible for bringing the kids drinks and medicine.
Sebastian — The Little Mermaid
Sebastian gets his own shoutout separate from Flounder because he’s a totally different type of sidekick. While Flounder has Ariel’s best interests in mind, Sebastian technically works for Triton so he’s there to make sure she doesn’t get into trouble.
After Ariel grows legs, Sebastian’s new job is to make sure she doesn’t become enslaved by Ursula. It may not have been his original intentions, but Sebastian becomes Ariel’s ultimate protector while she’s on the mainland.
Tantor & Terk — Tarzan
If you’re going to be a human growing up in the jungle and being raise by apes, you want to hope that you have friends like Tantor and Terk. The elephant and gorilla might be clumsy and mischievous, but they’re always there to stand up for Tarzan and protect him.
Terk might be a little bossy sometimes and Tantor can be pretty cowardly, but they put it all aside when Clayton comes to threaten their land.
Archimedes — The Sword In The Stone
The academic owl doesn’t have the qualities you’d think of wanting in a sidekick. He’s irritable, stuck-up, and gets flustered easily. Still, Archimedes fights through his flaws and puts it all aside to teach young Wart.
While Merlin might seem like the star of the show, Archimedes is the one who actually takes Wart under his (literal) wing. Plus, his stuck-up personality makes it even funnier when he doesn’t break into laughter or fall on his face.
Zazu — The Lion King
Once again, Zazu gets his own appreciation separate from the main sidekicks Timon and Pumba. Like Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, Zazu isn’t there for Simba at first but he’s a lackey for Mufasa. Zazu is a strict know-it-all that Simba and Nala spend the first half of the film escaping.
After Mufasa’s death, Zazu is stuck in a bone cage under Scar’s reign. It’s during this time that his allegiance shifts from Mufasa to Simba and he eventually takes back his place as the new King’s right-hand man.
Ray — The Princess And The Frog
Not only is The Princess And The Frog grossly underappreciated (it’s one of the most original fairy tales and the first with a black princess), but so is the sidekick Ray. The firefly is just as cute as Olaf or Pascal but actually shares some bayou knowledge.
Ray is also perfect at the comedic relief a good sidekick needs because his bottom lights up when he cracks a good joke or feels especially lovestruck.
The Gargoyles — The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
Victor, Hugo, and Laverne were the gargoyles that came to life and kept Quasimodo company at night. They basically served the same purpose as Pascal did with Rapunzel, but they’re often overlooked because they’re not as cute.
If we learned anything from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The gargoyles might be ugly and made of stone, but they added some much-needed comedic relief.
Vanellope Von Schweets — Wreck-It Ralph
Vanellope is energetic and spunky, but as confident as it gets for a little girl. She’s technically a glitch in the game that causes Wreck-It Ralph some troubles but she also has a heart of gold. Even though Wreck-It Ralph is technically classified as a video game “bad guy” she doesn’t see it.
Instead, Vanellope can look past Ralph’s label and show him what it truly means to be a hero.
Little John — Robin Hood
The not-so-little brown bear is probably the most important character in Robin Hood. He’s the voice of reason to his best friend Robin Hood but is still fiercely loyal. Little John is always around to warn Robin Hood that his plans could fall through and have disastrous consequences, but he’ll still dress up like a fortune teller and go along with it.
He may come off as lazy, but Little John is also a skilled fighter that will have your back.
Sgt. Tibbs & Colonel — One Hundred And One Dalmatians
Sergeant Tibbs is a tabby cat who is the most loyal rank member to Colonel, an Old English Sheepdog. At first, there two might seem like a sidekick to a sidekick but if you watch the movie again you’ll realize just how important they are.
Without their loyalty to Pongo and Perdita, the puppies never would have been saved from Cruella de Vil. They travel in the cold winter to investigate and help the puppies to freedom.
White Rabbit — Alice In Wonderland
The White Rabbit isn’t exactly the ideal sidekick but he gets the job done. He’s always stressed out and worried he’ll be late, which is fair because if he is, the Queen of Hearts will kill him. Despite his constant worrisome nature, he’s there to guide Alice through the strange new world.
Some people might say the White Rabbit is also the antagonist in the film, but when you consider the fact that no one in Wonderland is sane, he’s not the worst companion to have.
The Dwarves — Snow White And The Seven Dwarves
In all honestly, having to take care of and clean up after seven men sounds like an awful job but the Dwarves make up for it with their humor and caring ways. They took Snow White in, pushed three tiny beds together for her to sleep in, and go to great lengths to protect her.
Some of the Dwarves like Grumpy and Sleepy aren’t the ideal sidekicks, but Dopey and Bashful make up for it.
Dory — Finding Nemo
Dory might forget things every once in a while (or all the time) but that’s what makes her so lovable. She might not know who she’s helping but Dory has such a heart of gold that she’s willing to “just keep swimming” no matter what.
Her caring nature is paired perfectly with her humor. It helps that she’s voiced by Ellen DeGeneres who had no shame trying to speak whale for a kid’s movie.
Dug — Up
Is there any sidekick cuter than a slightly obese golden retriever that can speak English through a special collar? He started on the bad side as the loyal companion to Charles Muntz but after meeting Carl, he realizes that he’s serving the wrong master.
Switching sides and becoming loyal to Carl fits Dug’s personality so much more. He’s kind-hearted, optimistic, and friendly. Charles Muntz didn’t deserve a sidekick like Dug.