Disney movies are an important staple of everyone’s upbringing. Not because they teach valuable life lessons and instill a sense of moral values (ha!), but because they teach all of us what it means to lust after a fictional character.
Here are some characters who, let’s be perfectly honest, were major players in forming our sexual identity as adolescents.
You may want to grab a bottle of water.
1. When Simba and Nala “rolled around a lot” in The Lion King.
As a child, the “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” scene was a tad confusing, mainly because I found myself inexplicably attracted to an adult male lion. I’m not sure what Disney thought they were trying to pull with this particular animation choice, but it led to a lot of complicated sexual feelings. You can’t just give a lion raffish, shaggy hair without expecting girls to swoon over him. Also, tumbling down a hill = lion sex, apparently.
2.When Andy Brinker rebelled against the snotty rich kids in Brink!
Ah, Eric von Detton. A mainstay in the stable of ’90s adolescent heartthrobs. This particular role was fantastic because it not only showcased von Detton’s impeccable, shoulder-length mane, but it also tricked all of us into thinking rollerblades were sexy (I have since realized that, no, they aren’t).
3. When the Beast transformed into a beautiful man in Beauty & The Beast.
Disney apparently never shies away from sexualizing animals, because the Beast was swoon-worthy both before and after his transformation. This mysterious attractiveness probably introduced a fledgling Disney audience to the appeal of Stockholm Syndrome, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there. It should also be noted that the Beast/man/prince knew exactly what he was doing when it came to kissing a woman. Cupping the face tenderly? Soulful eye contact? Slow lean-in? Yes to all of the above.
4. When Protozoa performed “Supernova Girl” in Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.
Yes, his hair looks like a hedgehog. But his face looks like the total, handsome, opposite of a hedgehog.
5. When Jett from The Famous Jett Jackson did pretty much all things.
Peter Kramer/Getty Images
It wasn’t until I started “researching” this post that I remembered how attractive Lee Thompson Young was. Sadly, the former child star passed away in 2013, but his handsomeness will live on forever . 😢
6. When Kovu from Lion King 2 magically had perfect punk-ish eyeliner.
He was a bad boy with a shaggy haircut and New York Dolls-style eye makeup. Oh, and claws. What’s not to love?
7. When Prince Eric gave Ariel THAT LOOK in The Little Mermaid.
This basically prompted any and all rowboat-related sex dreams.
8. When Hercules’ clothes were like, falling off of his body.
This was the first moment when girls in the audience truly thought about the fact that Hercules was naked underneath his tunic. This dawning realization made us all uncomfortably aware that we maybe … wanted to rip a man’s clothes off of his body??
9. When Captain Phoebus was perfectly-lit by candlelight in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
He was also voiced by the roguish Kevin Kline, which definitely helped.
10. When Ryan Merriman put on a basketball jersey in The Luck Of The Irish.
The spiky, gelled, highlighted hairstyle was the true embodiment of male attractiveness in the aughts. Add any sort of sports paraphernalia, and a weird puka shell necklace or chain, and you had the recipe for an adolescent girl’s dreamboat. Also, I know what you’re thinking and, no — Ryan Merriman did not age especially well.
11. When Powerline performed “I 2 I” (that’s seriously how you spell it) in A Goofy Movie.
Look, I’m not even sure what sort of creature Powerline is supposed to be. A dog, I guess? A dog with a rockabilly haircut? Regardless, this animated character has more charisma than most modern day pop stars, and that song is totally dope.
12. When Michael Moscovitz stared soulfully at everything in The Princess Diaries.
My favorite fact about this actor is that he’s Jason Schwartzman’s brother, Robert, and is the lead singer for Rooney. Also, I’m pretty sure he never acted again in his life — which is fine, because his dreaminess in this movie is preserved forever and ever, amen.
13. When Aladdin did that irresistible bashful smile.
This move, when executed by actual human men, has the potential to make women go weak in the knees. The same is also true for cartoon men, apparently.
14. When Aladdin’s Dad, Cassim, suddenly showed up and existed and everything.
The first time any of us realized that a “silver fox” was a thing (*waggles eyebrows*).
15. When Jake (AKA Chad Michael Murray) sang “Hit Me Baby One More Time” in Freaky Friday.
Chad Michael Murray was such a great amalgam of hotness and goofiness, and I wish he had become more famous as the Poor Man’s Ryan Gosling. He also somehow managed to make long, greasy hair look hip, and not like a recycled joke from the ’90s.
16. When Jonathan Taylor Thomas rocked his signature highlights in I’ll Be Home For Christmas.
Remember what I said above, about Ryan Merriman and his hair? Well, Jonathan Taylor Thomas did it first, and he did it better.
17. When Peter Pan acted like a mischievous scamp.
I honestly suspect that the bizarre magnetism of smartass dudes is due, in part, to the impish attractiveness of Peter Pan. I have no proof to corroborate this theory, except for the fact that I had a crush on Peter Pan as a kid, and now I tend to like smartass dudes.
18. When Li Shang removes his shirt in Mulan.
Mulan’s face during this scene is perhaps one of the most relatable occurrences in this entire movie. Like, there is no way I could survive military training and save the entirety of China — but I could definitely gawk at this man removing his shirt.
19. When pretty much everyone was sweating manly sweat in Remember The Titans.
Football evokes lots of ethical problems when it comes to deeply-ingrained misogyny. But, visually, it’s the thirstiest thirst-trap of all. Anyone who has watched Friday Night Lights can attest to this.
20. When Jonathan Jackson went swimming in Tuck Everlasting
Oh, goodness. This scene was almost too racy for a such a tame movie (inspired by an equally-tame book). But, it featured a wet, half-naked Jonathan Jackson, so there is no way anyone was complaining about that.
21. When Kocoum got his chest tats in Pocahontas.
I’m just going to say it: Disney royally screwed up by underplaying Kocoum’s hotness. I understand it’s more “historically accurate” for Pocahontas to end up with John Smith, and she felt like Kocoum was far too “serious” for her free-spirited nature, but the fact remains: Kocoum is the most attractive man in this movie, and John Smith is mad basic.
Hopefully this compendium of attractiveness hasn’t needlessly marred your childhood. If anything, now you have a reason to go back and salaciously re-watch your favorite movies and TV shows of yore.