Differently-Abled Disney Characters: How Many Can You Name?


Just for fun, how many Disney (or Pixar) animated characters can you think of that are different or differently-abled in some way? I recently posted this challenge to a group on Facebook and, surprisingly, we ended up with a fairly extensive list! I started the list with a few characters that came to mind right away:

I immediately thought of Dumbo, because of his gigantic ears.

And, there was Nemo, because of his “lucky fin.”


…and, of course, Dory, because of her short-term memory loss.


And, Captain Hook, because of his, er, prosthetic.

From there, the list of characters simply grew and grew! Here’s what we came up with — do you agree with them all? Why or why not?

  • Pinocchio – made of wood. no strings
  • Donald Duck – speech
  • Carl Fredrickson – mobility; used a quad cane
  • Grandma Odie (Princess and the Frog) – blind
  • Quasimodo – (Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  • Piglet – anxiety and stuttering
  • Abby Mallard – speech
  • Dormouse (Alice in Wonderland) – Narcolepsy
  • Mad Hatter – mental health issues
  • Hook-Hand Thug (Tangled) – Hook
  • Long John Silver (Treasure Planet) – peg leg
  • Chip (Beauty and the Beast) – damaged teacup
  • Lilo (socially awkward) and Stitch (anger and attention/hyperactivity)
  • Fa Shu (Mulan’s father) – frail and disabled
  • Willie – giantism
  • The Seven Dwarfs – Dopey (speech) Bashful (social anxiety) Grumpy (anger management issues)
  • Finding Nemo – Pearl, the octopus, inks herself when she gets nervous, the seahorse was H2O intolerant, the sharks were in a sort of addiction-recovery (“Fish are friends, not food) and Gill from the fishtank had traumatic injuries.
  • Timon and Pumbaa were social outcasts.

Well, can you think of any more? I’d love it if you would list them in the comments section!

~ Kathy


Kathy Kelly is host of Special Mouse, a Disney Parks and travel podcast for guests with special needs. Visit specialmouse.com.  Connect with her on Twitter @KathyKellyRN and/or @SpecialMousePod and on Facebook at Kathleen Kelly. Thanks!


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14 thoughts on “Differently-Abled Disney Characters: How Many Can You Name?

  • February 27, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Awwwww I guess it is just a matter of how you look at things. Great post.
    …fellow Zone writer.

  • February 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    BTW, I include accessibility info at the end of each of my blog posts.

  • February 27, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Sleepy dwarf narcolepsy not to mention the limitations due to being little people.
    Most villains have obvious issues with anger, rage, self-esteem.
    I think there are also a lot of abandonment issues with the princesses from losing their parents/mothers that cause them to chase after men at such a young age.

    Disfunctional Disney?

  • February 27, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    I disagree with Donald Duck… I think he speaks very good human… For a duck. Ha just kidding. Great post Kathleen! 🙂

  • February 27, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    Awesome post! I am a teacher and I will use this with my kids when we do disabilities week later in the year! What a Great way to look at it!

    • February 27, 2014 at 8:00 PM

      Thanks, Bruce! I’m honored. I’ll bet the kids can think of even more characters to add to the list!

  • February 28, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    I didn’t see Nemo. Did I miss him?

    • March 1, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      Hi Martha! Yes, Nemo is in the body of the article — he’s one of the first characters I thought of because of his “lucky” fin!


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