Anyone who has ever watched a Disney cartoon movie has probably found themselves wondering what these characters would look like if they were real people, and not just cartoon characters. Now, of course, you can see real people act and dress as these characters if you go to a Disney theme park or some sort of Disney play or performance. There are also the live-action movies that keep coming out that use human beings to play these cartoon roles (like Beauty and The Beast and the upcoming Mulan). These are cool, but what about the original cartoon? It’s fun to imagine what the original character would look like if they were never a cartoon, if that makes sense.


Finnish artist Jirka Väätäinen has been doing exactly this for a few years now. According to his website, Väätäinen is skilled at graphic design, illustration, photo manipulation, and art direction. One look at his site or his Instagram profile makes it clear that he’s an incredibly talented artist. His versions of real-life Disney characters are super intricate and have taken years of work to really nail down, and it shows. It’s also incredibly interesting!

From villains to princesses to princes, take a look at what some of your favorite Disney characters would look like if they were real people:

1. Elsa from Frozen

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The Queen of Arendelle is already one of the most progressive Disney characters. She doesn’t need any prince to save her. In fact, she saves herself and everyone else.

2. Nakoma from Pocahontas

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More serious and level-headed than Pocahontas could ever be, Nakoma sometimes comes across as severe. Can you blame the girl for being wary of John Smith and his merry band of invaders, though?

3. Princess Jasmine from Aladdin

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We asked artist Jirka Väätäinen how he came up with this idea, and he told Blossom:

“The idea itself came to me pretty randomly. One day back in 2011 I just had the idea to challenge myself and have a little fun in Photoshop and explore what the character of Ursula from the Little Mermaid could look like in real life. Since I grew up with a lot of these characters, the sense of nostalgia made it such a fascinating and a fun personal project to explore. I have also always been interested in character design, as well as the way people look and what makes them unique in their appearances. So I was inspiredby the idea of recreating these characters that we all know and love, in a way I would imagine them to look like if they were “more real,” while still staying somewhat true to their original character designs.”

4. Belle from Beauty and The Beast

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It’s hard to believe Belle could have ever been an outcast. She likes books and adventure and loathes Gaston. Who doesn’t?

5. Moana from Moana

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This fearless character refuses to take no for an answer. And when a mystery presents itself, Moana will stop at nothing to solve it. Even a demi-god can’t keep her down.

6. Thomas from Pocahontas

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He may be inexperienced but Thomas has heart and spunk to spare. Plus, he makes the British soldiers seem a lot more likable.

7. Kocoum from Pocahontas

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Why doesn’t Pocahontas like Kocoum again? Sure, he’s serious and a little jealous, but the warrior genuinely seems to love his betrothed.

8. Cruella de Vill from 101 Dalmatians

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True, this fashion-obsessed villain stops at nothing to get what she wants. And she certainly has no qualms about hurting puppies. Cruella’s style is absolutely to-die-for, though. Red lips and two-tone hair? We love it.

9. Hans from Frozen

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No one expects Hans to be a treacherous, would-be killer, but he is foul, indeed. In the end, though, he certainly gets what he deserves.

10. Jafar from Aladdin

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A villain on a mission, Jafar is so close to getting what he truly desires. Eventually, though, his ambition causes his utter ruin.

11. Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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A hypocritical religious figure with nothing but malintent, Claude Frollo is the worst. You definitely wouldn’t want to cross paths with this zealot.

12. Mother Gothel from Tangled

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Väätäinen is in awe of how his art has been received. Väätäinen told us:

“Even though this started as a personal project and these images reflect how I personally see these characters, nowadays knowing that I am sharing these with the world I do hope that many people can agree with my vision and appreciate what I’ve done. I have been blessed with very heartfelt comments and messages from people from all over the world, expressing that seeing these characters in this light has indeed made them feel excited, nostalgic, inspired etc. This project has been a way of entertaining myself, so all I can hope for is for people to be entertained by my work as well.”

13. Ariel from The Little Mermaid

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Passionate, naive, and more than a little curious, Ariel refuses to let her age, or her father, hold her back. She wants to be where the people are. And does she ever get her wish.

14. Merida from Brave

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This rebel princess knows how to wield a bow, and she refuses to be stifled. Typically, people who tell Merida what to do find themselves disappointed.

15. The Prince from Snow White

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The prince doesn’t get the most screentime in Snow White. His kiss, however, is truly magical.

16. Alice from Alice In Wonderland

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Alice’s imagination is truly a thing of wonder. Whether she actually goes to Wonderland or not, this character certainly knows how to keep herself entertained.

17. Meg from Hercules

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She’s cynical, but she has a reason to be. Meg pays dearly for loving the wrong person. When she meets Hercules, though, this jaded character decides to give love another chance.

18. Peter Pan from Peter Pan

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Ever the free spirit, Peter Pan is the boy who just won’t grow up. And his life in Neverland is completely idyllic. Peter fights bad guys, swims in blue lagoons, and counts a fairy as his BFF.

19. Ursula’s alter ego Vanessa from The Little Mermaid

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Ursula’s alter ego is just as evil in human form. But Prince Eric falls for her completely.

20. Gaston from Beauty and The Beast

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A strapping man who can spit really far, Gaston doesn’t know a thing about being humble. He tries to force Belle to marry him. And when that doesn’t work, he becomes spiteful.

21. Ursula from The Little Mermaid

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This sea witch is driven by her greed. She doesn’t care if she has to lie or steal to get what she wants. Ursula just wants to win at any cost.

22. Hades from Hercules

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Hades has a pretty great sense of humor, but his grudge against Zeus is all-consuming. The ruler of the Underworld is ambitious too. And he won’t stop until he rules Mount Olympus.

23. The Evil Queen from Snow White

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She just wants to be the fairest of them all. But the queen’s vanity is her downfall.

24. Captain Hook from Peter Pan

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This pirate really only endeavors to thwart Peter Pan. Can you blame him, though? Peter cut off Hook’s hand and fed the severed limb to a crocodile.

25. Kristoff from Frozen

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This ice harvester is fun and determined. But the best thing about Kristoff is his love for his pet reindeer, Sven.

26. Flynn Rider from Tangled 

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Flynn wants to be rich, and can you blame him? His charm and wit almost make you forget his thieving nature.

27. Phoebus from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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This soldier defies the law because of his love for Esmerelda. And although he’s employed by Claude Frollo, Phoebus treats Quasimodo with respect.

28. Captain Li Shang from Mulan

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Captain Li wants to make his father proud and serve his country. He hardly expects to fall for Mulan. He truly loves her, though. And he teaches her to be a great soldier to boot.

29. Tarzan from Tarzan

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Although he’s a bit of an outcast, Tarzan loves his family; he protects them at all costs. And Tarzan’s truly heroic because he’s even willing to help his enemies. He tries to help Clayton even after the man fatally injures Kerchak.

30. Prince Charming from Cinderella

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This prince is truly Charming. Plus he has glass slippers at his disposal. We approve.

31. Prince Adam AKA The Beast from Beauty and The Beast

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He looks like a beast, and he acts like one. But Prince Adam has a change of heart as soon as he meets someone worth changing for.

32. Aladdin from Aladdin

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Given an unfortunate lot at birth, Aladdin does whatever he can to survive. Yes, he steals, but who can blame him? He does it to stay alive and help others in worse situations.

33. John Smith from Pocahontas

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When John Smith lands in Pocahantas’s domain, he doesn’t expect to fall in love. Neither does he expect to realize that England’s colonization does more harm than good. He has a change of heart after meeting the title character, though. And he certainly changes for the better.

34. Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty

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This prince is more than just a pretty face. He’s also brave and rather persuasive. Remember when he convinces his dad to let him marry the woman he loves instead of his betrothed?

35. Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid

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He’s a royal, but he’s not afraid of hard work. In fact, the only time Prince Eric doesn’t impress us is when he doesn’t immediately realize who Ariel is. Come on, it’s obvious!

36. Hercules from Hercules

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Hercules is ridiculously strong, but that’s not what makes him a great hero. He’s also considerate and selfless. All those muscles certainly don’t hurt, though.

You can follow the artist on Instagram to be kept up to date on all of his new creations!


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