There are a ton of stories popping up on the internet today saying that Disney Princesses do not have mothers because Walt Disney felt responsible for his mother’s death. The story goes that Disney purchased a house for his mother and father and had the repair work done by people from his studio. When his mother and father moved in the furnace was not repaired properly and the housekeeper found them the next morning victims of air poisoning from the faulty furnace. The housekeeper managed to get both his mother and father outside but only his father was able to be revived.
While this accident truly did occur its false to think this is the reason so many Disney Princesses do not have mothers. The true answer can be found on Snopes.com
"Although analyzing the motivations underlying artists' production of creative works is an inherently subjective process, we'd have to say that the weight of evidence indicates such a theory is merely a product of :
- The pattern of "motherless" Disney films was established well before the death of Flora Disney in 1938: Snow White had been completed and released, and Bambi and Pinocchio were already in production. In the Disney movie versions, Snow White's parents were not in evidence (the prologue stated that she was in the care of her "vain and wicked stepmother," the Queen), Bambi's mother was killed by a hunter early on in the film, and Pinocchio was a marionette with no "parent" save for the (male) woodcutter who carved him.
- The animated feature films produced by Disney during Walt's lifetime were not original creations which he deliberately fashioned to include characters without mothers; they were adaptations of traditional fairy tales and works of children's literature in which the "motherless child" aspect was already present.
- Most of the traditional tales and children's literature available to Disney for adaptation into animated films involved young protagonists whose mothers (or parents) were dead, absent, or inattentive, or who had been left in the care of stepparents, relatives, or others who were jealous or resentful about having to raise someone else's offspring. This circumstance is prevalent in such works because it is the central dynamic that propels the plots of those kinds of stories: They are coming-of-age tales, and the absence of one or both parents forces the youthful main characters to venture into the larger world without parental guidance and protection (particularly of the maternal kind), to learn the lessons necessary to overcome adversity, and to succeed or fail on their own terms. In the storybook milieu, Bambi must acquire the skills required to survive in the forest and achieve maturity, Pinocchio must learn to allow his conscience to guide him in determining right from wrong rather than acting on selfish impulse, and Dumbo must come to accept that a confident belief in his abilities (not a magic talisman) is the key to his success — steps which those characters could not (or would not) take if they were still receiving the benefits maternal protection and care.
Simply put, the "motherless character" aspect of children's films is far from unique to Walt Disney's conscience — it's a long-established literary form that is a central feature of many non-Disneyfied works, everything from Charles Perrault's version of Cinderella to L. Frank Baum's Oz books to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. "