All sorts of brackets pop up this time of year to capitalize on the bracket-making, March Madness craze. Disney characters, movies and songs are frequently seen in competitions, but many of these brackets seem to exclude some classic movies and characters. Well, my family set out to right this injustice by holding an ultimate Disney Character Bracket Challenge that spans the decades of Disney animated media (plus Pixar). We established four brackets of 64 characters each that fit into four categories: Support, Villains, Heroes and Heroines. The 14 voting members of the Bradley family, ranging in age from 75-3, with a median age of 32, will then vote to determine which characters advance until a winner for each bracket is chosen. When all four brackets are complete, the top 16 from each bracket will come together in the Ultimate Disney Character Bracket.
First up, the Support Character Bracket. Our chosen characters were sorted chronologically starting with the Disney animated movies proper, then the Pixar characters. This may have been the first misstep, because it lined up a lot of the classic characters against some of the more modern Pixar characters, such as Merlin versus the Incredibles kids. Sadly, my main mage did not connect with the younger audience in the family and lost his first matchup 9-5. Gurgi, another personal favorite, lost by the same margin to Fix-it Felix Jr., but that was not too surprising given how little love The Black Cauldron receives. Some of the other classic support characters fared a bit better against the newer characters, such as Little John and Baloo. Both of the Phil Harris-voiced bears advanced, but lost to a pair of Pixar participants in the next round.
Olaf, an early favorite to make it to the Final Four, easily advanced with two unanimous votes to start the bracket. He had his first real “challenge” when up against Timon and Pumba, but he managed to beat them by a large margin as well. Timon and Pumba had dispatched a family-favorite Bing Bong in a close match-up the previous round. The biggest loss in the second round was felt by my mother, whose favorite character, the Fairy Godmother, lost to the Genie, another character heavily expected to go far in the bracket. After the Fairy Godmother’s loss, the Seven Dwarfs and Jiminy Cricket were the sole bastions of the classic age holding off the youth movement in the family. However, they would go no further when up against Andy’s Toys (not counting Woody and Buzz) and the donut-loving Clawhauser. My oldest brother’s family of five personally made sure that Clawhauser and Riley’s Emotions (not counting Joy and Sadness) advanced with their uniform voting.
As expected, the Elite Eight consisted of a mix of 90s Renaissance and modern movies and I thought for sure Beast’s Enchanted Objects would make it to the Final Four. Their matchup with Andy’s Toys was the closest vote, swayed mostly by my other brother’s family of three all supporting the toys. Although Rex and that support crew turned out to be not much of a threat to the dominant Olaf. The Genie, who became my personal favorite to win after Merlin’s loss in the first round, sailed past Clawhauser but in possibly the biggest upset in this bracket, lost to the Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack Parr. The Incredible kids were clearly the dark horse contenders and won some big matchups against Merlin, Little John, Forkey, Riley’s Emotions and the Genie. Their matchup with Genie came down to a 7-7 split vote. The tiebreaker decision came down to the way the five individual family units voted, with three of the units (including mine, after my wife and son overruled me) voting to advance the Incredible children to the finals. But Olaf, who skated all the way to the Championships, put their hot streak on ice and easily claimed the title as the Bradley Family’s Top Disney Support Character.