20 Once Upon a Time fairy tale and Disney adaptations ranked worst to best

The magical series brought so many stories to life, from The Little Mermaid and Frozen to Cinderella and Peter Pan, here's what we think about the show's adaptations.

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The Little Mermaid (Ursula version)

A confusing plot line and villain that wasn't very exciting was Ursula. Basically, the show took Ariel's story and made it so it was about Ursula instead. Though this twist didn't work for me because we'd already established Ariel earlier in season 3, and they both kind ended up having a similar story with just a few elements changed. If the Ursula storyline came before season 4 and meeting Ariel, then perhaps Ursula could have been both the tentacled creature and the mermaid. Now that could have been interesting! Though I do love JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Ariel and wouldn't trade her for a Dinglehopper or anything else. This honestly goes into the whole Queens of Darkness plot I didn't like as well.


It made sense why the OUAT creative team wanted to capitalize on the success of the more recent Disney movies like Frozen and Brave and expand their universe, but I think this is where things started to go wrong in the story. The focus became more on introducing all these new characters instead of concentrating on the existing main ensemble cast that we really wanted to continue to see. Even though they tried to root their backstories into the new characters, sometimes it didn't work. When it comes to Merida, not much was changed in the story. It was like watching a live-action adaption instead of those interesting Once Upon a Time twists we'd gotten used to.

Frozen/The Snow Queen

And that of course brings us to the Frozen storyline. Because it was so new, Once Upon a Time didn't want to mess with it. And I understand that. And that's why I think this one should have been left alone and not been used in the first place. The point of the show was to bring twists and uniqueness to the fairy tales that we know. And this was just a copy and paste. Was it cool that the Frozen world collided with OUAT's. Sure, I can say yes to that. But it wasn't what served the story best. It was smart to weave The Snow Queen fairytale in too and make her Elsa's aunt. Though this adaptation ranks on the lower end for me.

The Arthurian Legend

The Dark Swan storyline took us to Camelot, and threw so many curveballs at us. One of them is that King Arthur is actually not the "good" and wise king like in the legend. He becomes obsessed with making Excalibur whole, and this leads to some bad decisions on his part. And that includes using the sands of Avalon on his wife Guivevere (which is a consent issue) and the entire kingdom too. The introduction of Merlin, and using him and Nimue for the origins of the Dark One was a great plot device and one I enjoyed. Even the Sorcerer's Apprentice was thrown in there which is cool.


Jafar wasn't my favorite villain, though I do like his Once Upon a Time backstory. He's actually the illegitimate son of the Sultan, who disregards him. Thus turning Jafar into the villain that he becomes. Having Aladdin and Jasmine come on board were a fun addition as well, and I like that Aladdin is a disgraced Savior of sorts. This Disney movie was one of my favorites growing up, and I was waiting for the OUAT adaptation of it to happen for so long, and it finally did. It was also kind of cool to see this version of Aladdin and Jasmine fall in love in a different way, and Aladdin even became a genie for a bit.