And, sometimes, Disney gives them what they had coming, and then way, way more. Here are seven Disney villains who got dispatched in (sometimes literally) gut-wrenching ways sure to keep the kiddies up for many nights.
Ursula is a sea witch, which any marine biologist will tell you means "eight-legged obese Mermoctopus." After the movie's heroine Ariel meets Prince Eric (Eric? Really Disney?), she decides that she absolutely must become human, probably due to the limitations of human/mermaid sex.
"Oh, okay, I can see why this is going to be a problem."
The evil Ursula gives her a set of legs and lungs in exchange for her voice. Being an evil bitch, Ursala makes the trade at the bottom of the ocean. Ariel becomes human and almost drowns, barely managing to make it to shore, and Ursula, who's somehow a heavy smoker, cackles raspily because she totally saw that shit coming. What a bitch.
How She Died:
Near the end of the movie, Ursala blackmails king Triton into giving her the Magical Trident, the "One Ring" of The Little Mermaid. This allows her to transform into a giant, super Ursula that controls the weather.
The Prince, deciding that he's had quite enough of this shit, steers his ship through a whirling vortex of doom and freaking impales Ursula right through the gut.
For whatever reason, this causes lighting to strike her for an effective electro-stab combo. If they'd only stuck an explosive in her mouth, they would have covered the shark-kills from all four Jaws movies.
She screams in agony and falls back into the ocean, the saltwater and electricity searing through the massive open wound in her belly and charring her huge, exposed intestines (that last part is implied but not shown).
The horror of this fresh in everyone's mind, the king gets his Trident back, and makes everyone happy and everything better somehow. Is there no problem a large-scale impalement can't solve?
Scar is King Mufasa's brother. He not only conspired against and subsequently killed his own brother, but tried to kill his nephew and (presumably) boned his late brother's wife.
This is the sort of thing that goes on all the time among lions, but nobody makes a fuss until the lions start talking.
How He Died:
When the fully grown Simba finally returns from his frolicking adventure with the comedy relief, he returns, likely hoping for some kind of peaceful resolution. Scar is having none of it, despite that fact that he's an old rag next to Simba.
After the longest, least sexy catfight we've ever seen, Scar is thrown from the cliff and finds himself in front of his hyena minions. The very same hyena minions he just sold out to Simba a few moments before. The heyenas question his leadership skills, and quit their jobs, leaving Scar to think about what he's done. Oh wait, no they actually tear him to shreds.
The lesson: Never insult a Hyena.
Fun fact: Hyena's jaws are strong enough to crush bone. We of course have no way of knowing which part of Scar's body their teeth ripped through first, so we're forced to assume it was his dick.
Shan-Yu is a Mongolian warlord. The movie says very little about where he came from, but, judging by the eyes, we're going to assume he's a distant Mongolian relative of Darth Maul.
How He Died:
Mulan, who the movie repeatedly demonstrates is the single competent human being in China, follows Shan-Yu alone, eventually climbing onto the roof to set up an elaborate trap. Shan-Yu uses his Mongolian ninja powers to jump through the roof right next to her.
Using her fan, Mulan manages to pull the sword out of his hand in a move that makes Bruce Lee look like a white belt. Just as Mulan is about to kill Shan-Yu, the assistant producer reminds her that this movie needs a G rating. So, she stabs her sword into the ground and kicks him instead. Our bloodlust looks like it's going to go woefully unfulfilled. But wait!
It's Deus Ex Machina, the friendly dragon, come to help her! He fires a rocket the size of Texas, strong enough to lift the 600-lb man off his feet and torpedo him into a building crammed full of miscellaneous fireworks. Kapoosh.
So basically, it's the ludicrously violent death from Naked Gun, only instead of being played for laughs, it's the climax of a kids movie. Burning chunks of Mongolian fall from the sky, always kept barely off-camera or behind an explosion, as everyone below celebrates. Happy days, indeed.
"I think you've got one of Shan-Yu's teeth in your hair."
Clayton is a hunter who visits Tarzan's neck of the woods. Everything from the red scarf to the tiny-ass mustache gives off clear douchebag signals. He's the neighbor your father used to hate. Worse, he turns out be a hunter of gorillas (not actually legal) and he shoots Tarzan's adopted daddy to death.
How He Died:
When it comes to jumping around trees in the jungle and swinging from vines, nobody can beat Tarzan, though we suppose a freaking double-barreled shotgun that doesn't need reloading doesn't hurt your cause. Having failed to learn the lessons of history and the first two Rambo films, Clayton decides his superior weaponry is all he needs to fight Tarzan on his own turf.
The struggle ends up with Clayton suspended over a cliff, tangled up in vines. He starts hacking away at everything, save for the vines that are tightening around his neck which, quite frankly, we would have started with.
Finally, he cuts one vine too many and they can't support his weight. Vines still around his neck, he falls...
Lightning strikes, revealing the shadow of his dangling, lifeless corpse. Clayton snapped his neck on the vines and he is left hanging there, his big swollen tongue hanging out, his eyes bulging, and the contents of his bowels slowly making their way down his trouser leg.
Or he died from exposure after hanging there for two or three days. Either way, what the hell Disney?
Gaston is the last thing you would expect to come out of France. He's a big, strong hunter that get's all the babes in Belle's town. He brags a lot and shows off his ultra-manly chest hair almost as often. He's like the leader of the whole town just because he's such a stud. He's also mildly retarded.
"What is this, some kind of sandwich with words on it?"
He ignores the gorgeous blondes that come after him all the time, instead going after a brunette that has no interest in him whatsoever. This is likely because Belle represents the modern independent woman, who shuns egotistical jerks like Gaston and greatly favors smart guys, at least in cartoons.
"Reading is sexy."
How He Died:
Gaston, most likely jealous of Beast's chest hair, leads an angry mob (torches and pitchforks included) to storm the castle where he lives. Because the castle is full of moving, talking furniture, hilarity ensues. After an epic confrontation with Beast, Gaston is left dangling over a precipice. Beast pulls a Simba and spares his life, leading to an understanding and peaceful reconciliation between the two.
No, we're just kidding. Beast is promptly stabbed in the back, proving that, if you have your adversary at your mercy, for God's sake, finish him off.
Gaston is then knocked off the tower, and is impaled on a cluster of spikes that seem to exist for no reason other than for plummeting villains to land on.
Given the baffling number of enchanted objects that exist in the castle, these spikes were probably anthropomorphic balladeers, singing a cheery tune as Gaston was (ironically, mind you) shanked in the back by them.
We can't help but wonder if a sunny day's walk in the garden after Belle's and the Prince's (formerly Beast) honeymoon wasn't suddenly interrupted by the sight of Gaston's mangled corpse, left there as a warning to all who would cross them.
In the old days, when Mr. Incredible fought crime daily on the streets, he met a little inventor kid who wanted to be his sidekick. Mr. Incredible turns him down, and the boy gets pissed.
After years and years of angsty plotting, he finally lures Mr. Incredible to his island to kill him and launch his master plan to... become a superhero. Okay, then!
How He Died:
Syndrome, after being defeated by a slew of superheroes in the city, escapes to steal Mr. and Mrs. Incredible's baby son. He succeeds and flies into the air, laughing maniacally.
The baby, Jack-Jack, then changes into some sort of demon and starts beating the crap out of Syndrome. Syndrome drops the baby, and Mrs. Incredible catches him, leaving Syndrome without hostage.
Mr. Incredible throws a car at Syndrome, and it hits his escape plane, knocking Syndrome into the engine of the jet.
The jet turbines suck him up, the razor-sharp blades dicing him into dozens of tiny pieces, turning his body into salsa from the feet up.
Mercifully, the plane explodes, ending his agony with a quick fiery death. Who's the superhero now, kid! Not you! Because you're a charred and mutilated corpse!
Frollo is the bigwig of the Church in Paris. He has a thing for Esmeralda, but also wants her to burn in Hell for being so ridiculously hot, as evidenced in the best melodramatic song in any Disney movie ever. He also killed Quasimodo's mother and got Quazi to live in the Cathedral, never leaving his entire life.
And this picture makes him look like a creepy ol' pervert.
How He Died:
Frollo finally just gets sick of Quasimodo, and wants to kill him along with Esmeralda. Quasi grabs his hand just before Frollo can stab him, and completely overpowers the old man. Quasimodo grabs Esmeralda and runs outside to the Cathedral roof, conveniently setting the scene for a dramatic final battle.
Everyone somehow ends up hanging over a ledge, with Esmeralda holding Quasi and Frollo and flames raging below. Quasimodo fails to let go of Frollo and kill him, so once more the hero is punished for that decision.
Frollo swings over to another ledge and draws his sword again. As he prepares to decapitate Esmeralda, he quotes:
"...And he shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!"
...after which the gargoyle he is standing on (it's implied that the gargoyle is sentient, or an angel or something) breaks and sends Frollo plunging down.
Not just any death. Frollo plunges into a lake of fire clearly meant to symbolize Hell, where his flesh will be burned continually for eternity. Proving once again there is no god more cruel and vengeful than Disney.