- “My name Raymond, but everybody call me Ray.”
Ray (short for Raymond) is a character from Disney's 2009 film The Princess and the Frog. He is a romantic Cajun firefly from New Orleans who aids Naveen and Tiana in finding the kind voodoo priestess Mama Odie so she can cure them of their curse. At the same time, he tries to make the two realize that they are meant for each other. He is voiced by Jim Cummings.
Friendly and helpful, despite being the smallest creature in the movie, he has the biggest heart. His true love is the Evening Star he calls Evangeline. Some of his loves include music, singing, and entertaining guests of all kind. The firefly was also shown to have no real fear; he helped fight off the frog hunters attacking Tiana and Naveen, as well as taking on Facilier's shadow demons all by himself. He is also extremely generous and agrees to help Tiana and Naveen without any reward expected (though he receives one unexpectedly nevertheless). Though undeniably sweet, he is rather eccentric, often shown to be very excitable, in spite of serious situations. Also, when angered, his golden light becomes a bright red color.
As mentioned above, he is in love with Evangeline, the Evening Star, seeing her as a goddess and proves to be quite attached to her. Though it appeared she was nothing more than a star, fireflies were revealed to become stars once they die, heavily implying that Evangeline was once an actual firefly who eventually passed away. Though, despite her death, Ray's love for her continued to shine brightly.
In spite of being rather eccentric, he proves to be quite intelligent and wise, also appearing to be considerably older than the rest of the main cast (with the obvious exception of Mama Odie). With his wisdom, he acts as, not only a good friend, but a father figure to Tiana several times throughout the film, specifically through Tiana's more emotional moments as a frog.
One day in New Orleans, a handsome prince named Naveen was turned into a frog by a witch door named Facilier. Thinking she was a princess, Naveen kissed a girl named Tiana in an attempt to break the spell. However, all this does is turn Tiana into a frog as well. The two eventually end up in the bayou, meeting Louis the alligator who decides to assist the two frogs by taking them to Mama Odie to break the curse. When Tiana and Naveen's frog instincts kick in, they attempt to eat Ray. However, they embarrassingly fail, having their tongues end up tied together. Spotting this, he flies over to help. After they are free, he introduces himself. With everyone greeted, Tiana and Naveen explain to him that they're actually human and that they need to find Mama Odie to break the curse put upon them by the evil Facilier.
Ray realizes they're going in the wrong direction (as a result of Louis) and offers to lead the way, with the brief help of his firefly family. Soon enough, they are off. Eventually, he offers to take them the rest of the way, allowing his family to return home. As they continue on, he tells Tiana, Naveen, and Louis about his girlfriend, Evangeline. After the romantic description, they're attacked by frog hunters. He tries to fend them off, but one of the hunters defeats him, rendering him unconscious for the rest of the battle, which is fortunately won by Tiana and Naveen. He is soon revived by Louis.
Tiana and Naveen fix up dinner for the group, and afterwards, Evangeline appears, having Ray starstruck as he sings a balled about his beloved. During it, Naveen and Tiana begin falling for one another, much to his happiness. He, as well as Louis, begins setting a mood for the them, helping them realize their feelings. Unfortunately, the romantic moment is cut short when a hoard of demons sent by Facilier attack and capture Naveen. They are soon rescued by Mama Odie, however, who takes them to her home; a boat in a tree. Mama Odie informs Naveen and Tiana that the only way for them to become human again is for Naveen to be kissed by Charlotte La Bouff (Tiana's best friend), who has been made the Princess of Mardi Gras.
Ray accompanies them back to New Orleans, and in during which, Naveen finally reveals his feelings for Tiana to him, much to the latter's joy. Afterwards, he accidentally tells Tiana, though she only brightens up upon hearing the news, prompting her to go out and look for the prince to proclaim their love once they docked in New Orleans. However, unbeknownst to Ray, Louis, and Tiana, Naveen was kidnapped by Facilier's demons and imprisoned. It turns out, he wants to steal the fortune of Charlotte, making him the wealthiest man in New Orleans. To do so, he has his minion, Lawrence, disguise himself as Naveen via magic to marry Charlotte, thus inheriting her father's fortune.
Unfortunately, the master plan was near completion as Tiana and Ray come across Charlotte and what appeared to be Naveen on a parade float about to marry. Feeling he betrayed their love, a heartbroken Tiana leaves the scene. Ray tries to talk her through the moment, but she snaps, calling Evangeline nothing more than a star, telling him to open his eyes before he gets hurt. This drives him to tears and looks at Evangeline, but he refuses to believe her and claims for it to be nothing more than her 'speaking out a broken heart', and instead goes to reveal the truth. He discovers the Naveen about to marry Charlotte is actually a phony, and heroically finds the real one, frees him, and puts a stop to Facilier's plot. However, it turns out Lawrence's disguise is activated by a voodoo talisman. Ray steals the trinket and rushes it to Tiana as Facilier summons his demons to stop him.
After handing it over to the woman, Ray fights off Facilier's demons, but he soon arrives and crushes Ray, fatally injuring him. His wounded body is recovered by Louis, who takes him to safety. After Facilier's demise through the heroism of Tiana, the latter reunites with Naveen, but the midnight deadline has already expired, leaving the two to remain frogs forever. Nevertheless, they decide it doesn't matter, so long as they could be together. Just then, Louis arrives with Ray in his hands. He gives his final farewell before peacefully passing away.
A funeral is held for Ray in the bayou with Tiana, Naveen, Louis, and Ray's family. As they all mourn the death of their friend, a bright light shines down on everyone from above, drawing their attention up at the sky, a bright new star appears right next to Evangeline, identified as Ray. Tiana, Naveen, and Louis are happy, as Ray's firefly family cheers ecstatically for their relative, as he finally receives his longing wish to be with his true love once again. He is seen again as a star one last time with Evangeline, both shining over New Orleans, as Tiana sings and dances with Naveen at her new restaurant at the end of the film.
Ray makes a cameo in the animated short during the end credits with Tiana.
Along with the rest of the film's characters, Ray appears in the video game adaption of the movie, being featured in several mini-games with his firefly family, Louis, Tiana, Naveen, and Mama Odie. During the game's main storyline, however, he is absent, being as the story takes place after the events of the film. However, during the final chapter, Tiana and Naveen has his firefly cousins put on a spectacle for him and Evangeline on the opening night of Tiana's Palace as they watched down on them.
Ray makes a minor non-speaking cameo during the Mickey's Soundsational Parade mini-game as part of Tiana's float.
Ray can be found in a small amount of shows. His song, "Gonna Take You There" has become one of the most used songs from the film and often played by the Disneyland Band. Despite this, however, he actually makes his only live appearance in Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream where he actually doesn't die, but joins through the entire show, including the finale.
Ray's likeness is also featured in Disney's Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World, as well as in the Princess Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom. He also appears on Tiana and Naveen's float in the recent Magic Kingdom parade, Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.
Ray makes a cameo during the So Close scene entering Tiana and Naveen's marriage kiss.
Ray can be seen in the parade during Tiana's float alongside Louis and Naveen. While the float passes by, he sings Gonna Take You There.
- "I ain't no firecracker!"
- "Oh, I'm a Cajun, bruh! Born and bred in the bayou!"
- "Go to bed, ya'll from Shreveport?!"
- "First rule of the bayou: Never take directions from a gator."
- "Ay Cousin Randy! You ready for a little bayou zydeco?!"
- "C'mon, Cher! Just follow the bouncin' butt!"
- "I talk to Evangeline most every night. She kinda shy...don't say much. But I know in my heart, someday, we gonna be together, yeah..."
- "A bug's gotta do what a bug's gotta do!"
- "I think I dun' chipped my favorite tooth..."
- "Oh, I'm fine...but your breath startin' to kill me ta death..."
- "There she is...the sweetest firefly in all creation."
- "Alright, ya'll, one more time! It don't matter what ya look like...it don't, nobody gonna sing with Ray...okay."
- "Whoa, whoa, cap! You making goo-goo eyes at my girl?!"
- "Well, if 'dat didn't say nothin', I ain't gonna say nothin'."
- "She just speaking out of a broken heart...that's all that is."
- "Don't make me light my butt!"
- Ray's death seems to be an apparent reference to Peter Pan; after he dies he joins his love Evangeline in the sky and becomes the second star...to the right.
- Ray's death may also be a reference to The Lion King, in that Timon believes that stars are fireflies.
- There are many references to Ray in the construction of Tiana's Palace. The walls of the dinner booths and the head lamps are shaped like lilypads which are symbolic of when Ray and his family helped Tiana and Naveen down the Bayou to Mama Odie, the table centerpieces are lit bayou flowers which are symbolic of the time he serenaded to Naveen and Tiana's first dance, and the restaurant is mostly decorated with green and lit gold like him. This implies that Tiana and Naveen still greatly miss him.
- Jim Cummings has said in an interview that Ray is one of his favorite roles and would enjoy doing shorts starring the character, if he wasn't killed off that is. He said that New Orleans is his favorite place.
- Ray is similar to Tinker Bell from Peter Pan in the sense of when both feel jealousy, both colors will true to red.
- Ray is a very rare Disney character who's death is not very graphic. It is not shown to have graphic parts, like Ursula, who exploded, but was only shown to be struck by lightning and sunk to the bottom of the sea, or there are some who are not shown to have been killed, such as Gaston (who just fell from the roof of the Beast's castle to his death but was not shown to have hit the ground) or Bambi's mother (who was shot by Man, but was not shown to have been shot) or there are some characters who are just shown to be dead without a scratch, such as Ray, Megara from Hercules, or Mufasa from The Lion King.
- As mentioned above, Ray is featured in the Princess Fairytale Hall in Walt Disney World, seen in a portrait of Tiana alongside a female lightning bug. Some fans believed the she was Evangeline, though this is not the case, as it's actually Ray's younger family member, Mimi.
- According to The Princess and the Frog's DVD commentary, during the earliest stages of Disney's The Frog Prince inspired film, the idea of a firefly in love with a star was always apparent, and when John Musker and Ron Clements came on to direct the film, they kept the idea.
- Unlike many other characters in the film, Ray is also fluent in French.
- During "Gonna Take You There", Ray notably shouts "Alright, Lulu, let's get to it, darling!". This is actually a reference to Jim Cummings' daughter, also named Lulu.
- According to The Princess and the Frog's DVD commentary, Ray was originally going to recover after being stepped on by Facilier. However, once the idea of his death resulted in him becoming a star beside Evangeline was suggested, the film makers altered his finale.