Fictional: Yes (possibly was a real person, but any truth is probably buried in legend at this point)
Universe: Chinese Legend/Disney
Bio: Mulan is a woman from a family with no sons (some stories say she had a brother but that he was very young). When the Chinese Army orders one man from every family to serve, Mulan saves her elderly father’s life by cross dressing and entering the Army in his place.
Why I have a crush on her:
From what I’ve read about the legend of Mulan, this may be the closest Disney has come to staying true to the original story…that has nothing to do with why I have a crush on her, it’s just interesting.
Mulan is the only Disney Princess who isn’t actually a princess. Seriously! All of the other women featured in the Disney Princess brand are royalty either by blood or marriage, but not Mulan. That’s not to say she didn’t EARN her seat at the cool kids’ table. She didn’t defeat one bad guy, she defeated THOUSANDS OF BAD GUYS! All Snow White did was bite an apple.
Mulan also showed strength (mental and physical), ingenuity, courage, and humility; remember when she was offered a job as the Emperor’s right-hand person and she turned it down because she wanted to go back to her family? She didn’t dress like a man, join the army, become the pack leader, start an avalanche that destroyed the 99% of the Hun army, and then storm the palace to defeat the main bad guy and save the emperor because she was ambitious. She did all those things because they were the right things to do (except dressing like a man, which was the only thing she could do in a misogynistic society).
And although she may have had a crush on Shang, and a romantic relationship was hinted at the end of the movie, the plot was not dependent on it, and Mulan was not dependent on him. So for everyone who says that Elsa is the first Disney heroine to not need a man, remember Mulan! (Also, Merida)