- “Oh, my fur and whiskers! I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!”
- ―White Rabbit
The White Rabbit is a major character from Disney's 1951 animated film Alice in Wonderland. He is an anthropomorphic rabbit that serves as the Queen of Hearts's royal herald, an obligation to which he is often late. While hurrying to work one day, the White Rabbit catches the attention of a young girl named Alice, who follows the rabbit into Wonderland to find out why he was late.
The White Rabbit is a jittery individual. It can be concluded that he is amongst the sanest of Wonderland's residents, as his actions are more akin to a befuddled elderly man, rather than a lunatic on the level of the Mad Hatter. He is known to be high-strung, though this is a result of the ill-tempered Queen of Hearts, who will surely kill the rabbit for being tardy.
In the film, he was not particularly kind to Alice (during the trial scene), but not that he wishes to be or he is an antagonist, but because he is following his Queen's orders, though he did seem to be trying to be nice to Alice by waving to her while trying to make it clear that he did not have to time to stop and engage in conversation. This makes the rabbit a somewhat complex character, and his true role in the story can be seen in several ways. All in all, though, he's not villainous, and is ultimately a neutral figure, as he merely follows orders.
The rabbit is small and plump. He's notable for wearing a waistcoat and grayish periwinkle trouser when outside the castle grounds and is always seen with his massive-sized watch. He wears glasses and has eyes the color of pink and crimson pupils matching his nose and ear innards. When working for the Queen of Hearts, however, the rabbit dons a different outfit, that being a thick aqua ruff with white flags on the front that also sports the Queen's signature heart symbol.
The White Rabbit was first shown walking peacefully without a care in the world until he looks at his watch and realizes that he is late for announcing the Queen of Hearts, being her herald. He then rushes to his rabbit hole, with a young girl named Alice following behind as she is curious to know what the occasion is. The White Rabbit notices her but tells her he has no time for chatting because he's late. After entering his Rabbit Hole, Alice enters as well and is taken to the world of Wonderland.
She proceeds with chasing the Rabbit but loses him after meeting two goofs named Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. After leaving them, she stumbles upon a pink home. The White Rabbit appears and claims it as his own. He then confuses Alice for his maid, Mary Ann, (possibly due to bad eyesight) and orders her to fetch his glove. While looking for the gloves, Alice finds some sweets and takes a bite. The sweets begin to make her humongous in size. The White Rabbit believes her to be a monster and rushes off to get help. He finds Dodo, who plans to burn the house down to get Alice out, much to the Rabbit's despair. As the house begins to burn, Alice eats a carrot from the Rabbit's garden and shrinks to the size of an insect.
Alice loses the White Rabbit once more, and begin to ask the locals for help in finding him. She meets the Cheshire Cat who informs her to ask the Mad Hatter and March Hare. She does so and the Rabbit actually appears. Before she can ask the question, however, the Mad Hatter grabs a hold of the Rabbit's watch and finds out why he's so late: the watch is "two days slow." So the Mad Hatter dips the watch in tea and opens up to discover - with a salt container as a lens - the problem: the watch is full of wheels. As a result, he takes out many wheels and springs with a fork in his attempt to fix it. The Rabbit watches with horror and tries to intervene to save his watch but to no avail. The Mad Hatter adds ingredients, with a little help from the March Hare and (unwittingly) the Rabbit, to the mixture: the very best butter, tea, two spoons of sugar, jam, mustard (which is rejected, since it's too silly for him), and juice from a lemon. Thinking that it's done the trick, he closes the watch. Then, the watch goes haywire and spits out springs and wheels all over the place as it moves across the table. The March Hare uses a mallet to crush the "mad watch," bringing tears to the Rabbit. After hearing that the watch was an unbirthday present, the Mad Hatter and March Hare wish him a "very merry unbirthday" and get him on the run.
Alice then finds an entrance to the kingdom of the Queen of Hearts, where she also finds the White Rabbit and the reason he was in a hurry: he works as the Queen's herald, and was almost late to announce her arrival. There, the Cheshire Cat repeatedly gets her in trouble, resulting in a trial. At the trail, the White Rabbit is present, and the Cheshire Cat gets Alice in trouble again, this time, resulting in a climactic chase.
At the end of the chase, Alice suddenly wakes up and realizes her entire adventure was nothing more than a dream.
The White Rabbit appeared alongside many other Disney characters in House of Mouse. White Rabbit appears in the series and its films. The White Rabbit's most notable appearance was in "Clarabelle's Big Secret", in which Clarabelle Cow got him to confess that he was not actually late for anything.
In "Mickey vs. Shelby", he was hiding behind Daisy's desk in the lobby, because Alice was looking for him once again. Alice asked if he'd come by there and Daisy replied, "Nope, sorry." After Alice continued with her search further into the club, he hopped onto the desk and thanked Daisy for not revealing where he was.
In "Everybody Loves Mickey", the White Rabbit appeared in the lobby, telling her that he needed his reservation rescheduled for the next night. Then, she told him that his time management was her problem. The White Rabbit can also be seen in the opening being held by Daisy Duck.
In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, at Aladdin and Jasmine's wedding, the Genie briefly transforms into the White Rabbit shouting that he's late (referring to his duty of presenting the bride). He quickly transforms back, though he retains enough of the character to sound the White Rabbit's signature trumpet blast on a horn of his own.
Another version of the White Rabbit from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland makes a brief appearance in the Once Upon a Time Season 7 episode "Beauty". He's shown to be an ordinary rabbit that another version of Alice was chasing until she stumbled onto Rumplestiltskin just as he came out through a portal.
The White Rabbit appeared in the 1995 series, portrayed by Patrick Richwood. The White Rabbit is the Queen's personal chef, servant, butler, event planner, shopping assistant, and every other job that she can think of at the time. He wears roller skates to get around and occasionally loses control with humorous results. He is also exceptionally timid, unable to stand up to the Queen when he is being treated unjustly. Rabbit is good friends with the other citizens of Wonderland, and he is often a notable accomplice in their schemes, given his proximity to Her Majesty. Though he occasionally complains, the White Rabbit is actually the Queen's closest confidant, and he often sympathizes with her.
- “Many people have come and gone from Wonderland, but only the special ones find out what it's truly about... Finding yourself”
- ―Percy, the White Rabbit to Alice
In his début, he aids in Alice's escape from the mental asylum and brings her back to Wonderland. However, he is also an unwilling spy for the Red Queen and was sent to fetch and observe Alice in return for an unknown purpose. The White Rabbit is both reluctant and fearful for his life but accompanies Alice and the Knave of Hearts in their journey.
Some time afterward, however, the White Rabbit is caught in the plans of Jafar and is forced into working for him, acting as his ticket to the world outside of Wonderland, where Jafar enlists him in helping kidnap Alice's father, planning on using him as bait for the girl. It's also revealed in the season finale that the rabbit's been joining forces with the villains and betraying Alice because his family, and very own life, is in danger. The Red Queen held his family hostage and forced him into work, whilst Jafar threatened to murder him should he refuse to cooperate. However, both Alice and the Knave were able to help with the rabbit's crises, ultimately saving his family and allowing him to rejoin their side.
After all of the trials and tribulations that he and his allies face, Alice and Cyrus are able to trick Jafar into stealing water from the Well of Wonders, turning him into a Genie. The two ask Percy to take them back to England so that they can finally be married. Percy does as he is asked. Even more so, The White Rabbit performs the ceremony himself in front of Alice's family, Cyrus' brothers and many of their companions from Wonderland. Alice later thanks Percy for leading her into many wondrous adventures, and he congratulates her on discovering the true purpose of Wonderland. To discover the self-confidence and sense of oneself, he bids Alice and Cyrus farewell and grants all of his friends a safe return to their destinations. Years later, The White Rabbit, fondly witnesses Alice and Cyrus sitting down to tea with their young daughter.
In the game, The Queen of Hearts stole the ending to Alice in Wonderland, revamping it so that she would win by beheading Alice. The player and Jiminy Cricket travel to Wonderland to make things right. The White Rabbit guides them to the exit after the player finds Alice's detached head.
In Kingdom Hearts, Sora, Donald, and Goofy first come across the White Rabbit in the Rabbit Hole, shortly after landing in Wonderland. He runs through the area in a panic; late to introduce the Queen of Hearts and to begin Alice's trial. The trio follows the White Rabbit into the Bizzare Room, where they notice that he has somehow gotten smaller and are left in confusion as the White Rabbit exits through a tiny door.
The Doorknob of the small door suggests drinking a bottle on the table. This causes the trio to shrink down, allowing them to enter the Queen's Court. There, the White Rabbit introduces the Queen, blowing his trumpet and signaling the start of the trial in which Alice is accused of attempting to steal the Queen's heart.
The White Rabbit's role in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is quite similar to his role in Kingdom Hearts, with some minor changes. When they first enter Wonderland, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are passed by the White Rabbit in the Lotus Forest, once again late to begin Alice's trial. The trio follows him into the Queen's Court, where he blows his trumpet so that the trial may begin. This time, Alice is accused of being responsible for the Heartless and for stealing the Queen of Hearts' memory. The White Rabbit explains to Alice that the charges are very serious and without the Queen's memory they would not be able to get rid of the Heartless that are infesting the kingdom.
When Roxas goes on his first mission to Wonderland in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he arrives in the Rabbit Hole just in time to see the White Rabbit run by. Once again, the White Rabbit is late and panics as he runs into the Bizarre Room. Similar to the events that take place in Kingdom Hearts, Roxas enters the Bizarre Room surprised to see that the White Rabbit has shrunken. The Doorknob explains that the bottle on the table will make Roxas smaller, so he uses it to shrink down in order to fight Heartless and complete his mission. As he leaves, he wonders to himself where exactly the White Rabbit had gone. Later, Roxas is paired up with Luxord on a mission to eliminate some Pink Concertos. Although Roxas doesn't encounter the White Rabbit on this visit, he explains the encounter to Luxord before the mission begins.
When Luxord and Roxas return once more on a mission to locate and destroy three Commanders, the White Rabbit passes them in the Rabbit Hole and Luxord convinces Roxas to follow. The two Nobodies follow the White Rabbit to the Queen's Court and overhear him reporting to the Queen of Hearts. The Queen's soldiers had been searching for a trio that had startled her and he explains that the only place they could be is the Royal Rose Garden. The "trio" happens to be the three Commanders that Roxas and Luxord were sent to destroy. The White Rabbit's hint helps them to do so, allowing them to complete their mission.
In Kingdom Hearts coded, the virtual Sora finds the White Rabbit hiding in the Tea Party Garden. Speaking to the White Rabbit about the "pocket patch" allows Sora to obtain the "trial" memory. Answering Alice's questions will reveal that she had been chasing the White Rabbit and that she also had a Tea Party with the March Hare and the Mad Hatter, celebrating the lack of a birthday.
The White Rabbit (now voiced by Jeff Bennett) plays a role in the Alice in Wonderland mini-game and also appears as a meet-and-greet character in the "it's a small world" area. In the mini-game, the Rabbit falls down the rabbit hole with the player and is seen again at the end, leaving the Mad Tea Party.
The White Rabbit has made many appearances at the Disney theme parks as a walk-around character and is usually seen with Alice and the Mad Hatter who are more common than he is. Notably, prior to the mid-1990s, the White Rabbit costume used at the Disney parks was identical to the parks' Easter Bunny costume.
In Disneyland, the White Rabbit shows up occasionally to the popular musical chairs game, joining Alice and the Mad Hatter. The White Rabbit also appears as an audio-animatronic in the dark ride, Alice in Wonderland. In the hub of Disneyland are miniature bronze statues of various characters, including the White Rabbit.
In Disneyland's Fantasmic!, the White Rabbit can be seen riding the Mark Twain Riverboat during the finale. He also made a brief appearance during the Genie segment of the 2017 revamped version.
At the Magic Kingdom, the White Rabbit makes occasional appearances near the Mad Tea Party attraction for meet-and-greets. He also appears in the park's daily Festival of Fantasy Parade and is a character in Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration, this time with an articulated head.
In Disney's Hollywood Studios' version of Fantasmic!, The White Rabbit is seen during the bubble montage.
A statue of the White Rabbit can be seen outside of the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, while his likeness is also featured inside the restaurant itself.
- In "Kinect Disneyland Adventures", the White Rabbit has five fingers on each hand, while in his first appearances, he only has four.
- In Alice in Wonderland, during the Mad Hatter's tea party, the White Rabbit says that his watch was an unbirthday present, but it is unknown who gave it to him. In the French translations of this scene, the White Rabbit says on the contrary that it was "un cadeau de non-anniversaire de mon cousin Jeannot" ("an unbirthday present from my cousin John") because Jeannot Lapin ("John Rabbit") is a frequent name of anthropomorphic rabbits in French children illustrated books.
- During the scene in the original 1951 film where Alice is in the White Rabbit's house, there are a few possible hints at the White Rabbit's family life. The most obvious is a portrait on the wall by the staircase of either two adult rabbits and at least four rabbit children or three adults and five children, which may be his wife and children and possibly a few other relatives.
- Every time White Rabbit's watch is seen, it reads 12:25.
- In the Mickey Mouse Works cartoon "Babysitters", his broken watch is also shown in a scene when Goofy, Mickey, and Donald are pushed to buy a clock.