Aurora is born a princess to King Stephan and his wife Queen Leah. At birth she is promised to be married to Prince Phillip. Three fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, come to give her gifts. Flora gives her the gift of beauty, and Fauna gives her the gift of song. Merryweather is about to give her gift when the evil fairy Maleficent apprears. She places a curse on Aurora, which fortells that before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. Merryweather decides that her gift would be not death, but sleep until true love's kiss broke the spell. In order to protect the young Aurora from Maleficent's curse, King Stefan orders all spinning wheels in the kingdom are to be burned, and the three good fairies disguise themselves as peasants and take her to a woodcutter's cottage in the woods to keep her safe. She is rennamed Briar Rose.
Sixteeen years pass, and Briar Rose has grown into a very beautiful young woman. She loves the three women who have raised her, but dreams of a love she has met "once upon a dream". On the day of her sixteenth birthday, her caretakers send her out into the woods to pick berries, but unbeknownst to her they only want to remove her so they can prepare for her surprise birthday party. While in the woods, she encounters and immediately falls in love with a dashing young man who happens to be Prince Phillip, while neither are aware of the other's identity, and neither are aware that they are the others' betrothed. Aurora travels back to her home in the forest where the three good fairies surprise her with a cake and a beautiful dress, but they also surprise her with the news that she is in fact the Princess Aurora in hiding and she can never see her love from the forest again for she is betrothed to Prince Phillip. A heartbroken Aurora and the three fairies travel back to King Stefan's castle.
Upon arriving at the castle, the good fairies take Aurora to her private chambers and bestow her with her own crown, "as is her right and royal duty". Unfortunately, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather leave Aurora to grieve alone, and Maleficent appears in a corridor behind the fireplace in Aurora's room. A glowing green orb enchants Aurora and she follows it down the corridor and up several flights of stairs and into a room where the only spinning wheel in the kingdom waits for her to prick her finger on its spindle. She fulfills the curse placed on her, but due to Merryweather's magic she falls into a deep sleep, avoiding death.
After defeating Maleficent with the help of the three good fairies, Prince Phillip is able to travel to the sleeping beauty and lay true love's kiss upon her lips, awakening her from lifeless sleep, and due to a charm placed by the three fairies, he awakens the entire kingdom as well. Aurora and Phillip learn each other's true identities, and after Aurora reunites with her parents, the two dance in the hall in Stefan's castle.
She is the first Disney character to have violet or purple eyes, followed by Megara.
In the ABC show Once Upon a Time, she has auburn hair. When the Greek Wraithe attacked, she was saved by Phillip, but he received the mark and sacrificed himself for Aurora. She and Mulan laid him to rest in their castle, and then found Mary Margaret and Emma under the rubble. She then helps Mulan take Mary Margaret and Emma to the survivors camp to lock them up. When Mary Margaret and Emma go on a quest with Mulan, Aurora tries to kill Mary Margaret. She then travels with them from then on. She is kidnapped by Cora's undead warriors and has her heart ripped out by captain hook. Cora then controls her and makes her trap herself and the others in Rumplestiltskin's cell. When they leave to go home she tells them to tie her up so she can't help Cora and Hook. Mulan ends up saving Aurora's heart and puts it back in her body. Then they both go on a quest to try and save Prince Phillip's soul and return it to his body. In the finale of season 2, Aurora is seen with Mulan and an awakened Prince Phillip saving Neal on the beach. It is also mentioned that she is the daughter of the original sleeping beauty.