Top 5 Animated Disney Movies!

Today, the Top 5 ventures into super-heated territory…peoples favorite animated Disney movies. Think about it already…how do you narrow down your favorite Disney movies to a list of just 5? And then you need to RANK those five? I have a feeling men’s lists will be different than women’s list, and members of my generation will have different thoughts than older adults or younger kids.

Disney produced it’s first movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves back in 1937. That is two years before WWII started. The Chicago Cubs had only gone 30 years without a World Series win at this point. It followed with 14 movies in the 1940’s and took off from there. But Disney started to lose its way in the following years as far as animated features goes. They produced a ton of movies but almost all of them were live action until they had a breakthrough in 1989. The movie that came out then, of course, was The Little Mermaid. They decided to make the Little Mermaid like an animated Broadway musical, and it became a commercial and criticle success over night, becoming the highest grossing animated film ever and was nominated for three Academy Awards and won 2. This era was called The Disney Renaissance.

The Disney renaissance ran from 1989 to about 1999 with the movie Tarzan. The movies in this era cost Disney a total of $613 million and grossed $3,940,918,658. As a whole, they got 10 oscars (24 nominations) and had four soundtrack albums hit the top 10 of the US charts, two reaching number one. Let us just say this era was WILDLY successful for Disney.

So, how do you possibly pick 5? Today, my sister Lindsay and I try to do just that. Lindsay is my other twin sister (Katie wrote awhile back about her favorite TV and Movie teachers on this site). Lindsay graduated from UW-O this past year and currently works for an ad agency in Phoenix, AZ. She has a website featuring her wonderful art here:

1. Beauty and the Beast- “THEE Disney Classic” You don’t get much more Disney than Beauty and the Beast unless it’s Cinderella, and lets face it…no one likes her as a princess…she’s blonde and annoying. ‘Brunettes have more fun’ holds true in Beauty and the Beast. Thanks for keeping it real and representing, Belle. Plus, Gaston eats RAW eggs…which is sort of awesome.

Belle and the Beast

2. Mulan- I truly believe Mulan is the most underrated and the second- best Disney movie ever. The classic princess is given a badass persona as she replaces petty melo-drama like cleaning houses and kissing princes with honoring her family and saving her elderly fathers life…and she STILL gets the man in the end. TOTAL BAMF. Mulan also has the best line right at the end of the movie. When the hot stud warrior visits Mulan’s household. Mulan offers “would you like to stay for dinner?” Mulan’s quirky grandmother yells out “would you like to stay forever?!?!” As a kid, I laughed at that. As an adult, I theoretically die inside thinking about it. (Editors note: IF you get goosebumps at the end of Return of the King when Aragorn says to the 4 hobbits, “My friends, you bow to no one”, Mulan has a moment very similar that will also give you goosebumps.)


3. Peter Pan-  Everything about Peter Pan is completely amazing. As a kid you want to be on Peter’s adventures with him as he sets foot in Neverland. Of course, as a girl, you picture yourself as Wendy and your first crush ever in your life inevitably becomes Peter himself. Disney movies were just so much better in the 50’s. There weren’t the rules and ethics involved like there are now, allowing Disney to create all sorts of memorable adventures for kids.

Peter Pan and Tinker Bell

4. Lilo and Stitch- Walt Disney outdid itself with this amazing animated movie. The Hawaiian islands come alive with the real life animations and authentic Hawaiian music. The movie brings true emotion to the viewers with a good plot and engaging storyline- even for an alien movie!

Lilo and Stitch

5.  Rescuers- Down Under. Just a good childhood flick. Scary, suspenseful, warm, inviting, shocking and the cutest little mice I ever did see.

The Rescuers

Ok, good list sister. Full Disclosure: This was honestly a really hard list for me to make. I wrote out a list and before even stopping to look I had 10 movies that should all be on this list. Disney movies have a pretty big impact on my life (as I am sure most people have stories and memories of them). They do encourage us to dream big and shoot for the stars and yada yada yada, and that is power on a young mind. So, with that said, I am really sorry to movies I left off this list. Here we go:

5. Hunchback of Notre Dame – Perhaps a Dark Horse, this movie was awfully dark. Despite having the voice of George Costanza as one of the gargoyles, this movie from start to finish is probably the darkest movie Disney has ever made. It has a Roman Catholic feel to it as the main villain, a religious man, hunts down and kills gypsies. The messages of different is bad and don’t judge a book by its cover are incredibly strong throughout the movie, but also seeing what greed, corruption and obsession can do is really powerful for young minds. I implore anyone out there to give this movie another chance.

The Hunchback isn’t as evil as he seems…

4. Pocahontas – The new world and British exploriation of the New World is my favorite time during our history. The Native American culture has always fascinated me. Anyone that knows me could probably tell you that. Pocahontas has some incredible themes as far as a Disney movie goes. Themes such as sharing, war, racism, ownership, and the term ‘savage’. Think about that. There is no war between humans in other Disney movies. Usually it is the hero vs the mythical villain, but in Pocahontas it is human vs human. Those are heavy issues to throw into a kids movie. (Also, this movie is still better than Avatar…YEA I SAID IT!)

Who would want to attack her?!

3. Lion King – I would be remiss if I left out the Lion King. The Lion King is Disney’s most successful movie, grossing $961 million all time at the box office. Watching it, you can’t help but run the spectrum of emotions. In 2 hours, you grow up with Simba and feel every triumph and success he has. You feel childish as he sings I just can’t wait to be King, you feel terrified with him as the wildebeest come crashing down on him, and you tear up as Mufasa perishes. You meet his new friends as he is in exile, you fall in love as he does, and you cheer as he runs back to Pride Rock. The Lion King puts forth to young minds the idea of destiny. Simba was BORN to be king. It was his Destiny. And jeez, I haven’t even touched on Scar as a villain yet. Holy Hitler references! The faith and the fear of letting people you care about down are all touched on in this movie as well. Thank god for Rafiki setting Simba straight…

I would love to hang out with Timone and Pumba for a day.

2. Aladdin – Oh Aladdin. Perhaps my favorite male character in a Disney movie, Aladdin is just fun. A daring street rat just trying to survive, finds a magic lamp and his fortunes change. But with power can come corruption. And we see Aladdin forced to choose between his word and the life he could have with Jasmine. Ultimately, Aladdin does what is right; defeats Jafar, frees the Genie and still gets the girl…who, by the way, has a PET TIGER! Awesome.

I bet you could win any girl’s heart if you had a Magic Carpet too.

1. Little Mermaid – My favorite Disney movie as a child, and still the only Disney movie I own on a real DVD. The movie that started the whole renaissance that led to every other movie on my list. The tale of someone born into a family who didn’t want to follow in the, well, footsteps of the people that came before her. Ariel believed there was a bigger world out there, she believed there was something MORE out there. Ariel is one of the only Disney characters to actually change her living setting. She follows her dream, leaves everything behind her, finds true love, and actually STAYS with her man. Aladdin never leaves Agrabah. Simba returns home to his “destiny”. Mulan fights and wins a war, but returns home. Even Wendy leaves Neverland! Not Ariel. She explores the world, takes on the evil Ursula, finds he true love, marries him, and continues on with her life of exploration. The movie also shows that beauty is on the inside (Although most men might argue it would be nice if a woman couldn’t talk for three days). Ariel, you are my hero. Keep on breaking out. You can be part of my world any day!

I don’t usually do this, but I want to give some heads up to some other movies and characters. To Mulan for being the ULTIMATE Disney badass. Not only does she destroy gender roles in her movie, she shows that even a single grain of rice can tip the scales. If I was a feminist leader, Mulan would be my symbol. Peter Pan for making every kid dream a little bit bigger and answering “what makes the red man red” (seriously, I guess racism wasn’t an issue back in 1953).  Robin Hood for showing that maybe there is honor in stealing. Keep on oo-da-lallying buddy. And Bernard and Bianca for showing us that real love isn’t a kiss that wakes people up from a slumber, it’s experiencing the best moments in life with one another and realizing that there is no one else you would rather be within those moments.

That does it for today. Good luck guys, I totally understand how tough this list can be to make. Do your best and share it down below in the comments section!

Leave a comment


  1. aliberky

     /  July 26, 2012

    This decision is nearly impossible! My top 3 will never waiver but 4 & 5 sometimes get changed up. I made it (slightly) easier on myself and stuck to traditional 2D animated titles: 1. Beauty and the Beast 2.Peter Pan 3. Robin Hood 4. Hercules 5. Aladdin. I have much love for brunette heroines and Alan Menken music. Runners up include The Little Mermaid, The Sword and the Stone, Tangled and Meet the Robinsons (if I were including computer animated).

  2. Dick Leinenkugel

     /  July 27, 2012

    Jeffrey sitting on the rock at his house in Sussex at 3 years old…”I losed her once, I’m not going to lose her again.”

  3. Very nice depth :o


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