I grew up on Disney movies when I was younger, as many children do. The only difference between me and them is that when I graduated into young adulthood I never really grew out of the “Disney” phase. There is something magical about watching a Disney classic; it brings back feelings of nostalgia and comfort. As I’ve gotten older, I have re-watched some of my childhood favorites and realized which ones I still fall in love with every time. I’m basing this not only on the movie itself, but also on the music and the message that it sends.
(I also want to clarify, this is simply a subjective list of Disney classics, so as such I am not including DCOMS, other non-musicals, or new movies post-2005.)
10. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
My nursery was themed after Winnie the Pooh, so I guess you could say I have a little bit of a nostalgia factor here in my decision. But it’s just a cute movie and the songs are quite catchy.
9. The Lion King
I refuse to lie and say that “The Lion King” is my all-time favorite Disney movie. It isn’t. That being said, the soundtrack is absolutely impeccable, and the characters are so fleshed out it feels more realistic than it should for an animation about lions. Also, I’m never going to get over Mufasa’s death.
8. Peter Pan
I don’t really have an emotional connection to “Peter Pan,” but I love the message that it sends. Who can resist the lost boys and smug Peter, who insists that he never wants to grow up. I sure wish I had never grown up. It’s a really fun movie to watch, and Tinker Bell is in her prime here: pouting for attention and overall acting like a jealous b*tch.
7. The Fox and the Hound
This movie hurts my heart. I remember watching this as a child and not understanding what happened, but it’s such an underrated movie in my opinion. “The Fox and the Hound” is all about unlikely friendships and rejecting social norms, which is something that Disney rarely mentions. My grandmother had this movie on at her house, so my sisters and I used to go over there and make hot cocoa before settling down on the couch.
I just recently watched “Tarzan” and I’m so sad that I missed out on it for so long. I’m sure I watched it as a child, but the movie never stuck out in my head as being anything spectacular. The messages about a mother’s love paired with Phil Collins best songs is a masterpiece, and I’m only sorry I hadn’t appreciated it sooner.
5. The Jungle Book
This is purely my nostalgia talking, but I loved “The Jungle Book” growing up. Another hot cocoa classic, this movie was just fun to watch. “The Bare Necessities” is such a fun song, and I remember dancing around my living room every single time it came on.
4. Beauty and the Beast
Out of all the classic Disney princess films, I chose this movie for two reasons. One: The soundtrack is by far one of the best. Angela Lansbury’s rendition of “Beauty and the Beast” literally moves me to tears every time it comes on. And two: I’m a sucker for libraries. Belle is an outcast in her village, but turns to books in her time of need. That’s a pretty good message to send to kids.
3. Lilo and Stitch
The top three could really be in any order, but I adore “Lilo and Stitch.” The connection between Nani and Lilo is sweet to watch, and at the end of the day there isn’t much romance. It’s just a feel-good movie with some really catchy luau songs. “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” Tell me you don’t want to hug your family after watching this fantastic Disney classic. This movie is best served on the couch snuggled up against your siblings.
2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
This is such an underrated movie, and it’s so beautiful. The animation inside Notre Dame is absolutely breathtaking, and in light of recent events I think we all could use the trip down memory lane. It’s also one of the darkest movies Disney has ever created. I especially love to watch this one when there is a thunderstorm.
1. Mary Poppins
Oh Mary. I know this isn’t technically all animated, but the penguins are so it counts. It is also one of Walt Disney’s favorite movies, and don’t even get me started on the music or Julie Andrews herself. “Feed the Birds” and “A Spoonful of Sugar” have been in my collection for years. My mom and I both adore Mary Poppins, and after recently watching “Saving Mr. Banks” we love this classic even more. It truly is one of the greatest Disney movies of all time—fight me on this.
All in all, I will always have a soft spot for Disney movies and the Walt Disney company. Re-watching these movies will always bring back lovely nostalgia. Walt was such an inspirational man, and so I will leave you with his words.
“I hope that we never lose sight of one thing— that it was all started by a mouse.”
Thanks for making my childhood magical, Walt.