Disney animated movies were born at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, CA, and the animation studio was founded on October 16, 1923, by Roy O. Disney and Walt Disney.
Disney Animation is an American animation studio that creates animated feature films, short films, and television specials for the Walt Disney Company.
Visit Disney’s official website for career information and see the breakdown of Disney Eras and the full Disney movies order below. Don’t forget about Disney Plus Day coming on September 8, 2022.
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Disney Animated Movies List
|Encanto||2021||Oscar; Golden Globe; Grammy|
|Raya and the Last Dragon||2021||None|
|Ralph Breaks the Internet||2018||None|
|Zootopia||2016||Oscar; Golden Globe|
|Big Hero 6||2014||Oscar; Golden Globe|
|Frozen||2013||Oscar(2); Golden Globe; Grammy(2)|
|Winnie the Pooh||2011||None|
|The Princess and the Frog||2009||None|
|Meet the Robinsons||2007||None|
|Home on the Range||2004||None|
|Lilo & Stitch||2002||None|
|Atlantis: The Lost Empire||2001||None|
|The Emperor’s New Groove||2000||None|
|Tarzan||1999||Oscar; Golden Globe; Grammy(2)|
|The Hunchback of Notre Dame||1996||None|
|Pocahontas||1995||Oscar(2); Golden Globe; Grammy|
|The Lion King||1994||Oscar(2); Golden Globe(3); Grammy(2)|
|Aladdin||1992||Oscar(2); Golden Globe(3); Grammy(4)|
|Beauty and the Beast||1991||Oscar(2); Golden Globe(3); Grammy(4)|
|The Rescuers Down Under||1990||None|
|The Little Mermaid||1989||Oscar(2); Golden Globe(2); Grammy|
|Oliver & Company||1988||None|
|The Great Mouse Detective||1986||None|
|The Black Cauldron||1985||None|
|The Fox and the Hound||1981||None|
|The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh||1977||None|
|The Jungle Book||1967||None|
|The Sword in the Stone||1963||None|
|One Hundred and One Dalmatians||1961||None|
|Lady and the Tramp||1955||None|
|Alice in Wonderland||1951||None|
|The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad||1949||None|
|Fun and Fancy Free||1947||None|
|Make Mine Music||1946||None|
|The Three Caballeros||1944||None|
|Fantasia||1940||Oscar – Honorary|
|Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs||1937||Oscar – Honorary|
This list does not include the movies Disney has collaborated with Pixar on like Disney Pixar’s Elemental, Lightyear, and Luca.
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Disney Animation Links
Here is a list of Disney Animation Studios movies starting with the most recent. Which ones are your favorites? Also, check out the official 12 Disney Princess list, Disney Princess Playlist, and Female Disney Villains. Share a comment on our Facebook page.
Discover our Disney Musicals, Disney Halloween movies, and Walt Disney Princes list.
Check out Disney sequels on Disneytoon Studios and Disney characters that start with i.
Build your own custom lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop. This adventure has many great reviews and is a family favorite.
Disney Animation History
If you love animated films, then you love Walt Disney. How much do you know of this great company that has brought a ton of hit animation movies to our screens for close to a century now? Let’s start here, Walt Disney Animation is an animation studio that is part of the Walt Disney Studios and is headquartered in Burbank, California. It produces animated films, television specials, and short films. The studio has dazzled the world with over 56 productions since its establishment in 1923.
1923-1928: Early Years
In 1923, Walt Disney partnered with Roy O. Disney to establish the Disney Cartoon Studios in Los Angeles. They began with the production of Alice Comedies, which were silent short films. Margaret J. Winkler’s Pictures distributed the Alice Comedies and the 1927 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in collaboration with Universal Pictures.
After disagreements between Walt Disney and Winkler Pictures emerged, Disney and his head animator led a handful of staffers into secretly producing cartoons that starred a new Disney character, Mickey Mouse. The Galloping Gaucho and Plane Crazy were the first two Mickey Mouse cartoons previewed in 1928.
However, the third movie, Steamboat Willie, marked a new era by becoming Disney’s first cartoon that featured synchronized sound. It became a major success and the most popular cartoon feature in the U.S. upon its debut in 1928.
1929-1934: Snow White
The Silly Symphonies were the second Disney Animation of sound cartoons that debuted in 1929. They served as an experimentation ground for new animation techniques. After financial disputes emerged between the studio and Powers (the company that distributed Mickey Mouse), the animation studio proceeded with releasing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1938, which was made available by Columbia.
It became the leading feature in animation to be produced in Technicolor and English and is considered Walt Disney’s greatest achievement. After completing the expensive $1.4 million, the movie experienced unprecedented success and became the highest-earning film of that time. Considering inflation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs currently ranks as the 10th highest-grossing film of all time.
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1935-1949: Pinocchio and WWII
Inspired by Snow White, Disney released Pinocchio and Fantasia. Both were not financial successes when first published in 1940.
A union strike followed in 1941, resulting in the exodus of numerous animation professionals. After withstanding the storm, the studio released Dumbo just before America entered into World War II, which became another box office success. Bambi then followed in 1942.
Works on Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland were put on hold as Disney Animation focused on shorts, war propaganda, and military training films like 1934 and Victory Through AirPower. Starting with Saludos Amigos, Disney began producing inexpensive package films that comprised short subjects depicted by animated or live-action framing.
1950-1966: Walt’s Death
After Sleeping Beauty’s release in 1959, the Disney Animation department experienced considerable downsizing. The studio also transitions from hand-done linking of cells to xerography, a technology that helped to speed up production. The 101 Dalmatians became the first movie to use this technology. Sadly, Walt produced two more features, The Sword in the Stone and The Jungle Book, before his death in 1966 from lung cancer.
1967-1988: Rivalry and Corporate Reconstruction
After the death of its founder, the company pressed forward with the movies: The Aristocrats (1970), Robin Hood (1973), The Rescuers (1977), and Pete’s Dragon (1978). In 1979, 11 animators led by Don Bluth left the studio to form Don Bluth’s production, Disney’s main competitor during this period.
The company underwent a major reconstruction after it narrowly escaped a hostile takeover. Paramount Picture’s Michael Eisner became CEO working with Jeffrey Katzenberg, while former Warner Bros employee Frank Wells became president.
In 1985, Disney released an unimpressive The Black Cauldron. It then founded a Television animation division, which Roy E. Disney supervised to put the company back to its glory days. The studio’s Oliver & Company and The Land Before Time were both box office successes. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was later released and achieved not an only commercial success but also won four Academy Awards.
1989-1999: The Renaissance era
1989 saw the release of The Little Mermaid, which grossed a whopping $89 million. It was successful as it received 2 Academy Awards for Best Song and Best Score. The Rescuers Down Under, a film that was a sequel to 1977 The Rescuers, followed with disappointing sales. However, the film was notable as it was the first feature to be digitally produced.
Beauty and the Beast came in 1991 and became the first animated movie to receive an Oscars nomination for Best Picture. It, however, earned Golden Globe’s Best Picture and 2 Academy Awards for Best Song and Best Score. Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994) followed being the highest-grossing films of their years. The Lion King went down in the record books as the highest-grossing traditionally animated movie in history.
Pocahontas and Hunchback of Notre Dame were also released during Disney Renaissance and achieved box office success. Pocahontas earned the Best Original Song and Best Score at the Academy Awards. With the bright future, Disney Animation pressed forward with other noteworthy successes such as Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan.
2000-2004: Post-Renaissance era
After the Renaissance, the studio successfully released Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Dinosaur while suffering disappointments with Brother Bear, Home on the Range, and Treasure Planet.
The company soon realized a decline in revenue and quality. The decline was ascribed to the use of traditional animation methods. To survive in the cutthroat competition it was experiencing, Disney animation changed its animation method from WDFI to CGI, sold off traditional animation equipment, and performed layoffs.
2005-2008: Lasseter’s Entry
2005’s Chicken Little became the studio’s first CGI animated movie. In 2006, Pixar Walt Disney Company purchased Pixar in a $7.4 billion deal. John Lasseter, a Pixar executive, became the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios.
He saw the release of Bolt and Meet the Robinsons, which experienced failure and critical acclaim, respectively.
2009-Present: Dawn of a new era
Lasseter’s agenda when he took over was reviving the fairytale formula used by classic Disney. This was achieved through The Princess and the Frog in 2009. The feature received overwhelming acclaim from both audiences and critics. In 2010, Disney Animation saw the release of Tangled, a version of Rapunzel.
The film got numerous positive reviews and became the studio’s most successful film since The Lion King. Tangled acted as a landmark as it is the first movie to employ a combination of computer imagery and traditional animation. Following it was Winnie and the Pooh and Wreck-it-Ralph. Paperman moved to win a myriad of accolades for the animation studio.
In 2013, Disney saw the release of Frozen, a version of The Snow Queen. The animated feature was a financial juggernaut, surpassing the sales of The Lion King to not only become the studio’s highest-grossing movie but to be the highest-grossing animated feature of all time. It also won Best Original Song (Let it go) and Best Animated Feature. Following up was Big Hero 6, which earned over $652 million.
In March 2016, the world was given Zootopia, a surprise hit that mirrored the success of its impressive predecessor, Frozen. It achieved over $1 billion to become the second-highest-grossing feature of Disney Animation. Its achievements were brought to the Academy Awards, where it won Best Animated Feature. Later the studio released Moana, Inner workings, and Cars 3.
What the Future Holds
With nearly a century under its belt, Disney Animation is still a giant in the industry, and its future projects show no detours from the studio’s successful run. We can all expect the return of the 101 Dalmatians in December 2017 with its remake Cruella starring Emma Stone.
The retro-gaming animation, Wreck-it-Ralph will also be back with its sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, in 2018. Magic Camp, Mulan, and The Incredibles are also expected in the same year.
2019 will see the release of Dumbo and Toy Story 4. The same year, mega-hits for Disney Animation will be back on screens with Aladdin. Frozen 2 and not to forget The Lion King are also to be released then.
Looking for more Disney history? Check out the often-overlooked Silly Symphony created by Walt Disney and ugly Disney characters list.
Brandon started FeaturedAnimation.com and has been writing about animation since 2013 to celebrate animated movies, characters, and songs. His favorite animated movies include Finding Nemo, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Find out more about us, about Brandon, and how to get in contact.
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