Disney Cartoons: A Guide to the History of the Disney Classics


Disney cartoons are part of that circle of unforgettable memories for each of us. Anyone, in fact, since childhood cherishes his or her favorite Disney Cartoon in his or her heart, remembering by heart both its animations and lines of dialogue.

Since its founding attributed to Walt Disney and his brother Roy in 1923, Disney has become a perfect business model, establishing itself as a leader in the animation industry.

Certainly, we can say that Disney Cartoons have shaped the childhoods of many children from the 1940s onward, teaching the basic values of life such as the strength of friendship, solidarity and courage.

After achieving great success in the early 1940s, the company began to diversify into producing action films, television series, and setting up theme parks in the 1950s.

After Walt’s death in 1966, the company’s profits began to decline but, with time and the appointment of Michael Eisner as head of the company in 1984, the studio achieved tremendous success during a period renamed the Disney Renaissance. In 2005, under new CEO Bob Iger, the company expanded its territory by acquiring other companies. Finally, Bob Chapek became the head of Disney in 2020 following Iger’s retirement.

Disney’s cartoons, in addition to being an example for other animation companies to follow, have gained their fame through their origin, derived very often from stories and tales that were already widespread throughout the world, centuries before their publication.

In this article we are going to look at Disney cartoons in chronological order, dwelling on their plot and various peculiar aspects regarding their production.

If you are looking for all Disney characters instead, read our article: Disney Characters

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Let’s start right away by talking about the first Disney Cartoon, which became a legend. This film has served as a model for many other animated films, both by Disney and its rivals. The technological breakthrough in this film was the multistory camera, a huge device that allowed the camera to “move” through images of a forest or the forbidden castle where the Evil Queen plots the murder of the young maiden. Multiple animation images were set for each take, making Snow White look as much like a movie as the live-action films of the time did. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs represents the antipodes is the beginning of Disney’s success.


A beautiful girl, Snow White, takes refuge in the forest in the house of the Seven Dwarfs to hide from her stepmother, the evil queen. The queen is jealous of her beauty because she wants to be known as the most beautiful in the country. The Dwarves begin to love their unexpected visitor, who cleans their house and cooks their meals.

One day when they are at their diamond mine, the queen arrives at the cottage, disguised as an old hawker, and convinces Snow White to bite into a poisoned apple. The Dwarves, warned by forest animals, rush home to chase away the witch, but arrive too late to save Snow White. The latter is placed in a glass coffin and the dwarves mourn her presumed death. The prince, who has fallen in love with Snow White, walks past her and awakens her from the evil queen’s deadly spell through the “first kiss of love.”

Pinocchio (1940)

The film was based on an original serialized story written for a children’s magazine by Collodi (the pseudonym of Carlo Lorenzini) in 1881. The cartoon required the talents of 750 artists, including animators, assistants, intermediaries, layout artists, special effects animators and inkers and painters, who produced more than 2 million drawings and used about 1,500 shades of paint for production. Gustaf Tenggren, an award-winning illustrator, was assigned to the production to give the film the fairy-tale touch, to be in line with Walt Disney’s idea, which mirrors the European storybook tale. An Oscar winner for best score and best song, many film historians describe the film as the most beautiful and technically perfect of all Disney animated films.


A wooden puppet is brought to life by the Blue Fairy with the promise that he can only become a real boy if he deserves it. Later, he is sidetracked by the evil couple, the Cat and the Fox, who hand him over to an evil puppeteer named Stromboli. Pinocchio is sent to Toy Island, where bad boys are turned into donkeys, but, with the help of his friend and conscience, Jiminy Cricket, he manages to escape. He eventually redeems himself by saving his father Geppetto who had been swallowed by a Monster, the whale. Finally, the Blue Fairy rewards Pinocchio by turning him into a real boy.

Fantasia (1940)

Disney’s third animated film, released only a few years after Snow White, is virtually unlike anything else Disney has produced. There is no overarching story, almost no dialogue and few named characters. The film is developed through soundtracks of classical music and lasts more than two hours.

Each short in Fantasia allowed animators to showcase their creative skills. Fantasia, initially, did not meet with deserved success. This is because, the movie theaters of the time lacked, due to the huge cost, a good sound system as desired by Walt Disney. Eighty years later, Fantasia was recognized as an extraordinary work, showing truly stunning animation.


The film is supported by a symphony concert featuring Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, enhanced by Disney animation. The story includes eight musical sequences: Toccata and Fugue in D minor (Bach), The Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Dukas), Rite of Spring (Stravinsky), Pastoral Symphony (Beethoven), Dance of the Hours (Ponchielli), Night on Bald Mountain (Mussorgsky), and Ave Maria(Schubert).

Dumbo (1941)

Based on a short story by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl, the film, directed by Ben Sharpsteen, was released on October 23, 1941 with a running time of 64 minutes.

Famous voices include Edward Brophy (Timothy the mouse), Sterling Holliway ( the stork) and Cliff Edwards (Dandy Crown). Among the best songs, however, are “Baby Mine,” “Pink Elephants on Parade” and ” When I See an Elephant Fly.” The film, which won the Academy Award for Best Score, was also nominated for Best Song (Baby Mine).

From the first moment Walt Disney read the story he was certain that he would produce a beautiful film. Dumbo had a relatively low cost, $812,000 unlike the previous year’s two films Fantasia and Pinocchio.


Dumbo is a baby elephant about one month old who is born with huge ears. He, along with his mother, suffers the humiliation of other elephants and children who visit the circus. This, however, will turn into triumph when the little elephant discovers, with the help of his faithful friend, Timothy the mouse, that he can fly thanks to his large ears.

Saludos amigos (1942)

The film, released on February 6, 1943 with a running time of 42 minutes, was animated by Bill Roberts, Jack King, Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson. Slyfield received an Academy Award nomination for best sound, and other nominations went to Charles Wolcott and Ned Washington for best song (“Saludos Amigos”) and to Edward H. Plumb, Paul J. Smith and Charles Wolcott for best musical Image score.


Saludos Amigos is an animated film about Latin America consisting of four animated segments linked together by live-action footage of the activities of Walt Disney and his artists during their journey. The segments are the Lake Titicaca, which recounts Donald Duck’s exploration of the Andes, Pedro , the story of an airplaneman who replaces his father in the job of letter carrier, Aquarela do Brasil, with artworks showing the various landscapes of Brazil and El Gaucho Pippo, in which the American cowboy Goofy becomes a gaucho from the Argentine Pampas.

Bambi (1942)

The World Premiere of Bambi was broadcast in London on August 9, 1942, while, its release in the United States, was on August 13, 1942. The film is based on the book by Felix Salten and was directed by supervisor David Hand. Bambi was unlike anything else the Studio had ever attempted. It was more serious and all the characters were animals. In the struggle for realism, the artists listened to lectures by animal experts, took trips to the Los Angeles Zoo, watched nature footage specially shot in forests, and even studied the movements of two fawns donated to the Studio.

Bambi was released at a difficult time, with the United States in the midst of World War II, so its initial profits were low, but the story of the little deer survived and is now universally considered one of Disney’s most fascinating films. The film received Oscar nominations for best song (“Love is a Song”) and best score for a drama or comedy film.


Bambi is the story of a little fawn destined to take his father’s place of honor. It is for this reason that he is called, by the other animals in the forest, ” Little Prince.” The little one will soon make friends with the wise Friend Owl, the rabbit Drummer, the skunk Flower and, finally, a cute fawn named Faline.

The story becomes tear-jerking when the puppy’s mother accompanies him to the prairie and is killed there by a hunter. Bambi, left alone, finds his father raising him. Having reached adolescence, he falls in love with the fawn Faline in the spring, and like him, his friends Fiore and Tamburino find love. Bambi, however, has a rival, Ronno, a gruff and grumpy deer, whom she manages to beat. As the story continues, a fire breaks out in the forest, but Bambi and his father manage to bring all the animals to the opposite bank of the river and thus pull them to safety. Later Feline will give birth to twin fawns while Bambi, along with her father, will continue to watch over her new kingdom.

The Three Caballeros (1945)

The film was released in the United States on February 3, 1945, under the direction of Norm Ferguson and with a running time of 71 minutes. Aurora Miranda, sister of Hollywood star Carmen, dances with Donald Duck, and this shows us how far the Studio had advanced the art of combining animation with live actors. This is the first time, in fact, that Walt Disney has attempted to incorporate live-action characters into an animated scene. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: best sound and best score for a musical Image.


Three Caballeros encompasses four short films about Latin America in a story about Donald Duck receiving birthday presents from his Latin American amigos, José Carioca, the parrot, and Panchito, the Mexican rooster. Live action of native dances and Latin American songs alternate throughout the film.

Maestro Music (1946)

Musica Maestro was released on August 15, 1946 with a running time of 75 minutes, under the direction of Joe Grant. The directors were Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Robert Cormack and Joshua Meador.


Make Mine Music consists of ten short films combined into a melodious compilation. It was Disney’s first postwar film.

The segments representing the 10 short films are: (1) The Bigheads and the Cuticans, which is about two feuding families who shoot and kill each other. (2) Blue Swamp tells of a majestic crane landing in a bayou, then rising again to fly high into the moonlit sky; (3) When the cats get together, where animated teenagers come out and dance in a malt store; (4) Without you in which a petal falls, turning into a tear, while a light reveals a love letter containing the lyrics of the song and rain washes the paintings on a window illustrating the lyrics;

(5) Casey at the Bat where the sad story of a baseball player who loses his touch and can no longer hit the ball is recited; (6) Two Silhouettes, with Dinah Shore singing while two figures dance in a ballet; (7) Peter and the Wolf, narrated by Sterling Holloway, with Peter going with a duck, a cat and a bird to catch a wolf; (8) After you left, with Benny Goodman Quartet and a set of cartoons and custom musical instruments;

(9) Gianni of Felt and Alice of Straw, sung by the Andrews Sisters, illustrating the love story between a boy’s hair and a girl’s hair; and (10) The whale who wanted to sing at the opera, where the story is told of a whale who sings in an opera with a beautiful voice but is later harpooned because it is believed to have swallowed an opera singer.

Cinderella (1950)

Disney has gone back to basics with this female-driven fairy tale, picking up the film’s imprint of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film Cinderella, released on February 15, 1950, was directed by Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske and Clyde Geronimi. It is not as imaginatively animated as the studio’s previous films, but few scenes of Disney animation rival the magical climax when Cinderella is transformed into a beautiful princess with the help of her Fairy Godmother.


Cinderella centers its story within a wealthy family in which, a beautiful girl, the only daughter of the landlord, is forced to serve as a servant to her stepmother and her two daughters Anastasia and Drizella. The poor young girl, with the help of her Fairy Godmother‘s magic, receives a beautiful dress and a magnificent carriage with which she is able to reach the royal ball, get to know and eventually make the prince fall hopelessly in love.

As midnight struck, the hour when the spell would end, the girl was forced to flee the castle, and in doing so, lost a crystal slipper, which was found by the prince and which he used, with the help of the Grand Duke, to track down the beautiful stranger.

Aided by her little mice and bird friends, Cinderella was found by the prince and together with him she built a happy future.

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Based on Lewis Carroll‘s short story, The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, it was published in 1951 under the direction of Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske and Wilfred Jackson. Its production began in the 1930s but, during World War II, this ambitious project was put on hold until the 1940s, when Walt Disney opted for classic animation, however, not eliciting the expected success. In 1960, the American student hippies movement reevaluated it, and in 1998, Dave Smith classified it as a“Disney Animation Classic.”


The animated film, Alice in Wonderland, is a fantastic story in which a little girl, named Alice, falls asleep in the garden reading a book. She begins to dream about a rabbit and by chasing it down its burrow finds herself in a surreal imaginary world devoid of logic in which nothing is as it seems. Among the most important characters in the story we meet:

The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat. Many other imaginary and logic-less characters are woven into the tale and many fantastic stories such as Alice’s body growing and shrinking out of proportion depending on what she eats and drinks. All these strange creatures and talking animals always question everything the child does or says but, in turn, make speeches and have totally nonsensical behaviors. The whole story revolves around Alice’s perpetual escape from the Queen of Hearts who wants to capture her and ends with the young girl’s awakening and subsequent telling of the dream to her sister, who makes a reflection on the relationship between dreams and reality.

Peter Pan (1953)

Released on February 5, 1953 and directed by Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Peter Pan has a running time of 77 minutes. Walt Disney planned as early as 1935 to make this film, agreeing in 1939 with Great Ormond Street Hospital in London (which had the rights to the work bequeathed by author James M. Barrie) to obtain permission, but it was not until 1949 that production began.


Peter Pan tells the story of a magical boy who never grew up and teaches the three Darling children, Wendy, John and Michael, to fly with him toNeverland, where they embark on adventures with the main inhabitants, Captain Hook and his pirate crew. After rescuing the Indian princess, Tiger Lily, Peter must save his gang, the lost children, from the clutches of Captain Hook.

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

The world premiere was in Chicago on June 16, 1955, while the release was on June 22, 1955. Directed by Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, the film has a running time of 76 minutes. The idea for the film came from a short story by Ward Greene entitled“Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog.” A 1940 script introduced the Siamese twins known eventually as Si and Am. Lilli and the Tramp stars vocal talents such as Barbara Luddy as Lilli; Larry Roberts as the Tramp; and Peggy Lee as Darling, the Siamese cats, and Peg, the show dog.


The film tells the story of a young Cocker Spaniel from a respectable family who falls in love with a mutt who lives in railroad yards. They enjoy several outings together, including a memorable spaghetti dinner in the moonlight at Tony’s, but their relationship is strained not only by Lilli’s loyalty to her human family and their newborn child, but also by Tramp’s nonchalant attitude, which at one point is thrown into the kennel. Vagabond redeems himself by saving the child from a mouse and thus wins Lilli’s love and the affection of his human family.

Sleeping Beauty in the Woods (1959)

Nowadays, it is widely believed that Sleeping Beauty is considered a masterpiece, but when the film arrived in theaters it was not a success. Critics and audiences were not impressed with the majestic portrayal of the story of Princess Aurora, who was cursed at birth by the evil fairy Maleficent.

Sleeping Beauty was the last true masterpiece released during Walt Disney’s lifetime. The story is deceptively simple, but the way animators create moving images to mimic medieval-style stained glass windows is unique.


The film tells the simple story of Princess Aurora, who is condemned by the evil fairy Maleficent to die before the sun sets on her 16th birthday by pricking her finger with the spindle of a spinning wheel. Despite the loving attempts of the three good fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, the curse comes true. It is only with the help of Prince Philip that Maleficent, transformed into a towering fire-breathing dragon, is destroyed and Sleeping Beauty is awakened by a kiss. Released on January 29, 1959.

The Charge of 101 (1961)

The Charge of 101 represents a major change for Disney as it was its first animated film set in the modern day. One of his most memorable images is, in fact, a shot of Dalmatian puppies watching a black-and-white television set. The film, released on January 25, 1961, was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, Hamilton Luske and Clyde Geronimi. The story is based on Dodie Smith ‘s book and, in addition, was the first feature film to use xerography, a technique that allows duplication of images. The new process greatly accelerated production, especially in a film which required the drawing of numerous spotted dogs. It would have been terribly time-consuming to ink all the stains by hand.


The story tells the story of a Dalmatian family of 101 puppies. The evil Cruella wants to steal the puppies to make a fabulous Dalmatian fur coat. After being captured, the cubs, manage to escape from the clutches of the evil Cruella and her henchmen, Horace and Jasper.

Sword in the Stone (1963)

The Sword in the Stone is an animated feature film set in medieval times, and released on December 25, 1963. The story is based on the book by TH White. The film marked Wolfgang Reitherman’s first effort as a solo director.


In London’s cathedral cemetery, a sword appears stuck inside a stone with the inscription, “Whoever draws this sword from this stone will become the new king of England.” Although many try, no one can pull the sword from the rock. Deep in the dark woods, meanwhile, Merlin the Magician teaches magic to 11-year-old Artur, squire’s apprentice to the gruff Lancelot. An evil witch appears and begins to fight Merlin, setting up a duel between Wizards during which each transforms into various creatures, with Merlin using his wits to win.

On New Year’s Day, a grand tournament is organized in London for the purpose of proclaiming a new king. Arthur, serving as Lancelot’s squire, forgets his sword and rushes back to the inn to get it. Seeing the sword in the rock, Arthur innocently and easily pulls it out. When the knights saw that the boy had succeeded in the feat of drawing his sword, they decided to proclaim him the new king of England, naming him King Arthur.

The Jungle Book (1967)

In 1966, Walt Disney died, and the first animated film released after his death ended up being the studio’s best film for the next two decades. Released on October 18, 1967, The Jungle Book was the last animated feature film supervised by Walt Disney. The film won the record as Disney’s most successful product in movie theaters, becoming a pivotal model for other Disney Cartoons and beyond.


A human boy, Mowgli, is raised in the jungle by wolves until he is deemed dangerous for him to remain because of Shere Khan, the dreaded tiger. Bagheera, the panther, is selected to accompany Mowgli on his journey back to civilization. Mowgli meets Baloo, an adorable bear, and together they make acquaintance with the mad monkey king, Louis. Later, the boy encounters Shere Khan, but thanks to the last-minute intervention of his friends, he manages to defeat the tiger.

Aristocats (1970)

This was the first feature-length animated film completed without Walt Disney. The film, released on December 24, 1970, and with a running time of 78 minutes, was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. Its production lasted four years, with a budget of more than $4 million that allowed for the inclusion of more than 325,000 drawings made by 35 animators, including twenty main sequences of the film and 900 paintings for the backgrounds. The project employed about 250 people. The film was a box office success, earning reprints in 1980 and 1987.


In the Film a pedigreed cat, Duchess, and her three kittens, Minou, Bizet and Matisse, are kidnapped by a greedy butler named Edgar who hopes to appropriate the inheritance left to the cat family by their owner, Madame Adelaide. Things seem to be going badly for our felines, until the moment they befriend Romeo, a very festive stray cat. Following numerous adventures faced during the journey back to Paris, the cats have to deal with the evil butler, managing to escape him with the help of a gang of stray cats, a mouse named Gruyere and Romeo.

Robin Hood (1973)

The film was released on November 8, 1973, under the direction of Wolfgang Reitherman and with a running time of 83 minutes. In several sequences, George Bruns tried to capture the flavor of the period by using medieval instruments such as horns, French harpsichords, and mandolins. About 350,000 drawings were made for the production, with over 100,000 paintings and 800 backgrounds. The film was re-released in theaters in 1982 and was released on video in 1984 and 1991.


Robin Hood narrates the events, told by the minstrel Cantagallo, of the legendary hero of the common people of England.

The story is represented by an assortment of cartoon animal characters (Robin Hood and Lady Marian are foxes, Little John is a bear, Prince John is a lion, etc.). Robin Hood rebels against the wickedness of Prince John and his accomplices, Sir Biss, the wolf, and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Prince John has usurped the throne of King Richard, his brother, who was captured during the Crusades. With the help of Little John, Friar Tuck, and the people of Nottingham, Robin succeeds in defeating the prince and his minions, and Richard is free to return and reclaim his kingdom.

White and Bernie (1977)

Released on June 22, 1977, the 72-minute animated film was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, John Lounsbery and Art Stevens. The film was nominated for an Oscar for best song with “Someone’s Waiting for You,” written by Sammy Fain, Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins. The creation of this animation took four years, 250 people were engaged including 40 animators who produced about 330,000 drawings divided into 14 sequences with 1029 separate scenes and 750 backgrounds.


Bianca and Bernie is staged in New York City, where an international rat organization, based in the basement of the United Nations building, receives a request for help from a little orphan girl named Penny. The child, in fact, has been kidnapped by an evil woman, Madame Medusa, who intends to use her to retrieve a fabulous diamond, theDevil’s Eye, from a pirate cave. The distress call is picked up by the lovely Bianca and shy janitor Bernie, who becomes her assistant for the occasion. Together, they will challenge and defeat two brutal alligators and, with the help of the local swamp people, get the better of Medusa and her henchman Snoops. The film ends with Penny’s rescue and the recovery of the precious diamond.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit premiered at Radio City Music Hall on June 21, 1988 and was released publicly on June 22, 1988. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, in collaboration with Steven Spielberg, the film is based on the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, by Gary K. Wolf. During its production, the expected high cost of special effects prompted Disney executives to move cautiously. Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis were excited about the prospect of creating a cartoon community, with a variety of many characters, selected from different studios and presented together on screen for the first time. It was thanks to Spielberg that Disney obtained permits to be able to bring together the classic animated personalities. The film was shot in Los Angeles, and at Elstree Studios in London winning four Academy Awards, the most for a Disney film up to that time.


Roger Rabbit is a cartoon, an animated star of the Maroon Cartoon Studio. After an opening cartoon, we learn that Roger is a suspect in the murder of Marvin Acme, who owned Toontown and the company that produces all the cartoon props. Eddie Valiant is asked to investigate the case and succeed in uncovering the real culprit in the murder. Eddie visits Toontown, with its many cartoony inhabitants, and here discovers the true identity of the murderer. (1988)

Oliver & Company (1988)

It took two and a half years,six animators and a team of more than 300 artists and technicians to create this film. This production, in fact, was hand-drawn in the old Disney tradition. More than a million sketches and drawings were needed, designers went to New York and photographed street scenes from a dog’s point of view, amidst the curious gazes of passersby, 45 cm above the ground, obtaining, thus, an excellent reference material for artists and technicians. Many inanimate objects were created and animated on the computer, and for this purpose a proper department was created for the first time to deal with the computer part.


The story of Oliver & Company is set in New York City and tells the story of a kitten and his owner Fagin. A rich girl from Fifth Avenue finds Oliver and takes him to live in her mansion uptown. Fagin’s evil leader Sykes intervenes and kidnaps the two. His plan, however, is foiled by the help of Oliver’s motley crew of dog friends, aided by Jenny’s poodle, Georgette.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

The film, directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, was released on November 17, 1989 with a running time of 82 minutes. The story of the Little Mermaid turns to Hans Christian Andersen ‘s famous tale from which Kay Nielsen took inspiration for her sketches.

Actress Sherri Stoner was the live-action model for Ariel. The film has had more effects than any other animated film since Fantasia. Nearly 80 percent of the film required some kind of effects work: storms at sea, billowing sails, schools of fish, shadows, fire, explosions, magic pixie dust, surface reflections, underwater distortions, ripples and bubbles. The film also won Oscars for best song (“Under the Sea”) and best original score. Re-released in theaters in 1997; released on video in 1990 and 1998.


The film tells the story of a beautiful young mermaid named Ariel, who is fascinated by the human world. Going against her father’s recommendations not to go near land, Ariel spies Prince Eric and falls madly in love. Sebastian the crab is sent by the king to keep an eye on his daughter who had meanwhile rescued Prince Eric from a storm. Ursula, the sea witch, conspires to gain control of Triton’s kingdom by leveraging Ariel’s desire to be human. Eric finds himself falling in love with the now-human mermaid, but Ursula deceives him. Finally, Ariel and Eric succeed in foiling Ursula’s evil plans, save the undersea kingdom, and receive Triton’s blessing.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

The 87-minute film was released on November 13, 1991, and was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. It was the first to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and remained so until 2010. The film received 4 nominations and won 2 Academy Awards, won 3 Golden Globes. Beauty and the Beast grossed $331 million of which $19 million was in Italy.


Beauty and the Beast is an animated film set in 17th-century France. The story is about a girl, Belle, and her father, a somewhat oddball inventor named Maurice. One day the father, on his way to a fair, gets lost in the woods and finds refuge in a castle that, unfortunately belonged to the Beast. The latter, in fact, was a good-looking and charming young man who was struck down by a witch’s spell that turned him into a Beast because of his spoiled, selfish and cruel character. He, did not, given his horrible appearance, tolerate intruders in the castle and so had Maurice locked up in the dungeon. Belle sets out in search of her father and when she finds him she offers to take his place.

The Beast accepts in the hope of making her fall in love and breaking the spell. Belle, always left alone by the prince befriends the servants, also turned into objects: candelabra Lumiere, the Tockins clock, teapot Mrs. Bric and her son Chicco, a teacup. Thus began between the two a relationship of esteem and affection that would slowly and, after various vicissitudes, turn into love.

Aladdin (1992)

The film was directed by John Musker and Ron Clements and was released on November 25, 1992 with a running time of 90 minutes. The idea of adapting the story of Aladdin as a Disney animated musical was first proposed by Howard Ashman in 1988, when he and Alan Menken were still working on The Little Mermaid. Animation supervisor Eric Goldberg, who created Genie, was the first animator to work on the project, which was heavily influenced by artist Al Hirschfeld’s curved, fluid caricature style.

Computer-generated images enabled the makers to produce the incredible flying scene on the magic carpet, the intricately patterned carpet itself, and the stunning tiger head cave. Aladdin won Oscars for best song (“A Whole New World”) and best original score, and, in addition, became the highest-grossing animated film to date, earning more than $200 million.


Aladdin is set in the mythical city of Agrabah, and tells the story of a clever young thief who meets and falls in love with the Sultan’s beautiful daughter, Jasmine. The evil vizier, Jafar, plots to obtain a magic lamp for his rise to power, and realizes he needs Aladdin to search for the lamp in the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin and his friend, the monkey Abu, manage to find and take possession of the lamp, bringing out the magical genie that was sealed inside. The Genie turns Aladdin into a prince so that he can woo the princess, but the deception fails to impress Jasmine. Aladin, however, uses his cunning and courage, with the help of the Genie, to defeat Jafar and his evil plans, eventually earning a princely title and the love of the princess.

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King, directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, was released on June 24, 1994 with a running time of 88 minutes. Early in its production, an art team traveled to Africa looking for ways to best present the African settings in the film and to closely study the movements of some animals, including lions. The songs were by Elton John and Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer. Computer-generated images were used to create the dramatic precipitous escape of the wildebeests, a visual highlight in the film and a new level of sophistication for the art form. The song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John and Tim Rice, won an Oscar for best song, and a second Oscar was awarded to Hans Zimmer for best original score.


The film tells the story of a young lion cub named Simba who struggles to follow the royal footprints of his father, the great King Mufasa, after the latter is killed by his treacherous uncle, Scar. Scar convinces Simba that he is responsible for his father’s death and urges him to run away and never return. The poor frightened puppy flees into exile. During his journey, he befriends a quirky warthog named Pumbaa and his meerkat companion Timon. Simba adopts their“hakuna matata” (no worries) attitude toward life, living on a diet of insects and living life by the day as he matures into a young adult.

When his childhood friend, Nala, arrives on the scene, he is persuaded to return to the Pride Lands with the aim of ousting the evil Scar, taking his rightful place as king. The wise baboon shaman, Rafiki, convinces Simba that his father’s spirit lives on in him and that he must take responsibility. The heir to the throne now matured, returns to his homeland and manages to defeat Scar and an army of hyenas.

Pocahontas (1995)

Pocahontas, directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg, is The first Disney animated film based on historical facts. The film was released on June 23, 1995 with a running time of 81 minutes. The appearance and style were inspired by the makers’ many visits to Jamestown, Virginia, and extensive research on the colonial period. In fact, at various stages of production, the team consulted with Native American scholars and storytellers to incorporate authentic aspects of Indian culture into the film. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz received an Oscar for best song (“Colors of the Wind”).


The film tells the story of the encounter between English settlers and the local tribe of Indians in Jamestown. The young Native American woman, Pocahontas, along with her companions, Meeko, a raccoon, and Flit, a hummingbird, visit her grandmother Willow in order to understand the fate that awaits her. Soon she meets and falls in love with the brave English captain, John Smith. The other English colonists, led by Governor Ratcliffe, are intent on finding gold in the New World and become convinced that the Native Americans are hiding the precious substance from them. Pocahontas discovers that the way forward in her life is to succeed in establishing peace between the Jamestown settlers and her tribe. Smith, however, is severely injured by an enraged Ratcliffe and must return to England, separating himself from his much-loved Pocahontas.

Toy Story (1995)

The film was released on November 22, 1995, under the direction of John Lasseter and with a running time of 81 minutes. It is the first fully computer-generated animated feature film produced by the partnership between Disney and Pixar. John Lasseter was given an Academy Award for his development and application of techniques that made possible the birth of the first computer-animated feature film.


The story tells of toys with lives of their own belonging to a child named Andy. Knowing that the boy’s 10th birthday is now approaching, the toys fear that they will be replaced. Woody, his favorite toy, a lace-up cowboy doll, discovers that the boy has a new toy, Buzz Lightyear, the largest action figure, equipped with wings and laser beams. Woody’s plan to get rid of Buzz backfires and he ends up lost in the world outside Andy’s room, with Buzz as his only companion. Together they will have to try to find their way back home.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Directed by Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a feature film with a running time of 91 minutes, released on June 21, 1996. Inspired by Victor Hugo‘s epic novel, first published in 1831, the film premiered June 19 at the Superdome in New Orleans, using six huge screens, and preceded by a parade through the French Quarter.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame tells the story of Quasimodo, the horrifying lonely stranger who lives in the bell tower of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Defying the orders of his evil father, Justice Minister Frollo, the frightened hunchback travels the streets of medieval Paris, where he meets and falls in love with a beautiful gypsy woman named Esmeralda. Although his heartbreak sprung from the discovery of the love between Phoebus, the head of the royal guards, and Esmeralda, Quasimodo eventually risks everything to reunite them by finding support from the help of the cathedral’s trio of comic gargoyles-Victor, Hugo , and Laverne.

Hercules (1997)

the film was released on June 27, 1997 under the direction of John Musker and Ron Clements. The two directors were attracted to the mythological aspects of Hercules’ story and decided to produce the film, together with Alice Dewey, in the fall of 1993. British artist and political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, with a linear and expressive style, was involved in designing the characters. A trip to Greece and Turkey in the summer of 1994 offered the artists a chance to observe ancient landscapes and sites and to hear reports from experts on classical Greek mythology. Animation began in early 1995 and involved nearly 700 artists in the project. The film presents the first use in animation of the morphing process, in which one object is smoothly transformed into another using computer technology.


The film tells the story of Hercules, the powerful son of Zeus and Hera, who is taken from his home on Mount Olympus and is raised on Earth. The insidious figure behind Hercules’ disappearance is Hades, the god of the underworld, who sees the son of Zeus as an obstacle to his plan to conquer Olympus. As Hercules grows up, he discovers the truth about his origins and sets out to prove himself a true hero so that he can return to Olympus. Hades has other plans and tries to kill him by hurling some mythological creatures at him, such as a multi-headed Hydra, a Minotaur, a Cyclops, an army of Titans, and the Mere. Along the way, Hercules discovers that a true hero is measured not by the greatness of his strength but by the strength of his heart.

Mulan (1998)

Released on June 19, 1998, under the direction of Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft and with a running time of 88 minutes, Mulan, was the first feature film to be produced primarily at the Disney Feature Animation studio at Walt Disney World in Florida. To prepare the makers for the task, a select group of the film’s art supervisors made a 3-week trip to China to draw and photograph intriguing sites and immerse themselves in the culture. Then, under the direction of set designer Hans Bacher, they found a unique look for the film, inspired by the simple graphic style of traditional Chinese art.


Mulan is a film based on a 2,000-year-old Chinese folk tale. It tells the story of a spirited girl who strives to please her parents and be the perfect daughter, yet disappoints them on several occasions. When Mulan’s elderly father is called to certain death in war, her bold compassion compels her to save his life by disguising herself as a man and joining the Chinese army. Brought to life by Mulan’s extraordinary actions, a feisty and fragile “guardian” dragon, Mushu, joins the heroine’s quest and leads her on a series of comic misadventures. At the height of their success, Mulan’s true identity is revealed and both she and her dragon friend are abandoned in disgrace. When all seems lost, Mulan’s irrepressible will once again drives her to fight bravely against all odds, defeating the terrible Hun invaders and saving theEmperor.

Tarzan (1999)

Directed by Chris Buck and Kevin Lima, the film was released on June 18, 1999 with a running time of 88 minutes. Disney received an Academy Award in 2003 for its Deep Canvas software that enabled the inclusion of dimensional effects. Animator Glen Keane designed the Tarzan character, drawing inspiration from his teenage son, Max, who loved performing fearless stunts on skateboards and watching extreme sports. The directors and art supervisors were inspired by an African safari to study firsthand the jungles, animal reserves and the lives of mountain gorillas.


Tarzan is based on the classic tale by Edgar Rice Burroughs and tells the story of a child who is orphaned in the African jungle and raised by a family of gorillas, led by Kerchak and his mate, Kala. Tarzan becomes a young man who possesses all the instincts of a jungle animal and the physical prowess of an athletic superstar, befriending a talkative gorilla named Terk and a neurotic elephant named Tantor. He is even able to use his cunning and strength to defeat the bloodthirsty leopard, Sabor, who had killed his parents.

But Tarzan’s peaceful and protected world is disrupted by the arrival of a human expedition, led by an arrogant adventurer, Clayton, and also consisting of Professor Porter and his beautiful and dynamic daughter Jane. Tarzan spies on them, and soon realizes that he belongs to the human race. As he struggles to decide which “family” to belong to, his dilemma is further complicated by his feelings for Jane and the discovery that Clayton is plotting to harm the gorillas.

The Emperor’s Follies (2000)

The film was released on December 15, 2000 under the direction of Mark Dindal and with a running time of 78 minutes. Work began in 1994 on a project with a very different version entitled Kingdom of the Sun. In 1998, the story was completely revamped, retaining only two of the main comic characters and some elements from the original treatment. A documentary about the problems encountered during the making of the film, The Sweatbox, was made by Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler.


The film, set in a mythical mountain kingdom, tells the story of the arrogant young emperor Kuzco, who is turned into a llama by his power-hungry adviser, the devious Yzma. Stranded in the jungle, Kuzco’s only chance to return home and reclaim his throne falls to help from a peasant named Pacha. This very unlikely duo must face hair-raising dangers and wild comic situations that will lead them to oust the evil Yzma.

Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Released on June 21, 2002 and directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stich has a running time of 85 minutes. Co-director Chris Sanders also provides the voice of Stitch. Produced primarily at Disney’s animation facility at Walt Disney World in Florida, it was, in addition, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.


Lilo & Stitch is a film set in Hawaii that tells the story of a lonely little girl, Lilo, who adopts a strange being. She calls her pet Stitch, completely unaware that it is a dangerous genetic experiment gone wrong that has escaped from an alien planet. Stitch’s only interest in Lilo is to use her as a human shield to escape alien bounty hunters bent on taking him back. In the end, Lilo’s unwavering faith in “‘ohana,” the Hawaiian family tradition, unlocks Stitch’s heart and gives him the one thing he was never designed to have: the ability to care for someone else.

Koda brother bear (2003)

Released on November 1, 2003 and directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker, Koda Brother Bear is a Disney film with a running time of 85 minutes, produced in which the last two-thirds of the film, following Kenai’s transformation into a bear, are shot in Cinemascope at the Disney Feature Animation Studio in Florida. The Il Il film received an Oscar nomination for best animated film.


Koda Brother Bear is a film set in the Pacific Northwest after the last ice age. The story tells the stories of three Native American siblings; Sitka, the eldest sister, Denahi and Kenai, the youngest. After Sitka is accidentally killed by a bear, Kenai sets out to seek revenge, but ends up being turned into a bear by the Great Spirits. While discovering the world through the eyes of an animal, Kenai befriends a turbulent bear cub named Koda and has a hilarious encounter with a pair of moose, Tuke and Rutt. Denahi attempts to avenge his brother’s death by trying to kill the bear that became Kenai. In the end, Kenai must decide whether to return to his human form or continue living as a bear.

Up (2009)

the film was directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson and was released on May 29, 2009, with a running time of 96 minutes. It represents the first Pixar title produced in Disney Digital 3-D, and, in addition, was the second animated film, after Beauty and the Beast, to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. It won anOscar for animated film and originalsoundtrack.


Carl Fredricksen has spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the world while living to the fullest. At the age of 78, however, life seemed to offer him nothing more, until he met a tenacious and optimistic wilderness explorer named Russell. Tying thousands of balloons to his home, Carl embarks on an exciting journey to find a waterfall atop a mountain in Venezuela, a place his late wife, Ellie, had always dreamed of visiting. On the way, Carl discovers that Russell had been hiding in his house, so he is forced to take him with him. The adventure of this unlikely pair will feature wild territories and unexpected villains as they try to rescue a rare flightless bird they call Kevin.

Rapunzel (2010)

The film was released on November 24, 2010, under the direction of Byron Howard and Nathan Greno and with a running time of 100 minutes. Rapunzel is a CGI animated feature film based on the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale “Rapunzel.”


The film tells the story of a princess, named Rapunzel, who has been locked up in a castle by her parents since she was a child. When the kingdom’s most wanted and charming bandit, Flynn Rider, is hiding in his tower, he is taken hostage by Rapunzel, now a beautiful and exuberant teenager with 70 feet of magical golden hair. Flynn, who is looking for a way out of the tower, makes a deal with Rapunzel, promising to take her with him to visit the world outside the tower. The unlikely duo sets off on an action-packed escapade, complete with a horse named Maximus, an overprotective chameleon named Pascal , and a gang of pub thugs.

Frozen (2013)

The film, released on Jan. 31, 2014 under the direction of Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, received Oscars for best animated film and best song,“Let It Go.” In March, Frozen became the highest-grossing animated film of all time internationally, surpassing $1 billion.


Frozen tells the story of intrepid Princess Anna who sets out on an epic journey, teaming up with the rugged mountain man, Kristoff, and his faithful reindeer, Sven, to find her sister Elsa. The latter’s powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle enemies in a race to save the kingdom.