What made the ‘90s so great? Well for starters, frosted tips, boy bands, and light-up high top sneakers. And, of course, all the animated movies Disney released that decade. Let’s face it, ‘90s Disney movies were all that and a bag of chips! Poor us (that’s sarcasm — it was AMAZING), we sat through and re-watched all the Disney movies of the ‘90s (animated only) to bring you a top 10 list! Our only regret is that The Little Mermaid was released just six weeks too soon — November 13 of 1989 — to make our list! Read on, take notes, and binge watch!
While Hercules is technically the 35th Disney animated feature film, it ranks tenth on our top 10 list. Thanks to a great soundtrack featuring top pop sensations of the time, Hercules bumped Tarzan right off our list! Not that we don’t love us some Phil Collins, but sometimes we just want to groove to Boyzone along with the five muses. Hercules went from zero to hero, alright!
DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp
Surprised to see a movie based on an afternoon cartoon make our list? If you were fortunate enough to see the film when it was released in 1990, you’d know what a gem DuckTales the Movie is! Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Webby Vanderquack and Launchpad McQuack kept many ‘90s children enthralled during afternoon cartoons AND, gloriously, in this full-length film. Don’t underestimate the staying power of this diamond in the rough; the show was so popular, it got a reboot! This classic caper is currently available on iTunes, so get to it — Woo-ooo!
The Rescuers Down Under
We’ve mentioned The Rescuers Down Under before, but it’s such a great movie, we thought it deserved another shout out. These heroic mice go all the way to Australia to save a boy and stop a poacher from killing a giant, majestic eagle. The visuals are stunning, the characters are cute, and the story is sweet. It’s a classic Disney movie, and the tale of Miss Bianca and Bernard deserves a place in every Disney fanatic’s library….and top 10 list!
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Rumor has it that The Hunchback of Notre Dame is going to be remade into a live-action film. Will it be better than Disney’s 1996 often overlooked classic? We’ll just have to wait and see! Maybe Demi Moore will reprise her role as Esméralda. This sometimes forgotten movie has an incredible soundtrack and a story that sticks with you. Like the moral of the movie, don’t judge this film by our list — go and watch it for yourself!
A Goofy Movie
Nothing can possibly be more quintessentially 90’s than Max and his dad, Goofy. Also based on an afternoon television series — this one being Goof Troop — the 78-minute film follows the duo on a fishing trip where, of course, hijinks ensue. Goofy is scared Max is growing up too fast and wants one last trip together. Meanwhile, Max wants freedom and doesn’t understand his fear. Tevin Campbell, 90s R&B artist extraordinaire, is the singing voice of the fictional pop singer Powerline (still the coolest fictional rockstar around), so the soundtrack and viewing experience are a total win-win!
Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon? Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned? No? Well, even if you haven’t, we’re almost positive you’ve seen Disney’s 1995 smashing success, Pocahontas! The first movie to star a princess of color (Jasmine co-stars, before you ask), this animated film may not be historically accurate, but it is a fantastic tale worthy of a re-watch. While it has its issues, it opened the door for characters like Mulan, Moana and Elena of Avalor — and for that, it makes the list.
Let’s get down to business — to discuss, this film! Based on a Chinese legend, Disney’s fiercest heroine, Mulan, has been inspiring children since it first hit theaters in 1998. Mulan’s soundtrack also jump-started the career of ‘00s pop icon Christina Aguilera – maybe you’ve heard of her? The story of family, self, and courage has a special place in our hearts. Happily, our beloved Mulan is coming back into our lives as a live-action adaption sometime in 2020!
You ain’t never seen a movie like this! Featuring the voice talent of the late, great Robin Williams as the big blue genie, Aladdin became an instant classic. Not only was it the highest grossing movie of 1992, but it was also a HUGE critical success. It was so successful, in fact, that a live-action reinterpretation featuring Will Smith as the genie will hit theaters in the Spring of 2019. We aren’t sure that Smith can fill Williams’s big shoes, but we’re hopeful!
Beauty and the Beast
Tale as old as time, true as it can be, Beauty and the Beast officially comes in at number two on our Top 10 list. The story of finding acceptance and love when you are treated as an outcast is nothing short of heartwarming. We aren’t the only ones who think this timeless tale has endless appeal — in 2017, Disney premiered a live-action version that was also a total and complete success. Be our guest, and dive right into Disney’s classic animated romance.
The Lion King
Forget the king of the jungle, Disney’s instant classic, The Lion King, is king of our hearts — and top 10 list! Based loosely on Hamlet, the story follows Simba on a journey of betrayal, exile, and a return to glory. According to the venerable information source, Wikipedia, this powerhouse film is the highest grossing traditionally animated film OF. ALL. TIME. Hakuna Matata indeed!
BONUS: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Not exactly a Halloween movie, not quite a Christmas movie. Not traditionally animated, not originally Disney. What is The Nightmare Before Christmas doing as a bonus on a best of ‘90s animated Disney movie list? The stop motion animated film was originally released in 1993 by Walt Disney Studios distribution label Touchstone Pictures. It had a massive influence on an entire generation of ‘90s kids. Besides, stop motion animation has the word “animation” right in the name. It’s a different style, but just as time-consuming (if not more). Keeping with its quirky roots, The Nightmare Before Christmas deserves its very own shout out on a top 10 animated Disney movie list. Mic drop.