Gather ’round, fellow dreamers, for we’re about to go on an enchanting adventure through the Disney movie timeline! We’ve conjured up the ultimate spell: so, whether you like glass slippers, talking animals, or just good old-fashioned fairy tale magic, get ready to be whisked away to a world where wishes come true and happily ever afters’ abound!
Table of Contents
Disney movie timeline
As we dig headfirst into the whimsical order of Disney’s animated masterpieces, it’s time to explore, recall, and perhaps even unearth a few hidden treasures:
1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has a legendary standing as the first fully animated feature film in the Walt Disney movie timeline. She has a major presence in Disney Parks all around the world, including the famed grotto at Disneyland.
2. Pinocchio, 1940
Is it a wooden puppet or a genuine boy? You make the call. In this timeless classic, we follow Pinocchio, a living puppet, and his cricket (and conscience), Jiminy Cricket, on their journey to become a “real boy.”
3. Fantasia, 1940
While Disney’s first two animated feature films relied on a single plot to fill the hour and a half, Fantasia deviated from that pattern by featuring aesthetically spectacular images matched to orchestral music.
4. Dumbo, 1941
Dumbo is a classic Disney film that inspired one of the park’s most renowned attractions. However, much of the picture does not meet modern standards, notably the contentious pink elephant season and depiction of crows.
If you can look past the film’s current lens, it’s still a touching narrative about someone who doesn’t fit in (because of his ears) and his effort to overcome that—with the help of a tiny mouse.
5. Bambi, 1942
As a child (or an adult), you CANNOT see this movie without sobbing. The premise is straightforward, following Bambi the deer as he grows up, but his mother’s death is one of the most devastating Disney scenes in film history
6. Saludos Amigos, 1943
Saludos Amigos, like Fantasia, does not have a single plotline. Instead, the film is divided into four mini-segments. Two of these feature Donald Duck and one features Goofy.
7. The Three Caballeros, 1945
The Three Caballeros may not be as well-known to younger Disney fans as a film in Disney animated movie timeline, but the ride in EPCOT’s Mexico Pavilion is sure to leave an impression on everyone who has experienced it.
8. Make Mine Music, 1946
While Walt Disney Studios was dealing with reduced labor due to World War II, the animators created this film, which was a mash-up of various short stories set to music.
9. Fun and Fancy Free, 1947
In “Bongo,” we see a bear flee the circus, while “Mickey and the Beanstalk” is one of favorite animated versions of the traditional Jack and the Beanstalk narrative.
10. Melody Time, 1948
As the war effort continued to burden the American workforce, Disney sought out another inexpensive yet entertaining picture of musical vignettes.
Melody Time isn’t on anyone’s radar as the most popular Disney animated classic film, but it’s worth revisiting as you work your way down the list.
11. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, 1949
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, easily the finest packaged film, is notable partly due to its “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” segment, which is still terrifying today. It’s literally the stuff of fever dreams.
12. Cinderella, 1950
We’ve made it out of the packaged film period in the Disney princess movie timeline and back to the classic Disney flicks. Cinderella, as you are probably aware, tells the narrative of a poor little girl who is tormented by her wicked stepmother and stepsisters, and her Fairy Godmother alters her life so that she can attend the prince’s ball.
13. Alice in Wonderland, 1951
Alice in Wonderland, known as one of the most surreal Disney films of all time, takes us on a journey based on Lewis Carroll’s book of the same name. The film’s renowned characters include the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts.
14. Peter Pan, 1953
Based on J.M. Barrie’s narrative, the film is magical from start to finish, full with the kind of adventure (pirates, sword fights, mermaids, flying ships, and pixies) that every little kid dreams about.
15. Lady and the Tramp, 1955
This is Disney’s version of the classic rich girl meets poor lad narrative. They’re just dogs. Of course, the most iconic scene from this film is when the two-share spaghetti.
16. Sleeping Beauty, 1959
Maleficent is one of Disney’s most iconic villains (inspired by a live-action film), and she makes her Disney debut in Sleeping Beauty.
Aurora, a Disney Princess, is, of course, the story’s heroine. After being cursed, he requires the assistance of a prince and three fairies to help her awaken.
17. One Hundred and One Dalmatians, 1961
Next in the Disney movie timeline is a film for dog lovers. Pongo and Perdita with their litter of 99 (birth and adoptive) puppies struggle to flee the clutches of Cruella de Ville (mean devil, get it?), who wants to convert the dogs’ coats into, well, coats.
18. The Sword in the Stone, 1963
The Sword in the Stone offers Disney’s first foray into Arthurian legend, introducing us to the original old wizard with a long, white beard (Gandalf and Dumbledore are only props). Consider this the genesis myth of King Arthur.
19. The Jungle Book, 1967
The wild Book follows Mowgli the Man Cub, Baloo the Bear, and Bagheera the Panther as they navigate growing up (in the wild or with other humans).
20. The Aristocats, 1970
Jazz music distinguishes The Aristocats and helps to make the film unforgettable. The plot revolves around an unusual couple of cats (O’Malley and Duchess) who are fleeing an evil butler.
21. Robin Hood, 1973
Though the story of Robin Hood has been recounted numerous times in films, television shows, and live plays, none is more famous than Disney’s version. The classic story of the British outlaw is given a Disney (i.e., animal) twist in this video.
22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, 1977
Winnie the Pooh, made famous by Disney, is the work of author A.A. Milne. This is the first of many Pooh-themed Disney films (and TV shows!). It also inspired one of my favorite night time rides in Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland.
23. The Rescuers, 1977
Prepare for adventure! Next in the Disney movie timeline is the Rescuers that introduced us to Bernard and Miss Bianca, two members of New York City’s Rescue Aid Society. These two rescuers must, well, rescue Penny, a helpless mouse. While entertaining, this is not one of Disney’s big hits that we remember fondly.
24. The Fox and the Hound, 1981
Another tearjerker, The Fox and the Hound demonstrates that not every Disney film must have a predictable happy conclusion
25. The Black Cauldron, 1985
Without a question, in the Disney movie timeline, this is Disney’s darkest animated classic, which has gained a cult following in today’s globe. The Black Cauldron follows a group of misfits as they attempt to locate a magical black cauldron before the Horned King uses it to unleash an army of the undead. Isn’t that what kids want?
26. The Great Mouse Detective, 1986
Detectives come in various shapes and sizes, and this one happens to be mouse-sized. Follow Basil, the mouse detective, as he investigates a kidnapping that brings him to his archenemy, Professor Ratigan.
27. Oliver & Company, 1988
Oliver & Company is the final film before the Disney Renaissance, but in my humble view, this film is legendary and deserves to be included in that illustrious Disney era. The cat and a gang of charming (but stealing) dogs in New York City are introduced in the classic cartoon. Billy Joel singing like a city dog? Please sign me up.
28. The Little Mermaid, 1989
All Ariel wants is to be a part of our world, but after watching Sebastian rock out beneath the waves, all I wanted as a child was to be a part of Ariel’s world. This famous fairy tale brings us underwater as we see Ariel struggle to spend time on land while falling in love with Prince Eric. Ariel renounces her family and mermaid status to marry Eric? Pssh.
29. The Rescuers Down Under, 1990
Bernard and Miss Bianca have returned, but this time they’re going to Australia to save a youngster and an eagle from a dangerous poacher. It’s unusual for a Disney sequel to outperform its predecessor, but this one surely ranks higher on my personal list.
30. Beauty and the Beast, 1991
In this age-old story, Belle, imprisoned by a terrible Beast, falls in love with her captor. Whether you call it Stockholm Syndrome or pure love, this is one of Disney’s most cherished animated classics. The ballroom scene is pure filmmaking treasure.
31. Aladdin, 1992
Return to Agrabah to see Aladdin (or Prince Ali), Abu, their Magic Carpet, and Genie (Robin Williams is unquestionably the show stealer) battle for Aladdin’s true love, Princess Jasmine. The only issue? Jafar, the evil wizard, has other intentions.
32. The Lion King, 1994
The Lion King, arguably the best Disney animated movie of all time, adapts well-known plotlines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and places them in the African grasslands for lions, hyenas, meerkats, hornbills, mandrills, and warthogs (oh my?) to act out.
33. Pocahontas, 1995
Is the story of Pocahontas historically accurate? No way, no how. But is it as fun as it sounds? Sure thing. This film is beautifully animated and conveys an essential message about our world.
34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1996
This famous Disney animated film introduces us to Quasimodo, an outcast who dwells in Notre Dame Cathedral. He must defy his cruel “caretaker” (Frollo) in order to help the gypsy (Esmerelda) with whom he has fallen in love.
This flick has it all. Ancient Greek mythology jokes, the funniest Disney villain of all time, incredible music (“I Won’t Say (I’m in Love”), Danny DeVito, and a flying horse.
36. Mulan, 1998
Mulan is the narrative of a little girl in China who, in order to save her father, disguises herself as a man and fights in the Chinese army against the Hun.
Two iconic songs from the film are “Reflection” and “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” Not to mention that this is an action-packed classic that will keep you on the edge of your seat for an hour and a half.
37. Tarzan, 1999
Phil Collins can’t possibly go wrong. Regardless, Collins’ music is one of the film’s defining characteristics, telling the story of Tarzan, a man reared by gorillas.
38. Fantasia 2000, 1999
Fantasia 2000 is an upgrade to the original Fantasia, which characterized Disney for many years. Classical music is still significant in the film, but it is interpreted in new animation ways.
39. Dinosaur, 2000
This picture was a significant accomplishment in the year 2000. While it is not known as one of Disney’s finest films, we all find ourselves returning to this story of a dinosaur raised by lemurs who is looking for a new home after his home is devastated by meteorites.
40. The Emperor’s New Groove, 2000
Baby, boom! The Emperor’s New Groove, is without a doubt the funniest Disney cartoon. Kronk’s incompetence characterizes the film (oh, that shoulder angel and devil combination!), but Yzma has a funny, twisted evilness to her, and Kuzco’s selfishness is hilarious
41. Atlantis: The Lost Empire, 2001
It is incredible to witness a “nerd” like Milo Thatch be the hero in an action-packed Disney classic that simultaneously delves into historical interests. This film is underappreciated for the adventure and passion it provides.
42. Lilo & Stitch, 2002
In this film, a young, headstrong, and misunderstood Hawaiian girl raised by her sister meets a companion in an escaped alien project gone wrong. That is just incorrect.
43. Treasure Planet, 2002
Treasure Planet is all about adventure. It places the classic story of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island in space, creating a future version of this spectacular tale complete with flying ships, cyborgs, and more.
44. Brother Bear, 2003
This Next in the Disney movie timeline may be a little predictable, but it has a lot of heart, excellent music, and a cool story about an Inuit hunter who is transformed into a bear as he learns what it is to be a man.
45. Home on the Range, 2004
In case you’ve followed Disney’s advice and blocked it from your mind, here’s a quick recap: In order to defend their farm, the barn animals go on the hunt for an outlaw
46. Chicken Little, 2005
“The sky is falling!” says one. That’s how the classic Chicken Little story goes.
However, in the Disney version, Chicken Little, who once cried wolf about a falling sky, is now called upon to warn the village of an alien invasion. This time, though, no one believes him.
47. Meet the Robinsons, 2007
Time travel has always fascinated me, and Disney’s take on it in Meet the Robinsons was quite good. Meet the Robinsons is a hidden gem that many Disney fans ignore because it came after Home on the Range (a flop) and Chicken Little (a commercial hit but critical acclaim). It’s definitely worth a second look.
48. Bolt, 2008
Bolt the dog is the star of a science-fiction show in which he has extraordinary abilities, but when danger hits in the real world, Bolt believes his abilities are just as real as they appear on TV.
49. The Princess and the Frog, 2009
The Princess and the Frog represented a long-awaited return to hand-drawn animation. It also presented us to our first Black Disney Princess, more than 70 years after the original Disney Princess was introduced. Tiana had been waiting for a long time.
50. Tangled, 2010
Tangled is based on the original Rapunzel story, but don’t imagine for a second that your princess is just waiting to be rescued in the tower. Rapunzel takes her fate into her own hands in this retelling of the traditional fairy tale to embark on a journey of a lifetime.
51. Winnie the Pooh, 2011
The simplicity of Winnie the Pooh stories is what makes them so appealing. Pooh and his buddies are searching for Eyeore’s misplaced tail in this film adaptation.
52. Wreck-It Ralph, 2012
Wreck-It Ralph is a genuinely unusual concept, transforming a video game villain into a hero and taking us behind the scenes of iconic arcade games.
53. Frozen, 2013
Disney’s Frozen was a huge success. There’s no getting around it. From Idina Menzel’s smash hit “Let It Go” to the story of sisterly love (rather than romantic love) to Olaf’s comedy stylings, this film is sheer joy.
54. Big Hero 6, 2014
Big Hero 6 is set in San Francisco in an alternate history in which Japan had a significant influence on the city following the 1906 disaster.
55. Zootopia, 2016
Whether you’re debating Zootopia’s deeper message, rocking out to Shakira’s “Try Anything,” or simply bursting a gut laughing at the sloth, you’re bound to enjoy this film.
56. Moana, 2016
What a fantastic film. Moana has it all: fantastic original music, a strong female heroine, breathtaking ocean animation, The Rock, and an innovative plot that introduces us to ancient Polynesian culture for the first time.
57. Ralph Breaks the Internet, 2018
Beginning with Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, Disney entered the sequel mode. This time, Ralph and Vanellope, who have been trapped in the world of arcade games, stumble upon a Wi-Fi network, which launches them onto a much larger adventure: the internet.
58. Frozen II, 2019
Frozen II, the second Disney sequel in a row, was a long-awaited sequel that continued the stories of Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven. The film’s standout performance is Kristoff and Sven’s ’80s-style power ballad “Lost in the Woods.”
59. Raya and the Last Dragon, 2021
Raya is rumored to be Disney’s 13th official princess after her valiant efforts in locating the last dragon in Kumandra to prevent the Druun from wreaking absolute havoc. You’re missing out if you haven’t seen this film yet. It’s full of heart, adventure, and laughs.
60. Encanto, 2021
Stephanie Beatriz of Brooklyn 99 and In the Heights fame gives an outstanding vocal performance in Encanto, a narrative of the Madrigals, a wonderful family who reside in Colombia’s Encanto. Mirabel lacks exceptional magical abilities in a world when everyone else does. However, it is up to the helpless Mirabel to save the bustling town of Encanto.
61. Strange World, 2022
The movie, which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu, was directed by Don Hall. The Clades, a storied dynasty of explorers, are the subject of the story. The family must put their differences aside in order to venture to a mysterious region populated by “surreal lifeforms.” They had to take action in order to protect a remarkable plant that sustains their culture.
62. Elemental, 2023
The elements themselves take on personalities in a gripping story of beauty and disaster in “Elemental,” a compelling cinematic adventure that immerses viewers in nature’s untamed power. Prepare for a magnificent voyage into the heart of our globe.
From the enchantment of “Snow White” to the futuristic vistas of “Frozen,” this Disney movie timeline theory ignites the imagination and enables fans to seek hidden links in the enthralling fabric of Disney storytelling. This comprehensive list is your enchanting path through timeless tales and animated wonders in the beautiful world of Disney, where dreams take flight on the wings of imagination. So, gather your pixie dust, because every Disney film is a passport to an endless adventure!