This was a hard list. Surprisingly hard.
5. The Emperor’s New Grove (2000)
This silly, sweet movie is one I can watch over and over and still chuckle at the jokes. This movie did humor right while at the same time balancing drama, a story with heart, and characters that grow and develop – without adding a love interest. This is a story about two men overcoming their differences of background and societal status to becomes friends.
4. The Aristocats (1970)
This is one of the earliest movies I remember watching. We had it recorded on a VHS tape, and it didn’t start right on time – it started a few seconds later, right before the first song started. I love the classy, jazzy feel to this movie.
3. Princess and the Frog (2009)
Every time I take a “princess personality” test, I get Tiana. (Sometimes Belle) We’re both hardworking, ambitious, and have a dream we are hard set on reaching – and “a man” isn’t necessarily a part of that dream. When I first saw this film, I fell in love with it. Tiana is a great character and role model for girls – she’s got her dream, and no one is going to stand in her way. She is willing to put in the long days and nights to reach it.
2. Moana (2016)
This movie is SO underrated! Everything about this movie is fantastic. Moana has a dream, but she doesn’t have a way of reaching it. She craves to see what is out there, but her parents are overprotective. The sense of magic and wander and adventure in this movie is topnotch, and I love that there isn’t a romantic angle in Moana. Not every girl needs to end up with a man at the end of a story.
1. Aladdin (1992)
I had no doubt which movie was going in the #1 spot. This has been my favorite Disney movie since I first saw it. I love the setting, the atmosphere, the music. Aladdin is one of my favorite characters – he was born poor, grew up poor, but he still has endless optimism and hope and dreams. Sure, he has a few low moments, but we all do. He makes mistakes; he doesn’t listen to the genie’s advice to tell the truth; he is a human being.
There are some movies that I really like that didn’t make it onto the list, like Oliver and Company, the retelling of Oliver Twist. There’s also Atlantis: The Lost Empire, which me and my mom went to see in the theater. Hercules, which fought hard with Emperor’s New Grove for the spot in the list. There’s also Pirates, but I didn’t include it because it’s not animated. It might have been produced by Disney, but it wasn’t a “Disney” movie, you know?
Side note – Yes, I’m thrilled they’re making a live action Aladdin.