Franchise: Disney Animated Canon

"To think six years ahead - even two or three - in this business of making animated cartoon features, it takes calculated risk and much more than blind faith in the future of theatrical motion pictures. I see motion pictures as a family-founded institution closely related to the life and labor of millions of people. Entertainment such as our business provides has become a necessity, not a luxury... it is the part which offers us the greatest reassurance about the future in the animation field."

The animated feature films produced by Disney's main feature animation studio, currently known as Walt Disney Animation Studios.

In 1937, Walt Disney released the first feature-length animated film in the English-speaking world and the first feature film made completely with hand-drawn animation. However, it wasn't, as many claim, the first feature-length animated film ever. Foreign examples predating Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and using other kinds of animation include Argentina's The Apostle (combining hand-drawn with cutout animation) in 1917, Germany's The Adventures of Prince Achmed (done with silhouette animation) in 1926, and The Soviet Union's The New Gulliver (done with Stop Motion) in 1935.

This category does not include Pixar productions, nor does it include every animated feature released by Disney (such as those created by DisneyToon Studios, Direct-to-Video Sequels, Studio Ghibli dubs, animated films made under a different Disney banner such as The Nightmare Before Christmas or animated films distributed by Disney but produced by non-Disney studios). There don't seem to be any hard-and-fast rules as to which movies get to be part of the canon and which don't, but generally, the canon films are made by the Disney feature animation unit (live-action/animation hybrids like Song of the South and Mary Poppins tend not to count unless the animation is the bulk of the film). The Other Wiki has a set of lists for both the canon and non-canon films.

See also Disney Princess, Enchanted (an Affectionate Parody of Disney's own films), Kingdom Hearts, a video game series which also seems to follow the rule of only using canonical characters from nearly all of these films (and then some!), or House of Mouse which represents almost every canonical movie with at least a cameo appearance. Once Upon a Time is a live-action fairy tale Massive Multiplayer Crossover shown on Disney-owned ABC, with versions of the fairy tale characters heavily and obviously indebted to the Disney animated film versions. Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Nightmare Before Christmas were both produced and released by Disney under its Touchstone Pictures banner (the latter's 3D rereleases were under the Disney banner). Compare the works of former Disney animator Don Bluth, as well as the two feature length animated films made by Fleischer Studios. For notable Disney staff, go here.

    The Films (In Chronological Order) 
  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937; carries the honor of being the first full-length animated feature film in the English-speaking world; became the highest grossing film of all time until Gone with the Wind several years later; is the Grand Premiere release for the "Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection", "Walt Disney Platinum Editions", and "Walt Disney Diamond Editions" home entertainment brands.)
  2. Pinocchio (1940; only feature to have a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes; first of the "untouchable" films made under Walt to be released on home video, under the then-new "Walt Disney Classics" brand, and this release helped develop home entertainment greatly; is the Grand Finale release for the "Walt Disney Platinum Editions" home entertainment brand, an honor it will repeat for the "Walt Disney Diamond Editions" brand)
  3. Fantasia* (1940; first film ever made in stereophonic sound, named "Fantasound"; is considered to be Walt's Magnum Opus)
  4. Dumbo (1941; along with Alice In Wonderland, first full-length single story film released on home video)
  5. Bambi (1942; last full-length single story feature until Cinderella; was Walt's personal favorite)
  6. Saludos Amigos* (1943; first of the major package films)
  7. The Three Caballeros* (1945; along with Fun And Fancy Free and The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, first package feature released on home video)
  8. Make Mine Music* (1946)
  9. Fun and Fancy Free* (1947; the last time Walt Disney voiced Mickey Mouse; along with The Three Caballeros and The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, first package feature released on home video)
  10. Melody Time* (1948)
  11. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad* (1949; last original package film until Fantasia 2000 and the Grand Finale new release for the "Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection" home video brand)
  12. Cinderella (1950; first full-length single story feature since Bambi)
  13. Alice in Wonderland (1951; only animated feature before the 1984 management shift to have closing credits; along with Dumbo, first full-length single story film to be released on home video)
  14. Peter Pan (1953; last film to have all nine of Disney's Nine Old Men working together, along with the last entry to be distributed by RKO Radio Pictures note )
  15. Lady and the Tramp (1955; first entry to be distributed by Buena Vista; first animated film ever made in widescreen.)
  16. Sleeping Beauty (1959; last film to be based on a fairy tale until The Little Mermaid.)
  17. 101 Dalmatians (1961; was the highest grossing animated film at one point, until The Lion King.)
  18. The Sword in the Stone (1963; last to be released while Walt was alive; the impromptu Grand Finale reissue release for the "Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection" home entertainment brand)
  19. The Jungle Book (1967; final animated film produced while Walt was alive)
  20. The Aristocats (1970; final film Walt personally green-lit, and the beginning of the Dork Age of Disney; final film released while Roy O. Disney was alive.)
  21. Robin Hood (1973; first of the "untouchables" to be released on home video, under the then-new "Walt Disney Classics" brand; first film to not have Walt involved at all; last film produced while all of Disney's Nine Old Men were alive, for John Lounsbery died in 1976)
  22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh* (1977; partially made while Walt was alive; originally released as three separate shorts before being combined in 1977; along with The Three Caballeros and Fun And Fancy Free, first package feature released on home video)
  23. The Rescuers (1977; end of the Dork Age/start of the Dark Age)
  24. The Fox and the Hound (1981; last film that any of Disney's Nine Old Men worked on minus Eric Larson, who would remain as a trainer and animation consultant through 1986; also last film to carry the Buena Vista logo and the last animated feature released before the 1984 management shift that brought Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Frank Wells into Disney; also the Grand Finale release for the "Walt Disney Classics" home video line).
  25. The Black Cauldron (1985; the first animated Disney film to carry a PG rating due to violence and nightmarish imagery; also first film to carry the Walt Disney Pictures logo and the first film released under the new Eisner/Wells/Katzenberg/Roy E. Disney regime, although The Black Cauldron began development before the release of The Rescuers; first film to have computer animation in it; first film to have NO songs at all; and first film since Alice In Wonderland to have closing credits)
  26. The Great Mouse Detective (1986; last film that Eric Larson, the lone remaining member of Disney's Nine Old Men, was credited on; he retired this year and died in 1988; first animated feature to have an extended computer animated sequence)
  27. Oliver & Company (1988; the last film of the Dark Age and the first film to began production under the Eisner/Wells/Katzenberg/Roy E. regime)
  28. The Little Mermaid (1989; the first film of the Disney Renaissance; first film to be based on a fairy tale since Sleeping Beauty; first film to come straight to home video under the "Walt Disney Classics" brand after finishing its original theatrical run; last film to utilize traditional animated cels)
  29. The Rescuers Down Under (1990; the canon's only true sequel so far, first completely digital film ever produced)
  30. Beauty and the Beast (1991; the only movie of the canon to be nominated for Best Picture so far)
  31. Aladdin (1992; last animated feature released while Frank Wells was alive; first film to break the $200 million mark)
  32. The Lion King (1994; first original story for the canon outside the package films; highest grossing of the Disney Animated Classics until Frozen; last film fully made while Frank Wells was alive and the final film released during Jeffrey Katzenberg's employment at the company)
  33. Pocahontas (1995)
  34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
  35. Hercules (1997)
  36. Mulan (1998)
  37. Tarzan (1999; the last film of the Disney Renaissance; first Tarzan series film to be animated)
  38. Fantasia 2000* (1999; follow-up to Fantasia and the first package film since The Adventures Of Ichabod & Mr. Toad; first animated film initially released in IMAX theaters; only post-Jeffrey Katzenberg/Frank Wells animated classic to be part of the current "Untouchables" lineup note )
  39. Dinosaur (2000; first hybrid-CGI movie done without Pixar)
  40. The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
  41. Atlantis The Lost Empire (2001)
  42. Lilo & Stitch (2002; first entry to be nominated for Best Animated Feature)
  43. Treasure Planet (2002)
  44. Brother Bear (2003; final film released before Roy E. Disney's resignation and Save Disney campaign)
  45. Home on the Range (2004; planned as the last 2D animation, reversed in 2009; last animated feature released during Michael Eisner's tenure at Disney)
  46. Chicken Little (2005; first true CGI movie done without Pixar; last film fully made under Michael Eisner; last film released before John Lasseter's ascension to Chief Creative Officer of Disney; last film to carry a variation of the original Walt Disney Pictures logo and first film released under Bob Iger's tenure at Disney)
  47. Meet the Robinsons (2007; first to carry the feature animation studio's own Vanity Plate as well as the new computer-animated Walt Disney Pictures logo)
  48. Bolt (2008)
  49. The Princess and the Frog (2009; first 2D film after 2004; also what some fans are calling the start of the Second Disney Renaissance/the Disney Revival, sometimes along with Bolt; final film released while Roy E. Disney was alive; he died a few days later)
  50. Tangled (2010; Disney released a rather nifty video to celebrate its milestone as the fifty mark)
  51. Winnie-the-Pooh* (2011; last 2D film to date; most recent package film)
  52. Wreck-It Ralph (2012; first animated feature to have the alternate Walt Disney Pictures logo that just says "Disney"; first feature to have a custom-made vanity plate for the studio and first feature to incorporate "guest" characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog that Disney did not own rights to)
  53. Frozen (2013; first entry to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature; is currently the highest grossing animated feature of all time)
  54. Big Hero 6 (2014; won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature; first film adapted from a Disney-acquired property, in this case, Marvel, who Disney bought in 2009)

* Consists of several short films released as one feature.

You can vote on your favorite entry HERE!

Upcoming films

  • Zootopia (2016)
  • Moana (2016)
  • Gigantic (2018)
  • King of the Elves (TBA; was announced in 2008, but has been in development hell since)
  • The Name Game (TBA)
  • Teen Space Race (TBA)
  • Frozen 2 (TBA)
  • Wreck-It Ralph 2 (TBA)

Cancelled films

  • The Wizard Of Oz (the studio did some conceptual art for it shortly after Snow White but it was canceled in preproduction after MGM released their own version. Incidentally, Disney would much later release an "unofficial" sequel and prequel to the MGM version.)
  • Chanticleer (some ideas from development migrated into Don Bluth's Rock-A-Doodle)
  • The Gremlins (Based on Roald Dahl's book. Questions of whether plane sabotaging creatures could be made sympathetic and development running late into the war leading to a cancellation due to possibly becoming dated. Some Gremlins would later appear in the 2010 video game Epic Mickey.)
  • Don Quixote (just like several other attempts to adapt that story into a movie have been canceled)
  • Fraidy Cat (a homage to the work of Alfred Hitchcock focused around house pets, was supposed to be Ron Clement's and John Muskers' next film after Treasure Planet)
  • Wild Life (a Pygmalion-type story about a nightclub recruiting a singing zoo elephant to hype into the next big thing to discredit a critic, cancelled due to concerns about more mature content)
  • My Peoples (Loose Applachian set adaptation of The Canterville Ghost, cancelled due to the closure of the Florida studio, which was the only one making the movie)
  • Fantasia 2006 (due to shifting management; several shorts were completed and released separately)
  • Mort (Disney couldn't get the adaptation rights, which were sold as one large package rather than individually)
  • The Search For Mickey Mouse (Was going to be Disney's first Crossover of all their characters, centering around Mickey getting kidnapped and Minnie recruiting a group to find him. It was also going to be their 50th animated film until new management restructured everything.)
  • Sequels were planned for films such as The Jungle Book and Bambi during earlier phases, though didn't get past early production stages (allegedly due to Walt not being a fan of sequels). Actual follow ups were made much later on, though are not made part of Disney canon. A Tangled sequel was also considered at one point.
    • In their line of Direct-to-Video sequels, Disney had plans to make Dumbo 2, The Jungle Book 3, The Aristocats 2, Chicken Little 2note , and Meet the Robinsons 2. Dumbo 2 was in on-and-off development for a while (even though it was promoted on the 2001 DVD of Dumbo) before being cancelled altogether, while The Jungle Book 3 was cancelled after the under-performance of The Jungle Book 2. The remaining three projects were cancelled under order of John Lasseter after Walt Disney Animation Studios was given control over DisneyToon Studios (the division making the sequels) in 2007.
  • The Kingdom of the Sun, an Inca-era prince and the pauper type Animated Musical, which was later retooled into The Emperor's New Groove.

Tropes common to the Disney Animated Canon: