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. For when these movies become available for home viewing, 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)
  2. Pinocchio (1940)
  3. Fantasia* (1940)
  4. Dumbo (1941)
  5. Bambi (1942)
  6. Saludos Amigos* (1943)
  7. The Three Caballeros* (1945)
  8. Make Mine Music* (1946)
  9. Fun and Fancy Free* (1947)
  10. Melody Time* (1948)
  11. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad* (1949)
  12. Cinderella (1950)
  13. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
  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)
  15. Lady and the Tramp (1955; first entry to be distributed by Buena Vista)
  16. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  17. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
  18. The Sword in the Stone (1963; last to be released while Walt was alive)
  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)
  21. Robin Hood (1973)
  22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh* (1977; partially made while Walt was alive)
  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)
  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)
  26. The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
  27. Oliver & Company (1988; the last film of the Dark Age)
  28. The Little Mermaid (1989; the first film of the Disney Renaissance)
  29. The Rescuers Down Under (1990; 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)
  32. The Lion King (1994)
  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)
  38. Fantasia 2000* (1999; follow-up to Fantasia; first animated film initially released in IMAX theaters)
  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)
  45. Home on the Range (2004)
  46. Chicken Little (2005; first true CGI movie done without Pixar)
  47. Meet the Robinsons (2007; first to carry the feature animation studio's own Vanity Plate)
  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)
  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)
  52. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
  53. Frozen (2013; first entry to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature)
  54. Big Hero 6 (2014; won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature)

* Consists of several short films released as one feature.** In the UK, this film is not considered part of the Canon. Instead, The Wild (2006) is in its place.

You can vote on your favorite entry HERE!

Upcoming films

  • Zootopia (2016)
  • Moana (2016)
  • Gigantic (2018)
  • Frozen 2 (planned for 2019)
  • King of the Elves (TBA; was announced in 2008, but has been in development hell since)
  • The Name Game (TBA)
  • Teen Space Race (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 pre-production 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 cancelled)
  • 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: