Arguably Bambi's Disney Death in the midquel. Although admittedly, not a single person watching is gonna believe Bambi is dead—-unless they were hiding out in the remote corner of the world for most of their life and never saw the original movie. However, the Great Princesure does...
The Emperor's New Groove, despite its "played for laughs" theme, fits in a truly sad part when Kuzco - whose own ego has got him turned into a llama, ruined his life and lost him his only reliable friend, Pacha - is briefly resigned to being stuck as a llama for life after finding out Yzma never liked him at all, leading to his realizing that Pacha was right. He even starts to eat grass like other llamas - despite clearly not fitting in. It then seamlessly becomes a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when he hears Pacha talking to the other llamas about how he appreciates the one good thing Kuzco did, and from this one thing, he's prepared to forgive him and help him get changed back. Needless to say, Kuzco is permanently changed for the better. Just to put this in perspective, Pacha was going have his home destroyed, be locked up forever, left hanging over a cliff, and called winy peasant by Kuzco. He had every right to just leave him for good, but just because Kuzco saves his life once, from something that Kuzco fiercely tried to swear off, He still finds it in himself to forgive Kuzco again. That feels more like a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, and one of the most beautifully amazing moments in a movie more about making you laugh. At least, until The Emperors New School comes along and the Aesop Amnesia kicks in, and he's right back to his Jerk Ass self every episode.
A Goofy Movie doesn't sound like a title that would jerk tears, and true, it's very funny indeed...but it jerks tears as well. Fortunately, all of them are tears of joy. May go as far as to deserve its own page.
Goofy: I was only trying to take my boy fishin', okay?!
Max: I'm not your little boy anymore, Dad! I'm grown up! I've got my own life now!
Goofy: I know that! I just wanted to be part of it! (pause) You're my son, Max. No matter how big ya get, you'll always be my son.
Goofy's COMPLETELY destroyed expression when he discovers that Max changed the road map.
From An Extremely Goofy Movie, where after Max has departed for college, he slowly goes back upstairs and and looks around at Max's now empty room. He then spots max's old stuffed bear and Goofy gives the most heart-wrenching "Gawrsh" as he holds the bear and silently cries.
Chicken Little wishing to follow in his father Buck's footsteps as a baseball star, but Buck tells him not to set his hopes so high. Trust me, it's sadder than it sounds.
And then there's after C.L. rings the bell to alert the whole town about the aliens invading. Unfortunately, the ship goes back to camouflage mode, and no one believes him, not even Buck, who finally appreciated his son after the Acorns baseball team won.
Oliver & Company starts with one. The opening sequence, set to a fittingly bittersweet song about pursuing your dreams, details Oliver's origin story of sorts. It starts with him being the only kitten in a litter to not get adopted, and goes downhill from there when he gets flooded out of his cardboard box (while mewing pitifully at an oblivious passerby for help,) nearly swept down a storm drain, soaked by a passing car, chased by a pack of vicious mongrels (including one with a missing eye,) and finally curls up in the underside of a pickup, frightened, lonely and exhausted. This is why you don't leave kittens and puppies in boxes on a street corner and hope some kind strangers will take care of them!
The song "Good Company".
Kocoum's death in Pocahontas. Just look at his face when he's struggling with John over the knife. He genuinely looks heartbroken over seeing his future wife stab him in the back, and promptly shot in the front.
Whatever else you say about Pocahontas, don't try and pretend that the final two minute don't bring a tear to your eye... the music, the animation, the silent goodbye...
"Colors of the Wind"
When Pocahontas goes to see John Smith the night before his execution; made even better (read: more-likely-to-make-you-cry) in the cut sequence by the beautiful rendition of "If I Never Knew You" performed by Mel Gibson and Judy Kuhn.
Also, Pocahontas' heartfelt speech as she begs her father to spare John Smith's life.
When Friar Tuck is in prison, if you look closely, you can see the words "FORGIVE THEM ALL" carved into a stone on the wall. It's subtle, but so excruciatingly painful.
Similarity, the cell where the rest of the villagers are kept has "God forgive Prince John" carved by the door. Tearjerker combined with Heartwarming Moment, as whether or not you are religious, it shows suffering people banding together and finding comfort in their faith.
There's a horrifying Mood Whiplash right at the end of the mostly wacky and lighthearted Make Mine Music. We speak, of course, of The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At The Met, the story of Willie, an opera-singing whale who dreams of being a star despite the species barrier, and a crazed sailor Tetti-Tatti who is convinced that the singing is a result of Willie having swallowed opera singers. The majority of the short is light-hearted wacky cartoon gags, as Willie sings a repertoire of his best songs and Tetti-Tatti is foiled in his every attempt to harpoon Willie (as his own crew love the singing so much they don't allow him). And then, just as the short winds to a close, suddenly Tetti-Tatti takes the harpoon gun and does the deed. The music stops as we see the absolute heartbreaking silhouette of a harpooned Willie leaping from the water one last time before sinking beneath the sea. Just to drive the point home, we see Willie's seagull friend sitting by the sea, sobbing uncontrollably as the narrator tries to soothe him. The sadness is mitigated only slightly by the reveal that Willie now plays sold-out shows in heaven. Disney dealt with some deep issues here - some of us won't realize our dreams before we die, and that this world is full of people who "aren't used to miracles" and will destroy them.
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh episode "Find Her, Keep Her". In it, Rabbit cares for Kessie, a baby bluebird that grows up to be a surrogate daughter. Sooner or later, Kessie has to fly south for the winter, much to Rabbit's dismay.
Kessie's last night with Rabbit. She asks him for a final bedtime story, which he angrily refuses on the grounds that she doesn't need him to read her a story — she doesn't need him for anything. Then he takes her stuffed rabbit into the other room and hugs it while Kessie sits by the fire and just sobs.
And for this troper it was all the more horrifying cause he thought she was giggling for a second.
"Stripes", in the New Adventures Of Winnie the Pooh. In a nutshell, Tigger loses his stripes after everyone forces him to have a bath...they then insist that he can't be a tigger, since tiggers have stripes. He sings a song toward the end of the episode, tearfully, about being "nothin' but stuffin'" and not having a name.
I know I've changed, on the outside
But on the inside, I feel the same
Maybe someday, I'll know who I am
But as of right now... somehow
I don't have a name
In "Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too" when Pooh has lost the letter to Santa in a gust of wind. His cries of "Please come back! I'm supposed to take you to Santa!" are for naught. His face falls into an expression of pure despair. He's failed in his mission; and now has to trudge back home and tell everyone that they're not getting anything for Christmas. It all works out in the end, but you can't help but feel his pain.
Then we cut back to his friends, who are all anticipating their gifts from Santa, except Piglet, who acknowledges that Pooh won't make it back home in time for Christmas due to sending their letter. He spent the whole episode confused as to what he actually wanted for Christmas, now he knows, he wants Pooh.
The third part of "To The Rescue" has a moment: Gadget has just met the chipmunks and seen Monty for the first time since she was a little girl, and Monty asks for her father. She says he's gone, in a tone that tells everyone that he's gone permanently... everyone, that is, except Dale, who asks when he'll be back. She reveals that he won't be coming back; she had lost him about a year prior. To compound this, when Monty says he'll be missed, she tells him, "He already is." Then she cheerfully offers to make them a chair. That's right, make them a chair.
"The Case of the Cola Cult" when Gadget decides it's better for the Rescue Rangers if she leaves them. She packs her tools and walks out in the rain, crying. Not only is this a sad scene, it's also hard to see Gadget cry.
In A Sitch In Time right at the start where Kim and Ron are saying their goodbye's as his family is moving to Norway and the two of them are standing on the top of a hill desperately trying not to cry and in proper teen fashion completely unable to tell the other how much this separation hurts.
Also, in So The Drama, when Kim ends up betrayed by Eric/Synthodrone 901 and is on the verge of the Despair Event Horizon, bitterly declaring, "Drakken's won. I should have stuck to babysitting," until Ron talks her out of it.
Tale Spin has the episode "Her Chance to Dream", where Rebecca falls in love with Captain Stansbury, who is really a ghost that haunts the island where Louie's business now resides. She is so enamored by the ghost that she believes that she's dreaming when the ghost summons up his old ship and tries to spirit her away so that they can be together. The scene where Baloo and Louie try to get her to summon the ghost back to the afterlife becomes downright tear-extracting when Rebecca screams "I just want to be happy!" and when Baloo makes her snap out of her dream state by telling her to think of her daughter Molly.
Witch in "H is for Hunted". Nerissa turns a soulless clone of Will into an actual living optimistic girl with a huge passion for life, with the plan to drive her to such desperation she'll kill the real Will Vandom to take her place. The plan itself fails when both Will and her altamere realize they aren't actually enemies. Nerissa uses the distraction to try to kill Will more directly with a lightning bolt ... which the altamere jumps in front of. Fading rapidly she manages to say "that's what sisters do... right?"
PB&J Otter has the song Nothing Lasts Forever from the episode Hope Castle.
The Timmy Time episode "Timmy's Snowball". In it, Timmy makes a snowball which he cherishes deeply and wants to take everywhere with him. He then tucks it into his lunchbox with a handkerchief, and, not surprisingly, it melts and Timmy becomes understandably upset and confused. Anyone who has ever lost something they loved dearly as a small child can definitely relate.
The finale of Pepper Ann as well, it reminds you to never let go of your friends.
There's the "Time is Money" multi-parter that introduces Bubba. The cave duck spends the first three episodes being hated or dumped on by Scrooge, and this culminates in the fourth episode where he accidentally gets Scrooged locked out of the Money Bin by the Beagle Boys, leading Scrooge to chew him out and completely reject him. The two meet up again when they're both tossed in prison for different reasons (Bubba accidentally caused some property damage; Scrooge was framed by the Beagle Boys). Bubba then gives Scrooge a coin he found earlier in the episode to say he's sorry for what happened earlier. Since Scrooge has mellowed out a bit since last time and also had a chewing out of his own thanks to his own conscience, Bubba's action moves him so much he starts crying. So does this troper.
"Nothing to Fear" has Magica using everyone's fears against them, with the worst ones being the nephews being abandoned by Scrooge and vice versa. Their looks of heartbreak are just too damn sad not to tear up at. And then shortly after when the four reunite it also counts as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
Walt Disney Presents has the episode "The Goofy Success Story", as Goofy becomes a huge movie star, but then becomes depressed when he doesn't win a single Oscar, to the point he nearly commits suicide. He gets better, thankfully.
Goof Troop, "Good Neighbor Goof." After the show manages to play a trope as inherently comedic as an Ironic Echo Cutfor drama, the audience gets to see Pete bellowing angrily at PJ, who is clearly powerless, stammering timidly in response. Pete doesn't let up even when PJ is clearly very ashamed of himself, at which point the music turns sad, and the content of his bellowing turns into an insulting rant about the Goofs, culminating in Pete forbidding PJ from seeing Max. Max, who was hanging from PJ's windowsill at the time and heard the whole thing, starts to cry. And if the audience hasn't yet, PJ delivers a doozy of a Woobiefying line where he simultaneously explicitly states that the day of fun he's had with Max is the only one he can remember ever having and implies that he's going to accept being completely miserable for the rest of his life, crying and smiling that he'll at least have the memories. This does build into a truly Heartwarming Moment when Max and PJ are finally allowed to become friends.
The Nightmare Before Christmas had some really sad moments. Let's see, there's Jack's Lament, which the lead character laments that he is tired of being the Pumpkin King and wishes that he could give it all up. I.E. Jack's depressed. Then there's Sally's Song, singing about her unrequited love for Jack and wondering "what his actions lead us then". THEN there's when Jack is shot down and we see everyone in Halloweentown grieving for Jack. Then we see all the kids in the Real World crying as the police tells them that there is no sign of Santa. And then there's the first half of "Poor Jack" with Jack regretting the harm that he's done. DAMN. Luckily, Jack and Sally getting together at the end brings more positive tears.
Mickey's Christmas Carol starring Scrooge McDuck as Ebeneezer Scrooge and Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit. The Ghost of Christmas 'Yet To Come' takes Scrooge to the future where Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit's youngest son dies. The scene where Mickey as Bob places Tim's crutch by his tombstone with tears in his eyes is tear jerking.
Released on the same DVD is Don Bluth's Disney Swan Song, The Small One: after an unsuccessful day of Small One's owner trying to find someone who will love him as much as he did, Small One leads them back to the Tanner, prepared to give up his life, until Joseph buys him, and then the title song plays as the star appears over the manger.
"Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas": Though all three shorts have their tearjerker moments, the biggest one is the Donald Duck short. Just after Donald destroys the house chasing the turkey, the whole family (except for HD&L) looks around sadly until Donald notices the Christmas tree is still standing up and with a small smile says "Well, at least we still have the tree!" only to have the tree fall on top of him. Cue Daisy rushing to comfort Donald who just crawled from underneath the tree, bruised all over.
It's an especially poignant moment for the character since, rather than turning on his nephews as they expect, he just lies on the floor, depressed and heartbroken, for what it is perhaps the first time actually showing humility and guilt over screwing things up. Meanwhile his nephews finally read the Christmas Card from him and Daisy that they ignored the whole time, a surprisingly touching message about Christmas being about love and giving to those they care about. For all the times they and their uncle have been at war, this is the point they realise they took things too far.
And in "A Very Goofy Christmas", Max doubts the existence of Santa and Goofy attempts to dress as Santa to get his hopes up. Eventually, his disguise is exposed and he suffers a Heroic BSOD.. Feeling sorry for his dad, Max dresses as Santa to cheer up Goofy.
And in the "Gift of the Magi" segment when Pete takes Mickey's hard-earned cash he was saving to buy Minnie a chain for her watch. And later when he trades his harmonica at the pawn shop for said chain.
"Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas" has the segment "Mickey's Doggone Christmas", where after messing up Mickey's decorations for his Christmas party, Pluto gets sent to the dog house. Feeling rejected by Mickey, her takes off his collar and runs away, ending up at the North Pole where he's adopted by Santa's reindeer. But Pluto soon starts to miss Mickey and starts seeing reminders of him wherever he looks.
Then in the subplot, Mickey feels guilty for yelling at Pluto and goes to his dog house to apologize, but finds his collar and discovers he's run away. He then frantically starts posting "Lost Dog" posters around town until he gives up and feels sorry he even yelled at him in the first place. He's so desperate, he turns to Santa Claus for help (however, it's not a Mall Santa, but the real guy). Santa then returns to the North Pole with a picture of him and Mickey to show Pluto that he really does care about him and reunites the two.
And in "Donald's Gift", Donald is sick of hearing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" everywhere he goes and in the process, wrecks a Christmas display at the department store he took Daisy and the nephews to. Donald is then shunned by his nephews and told off by Daisy.
Rabbit and Kessie. Made worse when Kessie falls from the tree.
Tigger: She's...she's gone...
The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh had a lot of tear jerkers, most notably the above mentioned episode. There's also the episode where Tigger, Rabbit, and Piglet pop Christopher Robin's balloon, and Pooh, who was taking care of it at the time, believes it to be his fault, just to name an example. This one is called Balloonatics, for those wanting to watch this particular one.
Rabbit's vision of his future in "Springtime With Roo", showing that he's such a Control Freak, all his friends have abondoned him. Finding all their houses completely empty and covered with dust and cobwebs is just...
Rabbit: I don't understand. Roo was looking so forward to—
The Partners statue in the Magic Kingdom - the one with Walt and Mickey holding hands. Especially for those who still see Walt as Mickey's father.
Just walking through the train station gate into the park sets a lot of people off. Many of them have been saving up their whole lives to be able to come to Disneyland/Walt Disney World and the realization that they finally made it just hits them.
Seeing the Castle will do it too, a lot of the time.
The Characters. While some people may not like them, there is absolutely nothing more adorable than watching a four-year-old go up to Mickey - or Minnie, or Tigger, or their favorite Princess - for the first time and watching their face light up. The real Tear Jerkers, though, come when you watch kids on the Make a Wish program light up, because you know that it very well could be the last time they'll ever see the Characters, and many of the Make a Wish kids only have a limited time to live. And as a Cast Member, we're not supposed to cry...* sniff*
I'm not a Cast Member or even work at Disney, but I felt like crying in that moment too. Just seeing small children run up to their characters in delight makes me want to go, "Awwwwww". The only thing that ruins the whole moment is the moms that constantly want to take pictures of their kids. Even the older kids that are at least twelve years old running up to the characters is relieving, especially since they're a kid at heart. While many kids those age these days are more preoccupied with Justin Bieber and crap, the ones that actually care for Disney makes me want to cry.
On the Kilimanjaro Safari ride at Animal Kingdom you chase down poachers that have captured Little Red, a baby elephant, after shooting Big Red, the mother. Unfortuntately, the ride is often unclear as to whether Big Red survived. I think so, but jeez...
Word of God says she does, if that makes you feel better. It's in the radio broadcast at the end. Still, just the idea of the baby elephant, who can't survive away from Mommy, being forced away like that...
According to Disney insider Jim Hill, in the original script Big Red didn't make it, and the riders saw her (simulated, of course) corpse in the climactic stretch of the ride. This drove so many kids to tears that it ruined the whole ride, so the script was changed and the prop removed before it formally opened. So it could have been a lot worse.
For the bad kind of Tearjerker, leaving the Magic Kingdom, your favourite place on Earth, on the Ferry, seeing the castle all lit up and beautiful, and knowing that it's the last time you're going to see it.
The end of Fantasmic! Just seeing Mickey steering the Mark Twain and knowing that, in Disneyland, good always conquers evil...
The finales of Spectromagic and Wishes. They're just such a wonderful sight to see and it stays true to the Disney magic. Illuminations: Reflections of Earth always does it too during the We Go On finale.
"So Close" from Enchanted already sounds melancholy by itself. The part of Beauty and the Beast when Belle says, "I love you", to a dying Beast feels wrenching enough in its original context. A scene in World Of Color manages to bring you even closer to crying by putting them together!
The ending of Mickey's Good Deed. Just earlier in the short, Mickey sold Pluto to a rich family just so he could buy presents for a poor widow and her large litter of kittens, and spends the time after, cold and alone, bemoaning how he'll never see Pluto again. Thankfully, Pluto escapes the family and rejoins his old companion in a very heartfelt scene.
Ilene Woods of Cinderella fame contracted Alzheimer's in her final years. She reportedly spent that time sitting in a retirement home, unable to understand the events of her surroundings, while listening to "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes", which made her feel happy for reasons she probably couldn't remember.
The death of legendary song writer Robert B. Sherman, who (with his brother Richard), wrote many songs for "Mary Poppins", "The Jungle Book", and the Disney Theme Parks.
Robert, before writing such happy and uplifting songs with Robert, witnessed the horrific results of the Holocaust while serving in the US Army, as he was one of the first soldiers to liberate the Dachau concentration camp.
Howard Ashman's untimely death in 1991. He was just forty years old. Alan Menken was and still is deeply affected, as evidenced by the setup for "Proud of Your Boy" on the Disney/Aladdin DVD.
At Wayne Allwine's tribute service, after his friend and fellow voice actor Tony Anselmo (aka Donald Duck) said a few words before saying in Donald's voice "I'm sure gonna miss you, Mickey".
Matthew Garber, who played Michael Banks in Film/Mary Poppins, died of hepatitis at the age of twenty-one.
Richard Sherman once told a story from 2001 when the statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland was being re-dedicated for Walt's 100th birthday. He performed "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins, which was his favorite song and Richard always played it for him upon request when he was alive. Right after he performed the song, he spotted a white dove land by the statue and then flew away, which he saw as Walt saying "Thanks".
One of the most tragic deaths of a Disney-related personality is that of actor Bobby Driscoll, star of Song of the South and Peter Pan. He had a history of drug abuse, went to prison for it, and he ran out of money. He was last seen wandering into the Manhattan underground. On March 30th, two young boys found a body, but the police and medical examiners could not identify it. Nineteen months later, Bobby's mother contacted Disney asking if they knew his whereabouts. It was discovered that the body belonged to Bobby, having died of heart failure from his drug abuse.
Soon after Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was revealed to return to Disney, and appear as a main character in Epic Mickey, the internet quickly made him look like The Woobie, or an Eldritch Abomination. A comic appeared where a little girl, named Priscilla I believe, goes to hug Oswald, and tells him "My friends call me crazy, but you're my favorite". As she gets pulled away by her mother, she says "Good bye! I love you Mickey!" The last panel shows Oswald, crying, a forced smile on his face, waving to the girl.
Seriously, if you can readthese without breaking up, you have no soul...
Speaking of Epic Mickey, during one of the cut-scenes, Mickey and Gus come across the iconic statue of Walt holding Mickey's hand—supposedly. Mickey looks absolutely overjoyed to see Walt's likeness again...and then looks down and notices it's Oswald's hand he's holding, not Mickey's. The look that comes over Mickey's face can only be described as "heartbreak."
When you finally manage to enter at Walt's apartment at the Wasteland. Not only because Gus says "Mickey... you know what's this place, right? I can't say it. I'm going to start crying", but because the fact that it's Walt's apartment on the Wasteland, the place "where forgotten characters go". And the image of Walt Disney actually becoming depressed after losing Oswald, not creating Mickey Mouse and making us lose the best animation company in history just knocks me off.