Today is 115 years since Walt Disney was born – happy birthday Walt!
Disney has always been a big big big part of my family. We were all raised on all the films & listened to soundtracks on every car journey, but we reached the pinnacle of our love two years ago last October, when eight of us went over to Disneyworld in Florida for two weeks (we’re planning our next visit at the moment).
I decided ages ago that I’d celebrate this day by writing about my favourite Disney films. But, it turns out that my favourite Disney films are all the Disney films! So today I’m going to list the sentimental Disney films to me, in order of when they were made, & what they mean to me.
Snow White was the first full length Disney film that started it all. It’s as beautiful as it is iconic, & it’s always played a massive part in my life due to it being my Aunt’s favourite film – one of her birthday parties was entirely themed around the film, & each group from the family bought her one of the seven dwarves toys (they still all sit on the shelf in her living room).
My cat Figaro is named after Geppeto’s black & white cat, which made it extra incredible when we went to the Figaro Room in Orlando’s Pinocchio restaurant. I would love the full set of Figaro the cat, Cleo the goldfish & Geppeto as my Dad.
This is actually so hard to watch, why is it a kids film?? It’s just one heart wrenching event after the other & it’s too sad to keep up with, but I adore it anyway. My cousin had a toy Dumbo as a kid & once left it in gas station in America on holiday & forced everyone to turn the car around & drive twenty minutes back to rescue him. He’d left him on the bottom shelf talking to some toy dinosaurs.
Every spring my Grandpa would talk about everyone being “twitter pated”, & we also had a pet chicken named after the skunk Flower. Bambi is currently with me every day after I bought an incredible pair of Bambi socks from Topshop at the start of the year.
My favourite (& only) official Disney store Princess dress when I was younger was my Cinderella dress. It was blue & sparkly & if I could have lived in it I would have. I used to wear it alongside my Cinderella Disney doll if I wanted to look extra special. I also really loved last year’s live action remake starring Lily James, that I watched in the cinema with my mum & my best friend Tom.
Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland was also my year three or four school drama club play, in which I played the stunning role of a lobster. While in rehearsals, I watched the film religiously – even though we were adapting from the book, not the film.
Lady & the Tramp
Who hasn’t wanted to push a meatball to their loved one with their nose? On my first trip to Disneyland Paris when I was younger, I bought a little Lady in a cosy carrier & I treasured her oh so very much.
Did you know that Aurora’s features were modelled on Audrey Hepburn’s? I really like this original because Aurora has the best Disney wardrobe, & also loved the retelling of it in Maleficent with Angelina Jolie a couple of years back.
I used to collect toy dalmations when I was little. I don’t know why, but I was determined to collect every single dalmatian toy I could get my hands on. When McDonald’s did a run of them as their Happy Meal toys I nearly DIED of excitement.
Once on a camping trip, us kids all sang Spoonful of Sugar for about a half hour straight. The boys camped next to us all called us Mary Poppins for the rest of the stay. We also did an amazing production of this in school where I had my first ever speaking role in a drama club play.
The Jungle Book
This was my mum’s favourite Disney film before The Lion King, but the reason I love it most is because of my big Baloo bear. My Dad bought the enormous toy for me second hand & i loved him so much I refused to eat without him – my parents would squash him into the seat next to me every dinner time. We eventually had to part ways after a family of mice decided to move into his butt & poo everywhere. Still heartbroken.
And how good was this year’s live action remake?
Though we did love all the cats, Roquefort the mouse was my family favourite. That lady was the most innocent & lovely lady of all time, who just loved her cats with all her heart. My goal is to be her when I grow old.
Growing up, we had a lot of read-a-long Disney books to listen to in the car – they were the ones with the tape & the book so you could hear the story as you were reading it, & we were obsessed. The Robin Hood one was a really good one because I really like Maid Marian.
I’ve been meaning to rewatch this for a while now because I was so young last time I saw it all I can remember is the dragon’s face. I’ve included it in this list however for my mum – she ADORES this film & is still waiting to see the remake from this year.
The Little Mermaid
I never had my own copy of this growing up, so I had to wait to visit my Aunt’s to watch it. She had two copies on VHS – one was only in black & white, & the other had no sound. So half the fun was choosing which one you went with on the day.
The Little Mermaid was also the first ride we went on in DisneyWorld. We’d rushed into the park & legged it through to get in quick so I hadn’t been able to fully absorb the fact that we were in Disney until I was sat down in the shell on this ride. It hit me full on & I sobbed for forty five minutes because I was so overwhelmed with happiness. Believe it or not, I used to have my emotions in check before Disney – now I cry at everything.
Beauty & the Beast
This tale as old as time is special in everyone’s hearts. I adore it, & it has loads of memories attached to it. When i was six & in hospital for surgery I chose to watch the crappy Christmas sequel of it to comfort me, & then many years later when the live show came to my city my family took my cousin (who had never seen the film???) to see it before we stayed up all night to watch the original animation.
I am so ready for next year’s live action remake.
I’m pretty sure that Aladdin has the best soundtrack to any Disney film. Every single song is 11/10 & karaoke worthy, & of course it’s extra special now with Robin Williams gone. He was an amazing Genie who will never ever be forgotten.
The Lion King
Everyone’s favourite, & for good reason. The Lion King was revolutionary,
My mum WEEPS every time she hears Colours of the Wind, & I used to think it was ridiculous – but oh lord, now that song gives me chills every single time. I can’t believe what a stunning story it is, so beautifully animated & so thought provoking.
Did you know that my hero Joss Whedon worked on the Toy Story script? I love this entire franchise, possibly the third the most. I saw it in cinemas’s on August 1st 2010, the same day my pet died. I was heartbroken & this film helped a lot.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
I love watching this film now because it makes me so, so angry. I do think that Frollo is one of the scariest Disney villains & he’s just such an arsehole. This was always a confusing film to watch when I was younger because I adored Esmeralda but was terrified of Quasimodo, despite how many times my mum told me he was lovely. I did have a toy Djali, Esmerelda’s goat who I loved to bits too – & visiting the real Notre Dame in Paris this year made the film all that more special.
This film will always be special to me as it was the Disney film that was released the year I was born – as well as it being an amazing film. Meg is everything I want to be, Danny Devito is in it, Pegasus is all I want in a pet & I Can Go the Distance is one of the most emotional Disney songs. I will fight you on that.
Mulan is my absolute hero. This film is completely stunning, & taught me masses about finding my own strength. Absolutely one of the best Disney films – the live action film in works better be good.
Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride
Disney sequels aren’t always great, but Simba’s Pride is right up on the level of some Disney classics. It was my childhood favourite & a lot of people don’t even know it exists but it is GLORIOUS. It’s about growing up, acceptance & unification, following Simba’s daughter Kiara & her GORGEOUS friend Kovu. If you were confused because you were attracted to Simba, you’re screwed once you meet Kovu.
This was released the year my sister was born, & was both of our absolute favourites. Before Lucy could talk she would make monkey noises because of this film, & she would hug her little Kala toy to bed every night.
If you know me at all or have been a follower of this blog for a while, you will know how much I love Disney’s Dinosaur. I have been obsessed with it since I first saw the trailer for it in the cinema because it is stunning in every single way: the animation, the story, the characters. It’s a hidden Disney gem that not many people know about, but I highly highly recommend it to everyone because it’s gorgeous. I used to have a Dinosaur merchandise hoody that I got teased for wearing at playgroup because it was a “boys jumper”. Destroying gender roles since day one.
My Dad was working in a supermarket just as this film was coming out on DVD & he ended up being able to take home their promotional cardboard cutout of Sully for my sister & i to have. Lucy used to kiss it & I thought it was DISGUSTING.
Lilo & Stitch
The first film I remember my mum taking me to the cinema to see. When it continued as a television show we would watch it together in my mum’s bed every Saturday, & we looked forward to it all week.
Finding Nemo was an instant classic. I’ve said it before but this film also gave me my first experience of being embarrassed by my mother, who laughed so, so hard at Dory’s “whale speak” that I considered leaving the film. We saw this in cinemas in Wales with my family from Cardiff, so it was only natural for us to meet up again this summer to see the long awaited sequel Finding Dory, which is even more incredible than the first.
Possibly the most underrated Disney film there is. It’s an amazing story with a brilliant soundtrack & so much heart to it I don’t understand how it’s not considered a classic. My family rented this from the library when it was first released & we all sobbed at the end.
We missed this film when it first came out, so once my older cousin found out we all sat around to watch it on dvd & fell in love. Amy Adams as Giselle is the most perfect combination ever & I love the entire film. Our cousin Robyn is also obsessed with this film & for her birthday last year my Aunt made her a Giselle dress & a bunch of clothes from Andalasia Fashions, which she wore while we all sat & watched outside wrapped in blankets.
This is another film that missed us first time around, but my Godfather insisted we watch it because it was so excellent. We saw it first time, of course, at my Aunt’s & that emotional first eight minutes hit us hard.
The Princess & the Frog
I was SO EXCITED when I heard Disney was making another drawn animation film. I specifically remember seeing the posters in the cinema & jumping up & down to tell my mum about it. I love this story, & everything it represented. The fact that it took until 2009 until there was a black Disney Princess is beyond me but I am just so glad that it did happen. Also, did you know that Tiana was originally going to be named the same as me? She was going to be a Madeleine, Maddy for short – but that was changed when it was revealed that Maddy was slave name. Which I don’t really know how to take.
I love love love Tangled. My cousin Ellie was given the opportunity to see an early screening of it, with much of it still in storyboards & give feedback so she was telling us for months how excellent it was going to be. I first watched this with my tiny baby cousins whilst babysitting one day, but my favourite memory of it was watching it with Ellie’s best friend, who could not stop crying watching all the lanterns. She said it was just so lovely.
Wreck it Ralph
Fix it Felix looks like our cousin Will & it’s really really funny. And Jane Lynch as a badass video game character? Iconic. Guess who I first watched this with? You got it – my Aunt & Uncle. They brought us the DVD to watch on my sister’s birthday a few years ago.
If you forget how overweighed & insanely huge Frozen has grown to become, it really is a beautiful film. We all went to see it one Christmas Eve, where my sister & I left the cinema holding hands & crying about how much we loved each other. We also dressed as Anna & Elsa for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which really annoyed Cinderella’s stepsisters Anastasia & Drizella when we met them.
Big Hero 6
My mum, sister & I went to see this in the huge cinema in my city for my sister’s birthday & of course, all cried like babies. It’s such a lovely story that’s original to other Disney films & we loved it.
THIS FILM. Oh my this film. I saw it twice in cinemas, once with my family, & once with my boyfriend (as the first film we ever saw together). The best reaction though, was from my cousin Lizz who watched it for the first with us at our house. She couldn’t get over how much she related to & bawled her eyes out. We bought her lots of merchandise for Christmas.
I was looking forward to this new Disney film, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this incredible. I saw it Easter of this year, with my mum & sister whilst having a day out at the cinema. We also saw Batman vs Superman, so maybe this just seems extra extra amazing in comparison to that. But I’m pretty sure it’s just because it’s an incredible film.
Moana is the latest film by Disney & I am so excited to see it! I work in a cinema now so I’ve been selling tickets for it all weekend, each time breaking my heart a tiny bit more because my family are waiting to see it all together at the end of the week. I didn’t think Disney films could get any better & then they added Dwayne Johnson. Truly astonishing.
So happy birthday Walt Disney. You created something that truly changed the world.
Moana is currently in cinema’s worldwide.