Disney's new Polynesian saga, Moana, opened yesterday as the 56th animated feature film delivered by the greatest animation factory on the planet. Animated films have become huge cash chests for studios over the last two decades, and the medium is enjoying a renaissance of stop-motion, CGI and traditional cel animated features galore. Uncle Walt founded Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1923 and brought the medium to mass audiences with a trademark charm, heart and intelligence. It's startling to imagine the innocent instances of wonder when the first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was projected at the Carthay Circle Theater in Los Angeles on Dec. 21, 1937. With Pixar in its back pocket, Disney still rules the roost after 80 years.
In compiling and selecting these movies several factors were considered, not simply our personal opinions, with initial story impressions, public reception, box-office figures, musical contributions, cinematography, technical prowess and pioneering effects aiding in the advancement of the art of animation all duly noted. This mega-list encompasses the 55 animated feature films produced only by Walt Disney Animation Studios between the years 1937-2016, so please no comments about why we excluded Toy Story or The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Without further ado, and heralding the arrival of Moana, Disney's 56th, here's our definitive dive into the colorful treasure of Disney animated movies, divided into two parts to fully absorb and argue over each and every hit or miss. Come back for Part Two on Friday, confidently counting down to the number one choice and let us know in the comments which ones you strongly agree or disagree with. Be gentle and have a Disney Day!