Growing up, our family was decidedly a Disney family. We visited the Magic Kingdom at least once a year and by the time I was in high school, we all had annual passes. We also lived about 45 minutes away and found ourselves visiting whenever we wanted. I’ve also seen most Disney films multiple times and can probably quote most of Aladdin, Treasure Planet, Beauty and the Beast, and the Lion King. My sister even works for Disney and has a wonderful life plan to work there in Guest Services. She wins the prize for most knowledgeable and passionate about Disney, but that’s another story for another time.
A few months ago, my dear husband, one of my dear graduate school friends, and I watched two Disney documentaries: Waking Sleeping Beauty and The Boys. I highly recommend both of these as they are informative, well-done, and full of interesting Disney stories. After watching these films, I got to thinking about the Disney movies I had seen and the ones I hadn’t. Thus a summer project was born: watch all of the Walt Disney Animation Studios feature films in chronological order. (And yes, it is necessary to say Walt Disney Animation Studios feature film because that is a specific distinction of film. The ones on this list, in fact.)
As of writing this on July 25, I have made it through the first 13 films. The list starts off with a bang: Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi. Then things got… interesting. First off, the Latin American propaganda films (Saludos Amigos and The 3 Caballeros), and then a string of shorts set to music that must have made more sense in the 1940s and 1950s (Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time). I mean, they were lovely and all, but a bit confusing at times.
And now I am being rewarded for my diligence. We have reached the Golden Age. I’ve just finished Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland. I’m waiting for the library to find Peter Pan for me. Not only is this the Golden Age of Disney’s animation, it is also the point where I remember watching these films. I was quoting parts of Cinderella without even realizing it!
This has been a fun project and I’m excited to keep going. I’m a Disney nerd, there is no denying it. So I’ll be glad to have the credentials to back up my perceived expertise. And maybe, if I watch them fast enough, I can say I’ve seen more Disney movies than my sister… That would be something indeed!