When it comes to animated movies, Disney is the studio that started it all. From its early short cartoons shown before other movies to its debut feature-length movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney Animation set the bar that no one else could touch for decades to come.
While Disney seems interested in bringing its classic animated films to life in live-action remakes, its animation studio hasn't slowed down either. With so much success in its past, here are the 10 best Disney Animated movies of all time based on IMDB users. Only original Disney movies are on this list, so no Pixar movies are listed here.
10 THE LITTLE MERMAID (7.6)
Based on the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid tells the story of a young mermaid named Ariel who dreams of one day becoming a real human after she meets a human prince named Eric. The film, released in 1989, launched a new era of Disney animated movies, which had languished for two decades before its release.
The Little Mermaid was the first release of the new Disney Renaissance in animation. Its box office and critical success led the way for movies like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast to see the light of day. The animated film led to a stage play, sequels and up upcoming live-action remake.
9 MULAN (7.6)
Released in 1988, Mulan was based on a Chinese legend and told the story of the daughter of an aging warrior who was expected to enter into a pre-arranged marriage and live as a dutiful housewife. Instead, she ran away, pretended to be a man, and replaced her father in a war against the Huns.
The film was another monster success for Disney and took the idea of the Disney princesses and turned it on its head with a very strongwilled and powerful female warrior leading the way. The film picked up Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and will get its own live-action remake in 2020.
8 WRECK-IT RALPH (7.7)
Possibly the most surprising Disney Animated hit came in 2012 with Wreck-It Ralph. After a decade of lackluster releases following its illustrious run in the '90s, Wreck-It Ralph looked more like something DreamWorks Animation would release but ended up pure-Disney in the best ways possible.
The movie followed a video game character in a classic arcade game who met a spunky girl from a race car game, and the two went on to help each other fulfill their dreams. The movie ended up gaining a sequel six years later that added in a lot of Disney properties when the characters went into the internet.
7 FANTASIA (7.8)
Before Disney Animation released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it released a handful of short animated movies, many of which featured the character of Mickey Mouse. After releasing Snow White and Pinocchio, Walt Disney set out to release a film with Mickey Mouse as one of the primary characters.
Fantasia was a shocking turn. While both of Disney's first two movies had a lot of adult situations involved, Fantasia was a mishmash of musical segments that included magic and fantasy. The most popular segment featured The Sorcerer's Apprentice and helped bring Mickey Mouse back into the spotlight.
6 BIG HERO 6 (7.8)
While the world seemed excited to see Spier-Man: Into the Spider-Verse win an Oscar for Marvel under the Sony banner, it wasn't the first to do so. In 2014, Disney Animation released its own Marvel movie in Big Hero 6. People might not have noticed since it was not advertised as a Marvel movie, but it was based on Marvel Comics characters, and it won the Oscar.
Big Hero 6 was also the highest-grossing animated movie of 2014, even without publicizing it was based on a Marvel Comic property. This is because it was a great story with a unique setting and some genuinely heartwarming scenes.
5 TANGLED (7.8)
While original Disney movies like Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6 showed that Disney Animation didn't have to rely on its old fairy tale tropes to succeed, it was a classic fairy tale movie based on a Disney Princess that kickstarted their new run of critically-acclaimed movies.
In 2010, Disney Animation released Tangled, based on the German fairy tale Rapunzel. While Frozen broke the box office with its release, Tangled received a better IMDB audience score (7.8 to 7.5). As in the original story, the movie told the story of a girl locked in a giant tower who longed to leave and discover the world.
4 ALADDIN (8.0)
In 2019, Disney released the live-action remake of Aladdin, with Will Smith taking on the role of the genie in the bottle. However, while it received a massive box office take and a lot of praise from fans, it still pales in comparison to the original. Even Will Smith said that he never had a chance to match what Robin Williams did with Genie in the original.
Aladdin hit theaters in 1992 as part of the Disney Renaissance, based on the Arabic folktale from One Thousand and One Nights. The movie followed a young street urchin who finds a magic lamp with a genie and then uses it to try to improve his status in life and win over the heart of the princess.
3 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (8.0)
Released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast single-handily changed the Academy Awards. The Disney animated film became the first-ever nominated for an Oscar and caused the Academy to create an Animated Film award to make sure it never happened again.
Based on the French fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a young prince cursed for arrogance when a witch turns him into a hideous Beast. He has to prove his worth by convincing a woman to love him despite his appearance.
2 ZOOTOPIA (8.0)
In what might come as a shock, in the long history of Disney Animated movies, it is a movie released in 2016 that has the second-highest IMDB score of any animated film by the company. Zootopia tells the story of a rabbit who believes that she can make a difference in the world by becoming a police officer.
However, when assigned to the capital city of Zootopia, she learns that no one cares. When she puts her prejudices behind her and teams with a scheming fox to solve a crime, she proves it doesn't matter how big or small someone is. Everyone deserves a chance to prove their worth.
1 THE LION KING (8.5)
Released in 1994, The Lion King was the movie released during the Disney Renaissance that sits on the top of the mountain. Not only that, but it ended up as the most beloved Disney Animated movie of all-time, based on the votes of IMDB users.
The Lion King told the story of Simba, a lion cub, and the son of the king Mufasa. When Mufasa's brother causes the king to fall to his death and then blames Simba, the young cub runs away and has to learn to become a king on his own. The Lion King re-tells the story of Hamlet and became one of the most successful animated movies in cinema history.