Few things are quite as synonymous with comfort and cozy feelings as Disney animated movies. Whether made for television, produced directly for video, or given the distinction of a theatrical release, Disney films have been a major part of popular culture for over eight decades now - and they're only growing more and more popular.
The perfect family-friendly fare, all of the animated works of Disney inevitably contain messages of warmth and love, But none do so in such truly festive fashion as the many animated Christmas specials that have been produced over the years. Here, we're ranking the best of the best according to their IMDb scores.
10 Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas- 6.1
Released in 1997 as a direct to video followup to the beloved film, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas tells the story of what happened during the Christmas season that viewers didn't get to see in the timeline of the actual film. Told through a frame narrative from the now human Mrs. Potts' perspective, the adorable flashback journey includes some truly sweet moments.
Belle teaches the Beast how to ice skate and make snow angels, and she works together with the various enchanted servants to create a Christmas that will draw the Beast out of his gloomy moods. All the while, they are forced to work against conspiring foes Fife and Forte, who refuse to become human again and seek to ensure the Beast won't receive Belle's love.
9 Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas- 6.6
As one of the earlier forays into computer-based animation for Disney, the 2004 direct to video production Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas features the beloved cast of Mickey's friends celebrating Christmas in their own unique ways. The stories in this are told in the familiar anthology-style used in the prequel 2D animation, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas.
Altogether, there are five segments in the special: "Belles on Ice," where Daisy and Minnie are skating in a contest; "Christmas: Impossible," which focuses on Huey, Dewey, and Louie getting up to more holiday mischief; "Christmas Maximus," which tells a story of Max and Goofy's holiday celebrations; "Donald's Gift," which finds Donald Duck seeking quiet during the holidays; and "Mickey's Dog-Gone Christmas," which tells a sweet story of the bond between Mickey and Pluto.
8 Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse- 6.7
Continuing the trend of Disney's best-animated specials being direct to video releases, the 2001 film Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse comes in eighth place according to IMDb's scores. This is also one of the more unconventional specials featured on this list, as it is itself a special containing many other animated Christmas specials.
In addition to boasting a wide ranging cast of Disney characters, including Mickey and friends, Disney princesses, Disney villains, and Winnie the Pooh, the hour-long special includes segments like "Donald on Ice," "Pluto's Christmas Tree," and the much-beloved "Mickey's Christmas Carol."
7 A Very Merry Pooh Year- 6.8
While many of the most beloved animated Disney Christmas specials feature everyone's favorite mouse Mickey, plenty of them also feature the furry little friends who live in the Hundred Acre Wood. The first special featured on this list, A Very Merry Pooh Year, covers the entire holiday season among Winnie the Pooh and his friends.
The first segment concerns Christmas Eve and Pooh's attempts to throw a party for his friends, though he winds up getting distracted by honey along the way. The second segment takes place on Christmas itself but finds Pooh desperately searching for days on end to find Piglet's present. The New Year's Eve plot consists of some hilariously misguided but well-meaning New Year's resolutions.
6 Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving- 7.0
Yet another of the beloved Winnie the Pooh Christmas specials is not in fact solely a Christmas special at all. Released directly to video in 1999, Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving puts together previous Pooh tales to depict stories of Groundhog Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
The Christmas tale in particular offers a rare glimpse of a softer side of the usually curmudgeonly Rabbit as he retells the story of a bond he formed with a young blue jay named Kessie, culminating in a heartwarming reunion between the unconventional father and daughter.
5 Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas- 7.2
The more beloved prequel to the previously discussed Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas is an animated anthology special that was released direct to video in 1999. The special tells three distinct stories about the holidays, inspired by famed Christmas tales like "The Gift of the Magi."
The first two segments of the special feature Christmas misadventures with Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Scrooge McDuck, as well as Goofy and Max Goof. But it's the universally beloved final segment, which finds Mickey and Minnie reenacting O. Henry's classic tale of selfless love, that makes this animated special stand out from the rest.
4 Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too- 7.5
The most beloved of the Winnie the Pooh Christmas specials is also the only one that actually received a proper television release. First airing in 1991, Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too is yet another special that shows that Winnie the Pooh is about as loyal and selfless a friend as you could hope for, no matter what trouble he may cause.
After inadvertently causing Christopher Robin's letter to Santa to get lost, Pooh and Piglet set out to act like Santa Claus and his reindeer themselves, hoping to bring everyone the gifts they wished for on Christmas. Pooh's sweet efforts ultimately prove unnecessary, as in the end, Christopher Robin arrives with everyone's dream gifts in hand.
3 Prep & Landing- 7.7
One of the more recent entries on this list, the quirky special Prep & Landing was first broadcast on ABC in 2009. The special stars two bizarrely endearing elves, the seasoned veteran Wayne and the trouble-making upstart Lanny, as they work to ensure the success of the work carried out by the Prep and Landing squad.
The Prep and Landing team is responsible for ensuring safe landings and deliveries for Santa on Christmas Eve. New friends and coworkers Wayne and Lanny are tasked with performing a true Christmas miracle when they have to save Christmas for a young boy named Timmy.
2 Mickey's Christmas Carol- 8.0
As one of the most beloved adaptations of A Christmas Carol of all time, it's only fair that Mickey's Christmas Carol should rank so close to the top of the list of the all time best Disney animated Christmas specials.
The special is perfectly arranged from start to finish, with Scrooge McDuck inhabiting the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge, and Mickey and family taking on the roles of Bob Cratchit and his poor Cratchit clan. The interactions between Scrooge and Tiny Tim are especially memorable, adorable, and beloved here - and based on the image above alone, it's not hard to see why.
1 Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!- 8.7
In a true surprise, the highest-ranked Disney animated Christmas special of them all comes in the form of a special produced for one of the quirkiest Disney Channel shows of all time, Phineas and Ferb. Released in December 2009, Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation! actually takes place before the events of the series.
But not even that stops the boys from taking on the dastardly Dr. Doofenshmirtz without even realizing it. With the help of Perry the Platypus, and Santa Claus himself, Phineas and Ferb manage to overcome Doofenshmirtz's attempts at ruining Christmas, and save the day as always.