By: Andrew Clay
I’ve spent my life as a Disnerd watching, reading, learning and experiencing the culture of Walt Disney World and now it is time for me to share my top 5 non-Pixar animated features of all time.
Disney has a produced more than 50 animated features making this decision rough, but when the park closes there remained only the cream of the crop.
In alphabetical order my top five full-length animated features from Walt Disney World are “Cinderella,” “Great Mouse Detective,” “Jungle Book,” “Little Mermaid” and “The Sword in the Stone.”
Before delving into the top 5 there, it would be remiss of me not to mention the myriad classics that were on the bubble.
“Lion King,” “Aladdin,” “Peter Pan,” and “Robin Hood” all earn honorable mentions with their greatness but alas they lack that extra bit of magic that forever locks them away in the top five of my heart.
An all-time Disney classic premiered in 1950, far before my time, but there is one character that is memorable and his plight terrified my childhood heart. Gus Gus the plump little mouse in the yellow shirt was my hero. As many of you may know, I am not the most fit man on campus, and I’m toting a little bit o’ pudge around campus.
His scrapes with chickens, cats and characters captivated me and to this day he is still in my list of top 5 characters.
The story in “Cinderella” is also a consummate underdog story as the wicked stepmother keeps her hidden away from the world propping up her daughters instead.
In the end Cinderella rises to the top and lives happily ever after, warming the hearts of the audience.
“Great Mouse Detective”
Premiering in 1986 the “Great Mouse Detective” is the story a rodent-sized Sherlock Holmes and his quest to solve the biggest mystery of his career.
Unfortunately this classic is one of the lesser-known animated features but has plenty of moments worth remembering.
One is the infamous trap scene where Basil and his compatriot are bound into a death device and time is running out. Basil is torn over recently being fooled and doesn’t realize his danger.
Basil finally grasps at the straws within his mighty brain and after multiplying the hypotenuse of an isosceles triangle springs them free, changes clothes, saves the girl and poses for a photo in an instant.
At the end of the movie Basil finally confronts Professor Ratigan on the clock tower and the battle is fierce.
If you have the chance find this movie and rent it because it will not disappoint you, or the younger members of your audience.
Mowgli the man cub is lost to the wilds of the jungle and is taken in by Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther and shown the bare necessities of life and how to survive in the jungle.
The movie debuted in 1967 and is based on a set of short stories published in 1894.
It has everything that a family could hope for in a movie. There are tense moments as they battle Shere Kahn the tiger, light hearted moments with Baloo, serious moments with Bagheera and those philosophical yet crazy monkeys led by King Louie.
A classic German fairytale based around the mythology of mermaids. Ariel struggles with the “grass is greener” conundrum, as she deals with having a free spirit trapped in the ocean.
She dreams of going on land, but when her chance finally arrives she realizes that there are tragic prices to be paid when toiling with forces more powerful than her own.
This movie made it on to my list because of one polarizing scene centered on a boat ride with Prince Eric.
The song “Kiss the Girl,” sung by Sebastian the crab, an advisor to the king, in an effort to set the mood for Ariel and her prince is unforgettable.
Listen to the song now that a few years have passed since your adolescence and if your significant other is near by just try and resist the urge to kiss.
“The Sword and the Stone”
Disney brought to life the mythology of King Arthur with “The Sword and the Stone” and it is brilliant.
Wart, young Arthur, struggles with his duties as he aspires to get on track to being a squire. It is on this journey that Merlin, the wizard, and Archimedes, his owl; begin to train him for something larger.
After learning life lessons through Merlin’s odd and magical way of teaching he goes back to squiring at a tournament and something strange happens that changes his life.
“Sword and the Stone” might be my No. 1 movie on this list because of Archimedes the owl.
The sarcastic owl who banters with his owner Merlin back and forth is very humorous. Also he is a character with an apathetic facade, because he really cares about the outcome of the boy.