Walt Disney Animation Studios is a cultural icon. The studio literally invented an entire business with 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which was the first full-length animated feature ever made in the United States. Under Walt Disney’s purview, the studio would go on to create classic after classic throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s, but somewhere in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, Walt Disney Animation had lost its way. The Black Cauldron, released in 1985, is considered a major turning point for the studio as it was the first Disney film to receive a PG rating and was considerably darker than anything the studio had produced before. It was, in short, a long way off from Snow White.
After this, new Disney CEO Michael Eisner assigned former Paramount president of production Jeffrey Katzenberg to oversee Disney’s animated features department, making it a priority to turn things around both creatively and financially. What followed is now considered Disney’s “Second Golden Age”, a wave of creatively ambitious animated films that revitalized the Walt Disney Animation Studios brand, garnered immense critical acclaim, and solidified Disney’s animated films as a force to be reckoned with at the box office.
This period lasted almost the entirety of the 1990s, resulting in some of the very best animated films ever made. And with Walt Disney Animation now on the cusp of releasing Moana, its 56th feature film, now seems like a swell time to look back on this Second Golden Age of beloved animated classics and revisit them, film-by-film. What follows, then, is every 90s Disney animated movie ranked from worst to best.
Note: The Little Mermaid was technically released in November 1989, but is widely considered to be the first film of Disney’s Second Golden Age. Thus, for the purposes of this list I’m including it in the ranking.
Note #2: For the purposes of this list, I only considered films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios—i.e. films produced by the same creative team/executives—and not films from offshoot arms like DisneyToons. So that’s why there’s no A Goofy Movie or Doug’s 1st Movie.