We all know the heavy hitters when it comes to Disney movies. You don’t think of a Disney Princess without automatically thinking of classics like Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. When we think of Disney Pixar, Toy Story inevitably comes to mind as do films like Ratatouille and Inside Out.
Though we all have our favorites, there are a plethora of Disney movies that tend to be mentioned, watched, and remembered often. Movie fans might think of recent Disney films like Turning Red or Encanto or live-action Disney movies like Mulan or Dumbo. Walt Disney Animation Studio has truly done some incredible work over the years.
But what about those open “lost” Disney films that people don’t tend to remember? With approximately 119 feature films released, The Walt Disney Company has done a ton of films over the years. Yet we tend to think about the same popular films when we mention sitting down to watch a Disney movie with the family. If you’ve been a DisneyDining reader for a while, you know we are huge fans of the jaw-dropping artwork in classic Disney films. From the storyline to the artwork to the fun music to the nostalgic feelings we get from screening classic Disney films, there’s something for everyone in the forgotten classics. Let’s look at a few of them; who knows? Maybe we will rediscover an old favorite that you have long forgotten.
The Sword In the Stone
The Sword In the Stone is a 1963 Disney classic that features beautiful art that marked a special time for Walt Disney Pictures. This animation gives off Sleeping Beauty vibes so if you are a fan of that Disney classic, you should check out The Sword In the Stone. Everybody loves a hero’s backstory, and that is what this Disney movie is about. Follow Merlin the Wizard as he discovers the young man that will later become King Arthur. Yes, that King Arthur.
Merlin teaches the boy then known as “The Wart” to think critically and dream big–two skills that will be important as he develops as a leader and steps into the role of the ruler of England. The songs in this Disney movie are super catchy and as a child, I always enjoyed watching Merlin and The Wart transform into characters like squirrels, fish, goats, and more, as Merlin taught his lessons. Also, honorable mention to crazy Mad Madam Mim; this eccentric Disney villain is truly one of a kind.
Is there anything cuter than two tiny heroes defying the odds to defeat one greedy evil villain on behalf of a precious little girl? Bernard and Bianca, adorable mice from the Rescue Aid Society act in a big way to help little orphan Penny, that is being exploited by Madame Medusa. This awful villain will stop at nothing to satisfy her greed and is on a quest to obtain a priceless gem called the “Devil’s Eye.” Not only do Bernard and Bianca act fearlessly in the face of danger but they get plenty of help from adorable swamp creatures in this movie. We are getting all the Splash Mountain critter vibes anytime we see The Rescuers movie. Even better, this 1977 film culminates in a very happy ending so we cannot recommend this forgotten Disney movie enough.
Oliver and Company
An underrated 1980s Disney film about a little kitten in the big city, Oliver and Company is an excellent but often forgotten movie. Produced right before the iconic Disney Renaissance began, this adorable animated film follows Dodger the dog and his gang of New York City mutts when they meet an abandoned kitten, Oliver. Oliver’s life quickly transforms from drab to fab when he meets a little girl named Jenny with an upper eastside address. Oliver has to reconcile his love for his new owner with his loyalty and love for his friends and make the right decision about where to live.
Another movie with beautiful animation, Oliver and Company feels unique in how the city was depicted. Viewers really see the layers of the city and feel the grit of the different boroughs through the exquisite pencil animation. This is a feel-good family movie we highly recommend.
Home on the Range
Remember Home on the Range? If the answer is no, then you aren’t alone. This 2004 film is not often remembered by the general public or Disney movie fans. This story chronicled the drama of a western farm that was at risk of being overtaken by cattle rustlers from the old west. This film follows funny and courageous cows Maggie, Mrs. Calloway, and Grace as they mobilize their barnyard friends to outsmart the shifty cattle rustler and save their family farm.
I remember seeing this movie in theaters with mixed feelings. Apparently, I was not alone, this film was considered a box office flop, and some worried it marked the end of the art of Disney animation. Luckily, this was not the case and fans have reacted positively to movie animation in the years that followed. It seems that this storyline just didn’t do it for viewers landing this film on the list of forgotten Disney movies. Still, we have to admit that the theme song is Little Patch of Heaven slaps.
This Pixar Princess tends to fly under the radar and not generate the hype shown to other princess movies. Princess Merida in Disney Pixar’s Brave is a sporty and spunky princess that not only wanted to choose her own husband, but she actually preferred not to have a husband at all. Much to the dismay of her mother, Queen Elinor, Merida defies the norm and questions her mom’s constant tutelage on “how a princess should act.”
This film takes place in the Scottish Highlands and showcases some incredible mountain and glen scenery. And the score is one of my favorite film scores of all time. ( I even bought the soundtrack on vinyl so I could enjoy the awesome songs at home!) The movie theme song “Touch the Sky” gives me all the feels. Still, this Disney/Pixar film tends to fall among forgotten Disney movies, and it’s a shame because it really is an excellent movie.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad might just be my favorite Disney movie of all time. It was released in 1949 and is composed of two short films. Each short film consists of the stories of–you guessed it–Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad. Inspired by the classic stories of the Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, these short films are absolutely adorable. They showcase beautiful Disney animation from a special time in Walt Disney Animation’s history. Disney short films are an excellent choice when you have some free time to watch a movie. Want to watch a quick flick while eating dinner but don’t want to invest a lot of time into a whole movie? This forgotten Disney movie is perfect!
I can’t choose a favorite between the two short films in this motion picture because they are both excellent in their own way. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is a forgotten Disney film, and diehard Disney movie fans really need to check it out. Can you beat settling down on a fall evening to watch the story of the Headless Horseman to get into the Halloween spirit? We think not! We were sad to see Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride leave Walt Disney World because what can beat joining Toad’s rowdy gang of friends in Toad Hall? What we wouldn’t give for a storybook ride experience through Sleepy Hollow!
Forgotten Disney movie honorable mentions go to Brother Bear, Treasure Planet, The Great Mouse Detective and Chicken Little among a few other movies that didn’t go down in Walt Disney Pictures history as fan favorites. The great news is you can easily stream all these animated feature films on Disney Plus. What are you waiting for?