Disney Animation has had ebbs and flows throughout the years, with the highs of its golden age followed by some lesser efforts in the 70s and 80s. After its renaissance in the 90s, it seemed Disney Animation hit its stride again in the new century, at times matching the output of its sister studio at Pixar.
Through the last 20 years, Disney Animation has released some of its best movies, taking the great stories of the golden era and infusing it with the same brilliant design of its 90s renaissance. Along the way, Disney introduced some new Disney Princesses and jumped into the realm of video games and comic books, all while maintaining the heart the studio has always remained known for. All the movies can be found on Disney+.
10 Lilo & Stitch (2002) – 7.3
In 2002, Disney Animation released a movie that was a departure from what most fans were used to. However, at the heart of things, it was still pure Disney, and was instrumental in selling lots of toys and spawning its own television cartoon spin-off. This was Lilo & Stitch.
The movie told the story of a little awkward girl named Lilo meeting an alien from outer-space named Stitch and the two helping each other find their purpose in life. IMDb users pointed out that, while it was mostly a kid’s movie, the humor and sweetness on display helped it stand out in the early 2000s, where other releases were not quite up to par for Disney.
9 Encanto (2021) – 7.3
The newest Disney Animation movie to hit this century was Encanto, which hit theaters in 2021. The movie took Disney Animation to South America, where a magical family in Colombia found something tearing their home apart, and it is up to the one non-magical family member to attempt to stop the destruction and put her family back together again.
The movie was a success, picking up three Oscar nominations, and fans on IMDb liked it as well, giving it a 7.3 average rating. Those who loved the movie called it a magical story for the entire family, while those less enchanted found it generic and formulaic.
8 Raya And The Last Dragon (2021) – 7.3
Raya and the Last Dragon was another 2021 Disney Animated movie release, this one a pure adventure story that played with the idea of ancient history and mythology. In this, a girl named Raya was trying to find the mythical last dragon to help put her world back together.
IMDb fans enjoyed the story, giving it a 7.3 average rating, and while it was rated the same as Encanto, it didn’t get the same level of Oscars’ love that the latter movie did. Fans on IMDb saw it as a good Disney princess movie, albeit one where the princess is the one who saves the day.
7 The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) – 7.4
One of the first Disney Animated movies of the new century was The Emperor’s New Groove, which hit theaters in 2000. The movie saw an Emperor named Kuzco turned into a llama by his former administrator. He then has to find a way to regain his throne despite the change in appearance.
While this movie came out after the Disney Animation renaissance, and in a period where the studio was in a slight slump, it remains beloved by many fans. IMDb fans point out its originality and humor, calling it a feel-good animated comedy.
6 Frozen (2013) – 7.4
Frozen was one of the most successful Disney Animated movies at the box office and helped bring the studio back to life, kicking off a new era that is still roaring to this day. The movie about a princess who could turn things into ice and the sister who fought to keep her from turning evil became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time at the time of its release.
The movie picked up a sequel, which fans didn’t quite like as much. However, on IMDb, fans called the original a return to the glory years of Disney while praising the instantly catching songs.
5 Moana (2016) – 7.6
In 2016, Moana brought a new Disney Princess to theaters and once again made her strong and independent. Not only was this Princess able to stand up to her elders and save the day, but she was able to stand up to a demigod, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, and never lose her own story.
Not only did Moana have some amazing songs that remain memorable six years later, but the story was uplifting and a true feel-good story. IMDb voters praised the visual beauty, entertainment value, and compelling characters.
4 Tangled (2010) – 7.7
Before Frozen broke the box office records for an animated movie, Tangled set the new template for the new era Disney Princess movies. Much like Frozen and Moana, this presented a free-spirit Disney Princess, who was willing to go her own way and never needed any prince to save her.
The re-telling of Rapunzel also used the animation look that Frozen capitalized on a few years later. IMDb voters loved it, calling Tangled the best Disney movie in years, and this was truly the start of the new era of Disney Animation.
3 Wreck-It Ralph (2012) – 7.7
Wreck-It Ralph is one of the best video game movies that is not actually about a video game. In the movie, a fictional video game bad guy named Ralph is having an existential crisis and sets out to prove he is a good guy, but when he meets a girl from another game named Vanellope, he gets a chance to prove it for real.
The movie was nothing like most Disney Animated movies and that helped it stand out from the crowd. IMDb voters pointed out the fun retro jokes, the heart, and the computer animated animation, that made it almost feel more Pixar than Disney.
2 Big Hero 6 (2014) – 7.8
A lot of people point to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as the movie that proved Marvel could succeed in the animated world as well as it could in the live-action movies. However, that wasn’t the first Marvel animated movie to hit theaters in the last decade. That would be Disney Animation’s Big Hero 6.
While not as famous as Spider-Man, Big Hero 6 brought some great new characters to the big screen and walked home with an Oscar for its efforts. IMDb fans loved it as well, giving it a 7.8 average rating, calling the movie a bright, cheerful, and fun superhero origin story.
1 Zootopia (2016) – 8.0
The Disney Animated movie with the highest IMDb score this century so far is the 2016 release, Zootopia. This movie seemed to be the right movie at the right time, as the entire story focused on a world where animals live in various cities, but their lives are thrown into turmoil when predators begin to go savage.
With a high 8.0 score, IMDd voters praised Zootopia, calling it “the jewel of Disney’s second renaissance. Voters praised the movie’s message of acceptance of diversity, calling it a funny and smart story.
NEXT: 10 Things We Want To See In The New Zootopia Series
10 Funniest Quotes In Encanto
About The Author