#4

#4- The Forbidden Fruit

The Evil Queen. The woodland vultures and Old Hag. The manipulative cackled voice. “Just wait until you taste one, dearie…” The poison apple sequence in Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs is symbolic of Disney’s earliest animated storytelling brilliance. The poisoned apple which, when bitten, will send its victim into the “Sleeping Death” –  revived only by love's first kiss – became a foundation for countless plots to reflect a character’s dramatic demise and rebirth.

Fun fact: Lucille La Verne, the voice of the Wicked Queen, was able to achieve the raspy Old Hag’s voice by removing her dentures.

#7

#7 - FRIENDS FOREVER ...AND BEYOND

Let’s be honest, as Woody and pals headed down the conveyer belt toward the incinerator, there wasn’t a dry-eye.  This powerful sequence reminded us what personal connections we had built with our Pixar friends since the film’s first installment in 1995. Rather than struggle, the gang’s final traumatic moments were hand-in-hand, huddled closely, accepting of their ultimate destiny. It’s this insight into mortality, even if through the eyes of inanimate plastic toys, which makes this moment so relatable and personal.

Fun fact: Toy Story 3 is the first sequel to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar without any of its predecessors being nominated.

#8

#8 - THE CHOSEN ONE

The Lion King, Walt Disney’s 32nd animated feature released in 1994 became an instant classic. The epic musical had everything – dramatic animated panoramic landscapes, high profile voice actors (Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, etc.), memorable songs and gripping storytelling. The movie’s “circle of life” tale focuses on Simba, the young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as king. After uncle Scar murders the king and plays a few head games with the young cub, Simba runs away, only to ultimately return to take his rightful place on Pride Rock. Along the way, Simba encounters countless characters, many of whom remain as popular today. Simba, Timon, the hyenas, Nala, Rafiki, the list goes on. Through in Elton John, a couple Academy Awards and you’ve broken into the top 10 Disney Movie Moments! In 1997, The Lion King became a New York Broadway musical, which since has become the fourth longest-running show and highest grossing Broadway production in history.

Fun Fact: Until 2013 The Lion King held the record for being the highest grossing animated film in history, until it was surpassed by Frozen (2013), another Disney movie. 

#12

This tale truly is as old as time, with the earliest known Beauty & the Beast work being Italian author Giovan Straparalo in 1550. Disney’s adaptation in 1991 took nearly four years to produce with the full time help of over 600 animators, artists, and technicians, over 226,000 individually painted cels and over one million drawings. Beauty and the Beast pioneered combining traditional animation with computer animation scenes together to create new visuals of grandeur for the audience. The ballroom sequence was a defining moment,  featuring the first computer-generated color background to be both animated and fully dimensional,  creating a more dramatic effect.

Fun Fact: Belle is the only person in her village who wears blue, which is meant to symbolize how different she is from everyone else.

#13

It would be hard to imagine a world without Mary Poppins and her famous words supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The film, which was released in 1964, was the culmination of a 20 year journey that Walt Disney embarked on after a promise to his girls. This magical journey featured two of the darling of Disney in Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke at the pinnacles of their career. This film solidified Walt Disney Studios as a pioneer in the film industry as it introduced new generation of optical printer, which enabled the Studio to combine live-action and animated films together. Not only was the film a commercial success it also was a massive hit with critics with it being nominated for a Disney best 13 Academy Awards and ended up taking home 5.

Fun Facts: The illustrious Sherman brother wrote 30 songs for the movie, some of which didn’t debuted until the Broadway show in 2006 including the hit “Practically Perfect”.  The Movie also featured Walt’s favorite song “Feed the Birds”.

#15

#15 - The Lights

In 2010, Tangled became Disney’s 50th animated feature release. The film integrated a unique blend of both computer-generated imagery (CGI) and traditional animation, created the impression of a painting. At a reported cost of $260 million and six years to produce, Tangled became one of the most expensive animated films ever released, as well as the longest since Fantasia; however, the effort was quickly rewarded at the box office and with several Academy Award nominations. No scene better showcased this creative production method than the “I See the Light” sequence when Rapunzel and Flynn Rider gazed at the lit sky lanterns. 45,000 to be exact.

Fun Fact: Tangled was the first animated Disney "Princess" film to get a PG rating by the MPAA. All other Disney "Princess" films received a G rating.

#16

#16- The Lover, The Dreamer, and Me

In the new era of massive Disney acquisitions most of us don’t remember the Muppets as the one that started it all. In the mid 80’s Jim Henson was seeing his product fade from the public eye as kids began enjoying a different kind of entertainment with the likes of Transformers, GI Joe and My Little Pony. To help breath new life into his passion he turned to Disney to help revive the franchise. Stories of the partnership are well documented but terms were finally reached and Henson would be joining Disney and major plans were in place for a Muppet revival not only on the big screen but also at the Disney Parks. Well, as we know, Mr. Henson, the brilliant entertainer, passed shortly after this partnership and Disney seemed to be lost with what to do next. With a few less than impressive tries to get the franchise back on the map Disney finally broke through with “The Muppets” in 2010 and the much underrated “Muppets Most Wanted” in 2013.  The most recognizable songs that Kermit and friends brings to us can be recognized around the world. Rainbow Connection not only tugs at the heartstrings of us nostalgic fans but also continues to paint a picture of hope for the dreamers of the world. Nothing epitomizes that better than the line The Lover, The Dreamer and Me…..

Fun Fact:  The Muppets will be back this fall on ABC doing what they do best and that is television. It may take on a more contemporary style but at this point it looks like they haven’t missed a beat. 

#17

#17 - Puny god

In 2012 when The Avengers burst onto the scene, Mark Ruffalo’s reprise of the Incredible Hulk certainly stole the show. Ruffalo drew his inspiration for the role by watching Bill Bixby’s portrayal in the original 1970’s television series – purple jeans and all! And believe it or not, the green goliath only has one line in the entire movie, which during the initial screenings, many fans missed due to the laughter as Hulk thrashes Loki about. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Hulk’s performance was that it was the third attempt in a decade to make the character work on the big screen.

Fun Fact: Edward Norton was originally set to reprise his role from The Incredible Hulk (2008) but negotiations between him and Marvel Studios broke down. Norton was replaced with Mark Ruffalo who had also been considered for the role in the prior movie.

#18

#18 - Part of Your World

In 1989, Ariel and her quest to become human, became Disney's first animated fairy tale since Sleeping Beauty (1959). The Little Mermaid is widely credited for launching the Disney Renaissance, an era of renewed creativity, brilliance and box office success for the company's animated features. Mermaid was followed by several subsequent hits, including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, were again relevant and profitable. In addition, the film earned three Academy Award nominations, making it the first Disney animated film to earn an Academy Award nomination since The Rescuers in 1977. The film won two of the awards - Best Song ("Under the Sea") and Best Score.
Ironically, the iconic tune "Part of Your World" was almost cut from the wildly popular 1989 animated film because test audiences thought it slowed the film.

Fun Fact: Jodi Benson, who performed both Ariel's speaking and singing voices, recorded "Part of Your World" with the studio lights turned down low to get a better underwater feel.

#19

#19 - The Great Escape

When Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom burst on the scene in 1981, college professor of archeology and quasi-hero Indiana Jones possessed a unique balance of cynicism, romance, imperfections and brilliance. Han Solo ~ I mean Harrison Ford ~ brilliantly embodied the believable treasure hunter. His pratfalls and near-misses only drew us closer to him, along with his abundance of strained relationships. With boulders crashing toward him, we cheered, we laughed, we were riveted.  Only moments later, we were equally drawn to the complex dramatic sequences on religion and faith. Indiana Jones is the complete package which has stood the test of time: just check the wait times for Indiana Jones Adventure attractions at Disney’s theme parks.

Fun Fact: Freeze-framing during the Well of Souls scene you can notice a golden pillar with a tiny engraving of R2D2 and C3PO from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). They are also on the wall behind Indy when they first approach the Ark.

#20

#21 - This is the Night

Lady & the Tramp holds a special place in Disney fans’ hearts. Released just a month prior to the opening of Disneyland in 1955, the feature checked all the boxes: animation, romance, music and comedy. It was also the first animated feature filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen film process, which created more realistic environments. Although the spaghetti eating sequence is now the best known scene from the entire film, Walt Disney was prepared to cut it, with the belief dogs eating spaghetti is not only not romantic, but would appear downright silly. Animator Frank Thomas was against Walt's decision and animated the entire scene himself without any lay-outs. So impressed with how Thomas romanticized the scene, it remained, and the rest is history. 

Fun Fact: The film's setting was partly inspired by Walt Disney's boyhood hometown of Marceline, Missouri.

#24

#24- Nonsense

Disney’s 1951 unorthodox yet classic animated musical fantasy-comedy adventure Alice in Wonderland was based primarily on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with several additional elements from Through the Looking-Glass, which likely contributed to the film’s initial criticism and disappointing box office receipts. Accused of “Americanizing” classic literature, Disney’s adaptation was certainly abundant of memorable characters, including the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter. As Alice celebrates her “unbirthday” during the mad tea party, the “Very Happy Unbirthday” sequence is just curiouser and curiouser enough to remembered for a lifetime. 

Fun Fact: Kathryn Beaumont who voiced Alice, also voiced Wendy Darling in the 1953 Disney film Peter Pan.

#27

#27- Never Had a Friend Like Me...

There’s good casting and there’s ideal roles. Robin Williams embodied the Genie in Disney’s 1992 release, Aladdin. That’s not surprising, as the part of Genie literally was written for Williams. Williams’ appearance in the feature also marked the beginning of a transition to the use of celebrity voice actors. As only Williams’ was capable of pulling off in an animated movie, much of Williams’ dialogue was ad-libbed. He was often given general topics and dialogue suggestions, translating into brilliant, timeless improvisation.  The quirkiness worked, as Aladdin was the highest-grossing movie of 1992 and the first animated movie to gross more than $200 million.

Fun Fact: During preview screenings, no one applauded after the songs, so as a joke, the animators added an “Applause” sign over Genie at the end of “Friend Like Me.” 

#30

#30 - Jack

Jack Sparrow’s endearing drunken quirkiness alone deserves a place on our top 30 moments. Add the Black Pearl, the action and theme park attraction tie-ins and we had an instant classic! The infamous pirate of the seas, Jack Sparrow and Pirates of the Caribbean resurrected pirate-mania, similar to that of the cowboy and western craze in the 1950’s. With Sparrow’s character based on a combination of Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew, it’s not surprising fans were captivated by Johnny Depp’s portrayal. The first release in 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, was an instant success, and has parlayed a franchise topping $3.7 billion worldwide with a fifth film currently in production.
 
Fun Fact: Robert De Niro was offered the role of Captain Jack Sparrow, but declined under the belief the movie wouldn't do well in the box office as many other pirate movies in the past. He was proved wrong and subsequently accepted the role of Captain Shakespeare in the movie Stardust (2007).