It probably doesn’t shock you that Walt Disney has won 22 Academy Awards. A guy who created some of the most beloved characters in film, co-founded Walt Disney Productions, and built Disneyland deserves tremendous applause. Let’s celebrate some of the best moments in Disney to honor Walt’s prolific life. Be prepared for some nostalgia cries!
22. Ariel sings “Part of Your World” in The Little Mermaid
Nothing made me want to be a mermaid more than Ariel’s song about wanting to be human. “I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty, I’ve got whosits and whatsits galore! You want thingamabobs? I’ve plenty! But who cares, no big deal, I want mooooooore,” she sings, and I sang, and six year-olds all over the world sang, especially in the pool where we crossed our legs and pretended to be mer-folk (or was that just me?). This part of the movie is magical, because Ariel is so curious and longing and you really just want her to find a way to be human, meet Prince Eric and use a fork to brush her hair.
“Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?” Li Shang asks ironically, since Mulan is definitely not a “son” per se, but soon proves herself to be the mightiest warrior in China. As a little girl, it was so important to watch Mulan go from the weakest soldier to the strongest because it sent the message that women were equal to men, and that you should never restrict a woman’s courage and power based on her gender. Plus, “I’ll Make a Man out of You” is just such a great song.
Like Ariel, Rapunzel is trapped in her little world because her parent deems outside to be “too dangerous.” In this case, however, Evil Gothel is merely using Rapunzel’s magical hair to stay young and beautiful.
19. Hallie and Annie find out they’re twins in The Parent Trap.
When a girl who looks exactly like you is just as obsessed with Oreos and peanut-butter then you KNOW she’s your twin.
Aside from its historical inaccuracies, Pocahontas is an amazing Disney film. “Colors of the Wind” was my favorite song as a kid because of all the pretty colors! I loved how Pocahontas changes John Smith’s mind by showing him animals have feelings, too, and that you can’t just destroy the earth for monetary gain. Pocahontas was a pioneer in environmentalism and set a great example for us ‘90s kids.
Genie is funny, sassy, helpful, loyal, entertaining, and a great pal. He also can grant you wishes. Voiced by Robin Williams, Genie is the magical friend we never had but wanted. He is the funny uncle with magical powers who makes Aladdin one of the best Disney films to date.
You thought I was going to list the spaghetti scene, were you? Well, Valentine’s Day is over and I’m all about evil cats who frame cute Cocker Spaniels. One could describe the Siamese cat scene as Orientalism, but I’m not in college any more, and I still love it because I think sneaky cats are hilarious.
Speaking of cats, this movie proves why cats are the best pets: they can play the piano and drums, they love jazz, and some of the more sophisticated felines have even mastered the harp. In this scene, I’m pretty sure one of the Siamese cats from Lady and Tramp makes an appearance, playing the piano (with chopsticks…oh Disney).
Arguably Bette Midler’s best role, she works the stage and casts a spell on the entire town of Salem so she and her sisters can steal the life force of Dani, who I just realized is little Thora Birch (awww!).
Bound to get stuck in your head for days, “I Won’t Say I’m In Love” is one of the greatest love songs because there’s a little bit of Meg in all of us, right? Falling in love is tough, and sometimes we just don’t want to let our guard down. Especially if we’re actually helping Hades. Love is so complicated.
In 2009, Disney FINALLY created the first African American Disney princess! She’s not just any princess though; Tiana has goals and dreams, and she shows kids everywhere that you can do anything. Even if you run into a little detour and get turned into a frog. This scene is where Tiana proves how hard she will work and how talented she is as a chef and restaurant owner.
Who doesn’t love Vintage Disney? One of my first memories of Mickey Mouse was watching a short clip of Steamboat Willie where Willie steers a boat, whistles, and taps his feet. He’s so happy! Until the big old captain cat steals his thunder.
I always thought if I visited France, I would encounter singing dishes. Alas, the closest I’ve ever come to animated dishware was at Disneyland on the teacup ride.
Cruella, whose mannerisms were based off of Tallulah Bankhead, is truly one of the most wretched Disney antagonists and when she storms in and bellows, “Anita, Darling!” you know she’s looking for trouble.
Simba is extremely upset after the death of his father, which is understandable. Timon and Pumbaa help him adapt to his new lifestyle after Mufasa banishes him (by letting him think he killed his own father, which is MESSED UP) and he even learns to love eating bugs!
Dug, whose thoughts are communicated through a special dog collar, may be the greatest dog in history.
Even though we have to wait until 2016 for Finding Dory, we can still love her in Finding Nemo, where she helps Nemo’s dad find his son by being unexpectedly helpful and speaking whale.
In a post apocalyptic world, robots find love, and they are adorable. In this scene, Wall-E finally gets the chance to spend some quality time in space with Eve, who finds Wall-E endearing and kisses him.
A young hound dog and fox play a game of “hide and seek” not knowing that they’re supposed to be mortal enemies. Awww, look what happens when you throw away stereotypes and social expectations! You meet friends in unlikely places.
Even after Jack and Elizabeth bond over drinks, Elizabeth decides to create a giant smoke signal with fire and alcohol, which truly perturbs Captain Jack Sparrow because THE RUM IS ALL GONE.
Jack’s hubris saddens Sally, since she has a feeling his plans to take over Christmas will not go over very well.
This YouTube video of “Let it Go” has been viewed over 96 million times! Maybe that’s because the song is amazing and makes us feel like we’re on top of the world! No one is going to mess with us, not even our past. Or the cold (I’m talking to you, Polar Vortex!). This year, Frozen is up against The Croods and Despicable Me 2 for an Oscar, but if you ask me, I think we all know Frozen is going to win.