Pete, Meet Dragon
The Moment: Young orphan Pete meets dragon Elliot, who magically appears and starts gorging himself on an apple tree (opens in new tab) .
Disney Magic: It continues Disney’s tradition of combining live action with animation, something that was also accomplished in Mary Poppins and Bedknobs & Broomsticks .
The Moment: Hiss attempts to warn Prince John that he’s being duped by Robin Hood and Little John, who are posing as female fortune tellers. Except John’s having none of it, meaning Hood and John get their paws on all of John’s jewels no problem.
Disney Magic: In Disneyland, Robin Hood is a fox, because of course he is.
Mother Knows Best
The Moment: Evil Gothel assures Rapunzel that she knows best (opens in new tab) in Tangled , convincing the long-tressed lovely to stay inside away from the nasties of the outside world.
Disney Magic: It may be fully CGI, but the Disney magic’s still alive and well in Tangled .
Watcher In The Woods
The Moment: Watcher In The Woods reaches a creepy (if you’re a child) climax, as Karen is finally returned and Ellie talks in a weird robotic voice (opens in new tab) .
Disney Magic: Director John Hough plays around with montage for dramatic effect, as well as throwing in a few old-fashioned light effects for good measure.
The Moment: Dumbo's mother is locked up after she gets angry at a group of boys who're making fun of her ear-endowed son.
Disney Magic: You’ll believe an elephant can go mad.
The Love Bug
The Moment: “He really does drive.” Race car driver Jim gets a boost courtesy of sentient Volkswagon beetle Herbie, who helps him reclaim his former glory – not least in one racing scene where he tramples all over the competition.
Disney Magic: VW Bugs are suddenly cool!
The Moment: “Scuzz bucket! Haha!” David (Joey Cramer) is given the reigns of the spaceship in this standout scene from the ET -copycat. Which naturally means the ship starts plummeting right out of the sky (opens in new tab) …
Disney Magic: Slick set design and a robotic pilot who talks funny? That’s so Disney.
The Moment: The Little Mermaid comes to its emotional climax, as sea witch Ursula claims King Triton’s trident and becomes ruler of the sea.
Disney Magic: We all know that good has to win out in the end, but Ursula’s demise is surprisingly graphic, as she’s speared by a shipwreck and bubbles into a gloopy soup in the sea.
The Moment: In The Rescuers , Bianca and Bernard hide from two crocodiles in an organ. Except these crocs aren’t quite as stupid as they look, playing the organ to force the mice out of hiding. Watch it here (opens in new tab) .
Disney Magic: This, of course, could never happen in real life, but it’s a witty visual joke that works brilliantly here.
The Moment: Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis wake up to discover that they’ve switched bodies over night, leading to some brilliantly well-judged impersonations, and Curtis perfectly delivering the line: “I’m old! I’m like the crypt keeper!”
Disney Magic: This one has it, yes.
The Moment: The titular heroine sings to Smith, explaining the way the world works with 'Colour Of The Wind'. Greenpeace would be proud.
Disney Magic: Playing around with shadows and starlight, Disney create a fittingly reverent mood that stops the ‘love the Earth’ message from getting too handy-wring-y.
Return To Oz
The Moment: “Come here, CHICKEN!” The Wheelers are brought to hideous life in this sequel to The Wizard Of Oz , and they’re almost as scary as the flying monkeys. Beware the Wheelers (opens in new tab) , indeed.
Disney Magic: They may make films for kids, but Disney’s not afraid of getting scary every once in a while. Very scary.
The Moment: Even zanier than the antics of genie in Aladdin , the tea party scene in Alice In Wonderland is all kinds of crazy. A perfect interpretation of the book’s barminess, it’s got everything - tuneful teapots, the Mad Hatter, and a drunk-looking dormouse.
Disney Magic: This is Disney after a handful of magic mushrooms.
The Moment: “You listen to your mama, now!” Mama Odie heads up ‘Dig A Little Depper’, a fun ditty about the enormous capacity of the human spirit to do amazing things. All while she tries to turn a frog back into a prince (opens in new tab) .
Disney Magic: Disney proves it's lost none of its touch in the choreography stakes.
Rescuers Down Under
T he Moment: Ten-year-old Cody makes friends with a giant golden eagle, who takes him for a spin around the Australian outback. She helps him water ski, then flings him over the side of a waterfall before allowing him to land on her back.
Disney Magic: Never has Disney’s love of the outdoors been more evident.
The Moment: “How do I look?” asks Cliff. “Like a hood ornament,” replies Peevy, just before Cliff shoves the ignition on his new jetpack and shoots up into the air, spewing out a cloud of fire and steam. Awesome.
Disney Magic: We all love a superhero, and this guy’s one of the best.
A Whole New World
The Moment: “Do you trust me?” Aladdin asks Jasmine, before whisking her off on a trip to remember, circling the skies above Agrabah on a magic carpet. While singing ‘A Whole New World’. Ah, young love.
Disney Magic: Go on, admit it, you wish you had a magic carpet like that one, don’t you?
The Moment: Cinderella begs to try on the glass slipper and prove she’s the princes’ midnight moon goddess. Things look bleak when the evil stepmother smashes the slipper – but Cinderella has the last laugh when she flourishes the other slipper, which she kept from that fateful night...
Disney Magic: Good triumphing over evil? Oh yes, that’s very Disney.
The Moment: Back in the castle, Aurora is drawn up to her doom in Sleeping Beauty , as she follows a magical green orb up into a tower, and is coaxed into touching a bewitched spinning wheel.
Disney Magic: Proof right here (if we needed it) that Disney can eke out tension like the best of them.
Under The Sea
The Moment: Sebastian attempts to prove to Little Mermaid Ariel that it’s better under the sea than up there on the land, and calls on all manner of little sea creatures to get his point across.
Disney Magic: Of course, Sebastian’s endeavours are all in vain – otherwise we wouldn’t have a story. “Somebody's got to nail that girl’s fins to the floor.”
Bedknobs & Broomsticks
The Moment: “Treguna, Makoidees, Trecorum, Sadis Dee!” Angela Lansbury’s dulcet tones ring out as she brings to life suits of armour, creating an undead army to fight off the Germans.
Disney Magic: A drum starts drumming all by itself, trumpets start tooting and swords are drawn from their sheaths by empty suits of armour…
Once Upon A Dream
The Moment: Having grown up in the forest unaware that she’s a princess, beautiful young Aurora sings with her forest friends. Which is just when she bumps into Prince Phillip who, unbeknownst to her, is her intended (and rather hunksome) husband.
Disney Magic: Every shot of the film was first acted out in live-action, which gives Sleeping Beauty a certain grace and style.
We Are Siamese
The Moment: Jim Dear and Darling decide to go on a trip (even though they’ve just had a baby, the cheek) and leave Aunt Sarah to look after the nipper in Lady And The Tramp . Except Sarah brings along her Siamese cats, who make Lady’s life a misery.
Disney Magic: Disney’s not just about animation, it’s also about the music, as proved in the sly lyrics of ‘We Are Siamese’.
The Moment: The titular nanny teaches us all a life lesson with her cheerful number ‘A Spoonful Of Sugar’. Julie Andrews is as compelling as ever with that voice, even making us want to do a little cleaning. (Almost.)
Disney Magic: Disney’s live-action magic is as impressive as its animation magic, as toys move around on their own and Andrews gets snippy with her reflection.
The Moment: Merlin and Arthur go for a little swim – except, this being Merlin, it’s no ordinary dip in the pond. No, they are transformed into fish to experience what it’s like first hand in the castle’s moat. Which leads to a joyful little ditty and a teeth-snapping encounter with a bigger fish (opens in new tab) .
Disney Magic: Quite literally, here, as magic transforms our duo into scaly fin-flappers.
Emperors New Groove
The Moment: Pacha and Kuzco sneak into a diner where they eat, uh, bugs. Yum. While there, they overhear Kronk and Yzma scheming, before the former ends up becoming chef for the restaurant...
Disney Magic: The revolving door gag gets us every time. Slapstick gold (opens in new tab) .
The Moment: Disney gets all self-reflexive as Amy Adams plays a perky Disney princess and sings the ‘Happy Working Song’. Except in dirty modern day New York, the only animals who can help her out are pigeons, rats and cockroaches...
Disney Magic: The studio surprises us all by poking fun at itself.
The Moment: Dumbo takes a bath, and revels in the bubbles (opens in new tab) , playing with his mother. Your heart just breaks.
Disney Magic: The animators perfectly capture the playfulness of a youngling in the tub. Adorable.
The Moment: Mim and Merlin “attempt to destroy one another” (in Sword In The Stone ) during a wizard’s duel, in which they’re allowed to turn into any animal they like in a fight to the death.
Disney Magic: The transformations are seamless and hilarious. Not least when Mim breaks her own rule and disappears, only for Merlin to beat her to it by turning into an infectious disease.
The Moment: Bette Midler is backed up by Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy for this ghoulish showtune, as they put their own spin on ‘I Put A Spell On You’.
Disney Magic: Fantastically camp and clearly only there because Bette just loves to sing, but still a great little number.
The Moment: “He was so hot, steam looked cool.” Hercules goes from zero to hero courtesy of this fancy little montage, which has him fighting giant boars and royally pissing off Hades (opens in new tab) .
Disney Magic: The Disney animation is at the top of its game here, with some great visual segues and split-screens.
The Moment: In the 1860s, poor boy Travis (Tommy Kirk) is forced to shoot the beloved family dog, Yeller, when he develops rabies...
Disney Magic: So influential that they referenced it in Friends .
What a devil
The Moment: Roger gets caught up in his composition, dreaming up a tune that perfectly describes the villainous Cruella De Ville. “If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will…”
Disney Magic: The dreadful human spider makes her grand entrance (opens in new tab) , and she’s every bit as hideous as you’d hoped.
The Moment: “Think of Christmas, think of snow, think of sleigh bells, off you go” chants the musical score, as Dumbo flaps his wings, stirs up a cloud of dust, and then begins to fly (opens in new tab) …
Disney Magic : It’s pure fairytale in motion.
The Moment: Before 1982, nobody had ever heard of light cycling. Then Tron came along, and gave us shiny, slick racing with a kick. Breathless.
Disney Magic: Tron was out way before its time, which speaks volumes about Disney’s occasional forward-thinking capabilities.
The Black Hole
The Moment: “You mean we’re going into the black hole?” Holland, Pizer, McCrae, and V.I.N.CENT escape from the Cygnus in a probe ship, but are dragged straight into a black hole. Marvelous (opens in new tab) .
Disney Magic: Completely bonkers but brilliantly executed, the sequence is entirely wordless as the travellers find themselves caught in heaven and hell at the bottom of the black hole.
He can call me a flower
The Moment: Never was there a more joyful laugh than that of Thumper, the little rabbit whom Bambi befriends in the forest. The wee foot-tapper finds it hysterical when Bambi calls a skunk "a flower", leading to the skunk coyly asserting: “He can call me a flower if he wants to.”
Disney Magic: The flowery setting. The voices. The character design. All perfect.
The Moment: Baloo the bear teaches young Mowgli the meaning of life in The Jungle Book , advising him to “forget about your worries and your strife”. It’s exactly the kind of song you’d expect a bear to sing.
Disney Magic: Super-catchy and an upbeat anthem for everyday life.
The Moment: All hope seems lost as Pinocchio lies on Geppetto’s bed, the toymaker crying over his still form. Then Pinocchio’s wish finally comes true, and he becomes a real boy...
Disney Magic: “Father, why are you crying?” asks a newly-revived Pinocchio. “Because you’re dead, Pinocchio,” replies Geppetto.
The Moment: Aladdin meets the genie for the first time, and what a character he is. Flamboyant, over-the-top, blabbermouthed and super-dramatic, he’s at once hysterical and annoying – and perfectly voiced by Robin Williams.
Disney Magic: Disney make the most of a character who can do anything by having the genie change form and summon things out of thin air with alarming frequency. Fantastic.
The Moment: In one of his first ever appearances, Mickey Mouse works on a steamboat in 1928's Steamboat Willie . One incident has him attempting to get Minnie Mouse onboard when she misses the boat – and deploying a massive hook to drag her onto the vessel.
Disney Magic: Even this early on, all the elements that made Disney so magical were evident – anthropomorphic animals and objects, and a keen sense of visual humour.
The Moment: Belle and the Beast take to the dance floor in Beauty & The Beast as Mrs Potts sings the film’s signature theme tune.
Disney Magic: Disney fully embraced CGI in this scene, using the CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) developed by Pixar to create the ballroom entirely using CG images.
Circle Of Life
The Moment: The Lion King opens in style as the sun rises over African planes and the animals all rise to warmly welcome it. As the fog rolls away and birds flock through the skies, all manner of creatures tread the lands – and we realise they’re all heading in the same direction – to Pride Rock.
Disney Magic: The devil’s in the detail, and this is a truly majestic bit of animation.
The Moment: Out for a little dinner, proud house hound Lady and street vagabond Tramp enjoy a little spaghetti in Lady And The Tramp . Chomping on a bit of pasta, they find their muzzles drawn together for an unexpected kiss.
Disney Magic: It’s charming, funny and romantic without being overly cheesy.
The Moment: One of Disney’s scariest villains transforms herself from a beautiful ice queen into a wicked old hag. Brewing a potent potion, she guzzles it all down and bends and breaks until she’s a haggard crone. What a trip (opens in new tab) .
Disney Magic: Disney is nothing without its mastermind villainesses, and here’s one of their finest.
Death Of A King
The Moment: Attempting to save his young son from a wildebeest stampede, King Mufasa is double-crossed by his sneering brother and plummets to his death in The Lion King . When the madness has subsided, Simba nuzzles his death father’s body, and we weep into a tissue.
Disney Magic: The film used computer animation to create the wildebeest, which were given randomised paths that gave them a super-realistic look.
The Moment: A Swahili phrase that few non-Swahili speakers had heard of before The Lion King , 'Hakuna Matata' has become part of the everyday vernacular thanks to Timone and Pumba, whose cheerful sing-a-long rendition of the phrase brightens up any dark day.
Disney Magic: Beautifully random but unquestionably uplifting. Pure magic.
Poor Unfortunate Souls
The Moment: Sea witch Ursula sings her heart out in The Little Mermaid , admitting to innocent mermaid Ariel “in the past I’ve been a nasty” before attempting to coax her into making a deal. It’s a showcase bit of grand-standing with some fantastic lyrics.
Disney Magic: As Ursula casts her spell, Disney go mad with the animation, blushing in moody colours and atmospheric foam/bubbles/lightning. Nobody does magic better.
Prince vs Dragon
The Moment: At the climax of Sleeping Beauty , Prince Phillip fights his way to the castle, but has to confront Maleficent first, who’s transformed herself into a massive, snapping dragon.
Disney Magic: An almost completely wordless confrontation, the segment relies on seriously scarily imagery and an intense score for all its power.
Your mother cant be with you anymore
The Moment: As if the sudden death of Bambi’s mother wasn’t heart-wrenching enough (“Faster Bambi! Keep running!” and BLAM!), Bambi’s then visited by his father, who stoically hammers the message home: “Your mother can’t be with you anymore.”
Disney Magic: The drifting snow. The majestic outline of the stag. Bambi’s crest-fallen pose. Completely and utterly heartbreaking.