Nothing quite compares to the charm and ambiance of Walt Disney Productions back in the day. A golden era for film and entertainment, this pilot period spun a spectacular web of cult-classic movies that would change the course of cinema forever, particularly for kids. From talking dragons to dancing candles, the ’90s are revered as some of the best Disney motion pictures ever made.
Here are the 11 best.
 Hocus Pocus
A perfect flick to curl up around the fire with when trick-or-treaters are out to play, Hocus Pocus is a household Halloween movie. Centered around a coven of three Salem witches, played by actresses Sarah Jessica-Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy, this costume drama makes light of the tragic history between magic and women.
While the title might signal a hint of horror, the movie is more a comedy than anything. For decades, women were chastised for being “witches.” Now they have transcended into quite the trend-setters. Giving children the opportunity to laugh along with this trio of sorcerers breaks the barrier between fear and understanding. Today, being a witch is actually a cool thing, although the intimidation factor for men may still hold true, and there is no doubt this fantastical franchise had a little something to do with it, considering the people who seem to be practicing progressive pagan beliefs are the ones who likely grew up watching and loving these ladies.
Tarzan, an immaculate conception of the close yet diluted bond people and simian primates share, a permanent reminder showcasing we are not so different. Tarzan, voiced by Tony Goldwyn, is a coming-of-age lad who lives a nomadic lifestyle in the jungle with a close-knit family of wild gorillas. As the story unfolds, Tarzan develops a romantic relationship with Minnie Driver’s dearly beloved female protagonist, Jane Porter, who comes to Africa with her father and another guide in pursuit of studying gorillas.
Creator Edgar Rice Burroughs uses their epic love story to juxtapose how Earth’s resources are being exploited without even someone like Jane, a self-proclaimed expert in the field who desires nothing more than to help, learn and understand more about these delicate creatures, being aware of the extent. Therein lies the reason this is considered among the best of the best movies, not to mention soundtracks, ever made.
Greek mythology met the magic of vintage animation in 1997 blockbuster Hercules, but Zeus and Hades were not the only Godly concepts introduced with this film. Hercules is the ultimate underdog and one of the greatest superheroes to ever exist, yet this dynamic shift did not happen overnight. In meaning, this holds a lot of weight because it shows that even if you are the son of a god, there will still be a struggle, there is always strife, others might even look down on you, and it takes a whole lot of work to reach your divine destination; however, if you do put in that work, in the name of the greater good, the reward will be fruitful. Not only does this act as a staple for the age-old “root for the underdog” folklore but it also teaches kids that power comes from within and is drawn out only through you.
 Cool Runnings
Relevant to the times both then and now, Cool Runnings artfully dips into the pool of racial and cultural differences with this Disney marvel centered around a Jamaican athlete who’s forced to change his course of direction after failing to make the Olympic track team. Broadly based on true historical events, the story follows Derice Bannock, played by Leon Robinson, on his journey as he competes for gold in a sport he, and apparently anyone, least expected to be playing: Bobsledding. Not only is this timeless tale cheeky and absolutely hilarious but it also depicts some extremely important and intricate themes that were hardly touched on at all during this era.
Disney’s mega-hit musical did so well they had to make it again. Since its debut back in 1992, Newsies has amassed a vast following of sing-along fanatics. So many, in fact, that they decided to make a modern adaptation of it again in 2017. Set in New York nearly a century before the film date, the narrative is based on a Newsboy Strike that actually happened back then and it revolves around a rebellious young lad named Jack Kelly. Jack is one of the first roles played by world-famous Batman star, Christian Bale, but that’s not all this theatrical comedy has going for it. Newsies is informative of a crucial turning point in history but it is also a classic capture of brooding boyishness that is both beguiling and baffling to behold.
 Toy Story 2
Whoever says sequels can never stack up to the original has never seen Toy Story 2. Ratings might be slightly skewed but as far as novelistic nostalgia and cinematic masterpieces go, these epic sagas are at an even tie. While Toy Story 1 will always be front of the line, the later chronicle are tremendously close behind. Over 24 years and four fantastic movies later, the franchise is still flourishing.
Another legacy left by the mark Disney made in the 90s, Aladdin was made in 1992 as a tribute to Middle Eastern heritage. Set on the desert sands of an Arabian Pangea, the film takes viewers through a whole new world of cultural creation, customary practices, and traditional values. Along with featuring some of the most famous and catchy film music ever made to date, it also stars one of the best, most well-known, and adored actors of all time: Robin Williams. A real-life legend in his time, Williams played the role of a genie almost too well. Genie left the same heartwarming, light-filled impression on fans that the Jumanji icon who played him left on the world before he died. Rest in peace, king.
Mulan might be one of the best movies ever made, period. It speaks to gender norms that are still very much alive and well in society today, but with a twang of Chinese culture. From the song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” to the elegant Kimono Mulan, voiced by Ming-Na Wen, is made to wear at the beginning, every scene substantiates symbolism for the disparate roles ascribed to stereotypical masculinity and femininity. If the theme doesn’t tell you enough about how amazing this movie is, the sheer entertainment, action, and allure certainly will.
 Beauty and the Beast
What better lesson than the one we learned about looks being an inadequate measure for true love? Beauty and the Beast is about as age-old and well-known as the notion itself. A portrayal of the possibility for someone as beautiful as Bell to fall for an ugly and terrifying monster sends an important message: that true beauty lies beneath the surface.
This is such an important idea for kids to grow up with, not only because it’s true but because it gives them a sweet sense of confidence and hope to look up to for their future love. That, no matter how they appear on the outside, no matter how insecure on the inside, they too are capable of receiving such acceptance, such love. All lessons aside, the character development- moreover, the capacity it has to make us fall in love with a tea pot and kettle- is in part what makes this 90s Disney flick so elite.
 Toy Story
Anyone who read #6 on our list could have guessed this one. Toy Story is an absolute all-timer and fan favorite. Following the secret life of Andy’s toys, Toy Story brings a child’s deepest dreams and desires to life while also fostering touching themes about friendship. Woody, a cowboy doll voiced by award-winning actor Tom Hanks, and Buzz Lightyear, a toy Space Ranger superhero by other best-actor Tim Allen, not only epitomize undying loyalty to their human buddy but also to each other and the rest of the gang. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” is a track that will jerk every last happy and sad tear from the eyes of anyone aware of the sentimental anecdote behind it. Not to mention this song still hits to this very day.
 The Lion King
Voted the “best-animated film of all time,” The Lion King is naturally at the top of this list too. More magnificent than the colorful, vibrant, and jovial representation of an African-set animal kingdom is its ability to depict darker, more mature themes. A great deal of this box office’s success is rooted in the dynamic demonstration of these themes, which serves to both educate the youth while also entertaining the elders who have to sit there and watch it with them. Lion King is one of a kind in the sense that anyone of any given age can sit down at any time and get optimum enjoyment out of it.