Friday, 24 June 2016

Disney Classics: All About the Ages

So, let's kick this off with an edit to my original draft! I've had this idea 'sketched' out for quite a while (I write posts 1-3 months in advance of them going live) and then a few weeks ago I was tagged in a post by Jamie, which I think was originally started by Amy! Of course, I always feel the need to include a disclaimer of sorts so people don't think I'm a copy cat, as well as links to the people who have written similar things before me. It's a small world after all ;) and it's possible that we'll all come up with similar ideas at some point. 
On with the show!

Today I wanna talk about the ages of Disney animation. So what are the ages/eras, to begin with?

Disney 'eras' can be defined as unofficial, specific periods of time within the history of the Disney Animated Canon aka the original classics series. They are currently split into 7 sections/waves, separated by either breaks the studios took or dips in popularity, so to say, due to current events like wars or other important issues. Below is a little breakdown of each age or era and what they involve.

The Golden Age // 1937 - 1942
These movies are : Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi

The ones that started it all! With Walt at the helm, Disney's first full-length animated feature film 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' kicked off the Golden age, thusly named as it  showed the company at it's 'breakthrough best' with their take on classic fairytales, despite certain movies not doing too well upon original box office release.
For the most part, these movies are thought of as some of the darkest, evident in many scenes through out all of the movies but most prominently Pinocchio and Bambi. This, in my opinion, as well as other certain subjects within the movies make them not suitable for all ages but more suited to adults and older children - opposing most people's views of Disney being just for children.

This is my personal favorite era and not only just because it houses my favorite Princess!

The Package Era // 1943 - 1949
These movies are: Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Also know as the 'wartime era' or the 'lean years', here is where things took a turn for the worse for a while. War was the biggest influence on these movies what with a big chunk of Disney's animators being enlisted and the first of the bunch, 'Saludos Amigos', was a commission from the U.S government in which the four short stories set in South America had been inspired by a tour Disney Animators took.
All of these movies are made up of shorts and although are widely known to be the least popular out of all of the current 54 classics, there really are some great gems in the mix.

My top pick from these is The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad which I love to watch around Halloween time as well as Fun and Fancy Free for obvious reasons!

The Silver Age // 1950 - 1959
These movies are: Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book

As you'll be able to tell from the popular titles above, these productions marked a turn in production - more amazingly done, feature length, higher budget animations. Evident in the painting-style scenes of Sleeping Beauty and the elaborate backgrounds in One Hundred and One Dalmatians, the Silver age was stunningly fantastical.
Personified, talking animals and creatures feature heavily through most of these movies mirroring, though moving forward from, the likes of Bambi from the Golden age.
Sadly this era ended with the loss of our beloved Walt. The last movie he personally worked on during the period that he fell ill was The Jungle Book.

I'm sure most people will agree it is rather difficult to choose a favorite from this bunch, but I think it'd be Alice!

The Bronze Age // 1960 - 1988
These movies are: The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver and Company

After the loss of Walt the studios apparently entered a decline which included a lot of trial and error, however, I personally believe these movies are very underrated. Many of them have the darker theme that we saw in the Golden age, so much so I would say they also aren't as suitable for younger children and are even still slightly scary in my eyes (The Black Cauldron anyone?).
Technological advances in the form of the introduction of xerography (essentially a method of dry photocopying) not only reduced the time and cost it took to make the movies, but gave them the 'black line' sketchy characteristic.
Similarly to the package era, the Bronze age didn't receive as much love as it's predecessor at the time, minus Winnie the Pooh.

Oliver and Company certainly stands out for me as a must see from this age, with a brilliant soundtrack to compliment the whole picture.

The Renaissance Era // 1989 - 1999
These movies are: The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan

The word 'renaissance', in this sense, means 'a revival of or renewed interest in something' so describes this wave to a tee. Obviously with these movies being between the years of '89 and '99, it's the era with some of the most popular movies for my generation and peers and is also regarded as the pinnacle point in Disney animation seeing great successes at the box office.
Being the first proper 'fairytale/Princess' movie for them, The Little Mermaid won many awards - particularly for it's soundtrack.

For me, The Lion King is one of the main movies I'm emotionally attached to from my childhood and I still have my Simba soft toy that I got in 1994 so that and the Rescuers are my top choices here.

The Post-Renaissance Era // 2000 - 2009
These movies are: Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, The Wild, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt

This is where these little lists can get a bit confusing as they differ from the US to the UK, 'Dinosaur' being excluded from the UK Disney Classics list and 'The Wild' being immitted from the US list. 'Dinosaur' was actually the studio's first attempt at CGI and so this began the transitional period from their traditional method of animation to computer generation which I think is so cool which is why I wish it was included in the UK canon.

So overall this is the era I favor least, Lilo and Stitch, Brother Bear and Bolt being the main three for me.

The Revival Era // 2010 - Present
These movies are: Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia

Finally, that brings us to present day and our current age of Disney - the Revival era. Going from strength to strength it is understandable why people also refer to this the second renaissance. The Princess and the Frog re-introduced traditional fairy tale storylines once more while also using traditional animation techniques and worldwide raked in around $270 million! After that success, Disney moved on to Tangled using not just traditional animation, but mixing it with some CGI too, which evidentially led to a very popular release.
You're probably aware that the Revival era has only gone from strength to strength especially when it comes to 2013's Frozen. Nothing I can say will sum up it's continued success, even 3 years on from it's original premiere. A crazy $1.2 billion at the Box Office made it the highest-grossing animated feature of all time. It also received many awards!
A notable point to mention here is Winnie the Pooh from 2011 is actually #51 in the classics list for the US though doesn't appear in the UK line up.

Wreck it Ralph is my favorite so far from this era, including Zootopia (Zootropolis in the UK) which is not pictured as it isn't available on DVD yet obviously haha. The next scheduled release in the Disney Canon is Moana, in November this year, followed by Gigantic in March 2018.

And that is it! Phew!! This post has taken weeks and weeks of me coming back and forth to it, lots of research and pushing it back in the schedule for other posts I needed to get up haha. I'm glad to finally have it up and if no one else finds it interesting, at least I learned a couple of things I didn't already know ;)
As I mentioned at the beginning, Amy of Scariel's Grotto created a few tag question posts based on a few of these ages in animation, so make sure to pop over and check those out if you fancy it!

Thanks for reading!


  1. I still have my Simba toy from '94 too although he's a little bit worse for wear now.

    I don't really have a fave Disney age, think I just love em all!


    1. Woo! Simba twins! haha It is hard to choose. Though I'm more a live action fan than a devout animation buff.


  2. Wow this post was so interesting to read!
    I've noticed a few films I've not watched before - and now I really want to! You've taught me so many things I didn't realise about the timing and era's of the films, so thanks for that :)
    Loved this post :))

    Sarah xo // See The Stars

    1. Ah thank you so much, I'm really glad you enjoyed it!
      Yep get a list written and start ticking them off haha, at the start of the year I watched one a day in order for the full 53 days - that was fun.
      That's so cool to hear! Thank you for reading & commenting.


  3. Fantastic post, so much interesting information that I wasn't aware of before now. Loved it! After reading your post, I've decided that The Silver Age is my favourite :)

    1. Thank you!!! :D
      That's a good pick. I think the Silver age is one of the most well rounded.


  4. Love this post Danielle! I had no idea there were os many eras - the only one I really knew about was the Golden Age, and it's good to know who your favourite princess is. Snow White is adorable, there's just something so likeable about here. I think the Renaissance Era has to be my favourite. It houses the majority of my favourites (although The Great Mouse Detective is up there too!) and The Little Mermaid was my first Disney film so Ariel has a special place in my heart for that reaso. - Tasha

    1. Thank you!! I know right? I wonder what the next one will be!!
      Yes I love Snow. Shes just what I want to be, keeping house and friends with the animals.
      The Great Mouse Detective is SO underrated!! Brilliant movie.


  5. Love this post! Found all the details about the Disney eras super interesting! I still have my Lady plush from the late 1990s so Lady & The Tramp has always ended up being a big favourite of mine :)

    Paris xx

    1. Thank you!! They really are aren't they? The history etc is one of my fave things about the Disney company. Aw I have a Scamp, from Lady & the Tramp, soft toy that I got from DLP in '96! It' such a sweet movie too.