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Debate – Does Disney Still Rule In The World Of Kids’ Animation?


Posted August 31, 2015 by

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Does Disney Still Rule In The World Of Kids’ Animation?

If this question had been posed 15 years ago, the answer would’ve been as clear as day. With movies like ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Pocahontas’, as well as Disney Pixar’s first feature release ‘Toy Story’, Disney seemed unstoppable. Looking back on my childhood, I can’t actually remember many animation films that didn’t fall under the Disney umbrella, and this isn’t just the case for me. Every generation has its Disney films. Whether it is ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, ‘The Aristocats’ or ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’, most childhoods are defined by a Disney movie. However, is this the case for the current generation?

Outside of Pixar, Disney’s animation films have been seriously lacking in the last few years. ‘Frozen’ made an impact but beyond that, there’s possibly ‘Wreck It Ralph’ and ‘Tangled’ and that’s about it (at least in terms of big international box office hits). While Pixar is obviously more of a focus for them at the moment, it seems a shame that the great films that Walt Disney Animation Studios make have almost been put on the back burner.

To look at the other side of things, DreamWorks is the main big player in contention for the crown. It started with ‘Antz’ back in 1998, and really exploded onto the scene with the success of ‘Shrek’. From there, other successful franchises like ‘Kung Fu Panda’, ‘Madagascar’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ have placed DreamWorks firmly at the forefront of kid’s animation, and have come to define a significant period of animation history.

It would also be remiss of me not to mention the recent obsession of toddlers all over the globe; ‘Minions’. This is Universal’s main contribution to the scene, expanding on the world of ‘Despicable Me’ and its little yellow creatures. This is, without a doubt, 2015’s ‘Frozen’. You only have to walk down any high street to see shops piled high with ‘Minion’ toys and clothes and accessories, while Elsa and Anna stand off to the side on the ‘For Sale’ stands.

It seems as though while Disney are still capable of the huge success, its consistency is lacking. Even the Pixar films have resorted to endless sequels over new creative concepts. The brilliance of ‘Inside Out’ seems like a diamond in the rough alongside ‘Finding Dory’, ‘The Incredibles 2’, ‘Cars 3’ and the highly controversial ‘Toy Story 4’. While some of these are highly anticipated films that have been wanted by fans for years, some seem to be dragging the stories out purely for the sake of financial gain. After the third instalment rounded things off nicely, “Toy Story 4’ seems almost desperate, and did anyone even like the first ‘Cars’ movie?

However, one thing that Disney does still have going for it is its appeal with adults. I am yet to meet an adult who actively chose to go and see the ‘Minions’ movie, while I have heard many people my age and older making the trip to the cinema to see ‘Big Hero 6’, ‘Inside Out’, ‘Monsters University’, ‘Brave’ and all of those that came before. Admittedly a lot of this stands on Pixar’s shoulders, but they manage to create films that cater to both adult and child audiences alike.

It’s pretty safe to say that the animation world is a lot more varied than it once was, and Disney certainly doesn’t have the monopoly anymore. That being said, Disney definitely still leads the pack, and the others are still a decent way off Disney’s level. While the others may have successes with individual films, and the odd successful franchise, Disney has all of that plus the one extra factor. It can stand the test of time. Kids today will watch ‘Aladdin’ or ‘Hercules’ just as I did when I grew up, and they will watch ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Robin Hood’ just like their parents of grandparents did. Disney films stand up to the test of time, and only time will tell if the other studios can do the same.


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Amy Ulliott
Just One More Movie
Freelance Contributor

Join The Debate! Leave us a comment…



    Disney does have longevity and I still believe that in 10 years time I will enjoy many Disney films as equally as I do now. I personally haven’t even watched Frozen, Tangled or Wreck it Ralph.

    Helen Ronald

    Disney has now proven its longevity for several generations and the many films produced still hold the charm and magic they always did!


    I think a studio like Disney won’t lose it’s status as the big daddy of the animation world., though with big franchises like the Avengers and Star Wars landing in Disney’s lap one does wonder whether they’re taking their eyes off the ball elsewhere. Disney has had weaker periods before (Chicken Little anyone?) and doubtless will again, I just hope that Dreamworks and Universal’s nascent animation studios can keep them on their toes.

    Rob Ormsby

    Wreck it Ralph is class, but nothing compares to the Disney classics which they will continue to make for each generation

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