10 Feel Good Disney Animated Movies Under 90 Minutes Long

Summary

  • Short runtimes of animated Disney movies, such as
    Dumbo
    at 64 minutes, make for quick and concise viewing experiences that engage audiences.
  • Movies like
    The Nightmare Before Christmas
    and
    Ice Age
    offer easy and joyful watches for all ages, with relatable characters and important themes.
  • Feel-good moments, beautiful soundtracks, and the exploration of themes like the importance of family can be found in many Disney classics.

Over the years, Disney has released a huge catalog of feel-good animated movies for all to enjoy, but as stories made for the silver screen grow in length, a short watch can sometimes feel preferable over a longer, drawn-out narrative. An average film in 2023 clocks in at a little over two hours, but such an extensive viewing experience isn’t always appealing. Since Disney began producing films in 1937, the studio has made more than 60 animated feature films — and many of them run 90 minutes or under.

90 minutes is an ideal runtime for a film, leaving just enough space to fully explore a world and plot while not dragging on for too long. When it comes to engaging viewers in a movie — especially younger ones — spending too long unraveling a story can prove a recipe for failure. A longer runtime can lose audiences’ attention. Fortunately, several animated Disney movies are under 90 minutes, allowing a quick and concise watch for the whole family.

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10 Dumbo (1941)

64 Minutes

Dumbo 1941 Movie Poster Dumbo Where to Watch

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Dumbo is a baby circus elephant who was born with huge ears. After being ridiculed by his group of friends, he becomes the main attraction of his circus when he discovers that, using his ears, he can fly.

Director Ben Sharpsteen , Norman Ferguson , Wilfred Jackson , Bill Roberts , Jack Kinney , Samuel Armstrong Release Date October 31, 1941 Cast Edward Brophy , Verna Felton , Cliff Edwards , Herman Bing , Sterling Holloway , Margaret Wright , Hall Johnson Choir Runtime 64 Minutes

Dumbo tells the story of a young elephant who is taken into a circus, where he is ridiculed for his big ears only to discover a confidence that allows him to astonish the world with what he can do. Despite the darker aspects of Dumbo — including its use of racial stereotyping and poor treatment of animals in the circus — the film does contain several feel-good moments. Dumbo’s friendship with the tiny mouse, Timothy, is a particular highlight, as Timothy is the one to support Dumbo and help him achieve his big moment.

In 2019, Disney released a live-action version of
Dumbo
.

With the title character never speaking over the course of the story, it is not surprising that the movie doesn’t delve too deep into any of its characters. It is simply a sweet and simple underdog story that movies along smoothly.Disney’s live-action remake attempted to expand on the Dumbo world by introducing an ensemble of human characters. However, that only bogged down the plot and helped to highlight that the original movie was the ideal length.

9 The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

76 Minutes

The Nightmare Before Christmas Movie Poster The Nightmare Before Christmas PG

Henry Selick directs The Nightmare Before Christmas, a stop-motion fairytale from the mind of Tim Burton. Jack Skellington is the king of Halloween and one of Halloweentown’s most beloved citizens, but he longs for something more. When he stumbles across a magical door that leads him to discover Christmas, he makes it his mission to replace Santa Claus and bring festive cheer to his perpetually spooky hamlet.

Director Henry Selick Release Date October 29, 1993 Cast Catherine O’Hara , Glenn Shadix , Ken Page , William Hickey , Chris Sarandon , Paul Reubens , Danny Elfman Runtime 76 minutes

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas uses stop-motion and festive imagery to create a fantasy musical, which takes its inspiration from a poem written by Burton in 1982. The character of the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), is incredibly relatable, especially due to his frustrations surrounding his routine. At the beginning of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack is looking to make a change in his life, and the festive way he goes about it is fun for the whole family.

Nightmare Before Christmas is a short and easy watch at 76 minutes, becoming a family favorite for both the Halloween season and the Christmas season. The short length of the story also highlights the film’s wonderful musical qualities. The first 20 minutes bounce from one iconic Nightmare Before Christmas song to another, introducing Halloween Town with the spooky “This is Halloween” before exploring the protagonist’s central conflict in the sorrowful “Jack’s Lament” and then introducing the Christmas element with the lively “What’s This?”

8 Toy Story (1995)

81 Minutes

Toy Story G Where to Watch

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ScreenRant logo

Pixar’s first feature film release sees Woody (Tom Hanks), a cowboy doll, confronted by the nightmare of being replaced as his owner Andy’s favorite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) action figure. Stricken by anxiety, Woody hatches a plan to remain the favorite, kicking off a race against time for the toys to be reunited with their owner before his house move makes them permanently Lost Toys.

Director John Lasseter Release Date November 22, 1995 Cast Tom Hanks , Don Rickles , Annie Potts , Tim Allen , Jim Varney Runtime 81 minutes

Toy Story has turned into a mega-franchise, and it all started with this 1995 movie – Pixar’s first feature film – which follows a group of children’s toys that embark on their own adventures. Woody (Tom Hanks) and his toy friends come to life once humans aren’t looking, giving the original installment a compelling premise. It also has one of the best Disney duos to date in Woody and Buzz’s terrific relationship. With themes of friendship, love, and the importance of sticking together, Toy Story is filled with feel-good moments throughout.

The Toy Story movies got a little longer as the franchise continued, but the runtimes remained reasonable. However, the original movie was a perfect introduction to feature-length Pixar movies. With the whole film taking place mostly in children’s bedrooms and with a runtime of under 90 minutes, the groundbreaking animation and inventive story took audiences on a grand adventure.

Collage of Woody flying with Buzz and the rest of the toys in the background Related 25 Most Memorable Quotes From The Toy Story Movies

The Toy Story films are filled with hilarious and heartwarming moments, usually accompanied by some great quotes. These are the best lines (so far).

7 Ice Age (2002)

81 Minutes

Ice Age Ice Age PG

In the Ice Age, a tiger, a sloth and a mammoth found a lost child and tried to return him to his tribe.

Director Chris Wedge , Carlos Saldanha Release Date March 10, 2002 Cast Ray Romano , John Leguizamo , Denis Leary , Goran Visnjic , Jack Black , Cedric the Entertainer Runtime 81 minutes

Ice Age has a unique premise for a children’s film, not just because of its cast of wacky characters, but also due to its ability to highlight the problems with global warming to young audiences. Ice Age focuses on Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Denis Leary) and the importance of their found family. With an 81-minute run time, it is an easy and joyful watch.

The movie is essentially a road trip story that relies more on the colorful characters of its ensemble rather than an intricate plot. For that reason, Ice Age wisely keeps things relatively short, allowing young audiences to get swept up in the prehistoric adventure and get some laughs from the slapstick humor. Luckily, for those who did wish they could spend a little more time in this world, the Ice Age franchise has continued to grow from here.

6 The Lion King (1994)

89 Minutes

The Lion King (1994) - Poster The Lion King G Where to Watch

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The Lion King is an animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Released in 1994, it tells the story of Simba, a young lion cub who faces the responsibilities of adulthood and reclaiming his birthright as king of the Pride Lands. Featuring an iconic voice cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, and Jeremy Irons, the film explores themes of family, duty, and the circle of life.

Director Roger Allers , Rob Minkoff Release Date June 24, 1994 Cast Matthew Broderick , Moira Kelly , Nathan Lane , Ernie Sabella , Robert Guillaume Runtime 89 Minutes

Following a kingdom of animals in the African Savannah, The Lion King sees Scar (Jeremy Irons) overthrowing his brother, King Mufasa (James Earl Jones), banishing his nephew Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick) from the Pride Lands, and becoming its new king.

The Lion King
has a
live-action that was released in 2019
. In December 2024, Disney will release the prequel

Mufasa: The Lion King

.

Despite its darker premise, The Lion King is full of feel-good moments, such as the musical number “Hakuna Matata.”The Lion King’s soundtrack is also incredibly beautiful, with tracks from Elton John and Tim Rice, who worked on the soundtracks of other popular Disney films.

The Lion
King
takes its inspiration from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the result is one of the most sophisticated and epic pieces of storytelling to come out of the Disney animation studio — all in a family-friendly runtime.

Rather than adaptating a fairytle, like most Disney animated films, The LionKing takes its inspiration from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the result is one of the most sophisticated and epic pieces of storytelling to come out of the Disney animation studio — all in a family-friendly runtime. The movie’s ability to capture the story of Hamlet in an under-90-minute movie without feeling cheap or rushed is a testament to how good Disney was during its ’90s renaissance.

Imagery-from-Mufasa-The-Lion-King Related 10 Most Exciting Things To Expect From Mufasa: The Lion King

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5 The Jungle Book (1967)

78 Minutes

The Jungle Book 1967 Movie Poster The Jungle Book Where to Watch

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The story of a boy adopted by wolves in the forest, following their adventures on the way to the human village, alongside the bear Baloo and the panther Baghera, who are being hunted by the dangerous tiger Shere Khan.

Director Wolfgang Reitherman Release Date October 18, 1967 Cast Phil Harris , Sebastian Cabot , Louis Prima , George Sanders , Sterling Holloway , J. Pat O’Malley , Bruce Reitherman Runtime 78 Minutes

The original animated version of The Jungle Book was released in 1967 and is loosely based on the 1894 book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling. The film follows the story of the orphaned Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman) as he is raised by a group of jungle animals.The Jungle Book shows the importance of choosing your family, and it also beautifully displays the innocence of children and their outlook on friendships regardless of species.

This is another story that has been retold constantly with the magic of motion-capture performances and CGI attempting to show how this jungle adventure can come to life in the live-action world. However, while the technology might be impressive, those later movies only helped to show how efficient this animated version was with its storytelling. It is a well-paced coming-of-age story, with Mowgli learning a new lesson about life in each scene with The Jungle Book still knowing when to get out before it gets repetitive.

4 Lilo & Stitch (2002)

85 Minutes

lilo-stitch Lilo & Stitch PG Where to Watch

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In Hawaii, Lilo, a young parentless girl being raised by her older sister, adopts a “dog” from the local shelter. Naming him Stitch, Lilo is unaware that the creature is actually an alien experiment, and he soon starts wreaking havoc at home and across the island.

Director Chris Sanders , Dean DeBlois Release Date June 21, 2002 Cast Chris Sanders , Daveigh Chase , Tia Carrere , Ving Rhames , David Ogden Stiers , Kevin McDonald , Jason Scott Lee , Kevin Michael Richardson Runtime 85 minutes

Lilo & Stitch is another Disney classic that highlights the importance of found family. It follows Lilo (Daveigh Chase), who is raised by her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere) after the death of their parents. Lilo ends up adopting Stitch, a blue alien she initially believes to be a dog. He causes chaos and problems throughout the film, but he’s beyond lovable. Lilo & Stitch heavily leans into the Hawaiian concept of “Ohana” or “family,” which creates the foundation for the entire film.

A live-action Lilo & Stitch adaptation was announced in 2018, but it is still awaiting a release date. Hopefully, it will learn the lesson that many live-action Disney remakes have not, which is that unnecessarily padding the story does not make it better. In fact, the breezy runtime of Lilo & Stitch is one of its assets with the sci-fi elements grounding themselves in a simple and relatable story of family and how that can come in many different forms.

3 Bambi (1942)

69 Minutes

bambi Bambi G Where to Watch

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Bambi is one of Disney’s most iconic animated films that debuted in 1942. The movie follows a young deer named Bambi who grows up in a forest with his friend Thumper after his mother is killed. The film was directed by James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, and David Hand and was nominated for three Oscars.

Director James Algar , Samuel Armstrong , David Hand Cast Hardie Albright , Stan Alexander , Bobette Audrey , Peter Behn , Thelma Boardman , Janet Chapman

Despite its heartbreaking opening, Bambi can still be considered a feel-good film, especially due to the sweet relationships that develop between the woodland creatures across the film’s 69-minute run time. Despite its darker moments, the ending of Bambi sees a new start for the character as the new Great Prince of the Forest, as he and his companions escape the clutches of man.

It is truly impressive that Disney was able to pull off such a sweeping coming-of-age story without a bloated runtime. There are iconic scenes that will always stand out and haunt the audience, but rewatching the movie years later shows how effortlessly it glides through these key moments of Bambi’s growth. It also packs a lot of emotion into its short runtime, being cheerful, heartbreaking, and magical all at once.

2 Mulan (1998)

87 Minutes

Mulan 1998 Movie Poster Mulan (1998)

To save her father from death in the army, a young single woman secretly goes to replace him, wearing a disguise, and becomes one of China’s greatest heroes in the process.

Director Barry Cook , Tony Bancroft Release Date June 19, 1998 Cast Ming-Na Wen , Eddie Murphy , BD Wong , Miguel Ferrer , June Foray , James Hong , Pat Morita , George Takei Runtime 87 Minutes

The original 1998 animation Mulan follows Mulan (Ming-Na Wen), a young woman who takes her father’s place in China’s war against the Huns. Both the animated Disney movie and live-action remake are based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. The 1998 film has a serious premise, but it sees some hilarious moments from Mushu (Eddie Murphy), Mulan’s tiny red dragon who is quick to add sarcastic quips at every turn.

Mulan
also got a
live-action version
in recent years. In 2020, Disney released a film starring Liu Yifei.

Not only does Mulan offer commentary on traditional gender roles, but it also highlights the importance of keeping family safe over pride. When Mulan was released in 1998, it was seen as a massive step forward in the epic storytelling of Disney which makes it all the more surprising that the movie manages to come in at under 90 minutes.

It is a film that knows where to spend time building its tale, taking time to craft Mulan’s motivations and backstory to make the audience understand how heroic she is. While Mulan‘s battle scenes don’t take up a huge chunk of the runtime, they are as sweeping in both visuals and emotion as any epic Hollywood film.

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1 Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)

83 Minutes

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs G

Disney’s iconic first feature-length animation tells the story of Snow White, a young princess whose beauty is coveted by an evil queen. After she orders that Snow White should be killed, the girl escapes to the forest, where she meets seven dwarfs who take her in. However, the queen knows that Snow White survives, and hatches a deadly plan involving a poisoned apple.   

Director David Hand , Perce Pearce , William Cottrell , Larry Morey , Wilfred Jackson , Ben Sharpsteen Release Date December 21, 1937 Cast Adriana Caselotti , Roy Atwell , Pinto Colvig Runtime 83 Minutes

It is the timeless fairy tale of the titular character who becomes targeted by the petty and envious Evil Queen.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs introduced the first ever Disney Princess to the silver screens with its release in 1937. It is the timeless fairy tale of the titular character who becomes targeted by the petty and envious Evil Queen. Snow White escapes into the forest where she begins a new life, living with a band of miner dwarfs. The success of the movie helped to launch Disney Animation Studios and paved the way for the many classics that followed.

One of the key things to keep in mind when looking at Snow White‘s modest runtime is that it was the first full-length animated movie of its time. In under 90 minutes, it was able to show the potential of creating more involved and rich animated stories that audiences would be eager to sit through for longer. Looking at Snow White now, it is a pitch-perfect example of early Disney magic, combining fantasy, music, humor, and romance into a short yet complete animated adventure. Here’s hoping the Snow White live-action remake follows suit.

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