America’s 20 Favorite Classic Disney Movies, Ranked

Simba is king of everything the light touches, including this list.
Simba is king of everything the light touches, including this list. / Walt Disney Pictures

Between last year’s launch of Disney+ and the influx of live-action remakes in recent years, there’s no shortage of buzz surrounding the animated Disney classics that have captivated kids for decades. You might have an especially worn-down VHS copy of The Little Mermaid or Robin Hood to prove which one was the favorite in your household, but how do your own opinions measure up to those of Disney enthusiasts across the nation?

To find out which films are the most popular overall, UK-based retailer used data from analytics tool Ahrefs to see which ones are the most searched-for online. Based on average monthly search volume, 1994’s The Lion King is the leader of the Disney classics pack, with Aladdin (1992) and Beauty and the Beast (1991) rounding out the top three. It’s worth noting that all three of those films have gotten the live-action treatment within the past few years—The Lion King and Aladdin were both released in 2019, and the Emma Watson-led Beauty and the Beast hit theaters in 2017—which could have contributed to a resurgence of interest in their source material.

While those three were all created in the 1990s, plenty of older films also made the list, including 1950’s Cinderella, 1941’s Dumbo, and even Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from 1937. If you’re thinking 2013’s Frozen is suspiciously absent below, that’s because it’s not quite old enough to be considered a classic; only included films released before 2000. Lilo & Stitch (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), The Princess and the Frog (2009), and Tangled (2010) all missed that cut-off, too.

Read on for the full list of movies (and the corresponding stats for average monthly search volume), and relive your own favorites with a free seven-day trial of Disney+ here.

  1. The Lion King (1994) // 94,000
  1. Aladdin (1992) // 69,000
  1. Beauty and the Beast (1991) // 36,000
  1. Cinderella (1950) // 19,000
  1. Tarzan (1999) // 19,000
  1. Hercules (1997) // 18,000
  1. Dumbo (1941) // 16,000
  1. The Jungle Book (1967) // 15,000
  1. Alice in Wonderland (1951) // 13,000
  1. Pocahontas (1995) // 13,000
  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) // 10,000
  1. Peter Pan (1953) // 10,000
  1. Fantasia (1940) // 8100
  1. Robin Hood (1973) // 8100
  1. Pinocchio (1940) // 7300
  1. Sleeping Beauty (1959) // 6200
  1. Bambi (1942) // 5500
  1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) // 4300
  1. Mulan (1992) // 4200
  1. The Little Mermaid (1989) // 3100

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