Top 10 animal-related Disney films to watch

by Mair | 9 April #Justforfun

Got a bit of spare time on your hands? I’ve put together my favourite animal-related films to keep you entertained during lockdown.

While we’re all staying at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus, you might have noticed that Disney+ has officially launched in the UK and they’re currently offering a seven day free trial. No biggie, but it gives you access to nearly every Disney movie in one place. And Marvel films. And Star Wars (still getting over how adorable baby Yoda is…).

Now is the perfect opportunity to watch some fun favourites, old and new. Of course, everyone here at PDSA is a big animal lover, so I’ve picked out some of the best films you can stream right now with animals in.

Clear your schedule (unless, like mine, it’s already pretty empty) and get the popcorn ready. Here’s my top 10 in no particular order:


1. 101 Dalmatians

101 Dalmatians was always a favourite of mine growing up. Mostly because we didn’t have a family pet at the time so owning 101 dogs seemed like a dream (in reality, one dog is plenty for me!). There have been a couple of different versions and sequels, but I’m saying the 1961 animated version is the best.

What’s it about? 101 Dalmatians is quite literally about 101 Dalmatian puppies stolen to make a coat. Don’t worry, it does have a happy ending.

Watch it for:

  • Talking dogs
  • Rolly, the puppy who is always hungry. He’s all of us working from home right now.


2. The Lion King

I’ve not seen the live action version yet, so I’m recommending the 1994 animation. The music is epic and I think we all come away learning a little bit about the circle of life.

What’s it about? In a nutshell, it’s about a pride of lions who rule over the Pride Lands. When Simba (lion cub and heir to the ‘throne’), is tricked by his uncle, he runs away and, well, things get bad under his uncle’s rule. There are definitely sad moments in this so be warned.

Watch it for:

  • Timon and Pumbaa, Simba’s sidekicks.
  • James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, as Simba’s dad.
  • A Shakespeare fix to make you feel smart – it’s loosely based on Hamlet.


3. Zootopia/Zootropolis

Zootopia is one of the more recent animations to come from Disney. It’s fun, colourful and uplifting.

What’s it about? The main character in Zootopia is a rabbit called Judy, who wants to follow her dream of being a police officer. There’s also a huge conspiracy in it meaning she teams up with a con artist fox… but I won’t spoil the ending for you!

Watch it for:

  • Rabbits finally getting the recognition they deserve.



4. The Jungle Book

Another classic. Every child wanted to be Mowgli growing up and have a friend like Baloo the bear. Again, not seen the live action version yet so I’m recommending the 1967 animation.

What’s it about? Jungle Book follows the story of Mowgli who was raised in the Indian jungle by a pack of wolves. It’s all going well for him until a tiger with a grudge against humans shows up.

Watch it for:

  • The musical numbers
  • Baloo, who teaches us how to embrace the bare necessities.


5. The Aristocats

This is definitely one for cat lovers. And musical lovers.

What’s it about? When a rich opera singer leaves her fortune to her four beloved cats, her butler doesn’t take too kindly to this and tries to kidnap them. The four felines need to make their way back to Paris before it’s too late.

Watch it for:

  • Everybody wants to be a cat.


6. Bolt

Bolt is another modern Disney animation. It might not be in everyone’s top 10, but I can definitely relate to Bolt going into the real world for the first time!

What’s it about? Bolt and his human, Penny, are stars in TV show only Bolt thinks it’s all real. He also thinks he has superpowers. So when an episode is left on a cliffhanger, he thinks Penny really has been kidnapped.

Watch it for:

  • Rhino the hamster.


7. Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo is by far one of the best Disney films out there (technically it’s Disney Pixar). The start is pretty sad, but stick with it for an uplifting adventure.

What’s it about? When Nemo is taken by scuba divers to become a pet fish, his dad, Marlin, travels across the ocean to get him back.

Watch it for:

  • Dory, Marlin’s forgetful sidekick
  • Vegetarian sharks. Remember, fish are friends, NOT food.



8. Dr Dolittle

This is another one that not everyone will agree with, but talking to animals was number one on my superpower wish list as a child and I’m not even sorry.

What’s it about? A surgeon who can talk to animals. Needless to say this causes him more than a few problems.

Watch it for:

  • Rodney the guinea pig
  • Light-hearted silliness.


9. A Bug’s Life

Slightly tenuous link to the animal theme, but definitely had to get this one on the list! It really made insects and other creepy-crawlies (aside from grasshoppers) a lot less scary as a child.

What’s it about? Outcast ant Flick goes on a mission to find warriors to protect his colony from lazy, food-stealing grasshoppers. It doesn’t go to plan when his warriors turn out to be circus performers.

Watch it for:

  • Lots of laughs.
  • Heimlich the caterpillar’s transformation.


10. Lady and the Tramp

There’s a really recent live action version of this now available on Disney+. It’s on my to-watch list, but for now I’m sticking to recommending the animated classic.

What’s it about? It’s a love story between a pup living the high life and a stray mutt.

Watch it for:

  • A heart-warming story.
  • The most famous bowl of spaghetti and meatballs in cinematic history.


Special mention

In reality, it’s impossible to narrow down my favourites to a top 10. I have to give special mention to a few films that aren’t necessarily about animals, but with memorable animal characters:

  • Up – for Doug, the squirrel obsessed dog who truly loves you.
  • Star Wars (all of them) – for Chewie, the big walking carpet (although, don’t say that to his face).
  • Captain Marvel – for Goose, the feline scene-stealer.
  • Moana – for Heihei, the rooster who accidentally lands a front-row seat on an epic adventure.
  • The Good Dinosaur – they’re not technically ‘animals’ but I feel like dinosaurs should still count.


Mair photo
About Mair
PDSA's own content whizz, Mair is here to bring fun and fluff to the blog. Currently fostering an older chap and still learning the ropes of dog parenting.
Share this article on:  Mair | 9 April


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