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Decider Lists

Craving A Disney Fix But Don’t Have Time For An Entire Movie? The ‘Disney Short Films Collection’ On Netflix Is For You

Where to Stream

Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

Heads up, Disney fanatics: There’s a Disney short story collection on Netflix that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, no matter how intense or minimal your mouse obsession is.

The Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection is an hour and a half compilation of the House of Mouse’s greatest short animation wonders. Each of the 12 shorts includes a introductory segment from the piece’s creators, discussing each film’s inspiration and creative process. My first time watching this, I was understandably excited, but a small cloud of disappointment muddied my viewing experience. As the collection currently stands, amazing, animation redefining works are cut with fun but forgettable follow up tales.

To help your viewing experience, I present the revised order of how you should watch the collection. The timecode for each short follows the entry’s title for easy viewing access, and the shorts are ranked from “worst” (is there such a thing as bad Disney?) to best. Happy watching, and try not to cry too much.

12

“Frozen Fever” — 1:20:00

1-Frozen Fever

I know it seems counterintuitive to start with the Disney princess movie we can’t seem to let go, but hear me out. It’s Princess Anna’s (Kristen Bell) birthday, and her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel) is holding back nothing in her quest to make it the best birthday ever — even if that means neglecting her own cold. Frozen Fever is cute, fun, and delightful, but it’s just not on the same level as several of the other shorts. There are several plot holes that are glossed over (When did Elsa get Earth powers? Is she the next Avatar??), but the short does contain a couple more songs and costume changes that fans of all ages can appreciate.

11

“Prep and Landing: Operation Secret Santa” — 0:37:24

2-Prep-and-landing

The prep and landing short series is the actualization of a pretty cool idea: What if Santa’s elves were less like happy-go-lucky helpers and more like Men in Black agents? In this installment, the Prep and Landing crew are given a special mission from Mrs. Claus that involves stealing right from under the big guy’s nose. It’s a fun reimagining of a holiday mythology that can seem worn out. And yes, your double take is correct. Mrs. Clause is voiced by the beloved Betty White.

10

“Tick Tock Tale” — 0:30:42

3-tick-tock-tale

One of the first rules of Disney must be that everything is alive and everything is capable of feeling emotions. Tick Tock Tale is the adorable story about a little clock that doesn’t quite fit in. Though the short starts with the little clock hating the underwear-revealing man on his head, his differences end up saving the day. Basically, it’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer but with clocks, burglars, and a chime that is guaranteed to get stuck in your head.

9

“Tangled Ever After” — 0:51:44

4-tangled ever after

Generally, I like Frozen more than Tangled, but in the case of follow-up shorts, Tangled wins by a mile. Tangled Ever After catches up with Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) and Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) on their wedding day. There’s just one small problem: The duo’s chameleon and horse sidekicks have lost the rings. It’s a classic out of control chase scene that involves Pascal and Maximus racing to fix their mistake before their friends say “I do.” Disney, if you want to make the adventures of Pascal and Maximus a regular thing, I won’t complain.

8

“How to Hook Up Your Home Theater” — 0:23:38

5-home-theatre

Perhaps more than any other short on the list, this one if for the adults. Then again, weren’t all of Goofy’s how-tos? An omnipotent narrator guides the audience step-by-step on how to purchase and install a home theater system just in time for the big game while Goofy beautifully illustrates the frustrations of installing anything on your own. It’s a must watch that will leave both kids and parents laughing. Now, if only Goody could star in an Ikea how-to.

7

“The Ballad of Nessie” — 0:45:14

6-ballad of nessie

This sweet tale will have you wishing the Loch Ness Monster is real. All Nessie wants is to quietly swim and play with her rubber ducky best friend, but after a golf course tycoon destroys her lake to build his empire, Nessie’s modest dreams suddenly seem impossible. The best part of this dragon out of water story is its resolution. After being told multiple times to keep her chin up and not cry, Nessie’s emotions are what finally save the day. It’s a great way to teach kids that it’s OK to cry and a fantastic reminder for yourself. Plus, the Scottish-inspired animation paired with the short’s origin story will bring the good kind of tears to your eyes.

6

"Lorenzo" — 0:10:52

7-lorenzo

This tale of dueling kitties is as beautiful as it is darkly violent, so heads up if you’re watching with kids. When a gluttonous house cat shows off his luxury to a passing stray, things take a turn for the twisted. Who knew there were vengeful cat wizards? As strange as it is, Lorenzo the cat’s tango-fight with his tail is one of the most beautifully choreographed pieces of blended animation out there.

5

“Get a Horse” — 1:06:13

8-get-a-horse

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a classic Disney short starring Mickey and the gang, and this one delivers all the nostalgia you’ve been craving with a modern twist. You know the drill: Pete steals Minnie. Mickey beats up Pete. Mickey saves his girlfriend and the day. All is going according to script until Mickey accidentally breaks out of his 2D, black and white world and into the colorful theater. From there, it’s a fusion of classic hand-drawn animation and CGI characters that will leave you smiling and inwardly applauding the genius of Disney’s animation team.

4

“Feast” — 1:13:09

9-feast

If you’ve ever had a dog in your life, you’re sure to love Feast. On the surface, it’s about the greatest love story of all — a dog’s relationship with his owner’s leftovers — but the story soon blends into a tale of romance and sacrifice. Though the stakes are low, Winston the dog’s decision to give up the food he so loves for his owner’s happiness is as heartwarming as it is relatable, proving that even the smallest sacrifices are still still sacrifices. Also, the short’s use of food to demonstrate the emotional state of its rarely-seen human characters is fascinating and will leave you questioning your own eating habits and adding some scraps to the dog’s dish.

3

“John Henry” — 0:00:00

10-john-henry

A short from the 2002, direct-to-video Disney’s American Legends, the animated tale of John Henry’s race against the steel mill is one of the best shorts you haven’t seen. A group of newly-freed slaves have their jobs and dreams threatened when a steel mill comes to  steal their work. It’s up to John Henry to outwork the steel mill, but at what cost? From the singing, the introductory quilt-based animation, and the delicate way this traumatizing moment of American history is structured for children, everything about this short is masterful. My only complaint is that it’s way too short.

2

“The Little Match Girl” — 0:16:22

11-little match girl

It’s easy to forget that Disney can be as emotionally manipulative and heart-wrenching as it is light-hearted (I’m looking at you, first few minutes of Up). Prepare your tissues because this one falls squarely in the depressing category. The titular little match girl is an orphan in the middle of Christmas in Moscow. All she wants is a warm bed with a loving family, but all she has is a handful of matches no one wants to buy and her imagination. As gorgeous as the animation is, there is no resolution, leaving you feeling as cold as the little match girl. It’s definitely worth the watch, but make sure you’re in a good emotional space before you press play.

1

“Paperman" — 0:58:55

12-paperman

There is something indescribably beautiful about Paperman’s simplicity. The silent, black and white short follows a man who has a chance encounter with a woman he becomes dedicated to finding again. Perhaps the cutest part is the man’s method of catching her attention: paper airplanes. It’s simple, sweet, and speaks to every hopeless romantic out there who secretly believes every random encounter happens for a reason. The short’s amazing animation is almost an added bonus when you consider how sweet the story is. I dare you to watch and not fall in love with the main couple.