With a massive catalog of hit movies, Disney has been enchanting audiences for decades with their magical worlds, beloved characters, and catchy songs. The studio has left a permanent mark on the animation industry and popular culture as a whole as they continue to captivate children and adults alike. While princesses generally take the forefront when it comes to Disney’s advertising, there’s an equally impressive array of animated films that feature a diverse range of characters. For all the dads out there tired of watching princess movies, let’s dive into five fantastic animated Disney movies that don’t have a princess in sight!
1. The Lion King (1994)
As an iconic Disney staple, The Lion King roars its way onto our list as one of Disney’s most epic non-princess films. Featuring an entire pride of unforgettable characters, this African wildlife adventure brings us the heart-wrenching and heartwarming tale of Simba, a young lion prince whose world is flipped upside down by his treacherous uncle, Scar.
With the combination of Disney’s stunning hand-drawn animations, powerful music, and compelling acting performances, The Lion King continues to be one of the most beloved animated films of all time. Discussing mature themes such as sacrifice, perseverance, guilt, and acceptance, this is truly a spectacle of storytelling and animation that transcends any age barrier.
2. Zootopia (2016)
Zootopia is a groundbreaking Disney film that tackles real-world issues all while delivering an entertaining, thrilling, and heartwarming story. The film stars Judy Hopps, an enthusiastic rabbit with dreams of becoming the first ever bunny cop in the bustling animal city of Zootopia. Reluctantly teaming up with sly fox Nick Wilde, Judy begins unraveling a conspiracy that threatens to destroy the city’s peaceful co-existence among all animals.
Filled with humour, suspense, and thought-provoking themes, Zootopia is so much more than just a kid's movie. It encourages viewers to question stereotypes and prejudices, teaching kids how diversity and understanding can overcome fear and suspicion. But beyond all its profound social commentary, Zootopia is also a fun-filled adventure with exciting chase scenes, shocking twists, touching moments, and adorably animated animal characters.
3. Big Hero 6 (2014)
Blending superhero action with heartfelt emotion, Big Hero 6 is a beautiful film that checks off all the boxes of a great movie. Set in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, you follow Hiro Hamada, a young robotics prodigy who forms a high-tech hero team to combat a mysterious masked villain.
The film’s standout feature is the touching bond that develops between Hiro and his partner Baymax, a healthcare robot created by Hiro’s late brother. While their relationship initially provides a lot of humour on screen, you’ll soon realize it's the emotional core of the entire story. Dealing with themes of loss, grief, and healing in a sensitive and relatable way, the film’s heartwarming nature is enough to make you cry and laugh as you cheer Hiro on. The film also celebrates science, technology, and innovation, making it a truly inspirational watch for any young mind. Plus, you can’t help but fall in love with the very huggable and adorable Baymax.
4. The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Looking for something a bit more spunky? The Emperor’s New Groove is a hilarious gem in the Disney catalog that stands out as being completely different. Instead of using traditional storytelling, this film is a witty, fast-paced comedy that will have you laughing out loud. The story follows Emperor Kuzco, a self-centered ruler that gets transformed into a llama by his conniving advisor, Yzma. Stranded in the jungle with no one to help him, Kuzco must learn to rely on the kind-hearted villager Pacha to help him reclaim his throne.
From sassy one-liners to slapstick humour, the film is hilarious from start to finish. Amid all the hilarity, the film is still able to impart lessons about humility, friendship, and the importance of caring for one another. While The Emperor’s New Groove may not be one of Disney’s more traditional films, its charm and humour make it a classic in its own right.
5. Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Bringing a bit of sci-fi and space into the Disney universe, Lilo & Stitch is a heartwarming tale of acceptance and family. Does “Ohana” sound familiar? Well, it comes from this movie! Set on the beautiful island of Hawaii, the film centers around Lilo, a young and lonely girl who adopts a “dog” named Stitch, who then turns out to be a destructive alien fugitive.
Perfectly balancing its wacky sci-fi elements with a heartwarming story, you’ll be surprised by how emotional Lilo & Stitch is. It explores the meaning of family, teaching kids that family is not just defined by blood relations alone, but by love, care, and mutual support. Though watching Stitch’s wild journey is filled with lots of humour and laughs, there are plenty of touching moments that will almost definitely bring a tear to your eye. Plus, the unique Hawaiian setting and soundtrack give the film an extra layer of charm that is unforgettable and so easy to love.
There you have it, Disney movies don’t just have to be about princesses! These five fantastic animated Disney films are full of amazing adventures and lovable characters, all teaching kids valuable lessons along the way. If you’ve yet to see one of the films on this list, it’s time to boot up the TV and check them out!