Disney is one of the most successful companies in the world, and it’s renowned for creating such beautiful and emotional pieces of art. You connect with the characters, and I don’t know anyone that hasn’t cried at at least one Disney movie. But with successful emotional films like Up, Inside Out and The Lion King, there are some scenes that are so emotional that people seem to forget about them. Here, I’ve chosen the top 10 emotional Disney scenes that many people forget about, mainly because the films aren’t popular, or ones that some people may not be as sad as other, more popular films.
Before I begin, this article contains spoilers from films like Finding Dory, Tangled and Big Hero 6, so if you haven’t seen these films and wish to not have it ruined, please don’t read further.
Please note these aren’t in any particular order, because some of them would all be number one to me.
- Saving Mr. Banks (2013) – the Mary Poppins Premiere
‘Mary Poppins, you won’t ever leave us will you? Whatever would we do without you?’ – Jane
Although P.L. Travers didn’t like Mary Poppins, and originally developed as an independent production until Disney took an interest, Saving Mr. Banks was an international success. Centred around the development of Mary Poppins, this scene was particularly notable when it comes to emotion. P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson in the film, was portrayed as a hard woman who wasn’t keen on Walt Disney’s pursuance of the rights to the film. This was due to her background, seen by flashbacks throughout the film. When she reluctantly attends the Mary Poppins premier in 1964, she is deeply moved by the film. She finally breaks down to show the vulnerable person that she is, because the film was inspired by her father. The scene obviously shows the original Mary Poppins, which adds even more emotion to the scene, and it’s a lovely ending to the film.
- Tangled (2010) – Rapunzel is reunited with her parents
‘I’ve been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?’ – Rapunzel
Being locked up in a tower since she was a baby, Rapunzel finally finding her parents will definitely be emotional. To put yourself in the shoes of a family that have lost their child is heart breaking enough, but to finally see your daughter after so many years brings tears to anyone’s eyes. When a guard bursts through the door and nods at the royal King and Queen, it shows how hard the whole kingdom looked to find the princess, and it sets off something inside you when their faces realise their daughter is finally home. Easily one of the most emotional scenes, and if not one of the most tear jerking movies of a young girl finding her way back home there is.
- Tarzan (1999) – Kerchak dies
‘No matter where I go, you will always be my mother.’ – Tarzan
An emotional film in general about a young man that is taken in by gorillas, the scene of Kerchak’s death is definitely one that is sad. Kerchak was the leader of the band of gorillas, and was never accepting of Tarzan because he was human, and although it’s a typical ‘I’ll forgive you on my deathbed’ scenario, we know that Kerchak means it. When Kerchak finally calls Tarzan his son, even from a cartoon you can see by Tarzan’s reaction that that’s all he ever wanted – acceptance.
- Wreck-It Ralph (2012) – Ralph destroys Vanellope’s car
‘Turns out I don’t need a medal to tell me I’m a good guy. Because if that little kid likes me… how bad can I be?’ – Ralph
Wreck-It Ralph tells the story from a different angle – from the bad guy’s perspective. Well okay, he’s not really a bad guy, he’s just meant to act like one. This scene was the motivation to write this post, as it really is one of the most heart breaking scenes I’ve ever witnessed from a Disney movie. Ralph destroys Vanellope’s car, which he previously helped build, to stop her from racing and becoming a player in the game. If she does so, as she’s a glitch, she will break the machine and the game will have the power pulled. In order to save the residents of the Sugar Rush arcade game, Ralph smashes her car to pieces, as Vanellope watches. The sad music and her screaming are what really gets to me because Vanellope wants to be part of the racing so badly. Although Ralph had good intentions, he majorly upset Vanellope, and it’s just a horrible scene to watch, regardless of whether you know how it ends or not.
- Mulan (1998) – Mulan leaves to join the army
‘I’ve heard a great deal about you, Fa Mulan. You stole your father’s armour, ran away from home, impersonated a soldier, deceived your commanding officer, dishonoured the Chinese Army, destroyed my palace, and… you have saved us all.’ – The Emperor of China
What’s most powerful about this scene is that there’s no dialogue at all. Just the musical score itself is powerful enough to carry the visuals that we see of her cutting her hair and taking her father’s uniform. This scene shows that Mulan is transitioning from girl to woman. Although not many of us can relate to the literal sense of Mulan taking her father’s place in the Chinese army, we can relate to making sacrifices for the ones we love. The scene demonstrates how far someone would go to protect their family and friends, and that alone is the connection we can all make.
- Monsters Inc. (2001) – Sulley leaves Boo
‘You and I are a team. Nothing is more important than our friendship.’ – Mike
Although this is probably a popular emotional scene, but I couldn’t help but include it in my top 10. We all knew it would happen, but it’s still a scene I cry at to this day. We all agree that this scene is sad, but the film is based off an unlikely friendship between two very different characters, something that audiences may relate to in terms of becoming friends that they probably didn’t think they would be friends with. However, we all experience tears of joy at the end when Sulley is finally reunited with Boo after Mike goes to all the hard work of piecing her door back together. Now all Disney need to do is make a sequel – everyone wants to see what Boo looks like older.
- Finding Dory (2016) – Dory finds her parents
‘What is so great about plans? I never had a plan! Did I plan to lose my parents? No. Did I plan to find Marlin? No. Did you and I plan to meet? Well, I don’t think we did and that’s because the best things happen by chance because that’s life and that’s you being with me out in the ocean not safe in some stupid glass box.’ – Dory
This is probably one of the most touching scenes in Disney history, just like when Rapunzel was reunited with her family in Tangled. Throughout the whole film I was just hoping that she would find her parents, that they would be alive and well. When it was revealed that Dory followed the shells home to find her parents and that her parents were doing it for years hoping she would find her way home, it really struck a chord in me. Not only did it mean that Dory found her parents, but she also found herself along the way. Audiences can’t help but love Dory, despite her short-term memory loss she’s still a valuable and loved character. The scene also can allow audiences to relate to Dory, because the moral of the story is no matter how far away your family are from you or if you think that you’re lost in life, they’ll never give up and will always try to find you.
- Big Hero 6 (2014) – Baymax dies
‘We didn’t set out to be superheroes. But sometimes life doesn’t go the way you planned. The good thing is, my brother wanted to help a lot of people and that’s what we’re gonna do. Who are we?’ – Hiro
Based on the Marvel comics, this tale comes of a team of friends turned superheroes to avenge the death of Hiro’s brother Tadashi, following a fire at their college. Baymax comes to aid Hiro of his loss, and we soon fall in love with the squishy friend. He is caring, kind and for a robot, particularly funny. But when Baymax sacrifices himself to save Hiro and O’Callaghan’s daughter, it’s absolutely heart breaking. Although Baymax comes back as Baymax 2.0, it still doesn’t get away from the fact that he committed a selfless act to help his friends. This story portrays a powerful message – your friends are always there in times of need, even when you may not think they are.
- Toy Story 3 – Andy leaves the gang with Bonnie
‘So long… partner.’ – Woody
No doubt one of the saddest scenes to ever occur in the Disney universe. When I saw this in the cinema I was crying, four people behind me were crying, everyone in the cinema was crying. For a lot of people moving to university and starting college, this is a scene that they can identify with. It signifies moving on with life and having to leave things behind, which may not necessarily mean just toys. Andy has the courage to leave Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the rest of the gang with Bonnie, a kind child with just as much love for toys as Andy did when he was a kid. Although it’s sad to see the end of an era of movies and adventures that audiences of all ages loved, it’s nice to see Andy leaves his toys with someone just like him, knowing they’ll be looked after. What really got everyone was Andy driving away to college, and the gang looking on as he leaves. Although another Toy Story has been confirmed and we’ll see more of our most beloved toys, this scene will stay in every avid Disney’s fans’ hearts forever.
- Treasure Planet – Silver’s speech to Jim
‘Now you listen to me James Hawkins! You got the makings of greatness in ya! But you gotta take the helm and chart your own course, stick to it; no matter the squalls! And when the time comes you get the chance to really test the cut of your sails, and show what you’re made of, well, I hope I’m there, catching some of the light coming off of you that day.’ – John Silver
This is my all-time favourite Disney Classic movie. I connect on so many levels with this film and the main character – Jim Hawkins. He feels that no matter what he does he will always be a failure and can’t do anything right. The story focuses on him finding himself and becoming a success as he saves Silver and all of the crew, gaining the trust of them and the rest of his family. The scene occurs after Jim is blamed for accidentally killing one of the crew, the real creature responsible being Scroop. Silver tells Jim to not give up on his dreams, and to still pursue them, assuring him that he isn’t a failure and that he is valued. The scene always makes me cry because whenever I feel down about messing up or not feeling great, I listen to the words of what Silver says to Jim. This film is very underrated, but it’s still my favourite of all-time.