Pixar/Disney Shorts Ranked
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
When you’re an animation fan, sometimes the most exciting part of seeing the latest Disney/Pixar film is the short film shown before the feature film! So in today’s blog post, I’m going to rank my favourite Disney/Pixar short films. The films in this list aren’t always shown in the cinema and I couldn’t fit all of them in this list so I’m only ranking 15 of my favourites.
Just a note: I’ve tried to find the full short for as many of the shorts as I could but many of them (especially the new ones) are very hard to find in full online so I’ve found the best clips I could for each entry.
15. Day & Night – Pixar Short
My love for the first entry on this list comes from purely an artistic perspective. There isn’t too much story within this 5 minute animation however it’s the visuals that should be focused on. Shown in theatres back in 2010 before Toy Story 3, Day and Night tells the story of Day and Night and what the world is like during their cycles. The two become jealous of the benefits of each other and get into a fight. They however realise that they’re more alike than they think, resulting in a pretty sweet ending. My favourite part of Day & Night is the reactions to their fight, for example the birds that circle inside of Day after he has been knocked out and the anchor that appears when he hits the bottom of the ocean, I just thought these were clever additions to the short.
14. Get a Horse – Disney Short
I remember seeing Get a Horse at the cinema before I saw Frozen in 2013 and being amazed by it. The blend of 2D old school Mickey Mouse cartoons in a 3D world blew my mind, I couldn’t believe that nobody had thought of it before! You can watch Get a Horse above, the story follows an albeit questionable original Mickey Mouse cartoon style storyline that is until Pete shows up and breaks the fourth wall – sending Mickey and co out of the screen and into “the real world”. I thought this short was a lot of fun and can be enjoyed by all ages.
13. Sanjay’s Super Team – Pixar Short
I’m afraid I could only find a short 39 second clip that was good enough quality for this one. However it was shown before The Good Dinosaur in 2015 so if you have The Good Dinosaur on DVD, check the bonus features! I believe Disney/Pixar DVD’s usually include the short shown before it in cinemas. Sanjay’s Super Team follows the life of a young Indian boy who is conflicted between his own interest in super heroes and his family’s Hindu traditions, therefore he imagines the Hindu Gods as Superheroes. The short was written and directed by Pixar animator; Sanjay Patel who based the short on his own childhood experiences. I added this short to the list as it felt like a different and new kind of short from the studio, it was refreshing and inspiring to see more cultural diversity on the big screen and in animation.
12. Partly Cloudy – Pixar Short
In this short, we have a prime example of a guy just trying his best. It was released in 2009 and shown before Up. A little Pixar trivia for you all here, Partly Cloudy was directed by Peter Sohn who went on to direct The Good Dinosaur in 2015, voice Squishy in Monsters University (2013) and even influenced the character of Russell in Up! What a Pixar legacy he has! Back to Partly Cloudy, the short’s story goes as follows: Everything living that exists in the world is created out of clouds and lightning by cloud people and delivered down to earth by Storks. This includes humans and animals. There is one cloud in particular though that doesn’t quite fit in with the others. He is a rain cloud and although he tries his hardest, all he seems to be able to create is harmful creatures eg: Crocodiles, Sharks, Porcupines, etc. Which in turn causes much distress and pain to his Stork of choice. I actually never saw Up in theatres therefore I didn’t see this short until much later, however it’s made my top 15 as it is undeniably one of the sweetest shorts out there.
11. La Luna – Pixar Short
Speaking of sweet shorts, here’s La Luna. It was released in 2012 and accompanied Pixar’s Brave in theatres. La Luna follows the story of a young boy accompanying his father and grandfather on a job. This job – although not obvious at the start – is to clear the moon of falling stars. Both the boy’s father and grandfather have their own way of doing things and are conflicted in which way the young boy should do things. My favourite thing about this short is a minor detail that fills me with joy. When sweeping the stars away or when the stars land on the moon, they make a delicate clinking noise similar to the ones found in Super Mario Galaxy, a strange thing to appreciate but I was really pleased when I noticed this detail in the short!
10. For The Birds – Pixar Short
Throwing it back to 2000 now for For The Birds, the short shown before Monsters Inc. I didn’t see Monsters Inc. at the cinema but I did have the VHS tape, therefore For The Birds was shown before Monsters Inc on that and I vaguely remember finding this side-splittingly hilarious as a kid. I would have been 4 at the time therefore silly slapstick comedy would have been my kind of humour. For The Birds follows the story of a group of birds sitting on a telephone wire. They’re all cosying up to each other on the wire when suddenly a much larger, dopier looking bird lands at the end of the telephone wire and wants to join in. The other birds however all make fun of him, impersonating his goofy ways and don’t want him to join them on the wire. The larger bird doesn’t seem to notice this though and sits in the middle of the group anyway causing the telephone wire to sink in the middle. The smaller birds attempt to get rid of the larger bird by pecking at him, what they don’t remember though is the laws of physics. You can guess what happens when a large weight is suddenly removed from the springy wire. Karma is well and truly demonstrated in this short, therefore it takes number 10 on this list.
9. Piper – Pixar Short
Yet another Bird related short from Pixar, here is Piper. Now I in fact saw Piper in cinemas a grand total of 3 times and that’s because I saw Finding Dory – the film it accompanied in 2016 – on 3 different occasions with 3 different people. I was able to quote it word for word in the end! Piper is A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E and follows the story of a group of wild Sandpipers; a small bird that lives by the coast that searches through sandy beaches for small shelled creatures to eat. So that’s exactly what we see the birds in this short doing, all except Piper. Piper – the assumed baby of the group – is actually afraid of the sea after her first experience with it ended in a mishap. Piper eventually braves the sea and learns to adapt in new ways. Will Pixar ever make a short film that isn’t super adorable?! Unlikely!
8. Mike’s New Car – Pixar Short
Now, remember what I said about For The Birds? Mike’s New Car was also an addition to the Monsters Inc. VHS tape I had and this made me literally cry with laughter as a kid. It still makes me laugh now! It’s unclear whether this short takes place before or after the events of Monsters Inc. but regardless, it’s definitely worth a watch. It’s one of the shortest shorts on this list so I won’t sum up the plot as it’ll just spoil it, if you do anything today just take 3 minutes to enjoy this short.
7. Lava – Pixar Short
Surprisingly, a lot of people weren’t fans of this short when it was released along side Inside Out back in 2014. I however was OBSESSED with it when I first saw it, I learnt the song on Ukulele and everything! Unfortunately I was unable to find the entire short online, only trailers or lyric videos but once again, if you have Inside Out on DVD – check the bonus features! The story of this short is told through song and follows the story of a lonely volcano who is searching for someone to love. I won’t say anymore for the sake of spoilers but do try to get hold of a copy of this, disclaimer: the song will be stuck in your head for days after!
6. Jack-Jack Attack – Pixar Short
I know this is a favourite for a lot of people, myself included! As many of you probably already know, I’m a big fan of The Incredibles (2004) so it would have been madness for me not to include this short. Jack-Jack Attack can be found as a bonus feature on The Incredibles DVD. The short is only 4 and a half minutes in length and tells the story of what happens to Kari the babysitter & baby Jack-Jack whilst the Parr family are saving the world. I remember as a kid watching this and finding it a little spooky at first, Jack-Jack constantly disappearing and reappearing didn’t sit well for me for an unknown reason! Now however I’ve seen this short so many times I could practically act it out scene by scene!
5. Feast – Disney Short
I can relate to this short due to the fact my dog – much like most dogs – is obsessed with food! Feast was shown before Big Hero 6 in theatres back in 2014 and captured the hearts of many. Feast follows the story of a Boston Terrier called Winston, a stray dog that is found and taken home by an assumed bachelor. Now that Winston has a home and a family, he is spoiled rotten with treats, snacks and huge meals. That is until his owner gets into a relationship and Winston’s life is turned upside down. It’s now Disney’s turn to make all the cute shorts, starting with Feast!
4. Tangled Ever After – Disney Short
Another one of my favourite animated films in short film form! Tangled Ever After takes place after the events of Tangled (2010) and shows Rapunzel and Eugene’s wedding. The short isn’t entirely focused on just those two though. The plot follows the mishaps that faithful friends Maximus and Pascal cause during the ceremony. This short made appearances in many places, I honestly don’t remember how I heard about it but I know it can be found on a few different DVDs. The short was originally released in theatres and shown before the re-release of Beauty and the Beast (1991) in 3D and was included on the DVD release of the Diamond Edition of Cinderella (1950) both back in 2012. In 2015, Tangled Ever After made it’s way onto the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection and can be found floating around on the internet in a few select places. It made this list due to my love of Tangled.
3. Frozen Fever – Disney Short
Talk about Lava having a catchy song – Frozen Fever is even worse for that! I sang this song for weeks after seeing the short, I also had very high birthday expectations from then on. Frozen Fever is set after the events of Frozen and premiered before Disney’s live action Cinderella remake in 2015 so can be found on most Cinderella (2015) DVDs. However, I do believe it had it’s own DVD released shortly after as well. The plot of Frozen Fever goes like this, It’s Anna’s birthday! and Elsa wants to make up for all the birthdays she missed by ‘Making Today A Perfect Day’ for Anna. She has many plans in place however catches a cold last minute and with the help/hindrance of Olaf, Kristoff & Sven, chaos ensues. This was a nice addition to the Frozen franchise to keep fans busy whilst the wait for Frozen 2 continues. Pixar’s latest release: Coco is set for release this Winter and will feature a new Frozen short: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure premiering before it. You can see by the trailer that this short also has a new festive song included so don’t expect to get anything else stuck in your head for a while!
2. Paperman – Disney Short
This heartwarming short is a favourite among so so many, I’ve seen various different fan arts done of this short using fan favourite couples and turning them into the Paperman couple. The wonderful thing about this short is how easily it makes the audience root for the main character. We feel frustration and get so anxious at the thought of this hopeless romantic not being able to find the beautiful girl again. This short premiered before Wreck it Ralph in 2012 and was created using a blend of 2D and 3D animation techniques. I really can’t praise this short film enough, it even won an Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards! I won’t discuss the plot, just watch and enjoy.
1. The Blue Umbrella – Pixar Short
I’m so heartbroken that I’m unable to find a full clip of this short as it really needs to be seen to be appreciated. I actually ended up again, seeing this short 3 times at the cinema as The Blue Umbrella was released alongside Monsters University in 2013 and I saw it with 3 different people on 3 different occasions again. Similar to Paperman, this is another heartwarming story of trying to find love. If you have Monsters University on DVD, you should be able to find the whole thing on there to watch. There are many reasons I love this short so much but the main reason is down to sound. The sounds in this short are mesmerising, from the delicate soundtrack, the constant sound of rain trickling, the sound of muted traffic, the squeaks of drains and guttering around New York City. It really does ignite the imagination. PLEASE, if you’re going to only watch a few of the shorts on this list make sure The Blue Umbrella is one of them!
So, that’s my list! I apologise for the quality of some of the clips, they’re all from different sources. As I mentioned, if you own the DVDs that the films were released with they’re usually included in with the special features. I hope this list took many of you down memory lane. For more of my work, you can also find me at nerdoutwordout.com and interact with me on twitter/instagram @hopeelizab on both.
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