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10 of the most depressing Disney moments of all-time

By / 11.30.10

Depressing Disney Moments

HarshLight, Flickr



Disney movies aren’t all fun and games. Sometimes, these kid-friendly movies are filled with some incredibly depressing moments. Of course, in the end these dark moments help make the happy ending feel all the sweeter. However, that doesn’t help the fact that they are oftentimes exorbitantly heart-wrenching to watch. Of all the Disney movies ever made, here are ten of the most depressing moments.

Photo credit: HarshLight, Flickr

10 Buzz Lightyear Learns He’s a Toy – Toy Story

Can you imagine what it would feel like to discover you aren’t actually real? Such a revelation occurs in the first Toy Story. Thanks to an inopportune TV commercial, Buzz Lightyear realizes that he is not actually the real Buzz Lightyear, but rather nothing more than a toy. This is such damaging news that Buzz quickly falls into a deep depression. Of course, seeing him jump off the top of the stairs in an attempt to prove his reality also plunges the viewer into a deep depression as well.

9 Skippy’s Tax Collection – Robin Hood

Picture this: It’s a poor little rabbit’s birthday. As a gift, he is given a solitary coin – with which he can purchase whatever he wants. He’s excited – really excited! Then, all of sudden the Sheriff of Nottingham comes along and demands the coin be handed over to pay for taxes. Heartbroken, little Skippy (that’s the rabbit’s name), relinquishes the coin. Thank goodness old Robin Hood was around the help right this tremendously vile wrong.

8 Fox is Abandoned – The Fox and the Hound

In the beginning of The Fox and the Hound, an orphaned red fox (Tod) finds a new home with the Widow Tweed. This is all good news… that is, of course, until Ms. Tweed decides to abandon poor Tod out in the wilderness all alone. While she thinks it’s for his own good, the image of that car driving away as Tod struggles to understand what’s going on is a pretty tough one to shake.

7 Kittens for Sale – Oliver and Company

In the opening of Oliver and Company, an adorable batch of kittens is placed in a box on the street and sold to passersby. As time passes, the price on the box drops until it reads “Free.” Despite this great deal, a rain-drenched Oliver just can’t seem to find a home and is left all alone in the world as an orphan.

6 Beast Dies – Beauty and the Beast

After a harrowing battle with Gaston, Beast overcomes the antagonist and decides to spare his life. This is a poor choice, as it turns out, as Gaston soon doubles up and stabs Beast in the back. The wound is so bad that the Beast actually dies in Belle’s arms. Thankfully, she whispers “I love you” just in the nick of time to break his spell and bring him back to life.

5 Dumbo Visits His Mother in the Cage

After defending her big-eared son from a group of evil boys, Dumbo’s mother is locked up and considered too reckless to be let out. Following this, a tear-soaked Dumbo visits his mother in a depressing circus cage and essentially says goodbye to her. Why must us humans be so cruel!?

4 Death of Bambi’s Mother

I’m not sure why, but the folks over at Disney seem to really relish the idea of orphaning children. For nearly 70 years, the tragic loss of Bambi’s mother has been cruelly introducing kids worldwide to the concept of death. And no matter how old you get, every time Bambi’s father emerges to recite the line, “Your mother can’t be with you anymore,” a little piece of yourself dies.

3 Lonely WALL-E

For a robot, Wall-E sure has a lot of heart. It is this fact that makes his presence on the deserted planet Earth so incredibly depressing. Day in and day out, little WALL-E vigilantly does the job he was programmed to do, but somewhere inside those circuits you can see just how incredibly lonely he really is. In all that solitude, at least he has Hal the cockroach to keep him company.

2 Mufasa’s Death – The Lion King

Well, what do you know? Another orphaned Disney hero! For any eight-year-old, seeing the pathetic vision of baby Simba nuzzling his head under the arm of his dead father is enough to cause lifelong trauma. Of course, the fact that Scar convinces Simba that the death is his fault is just an extra dash of salt in the open wound.

1 The Up! Opening Sequence

It doesn’t get more depressing than this, friends. For the introduction to this “high-rise” comedy, the folks at Disney decided to build up the viewer’s expectations by showing a lifelong friendship and romance between Carl Fredrickson and his eventual wife. And once we’ve all become emotionally invested in the couple, the writers rip the rug out from under us. Thanks a lot, jerk wads!


TAGSArbitrary RankingsBambiBeauty and The Beastdepressing Disney movie momentsDumbofeaturedListsOliver and CompanyRobin HoodThe Fox and the HoundThe Lion KingToy StoryUpWall-E
About Jeff Wysaski... Jeff Wysaski is a freelance humor writer based out of Los Angeles. He has written for such esteemed online sites as Manolith, COED Magazine and Pleated Jeans. When not behind his laptop, Jeff can probably be found at a comedy show, eating a sandwich or practicing his latest ribbon dancing routine.

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