Top 10 Disney Movies to Help Anyone Dealing with Grief

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Dealing with grief is certainly a tricky obstacle to face but, with the help of these top 10 Disney movies, perhaps the pain can be softened, even a little…

Dealing with the loss of a loved one poses many challenges you may have never faced before. Not only do you have to go about dealing with will writing solicitors, but you must battle your emotions, and those of the people around you. Especially when you have children, who might need this all explaining to them, it can be a little overwhelming.

A number of animated Disney movies tackle some really poignant topics. Many touch upon the loss of a parent, and others deal with losses of many different kinds. This makes them the perfect vessel to educate your children on the ins-and-outs of grief.

Here, we’ll be delving into some of the best Disney movies to help anyone dealing with grief. Who knows, it might just be the answer you need to cope…


First up is a film that has made each and every one of us shed a tear. When 78-year-old, Carl, is faced with the loss of his much-beloved wife, he now has the challenge of living the rest of his life without her by his side.

That said, the story evolves when we see Carl go on a huge adventure, pursuing his lifelong dream of flying off to southern America in his balloon house. Not only does this show us that life does carry on after the loss of someone we love, but also that we’re never too old to achieve our dreams.

2.The Lion King

Most 90s kids will remember watching The Lion King story over and over again, and every time, the death of Mufasa was a killer. The emotions you witness behind Simba’s cartoon face are enough to make anyone shed a tear. It truly shows us how one big incident in someone’s life, like this, could change their path.

When Simba realises he may have been responsible for his father’s death, he is initially in disbelief. Begging his father to wake up, he cries with him until he is coerced into fleeing, and never returning. But, after growing older, he soon comes back to become King of Pride Rock.

This demonstrates to children the intense pain and disbelief that grief will cause. It may cause you to run away and hide, so you don’t have to face your troubles. But, when Simba returns to realise his dream, this proves to us all that, even with adversity, we can rise up.

3. The Fox and the Hound

The story of The Fox and the Hound begins when Tod the fox’s mother is sadly killed. After being taken in by a friendly widow, he soon becomes friends with the neighbour’s dog, Copper.

That said, they can’t be friends forever, as their species means they are natural enemies. This makes it the Romeo and Juliet of Disney movies, where the two friends are separated due to their natural affliction to one another.

Not only does this heart-wrenching movie tackle the loss of a mother, it also weaves around the story of friendship; lost and found. Through pushing down the barriers that block the fox and the hound from being friends, it demonstrates to us that being truly you is all that matters. Also, much like our other movies so far, it shows us we can still live a full life despite our losses.

4. Bambi

Similar to The Fox and the Hound, Bambi also tackles the loss of a mother at a young age. As Bambi grows older, exploring the wonderful place he lives with his friends, Thumper and Flower, he learns to get by without his family. Instead, he creates a new family, showing us that we have the ability to choose who we call kin.

This coming-of-age movie tackles growing up without parents, and navigating the dangers of the forest, and life, as we go. Through recognising the dangers out there, we can also see the many beauties life has to offer. After all, life isn’t about being frightened, but about enjoying every day as it comes.

5. Big Hero 6

This futuristic tale begins when robotics prodigy, Hiro is faced with the tragic death of his older brother, and best friend, Tadashi. Naturally, Hiro becomes lost and depressed whilst mourning his brother’s death. This automatically activates Tadashi’s robot, Baymax, who is trained specifically to care for people.

In a plot to avenge his brother’s death, Hiro reconfigures Baymax, and a number of other robots, to become an invincible group. But, the journey shows him that revenge isn’t the answer, and he soon returns Baymax to his former self; a nurturing and caring creature.

The story of Hiro and Baymax teaches us all a lot. For starters, we learn of the terrible emotions that can come from losing a sibling, or anyone else close to us. What’s more, it demonstrates how some people can react – seeking revenge – but how there are other ways to cope.

6. Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 combats a different kind of grief; the grief of missing someone who’s still alive. After watching the adventures of the first two films, where a young Andy spends his alone time playing with his toys, Toy Story 3 takes a turn for the worst.

The tale begins when Woody and his pals are sent to be packed away into the attic, but are mistakenly thrown on the curb to be trashed. Woody’s quick-thinking winds them up in a Day Care centre, where they experience a toy’s hell, being played with by rowdy children all day.

After finally making it home to Andy, who is now heading off to uni, they realise that they must part ways. But, they may see a new lease of life with their new owner. This is a tale of letting go of the past, which truly teaches us that life does go on.

7. Frozen

Anna and Elsa, the princesses of Arendell, are faced with a challenge when their parents perish in a storm. Now, Elsa must take on the responsibility of becoming Queen, whilst hiding a magical secret underneath it all.

The tale of Frozen teaches us all how different people deal with grief in different ways. Whilst Elsa hides away from her worries, Anna seeks to do everything in her power to bring the two of them closer together again. Through showing us how different people cope with grief, we can learn to understand one another better.

8. Walle-E

Walle-E surrounds the story of a futuristic wasteland; our Earth hundreds of years from now. When Walle-E, a rubbish-cleaning robot on Earth, falls in love with another robot, he finds himself following her onto a spaceship. This spaceship contains the population of our world, who fled to survive hundreds of years ago until life is restored there.

This is another brilliantly heart-warming story that tackles a different sort of grief. This isn’t the grief of a person, and it’s not the grief of an object, but it’s the grief of our world.

Many children these days are learning, as part of their curriculum, about how we can protect our earth for future generations. They’re being warned, more than ever before, how we have failed Mother Nature, and how we can work to undo our wrongs. Because of this, childhood anxiety about global warming, otherwise known as eco-anxiety, has soared.

Films like Walle-E are the perfect remedy for this. They show us about the potential ways we may leave our world, but also that everything can be fixed, if we just try.

9. Dumbo

Dumbo is all about a young circus elephant, whose amazing ability to fly using his ears makes him the star of the show. But, when his ears get him into trouble, his mother is locked away, and they are tragically separated.

This story of hopes and dreams provides children and adults alike with a taste of grieving someone who is alive, but not around. This Disney movie teaches us that we can still achieve our dreams on our own, despite our pain and loss.

10. Inside Out

Finally, we have to talk about Inside Out. This is a truly brilliant and originally movie which personifies the emotions we feel within us, as humans. When Riley and her family move house, we see the story of how her emotions work to guide her through these challenging times.

Every day, each and every one of us works to fight the myriad of emotions we feel within us, be it happiness, fear, anxiety, jealousy, rage, or sadness. Through the depiction of the journey our brains take in order for us to react to things, it shows us that we have a power within us to change how we feel.

This allows us to not just combat grief, but all kinds of emotions we may be feeling, day in and day out. Through helping us envisage the battle within our minds when we feel certain things, we can learn to fight the ongoing battles we are each fighting.

Let’s Watch Some Disney Movies!

Have you found that any movies, particularly Disney films, have helped you to cope with your grief? Maybe some of these old Disney movies, as well as new ones too, have taught you or your children a lesson. Or, perhaps they just lift you up at a time when you’re feeling down.

Whatever it may be, films have an amazing power to channel our emotions, and help us understand them. If you have any stories of how Disney helped you cope, or think I may have missed a specific movie off the list, drop a comment down below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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