10 Disney Movies That Are Sadder When You’re An Adult


Audiences love Disney movies because they’re lighthearted, ambitious, and full of hope, wonder, and inspiration for children and adults alike. However, the same films viewed positively from a child’s eyes typically have sadder moments and undertones that only an adult can see.



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Many Disney movies have sad moments that all ages can understand, such as heartbreaking deaths or lost families. However, that feeling amplifies tenfold when viewed by adults. Consequently, some fans realize that the nostalgic family films they loved as children are much sadder when they grow up.

10 Adults Understand Riley’s Complicated Emotions (Inside Out)

In Inside Out, Riley is an eleven-year-old girl who’s left confused and upset when a move across the country uproots her life. Additionally, her emotions are rapidly changing. She struggles with feeling lonely, neglected, and forgotten, often fighting complicated reactions she doesn’t quite understand yet.

Adults can sympathize with Riley, as they might feel the same complex emotions but understand them better than she does. Riley’s heartbreak over the move is also relatable. Many kids go through a similar situation, whether due to a military family, a parent getting a job across the country, or something else.

9 Family Expectations Are Hard To Break (Coco)

In cocoa, Miguel is passionate about music. However, his family strictly forbids it and believes he’ll carry on the family business as a shoemaker. So, he hides his passion and feels torn between doing what he loves and what others expect of him. When Miguel travels to the Land of the Dead and discovers the truth, he brings music back to the Rivera family.

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Many adults can relate to the conflict of doing what they love but trying to keep everyone happy. It’s undoubtedly sad watching the young boy struggling with the same thing. In addition, Miguel deals with his beloved great-grandmother Coco’s death and honors his family members in the Land of the Dead.

8 One Movie Sheds Light On Death And Grief (Up)

Up showcases Carl and Ellie Fredricksen and their life together. After their marriage, Ellie gets pregnant but has a miscarriage. The film beautifully highlights their devastation and grief after such a tragic event. Eventually, Ellie and Carl grow old together, living a life filled with love and happiness before Ellie passes.

After her funeral, Carl sits on the exact steps they married on, which cements Ellie’s demise as one of the most heartbreaking deaths in any Disney movie. To deal with his grief, Carl takes his house to Paradise Falls to live their dream. The losses highlighted in Up are some that adults will feel deeper than children, and it’s a film that is undoubtedly sadder when viewed from an adult’s eyes.

7 Growing Up Is A Harsh Reality For Most (Toy Story 3)

In Toy Story 3, a grown-up Andy prepares to leave home for college and decides which beloved toys to donate. At the film’s end, after the toys escape the Sunnyside Daycare, they’re given a new home with Bonnie. In a highly emotional scene, Andy parts with his toys and, subsequently, his childhood.

The bittersweetness of growing up is a feeling most adults can relate to. While gaining freedom is great, leaving behind childhood comfort is difficult. Because children won’t feel the scene’s genuine emotion until they’re older and experience it themselves, Toy Story 3 feels like a film made for adults who grew up with the franchise and Andy.

6 Mufasa Is Many Kids’ First Introduction To The Concept Of Death (The Lion King)

In The Lion King, Simba’s loving father, Mufasa, faces a tragic demise while saving Simba from a wildebeest stampede. After the dust clears, young Simba lies on the ground with his father for hours, crying and begging him to wake up.

For many children, Mufasa’s death is their first introduction to the concept of loss. The moment is undoubtedly sad for kids, but it’s much worse for adults. Simba’s anguish follows him throughout his life and influences every decision he makes, a feeling most adults who suffer parental loss can relate to.

5 Tarzan’s Parents Die To Protect Him (Tarzan)

Tarzan and his parents travel to the jungle when he’s a baby, but a bloodthirsty leopard hunts the family. Unfortunately, Tarzan’s parents who are protecting him. Thankfully, the motherly gorilla, Kala, adopts Tarzan as her own. He finds a new loving family, but his parents’ sacrifice is devastating to audiences.

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Parents’ unconditional love and willingness to give their lives for their children is a concept that adults generally understand more than children. Their deaths and Tarzan’s longing for acceptance within the gorilla family are much sadder themes for adult audiences.

4 Tigger Discovers His Real Family (The Tigger Movie)

Tigger feels sad and lonely due to not knowing his family. Pooh, Eeyore, and the others dress up as Tiggers to cheer him up, but he feels betrayed when he learns the truth. So, he sets out on a voyage to find his family. When his friends come to his rescue, he discovers they’re his real family and all he needs.

Unfortunately, Tigger’s loneliness is a feeling that many adults can relate to, as well as the understanding of found family. Throughout young adulthood, many find that family isn’t blood, it’s those who love them most.

3 Nani And Lilo Struggle After Their Parents’ Deaths (Lilo & Stitch)

After Lilo’s parents’ death, her older sister Nani raises her. Both girls struggle with the loss, as Nani suddenly has to run a household, raise a child, and afford for them both to survive. As a result, the two often butt heads, although their sisterly love always wins in the end. Lilo also finds comfort in her new pet, Stitch.

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The sisters’ struggles are much more apparent to adults, who can see the situation as it is. Nani isn’t a mean and controlling big sister as Lilo believes. Instead, she’s a young adult who’s struggling to raise her sister and make ends meet. Adults can put themselves in Nani’s shoes better than most children, which makes the film much sadder.

2 Elsa Feels Guilty Over Her Parents’ Deaths (Frozen 2)

In Frozen 2, Elsa and Anna set off to the Enchanted Forest to discover the secrets of their past and work through their parents’ traumatic deaths. The sisters find that the king and queen set off on their fateful voyage to discover Elsa’s magic’s source. This information makes Elsa feel incredibly guilty, as she believes they never would’ve left Arendelle that day if not for her.

However, Elsa ultimately had no control over their trip or deaths as a young girl. Still, this is an understandable reaction for many adults who experience grief. Human nature causes most to blame themselves for things out of their control, and many adults who suffer losses may feel the same way Elsa does.

1 Disney Is Finally Discussing Generational Trauma (Encanto)

encanto follows the Madrigal family who are all born with magic abilities, except Mirabel. Abuela pressures her family to serve the community and casts Mirabel aside due to her lack of powers. The kids feel immense stress due to the demands put on them by their parents and Abuela. It seems to affect Luisa and Isabela the worst, as having to constantly help people or be perfect at all times brings them down.

encanto helps many viewers face their own generational trauma and feel seen, finding themselves in different characters and the struggles they face. for kids, encanto is a fun and vibrant film, but for adults, it has much sadder undertones. Nevertheless, many are glad that Disney is discussing generational trauma.

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