Disney vs Pixar Movies: Which Has Better Animation? (2023)

Disney vs Pixar Movies: Which Has Better Animation? (2023)

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Disney and Pixar are two different animation powerhouses owned by the Walt Disney Company. Disney is known for its fairytale storyline and musicals, while Pixar is famous for their top of the line animation and awesome dramedies. 

Since they both give a fair share of strengths, our team will cover Pixar vs Disney to see which studio is better. 

Pixar Or Disney: Which Is Better? 

Pixar Or Disney: Which Is Better? 

Walt Disney Animation, commonly referred to as Disney Animation, was founded by brothers Roy and Walt Disney in 1923. Pixar Animation Studios was previously incorporated with Steve Jobs in 1986. But since the Walt Disney Animation Company exclusively distributed the Pixar Film Toy Stoy 1995, the company then took over the studio in 2006.

Walt Disney focuses heavily on their happily ever after and musicals, and their works are frequently adapted from plays, legends, and fairy tales. On the other hand, Pixar movies are original works and focus on storylines appealing to children and their parents. 

Disney bought Pixar in 2006, and they share the same management run by Ed Catmul (President) and John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer). And while they are under the same management, they both still run as independent studios, and we will dig deeper into their key difference. 

Closer Look At The Differences



Disney uses all hand-drawn animation while Pixar uses CGI animation, but since they both share one company, Disney now practices computer-generated animation. CGI stands for Computer Generated Imagery that creates animated or still visual content used in films and printed media [1]. 

You can check out the cast from Disney Classics like Lion King, Bug's Life, Little Mermaid, Wreck-it Ralph, and many more. All their films were made using traditional hand-drawn animation and computer-generated animation. If you watch those, you can notice that most Disney films' characters are big-eyed. 

On the contrary, Pixar movie is known for its animation has the upper hand since the textures and color palettes are more realistic. You can also notice that characters have very expressive and detailed faces like the casts from Finding Nemo, Monsters University, and many more. 


The two studios from the animation entertainment do not share the same location and stay in entirely separate campuses. The Walt Disney Animation stays at the same studio in Brubank, CA, while Pixar stays in Emeryville, CA. The team is within Los Angeles County, while the Pixar team is at the east of San Francisco near San Francisco Bay. 

Since they have two different locations, the two companies have different staff working in the studios. If the staff prefer to live in the Entertainment Center of the World, they can work at Disney Animation. However, if they desire to stay in the Tech Center of the World, they can work in Pixar studios. 


One big key difference that consumers will always recognize between the two studios is the type of the stories. Glen Keane, an animator in Walt Disney Animation Studios who created The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Beauty, and the Beast, explained that if you reduced Pixar, it would be "What if…". Glen Keane also said that it would be "Once upon a time" if you reduced Disney.

Pixar films are made originally for the movie, while Disney Animation is based on books, tales, and historical figures. Disney Princesses like Snow White, Pocahontas, and Little Mermaid were based on tales, novels, or real-life stories ages ago. 

If you notice the storyline of Toy Story, it revolves around "What if toys could talk?" and you will now realize that no books nor fairy tales have that kind of idea. 



One awesome thing about Disney is they are good at creating a complete musical score that is very catchy. The main characters are singing the soundtracks, which have become part of pop culture. In fact, some of their music has garnered different Academy awards and has been nominated for Best Song and Best Score. 

On the other hand, Pixar released their first film Toy Story in 1995, and they hired Randy Newman to perform the song "You've Got a Friend In Me." Unlike Disney, you will notice that Pixar are not into musicals, but we hope they get to create one as Coco, their most recent film came very close. 

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Pixar movies got more relatable characters because their characters got flaws like humans. If you recall Wreck-it Ralph, Wall E, Marlin from Finding Nemo, and Lightning McQueen in Cars, they can be short-tempered, mean, and self-centered, which can be normal to humans and very relatable. 

However, the characters from Disney Animation films got flaws that are not inborn characteristics, and their bad behaviors are being excused because they fight external forces. In addition, most of their characters are engaged in a romance, just like in Frozen and Tangled. 



Disney and Pixar have been two separate studios since 2005, and they use a different type of animation, but when the time Pixar films were acquired by Disney, the management and the leadership changed. 

After some flops under CEO Michael Eisner, the studio rolls out. John Lasseter from Pixar became the Chief Creative Officer, and Ed Catmul became the President of the three studios. Catmul was in charge of the Computer Graphics Lab, wherein one-third came from the Computer Division of Lucasfilm.

Since the two men saved Walt Disney Animation, rumors spread that Disney and Pixar would merge, but they instilled that separation. The two also revitalized the DisneyToon Studios that is truly a gem. DisneyToon Studios created direct-to-video and theatrical feature film way back in 1990.

The management then relieved Michael Eisner, who failed to live the original animated spirit, and in 2018, Lasseter was in a Sabbatical after the unspecified missteps [2]. 

Box Office Ratings

While Pixar and Disney feature films on top of the line, Disney dominated the top list of highest box office ratings compared to Pixar. Based on CashLady, Disney Animation films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, One Hundred and One Dalmations got the highest rating. 

However, the overall box office average went down because of the flops. Pixar animation, when combined, got a higher average box office ratings considering that most of the highest-grossing films came from Walt Disney Animation Studios. 

Audience Ratings

Audience Ratings

Based on an American review-aggregation website, there can be a disagreement on audience and critics ratings regarding the best-rated animations on the two studios. Coco and Toy Story 4 share the highest rating of 94% in Audience ratings. Third, on the audience ratings is The Lion King with 93% and 92% on Beauty and The Beast. 

Pixar got the most audience ratings because the animated movie they offer is not just for kids but favors a more mature approach to storytelling. They give out emotional films appealing to some real and core truth of being a human.

Critic Ratings

Based on Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website in America, two Pixar films and one most recent film from Disney garnered a perfect rating of 100%. The three films are Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Pinocchio. 

To sum it up, Pixar movie got the highest critic ratings compared to the other studio with only four on the list. Disney also got two worst-rated rings, Brother Bear and Chicken Little, with 37%, while Pixar's Cars 2 with 39%. 

Also Read: When Did Disney Buy Marvel Studios?


Is Disney bigger than Pixar?

Yes, Disney is bigger than Pixar. For the record, Pixar is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios and is owned by the company. In addition, Pixar has 1,233 employees while Disney has almost 250,000 employees.  In addition, they also produced a lot of films that people surely loved. 

Which has more movies, Pixar or Disney?

Disney has more movies compared to Pixar. Based on research, there are 24 Pixar films, while at least 119 Disney films you can watch with other films still in production. Kids and teens mostly watch all their films. 

Wrapping Up

Disney Animation and Pixar from Walt Disney Animation Studios have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses, but Pixar is better than Disney. Considering that Disney has been part of everyone's childhood, Pixar's approach to animation and storyline won the hearts of kids and adults. 

While most Disney films got the higher rank in box office revenue, Pixar has garnered higher critiques and audience ratings. 

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  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/computer-generated_imagery.htm  
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/08/business/media/john-lasseter-leaves-disney.html

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