Disney VHS Nostalgia

disney vhs tapes in a row

Disney VHS Nostalgia

If you grew up in the late 20th century, the feeling and sound of the pop of clamshell VHS boxes are incredibly familiar to you and many are getting a case of Disney VHS nostalgia. I sometimes get transferred back to my childhood when I smell plastic. Like so many others, my family had an extensive VHS collection of Disney films. We had them on proud display on a bookshelf next to our tube television and VCR for easy access because that’s how frequently we watched. 

On rainy days, my brother, sister, and I would declare the day to be a Disney marathon, and we would each select a few movies to watch. To make it more interesting, my brother would pop open the clamshells and switch the tapes and have my sister, and I guess which tape is in which box.

disney vhs collection with bambi dumbo robin hood and sleeping beauty


It was sort of a Russian Roulette of Disney movie watching. We deemed this the fairest way to determine which movie we would watch next. I look back on these memories fondly. Those VHS tapes were such a staple in my childhood; I remember the feeling of the cracked corners pushing into my fingertips as I would pull one out to watch.

I also remember the rush of fear and anxiety when the tape would not come out unless we tugged at it, and the tape would spill out of the back. Although it is widely considered a dead form of media, VHS tapes are frankly a piece of my childhood.

disney vhs tapesI don’t remember exactly when my family got rid of our VHS collection, but we did hang onto them for quite a while. When DVD’s rolled out, we would not invest in a movie we already had on VHS unless the special features would be worth it. Over time, we wanted to improve the quality, and our VHS tapes fell to the wayside.

I’ve loved movies for as long as I can remember. It is my go-to activity whenever I have downtime. As a kid, I always wanted a Belle moment with a library of VHS tapes. I loved going to rental stores like Blockbuster and browsing through titles. 


Missing The 90’s: Disney VHS Nostalgia


My husband and I started going to thrift stores on the weekends to see what we could find. We were never searching for anything in particular, but we loved coming across childhood relics. When we started to notice the plethora of VHS tapes in these stores, we would browse through them and trade stories of when we first watched old favorites. 

We eventually decided it might be fun to buy some tapes and an old VCR and watch some of these films. I was expecting to be bored with the lower quality after years of high quality on newer televisions. But it was honestly fun. It was a refreshing blast from the past to watch Aladdin in its fuzzy glory. Naturally, I knew what I needed to do next: Find Disney VHS tapes.

disney vcr

To my surprise, they are effortless to find. In a matter of one weekend, we were able to replace my childhood collection, and then some, for probably less than $20. Occasionally, the VHS tapes were a little more than a few cents but never exceeding a dollar or two.

The best part of the VHS hunt was coming across versions of old Disney films that meant something to me as a child. There are plenty of Disney films on VHS that I loved, but there are some standouts that brought back an extra dose of nostalgia when I came across them. 

The Sounds of Disney VHS

If you rewatch a VHS film, the nostalgia kicks in from the moment you see the FBI warning. The awkward silence filled me with anticipation as I waited for the movie to start. I hardly forgot about the previews until I heard Mark Elliot’s booming voice say inform me of the new films coming soon. 

Something about the sounds of the Disney VHS previews throws you back into your childhood. While rewatching the 1991 VHS release of Dumbo, my husband was in another room. All he heard was the music, and he could instantly picture Sorcerer Mickey with his hand out to display the logo.

101 Dalmatians Black Diamond VHS

As a film, 101 Dalmatians means a lot to me. It was one of the first movies I remember being obsessed with and insisting on watching nearly every day. My first coin bank was of Pongo, Perdita, and presumably Lucky. And I must have had a pair of pajamas featuring the lovable pups for every night of the week.

When I started looking at Disney VHS tapes, this was at the top of my list to watch. I picked the version that I had grown up with, which was the 1992 Black Diamond Classics version. Mark Elliott introduced the preview by saying, “coming only to movie theaters this 1992 holiday season.” 

The preview started with “Heigh-Ho!” as sung by the seven dwarves and showed brief clips from beloved Disney classics before announcing what the preview was actually for. At the moment, I was not sure what the preview was for. But then I saw the sketches of Aladdin and Jasmine, then it all came flooding back. 

Disney VHS tapes used their previews to announce upcoming releases and even to advertise Disney theme park vacations. Like many others, these previews are the pinnacle of Disney VHS nostalgia. They were consistent, often using the same previews for different films. And depending on your VCR, it may have been difficult to fast forward, so you just sat there and watched them. Merely watching the opening to 101 Dalmatians took me back.

The Fox And The Hound Black Diamond VHS

disney vhs fox and the hound cover art

While at a local thrift store, I stumbled upon a box set of “The Fox And The Hound.” This was a film I loved as a child. Admittedly, I would stop watching as soon as Tod and Copper grew up. But watching that little fox and baby hound dog run around, and play was merely delightful. My grandmother had a small stuffed Copper that would sit on her fireplace mantle. 

When I was very young, I would want to play with it or carry it around when we would visit. She eventually moved across the country but gave my mom this Copper doll before she left. I never knew anything about that plush, and could not tell you what happened to it. Most likely, it was donated with other toys as I grew up.

This box set of “The Fox And The Hound” was one I had not seen before. It was in its own small box, still sealed, with that Copper plush my grandmother had inside. I had no idea that she got that plush from the release of the film on VHS. I snatched up this box and am reunited with a childhood friend. To add to my excitement, I did not know there was a Tod plush that you could get through a mail-in offer to go with your Copper plush. 

A Goofy Movie

My brother, sister, and I watched “A Goofy Movie” every summer without fail. Last day of school? Well, we are watching “A Goofy Movie” when we get home so we can sing along with Max and friends about the wonders of summer and no school. As excited as I was watching the movie, I was flooded with memories when I heard the narrator announce an exciting music video. My ears perked as I heard a familiar sound. 

Suddenly, I remembered snapping at my brother not to fast forward the tape so I could listen to the song: Dr. Looney’s Remedy by Parachute Express. I had not thought about this song since probably the last time I had heard it. If it had not been for rewatching that VHS tape as a 29-year-old, that might not have ever found its way back into my memory. 

Robin Hood

For some reason, Robin Hood was an elusive VHS tape for my family. I knew the movie existed, and I know I had seen it, but it was not one we had on VHS. It was locked away in the Disney Vault for chunks of time, and my family must have missed its release. Not only was I able to find copies of it on VHS, but I also found every version of it. This felt like a win for my inner child.

I loved the story of Robin Hood and would rewatch Robin Hood: Men In Tights or the Robin Hood episode of Wishbone as often I could. I could not tell you how many times I asked to watch “the Robin Hood with the fox” only to be told that was not a version we had. As silly as it may sound, it is a heartwarming feeling to know that I finally have this version I longed for as a kid. Now I’ll just need to get copies of Men In Tights and Wishbone too. 

Disney Afternoon: Ducktales VHS Sets

Although Disney films were an integral part of my childhood, it was not exclusively the only form of Disney home entertainment. The ’90s are synonymous with Disney Afternoon, a block of animated television shows that ran from 3 pm to 5 pm. The shows were downright entertaining and hold up to this day. I found the original introduction to the programming block and could not help but smile incessantly. 

Disney afternoon cartoons were released on VHS over the years. In my VHS hunting, I was happy to find that the most common seemed to be my favorite Disney Afternoon show: Ducktales. (woo-hoo!) 

There are plenty of reasons I could list why Ducktales was one of my favorites. The thing that always stuck with me was that every episode of just filled with fun. I remember coming home from school and sitting in front of the tube television to watch some cartoons. Ducktales was apart of my daily routine. 

I am glad that I discovered these VHS sets so I can relive those moments. After a stressful day at work, coming home and walked a classic episode of Ducktales with VHS quality is the ultimate way to unwind. 

Dose Of Disney VHS Nostalgia With Modern Merchandise

As strange as I may seem to enjoy watching Disney films on VHS, I am not the only filled with a sense of nostalgia for the 1990s. Love for the nineties seems to be popping up everywhere. From throwback nights at sporting events, the resurgence of fanny packs, and even 90s Night at the Disneyland Resort, people love celebrating the decade.image of disney vhs journals at the disney store

VHS as a form of home entertainment may not make a popular come back any time soon; however, there are plenty of ways to show appreciation for the VHS tapes you loved. Disney knows its clientele very well. For a while now, you could pick up a journal that is designed to look like a VHS tape.  

The outside is the design of the front and back covers, and the first page of the journal looks like the tape. After that, it’s just a regular journal. You can pick up journals based on Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Lilo and Stitch, Toy Story, or the Emperor’s New Groove. 

Not much of a journal fan? No worries. You can honor the 90’s with an Oh My Disney VHS Keychain. You don’t know what you’ll get, but with the current set, you will have a chance at Lilo And Stitch, the Little Mermaid, Toy Story, Nightmare Before Christmas–or one of two mystery designs. 

For pin traders out there, Disney Parks has a fun way of incorporating Disney VHS nostalgia with pins. The packaging is made to look like a tube television with a VCR. The pin itself is simply a cover of a VHS favorite. Notable titles include Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and A Goofy Movie

Although it may not be a Disney Parks pin, this super cute Lion King enamel pin from Hot Topic comes in a VHS inspired case. 

Feels Like Home

When I reflect on my childhood, I often feel a sense of comfort. As we age, we sometimes lose sight of the little things that made us happy. That part of the reason I find myself still so attached to Disney films. Not only are they entertaining, but they can also be an escape. 

aristocats vhs cover art

Discovering Disney VHS again brings that childhood comfort and Disney escape together into one package. The format reminds me of watching these beloved films with my family. I might not remember exactly when I watched them, but I remember the feelings, and then I can picture moments. 

Holding the case for “Muppet’s Christmas Carol” on VHS filled me with a sense of excitement. Then I remembered stacking Christmas movies to watch on Christmas Eve with my brother and sister while we eagerly awaited Christmas morning. 

As much as I love the quality and convenience of modern-day streaming and digital media, there is something genuinely magical about reliving my childhood through Disney VHS nostalgia. 


Do you carry Disney VHS nostalgia? Let us know in the comments below! Also, check out some of our other posts for more blasts of Disney past like How the Disney Store has changed over the years, and Disney antique store finds.

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