There's been a lack of general consensus about how the films of Disney history have been broken apart, so I'd like to give my two cents.
The Establishing Era
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
I've called this the establishing era, because people were more used to shorts from Disney and live acton features, and weren't yet accustomed to Disney, and, as such, the films' successes were hit-and-miss.
Films like Snow White, Dumbo and Cinderella were critical and financial successes, but Pinocchio, Fantasia and Bambi (while critical successes) were failures at the box office.
- Saludos Amigos
- Three Caballeros
- Make Mine Music
- Fun and Fancy Free
- Melody Time
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad
The compilation era's name goes without saying; but all the films in this era were just shorts packaged together. This time in Disney's history was, perhaps, the only one they did on purpose; they needed money to make films, but they needed to make films to make that money. These films were produced on the cheap and had the budgets of shorts, rather than films, and the popularity of the shorts and characters have individually outweighed the popularity of the films as a whole, for example with Johnny Appleseed, Willie the Giant and the Headless Horseman.
- Alice in Wonderland
- Peter Pan
- Lady and the Tramp
- Sleeping Beauty
I consider this to be the Golden Age, because for the first time ever, Disney had financial backing for each of these films and all four of them were critical and financial successes in their original runs.
Characters like Peter Pan, Maleficent and the myriad of AIW characters are still remembered and loved by Disney fans.
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians
- The Sword in the Stone
- The Jungle Book
- The Aristocats
- Robin Hood
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
This would be the silver age, because they were made with relatively cheap software and not many of them were that successful.
This is the last era to have Walt Disney part of. As in, he was the head honcho for the first half, and he approved The Aristocats and Robin Hood, and also was around during the production of the Winnie the Pooh shorts.
- The Rescuers
- The Fox and the Hound
- The Black Cauldron
- The Great Mouse Detective
- Oliver & Company
Named the Dark Age, because, without Disney over-seeing the films, the company had lost its magic. The only films that acheived financial success were Great Mouse Detective and Rescuers, but the bombing of Black Cauldron made the era what it was.
On the plus side, it did give us the first few animated films to incorporate CGI, with Black Cauldron, Great Mouse Detective and Oliver & Company.
- The Little Mermaid
- The Rescuers Down Under
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Lion King
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- Fantasia 2000
- The Emperor's New Groove
- Lilo & Stitch
While the era itself is popular, the grouping that I've done is pretty different to what is commonly accepted.
The reason Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Emperor's New Groove are in, is because they're faerie tales (or at least, loosely adapting a faerie tale in TENG's case)
Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan and Tarzan are in, because they're adapting dark stories into age-appropriate material for the target audience.
The Rescuers Down Under and Fantasia 2000 are in because they revived two mildly succesful Disney films.
Dinosaur and Lilo & Stitch are in because they were financial successes despite not giving us an adaptation.
Second Dark Age
- Atlantis the Lost Empire
- Treasure Planet
- Brother Bear
- Home on the Range
- Chicken Little
- Meet the Robinsons
This era is probably the weakest of all Disney's eras, which is sad because it gave us some really good animation.
Almost none of these films were financial successes, and that can be blamed on the rise of computer animation, considering Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons and Bolt got some financial success.
- The Princess and the Frog
- Winnie the Pooh
- Wreck it Ralph
- Big Hero 6
Here we have the current era, all of these films have been financial successes (even though Winnie the Pooh only got a $3 million profit, although that can be blamed on the fact that it was released alongside Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2). They've also returned to what made Disney: faerie tales and musicals. The former has been seen in all of the films apart from Winnie the Pooh and Wreck it Ralph and the latter has been seen in all the films apart from Wreck it Ralph.