The 15 best Pixar shorts on Disney+

Scott J. Davis
Geri's Game, Luxo Jr., and Presto. (Disney+)

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Disney+ is packed with amazing content old and new, all available at our fingertips, helping us through these tough few months.

From The Mandalorian and Lady and The Tramp to The Simpsons and the entire MCU, there’s plenty for everyone. There’s also, of course, the whole Pixar catalogue, including all of its ground-breaking, award-winning shorts together for the first time. Never seen them? Let us guide you through the best to seek out immediately.

Side note: we have included only those that are feature-related/original shorts. The short series/SparkShorts are also available to stream and you will definitely want to check them out too.

15. Riley’s First Date

Riley's First Date also took inside the mind of said date. (Pixar)

A spin-off from 2015’s Inside Out, this short actually focuses on Riley’s Mum and Dad as they deal with every parent’s worst nightmare: the first date.

Read more: The best shorts on Disney+

While Riley assures them this is a friends day out, Dad is being cautiously protective and begins to interrogate “date” Jordan to find out his intentions for Riley - that is, until he mentions he was in a band and events take a surprising turn.

14. Auntie Edna

Auntie Edna made its debut on the home entertainment release of The Incredibles 2. (Pixar)

No capes! Edna Mode is one of Pixar’s greatest creations and while it’s the Parr Family and their superpowers that get all the headlines, we all know who the real hero is. A short that actually takes place during The Incredibles 2 “off-screen”, this shows us what exactly happened when Edna babysat Jack-Jack including some rather interesting new powers he has discovered. 

13. Luxo Jr

Luxo Jr. began life as a lighting test for Pixar's bespoke CGI technology. (Pixar)

Aka the one where we were first introduced to the now legendary Luxo, Luxo Jnr and the yellow and blue ball that is now as synonymous with Pixar as Mickey Mouse is with Disney. Produced in 1986 almost a decade before Toy Story debuted, it showcased the ingenuity in store from the studio in the years to come. 

12. Lava

Inspired, as director James Ford Murphy put it, by the "isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes”, Lava is a musical love story of a lonely volcano who yearns for a companion, unaware of a female volcano who is nestled under the water. Soon, he is submerged by the ocean as she rises above it. Will fate stop them from ever meeting each other?

11. Party Central 

Party Central is monstrously good fun. (Pixar)

Monsters University is an underrated gem, so of course, we were going to include this hilarious piece of comedy gold. Mike and Sully reunite to bring life to their drab college party by “stealing” from the popular ones and partaking in a few rounds of door jamming through the bedroom of an increasingly agitated sleeping couple. 

10. Partly Cloudy

There's a high chance of mirth in Partly Cloudy. (Pixar)

No, not the weather forecast for a Tuesday in October but one of Pixar’s most delightful shorts about a lonely grey cloud named Gus who has a unique job amongst his counterparts. While they make babies for the storks to deliver, Gus makes scary animals – crocodiles, electric eels – and his stork Peck struggles to keep up with demand. 

9. Tin Toy

Tin Toy was a progenitor of Toy Story. (Pixar)

The first short to win the Oscar for the studio, this 1988 effort was something of a test-run for what Toy Story would become seven years later. Tinny, a one-man-band toy is desperate for new baby Billy to play with him, but the toddler seems more interested in bags and boxes than his new toy no matter how much Tinny tries. But he isn’t the only new plaything that has found it difficult to please the new baby.

8. Lifted

Lifted debuted ahead of Ratatouille in cinemas and on DVD. (Pixar)

An extra-terrestrial has to prove he’s got what it takes to beam up humans to a UFO. That is the scenario of Stu, currently under the watchful eye of his examiner as he attempts to abduct a human farmer while he is peacefully sleeping. Thousands of switches stand between him and waking said farmer and failing his important test and, as you’d expect, gut-busting hilarity ensues.

7. For The Birds

Directed by Ralph Eggleston, For The Birds played in front on Monsters Inc. (Pixar)

It may be short, but it’s brilliantly done, hence why For The Birds marked the third time a Pixar short won an Academy Award. It features a flock of funny birds competing for the best spot on a telephone wire, but when a bigger bird wants to join the crowd, physics and frolics ensue, delivering a killer punchline that will leave you spitting feathers.

6. Geri’s Game

Geri's Game reignited Pixar's short slate, playing in front of A Bug's Life in 1997. (Pixar)

After Pixar launched the world of CG-animated feature films in 1995 with Toy Story, the studio reignited its short film programme which had been dormant since the release of Knick Knack in 1989, with Geri’s Game the first seed to bear fruit. Debuting in front of 1998’s A Bug’s Life, it portrays the most gripping game of chess you’ve ever seen, and packs a killer twist of a punchline.

5. Day & Night

Day & Night showed Pixar working in another dimension. (Pixar)

One of Pixar’s most staggering visual achievements, 2010’s Day & Night combined a mix of 2D and 3D animation techniques to create something nothing short of awe-inspiring. The story of two different characters who, despite their perceived differences – Day enjoys sunshine and rainbows, Night loves fireworks and drive-in movies – learn to appreciate each other and become firm friends. 

4. The Blue Umbrella

"THE BLUE UMBRELLA" (Pictured) BLUE. (©2013 Disney-Pixar. All Rights Reserved.)

Another technical marvel that Pixar had to adjust its technologies to realise - including using a technique known as “global illumination” - The Blue Umbrella is in many ways one of the studio’s most extraordinary accomplishments. As the title suggests, we follow a blue umbrella in a rainstorm surrounded by boring fellow umbrellas - until a beautiful red one appears from the crowds. 

3. Piper

'Piper'. (Credit: Pixar)

Revolutionary in its approach, Piper saw Pixar begin utilising new technologies to bring the birds, and in particular their feathers, to a more realistic level. The film follows a young sandpiper who is slowly beginning to join the flock on the seashore to hunt for food in the ocean, but who has one big flaw: she is petrified of water. 

2. Presto

Pixar's Presto has a touch of magic. (Pixar)

Meet Presto, a classic Vaudeville-era illusionist who uses a magical wizard’s hat to make the standard “rabbit from a top hat” trick look even more impressive. However, his trusty rabbit Alec Azam isn’t getting his carrot rewards so forges a plan to embarrass Presto to get his way with some classic Tex Avery-style hilarity. 

1. Bao

Directed by Domee Shi and produced by Becky Neiman-Cobb, Pixar's Bao won Best Animated Short at the 2019 Academy Awards. (©2018 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.)

The most recent original short from the studio, Bao is the story of a middle-aged Chinese-Canadian who, after her children have left home, is suffering from empty-nest syndrome but finds solace in a steamed bun which comes to life. The brainchild of Domee Shi (the first woman to direct a Pixar short), Bao is a moving, thoughtful look at the Asian immigration experience, motherhood and food.

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