Disney is such a well-known and famous brand that connects with families in every aspect, whether it be buying your favourite Disney merchandise such as toys, clothing, and accessories or watching one of the hundreds of movies from the Disney film catalogue or taking a trip to one of the Disney theme parks with your closest loved ones.
When planning a trip to Disney World, there is so much to do, including making hotel and park reservations, choosing your favourite dining options, and of course, embracing the magic of Disney! In our opinion, one of the best ways to get into the Disney mood is by watching plenty of Disney movies.
Disney has over 800 movies in its film catalog, making it pretty difficult to cover every single one but don’t worry! We have got you covered… we have compiled a list of the best movies to watch before going to Disney World. We have narrowed the list down to 10 must-watch Disney movies. Let’s get into it!
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1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
We had to include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as the very first movie on our list because it was the very first Disney film released in 1937. In this film, you follow Snow White, a girl that ventures into the forest in an effort to hide from her evil stepmother only to find the home of the Seven Dwarfs. The Dwarfs take on the role of protecting Snow White as she awaits her prince.
Disney Parks connection: The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, one of the most popular coasters at Magic Kingdom, is located in Fantasyland.
2. Cinderella (1950)
The story of Cinderella is another Disney classic that is earlier on in the Disney film franchise. In this story, Cinderella is left to live with her stepmother and two evil step-sisters who are out to make her life miserable. With the help of her fairy godmother Cinderella sneaks off to the Royal Ball, where she meets the Prince. He spends days looking for that special someone that he danced with at the ball.
Disney Parks connection: Cinderella’s Castle, the centrepiece of the Magic Kingdom park.
3. Tron (1982)
Join Flynn on his adventure through a computer dimension created based on the programs that he wrote. During his adventure, he will face challenges and adventures to prove that his programs were stolen by an ENCOM Executive, Dillinger.
Disney Parks connection: The BRAND NEW TRON Lightcycle/Run attraction has recently opened in Tomorrowland at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park.
4. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
When Maurice, an inventor, gets lost in the woods on the way to his next showcase for his latest invention, he is captured by the Beast and thrown into a dungeon within the Beast’s abandoned castle. In an effort to save her father, Belle faces the beast in his castle and agrees to do anything he asks for the release of her father in return. To her surprise, she falls in love with the Beast, breaking the spell that transforms him from a handsome prince into the scary creature he has become.
Disney Parks connection: Enchanted Tales with Belle in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Be Our Guest dining experience at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
5. The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King is one of the most iconic Disney movies of all time. When Simba’s father dies when he’s just a small cub, you will see the story of Simba finding his place as the next leader of the Pride Lands. Join Simba and his loyal friends, Timon and Pumbaa, as they embark on a number of adventures and Simba learns how to be the King of the Jungle.
Disney Parks connection: The Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
6. The Haunted Mansion (2003)
While many of the rides at Disney parks are based on Disney films, the Haunted Mansion is one where the ride came first, and the movie followed. In this 2003 Disney film, you will see all of the spooky events of the Gracey Mansion when real estate agent Jim Evers takes his family to the mansion in hopes of making his biggest commission yet.
Disney Parks connection: The Haunted Mansion attraction, located in Liberty Square at Disney’s Magic Kingdom park.
7. Avatar (2009)
Avatar became a huge box office hit when it was released in 2009, featuring the world of Pandora. Pandora is inhabited by the Na’vi tribe, a group of sapient humanoids. In an effort to explore Pandora, scientists explore the planet using devices that blend Na’vi creatures and humans; these devices are known as “avatars”.
Disney Parks connection: Pandora – The Word of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as well as the attraction, Avatar: Fight of Passage.
8. The Princess and the Frog (2009)
When The Princess and the Frog was released in 2009, the film made history as it introduced Tiana, Disney’s very first black princess. In this film, you will follow Tiana as she chases her dream of being a chef in her very own restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans while falling in love with an unsuspecting love interest.
Disney Parks connection: While it has not officially opened, Disney has confirmed the plans for the release of a Princess and the Frog ride. What guests have previously known as Splash Mountain will soon become “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure”.
9. Frozen (2013)
When Frozen premiered in 2013, it broke a number of records, becoming one of the most popular Disney films of all time. Frozen was so popular because it features sisters Anna and Elsa, the princesses of Arendelle. Elsa possesses the power to freeze anything in her path. When Elsa accidentally causes Arendelle to become frozen over, Anna does everything she can to track down Elsa and help her to embrace her powers and save Arendelle.
Disney Parks connection: Frozen Ever After, located in Bay Lake at Disney’s EPCOT park.
10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
When Lucasfilm became a subsidiary of Disney in 2012, it changed a whole lot for Disney parks and the Disney brand in general. While Star Wars movies have been around since 1978, the Force Awakens was the first film released under the Disney brand. In this film, the First Order has risen from the fallen Galactic Empire and is now on a new mission to destroy the New Republic.
Disney parks connection: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park.
More Tips For Disney World & Orlando Family Vacations
We hope this selection of Disney classic movies gets the whole family excited and ready for your Orlando adventure.
- Rookie Mistakes to Avoid Planning Your First Trip to Disney World
- Understanding all of the theme parks in Orlando (plus our tips on which are best for each age group!)
- Disney Accommodation for Larger Families – got 5+ to sleep? Avoid needing two rooms by choosing one of these larger family resorts and still staying on-site.
- Choosing a resort with a shuttle to both Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando
- Beginners Guide to Universal Orlando – ideal for first-timers deciding between the different parks and on-site accommodation options
- Why we love visiting Disney in the winter – from the charm of the holiday season to finding the cheapest and crowd-free dates, we share when & how!
- Things to do in Orlando that AREN’T Theme Parks! – want a bit of a theme park break? Discover these fun indoor and outdoor ideas in central Florida
- Packing for Orlando – Your Ultimate Guide to What to Wear on a Disney Vacation to maximize comfort and style – plus top tips for sensible clothing choices at Universal Studios, and how to choose the comfiest theme park shoes.
- Our thoughts on whether Disney Magic Bands are still worth it
- Items we always pack in our Disney day bag – plus the best types of backpacks to use for a day out at Disney (trust us, with kids, you’ll need a good one!)
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