My husband has always liked collecting Disney movies. He started with VHS, then got hooked on the Special Releases of DVD’s (which have magically been released “from the vault” you’ll note), moved on to transferring purchased movies to VUDU, and of COURSE he’s a lover of Disney+ now. Whenever we help people plan their Walt Disney World vacations or take them with us on trips we are always AMAZED at how many Disney movies people have not seen.
In my opinion, there are certain movies you just MUST see before you go to Walt Disney World in order to fully appreciate the entire Disney experience. So here are our recommendations for each park. Take a night each weekend leading up to your trip to make sure you are completely prepped!
The Magic Kingdom Rides and their Must-See Movies
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – Aladdin
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid – The Little Mermaid
Pirates of the Caribbean – Any of the Pirates movies, but the first one has the most references.
Swiss Family Tree House – Swiss Family Robinson. (This literally makes NO sense whatsoever without this movie or the book)
The Barnstormer – This ride makes more sense when you’ve seen some of the classical Goofy instructional cartoons. If you’ve missed them check some out HERE.
Cinderella’s Castle – Umm….. CINDERELLA. (though the castle is actually modeled after Neuschwanstein castle in Germany)
Prince Charming Regal Carousel – Also Cinderella
Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Dumbo
Mad Tea Party – Alice in Wonderland
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Winnie the Pooh
Mickey’s PhilhaMagic – If you see a bit of Fantasia (especially the Sorcerers Apprentice which you can see HERE) this show will make more sense. Though it also references Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and more.
Peter Pan’s Flight – Peter Pan
Seven Dwarves Mine Train – Snow White
Tom Sawyer Island – Adventures of Tom Sawyer or Tom and Huck are both a great introduction
Haunted Mansion – There’s a Haunted Mansion movie with Eddie Murphy which I wouldn’t call ‘Great”, but There’s actually a new haunted mansion movie in the works which you can read more about HERE.
Buzz Lightyear Spaceranger Spin – Toy Story 1, 2, or 3
Epcot Studios Attractions and their Must-See Movies
The Seas with Nemo and Friends – Finding Nemo
Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros – The Three Caballeros. You will totally not know who Panchito and Jose are without having seen at least a bit of this film.
Beauty and the Beast Sing Along – Beauty and the Beast
Frozen Ever After – Frozen
Mexico Folk Art Gallery – Coco
Character Greetings “around the world”- In my opinion, Epcot is actually one of the BEST places to do your character greetings. Meeting a character and not understanding WHY they’re cool has always seemed weird to me so here’s a suggestion for each country.
- Mexico – The Three Caballeros (so if you meet Donald in a Sombrero, Panchito, or Jose you will get WHY they rock)
- Norway – You can meet Elsa and Anna but you won’t be in love with them until you’ve seen Frozen. Norway also has a very popular Character Meal named Akershus where you can meet many of the Disney Princesses.
- China – Mulan is often out there doing greetings so definitely watch Mulan
- Germany – You have a good shot of seeing Snow White, the Prince or some of the 7 dwarves here so make sure you watch Snow White!
- Morocco – They often have Aladdin, Jasmine, and sometimes Genie across from the Morocco Pavillion. So definitely watch Morocco before you go!
- France – There are many different characters you might catch in France from different movies. We most often see Marie from Aristocats, Belle & The Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.
- UK – In the UK it’s common to meet classically British characters such as Mary Poppins (so catch the original or the new Mary Poppins), Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Winnie the Pooh from the may Winnie the Pooh movies.
Hollywood Studios Attractions and their Must-See Movies
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – Catch some of the new Mickey shorts on Disney+ (we LOVE THEM) See an example of the new shorts by clicking HERE.
Star Tours – Any of the Star Wars Movies
Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run – Star Wars Movies
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Star Wars Movies
MuppetVision 3D – The Muppets is my current favorite, but there are tons of old school Muppets shows to love.
Lightning McQueens Racing Academy – Cars
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Try to find at least one not super freaky Twilight Zone on Youtube to set the mood
Alien Swirling Saucers – Toy Story 1 or 2
Slinky Dog Dash – Toy Story 1, 2, or 3
Toy Story Mania – MOSTLY Toy Story 1
Animal Kingdom Attractions and their Must-See Movies
Festival of The Lion King – Lion King
Avatar Flight of Passage – Avatar
Na’Vi River Journey – Avatar
Wilderness Explorers Activity – Up!
On Disney+ you will find “One Day at Disney” which has some cool info about how they care for the Animals at AK. There’s also a rumor that there will be an animal show featuring the animals at AK coming in 2020.
I find that the more of these movies you’ve seen the more you enjoy the overall MAGIC of Walt Disney World. So plug in your DVD player or check out Disney+ and get all prepped for your next trip whenever it happens!
Have a GREAT trip! – Kristin
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