There are so many Disney movies to watch it seems impossible to select just a few before heading to Disney World, and which ones would you even pick to watch? I’ve narrowed down the list a bit for you and here are 10 movies to watch before heading to Disney World.
There’s a couple of reasons why this one is listed first on the list for me. The line for Peter Pan’s Flight is known to be a long one and Fastpasses can be hard to snag making it a ride that everyone wants to ride! It’s cute, simple, and a Magic Kingdom staple. Another reason it’s on the list is because of Tinker Bell! You can meet Tinker Bell at the Magic Kingdom and she makes a very special surprise visit to the castle during Happily Ever After. Between the sought after ride, the character meeting experience, and surprise Tink appearance, Peter Pan is a must watch prior to arriving at the Magic Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios is hands down my favorite park and Star Wars is one of the biggest reasons why. You experience the Stormtroopers march led by Captain Phasma, look at artwork and memorabilia, run into Jawa’s, sign up for the Jedi experience, ride Star Tours, take photos with characters including Kylo Ren and Chewbacca… and all of this before Galaxy’s Edge even opens! During the evening show at Hollywood Studios you get a Star Wars blessing via projection too (without giving it all away). Needless to say if you plan on visiting Hollywood Studios you must try Star Wars- I recommend all of them but if you’re cutting it close on time I say go for the newer ones!
Pirates of the Caribbean
This is my favorite ride at Magic Kingdom and second favorite ride of all parks. There’s so much history to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride that it’s a must ride more than once. The details in the ride and updates that include Jack Sparrow are fantastic. After the ride my oldest likes to enjoy the show with Jack which is situated in front of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Happily Ever After also gives notice to this epic Disney theme too (and it’s our favorite part of the show). If you watch any of the Johnny Depp Pirates of the Caribbean movies you’ll be impressed by what you see during the ride.
Let’s go back to Hollywood Studios for a moment then skip over to Magic Kingdom for this one. Hollywood Studios has Toy Story Land and it’s adorable and such fun for all ages. Watching the movies is a must for everyone in my opinion but watching them prior to experiencing the land is an even greater must (if that’s a thing). From the Slinky Dog Dash Ride to each tiny detail within the land, it’s a must experience and such fun! Not going to Hollywood Studios then you still need to get your Toy Story movie marathon on because there is a Toy Story ride AND multiple appearances by the characters during Happily Ever After each night.
My favorite show hands down is The Lion King show at Animal Kingdom. When you buy a ticket to Animal Kingdom it should say “mini Broadway show included”. I should make note that there is also a live Nemo show but in my opinion, nothing beats the Lion King Show! My kids ooo and awe each time we watch it and I very rarely skip watching it. The main focus point of Animal Kingdom is the tree of life which gives homage to The Lion King too, so watching the movie is a must before you enter that theme park.
Finding Nemo/Finding Dory
This one like many of the others on the list hits multiples things at multiple parks making it a must watch. Nemo and Finding Dory are just the cutest movies, right? One of our favorite spots is The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot. This area offers a Nemo themed ride, Crush the Turtle live show, AND underwater exploration filled with live sea life! This area of Epcot blows my mind because it offers so much in one spot. Take your film watching memories over to the Animal Kingdom for the Finding Nemo Musical! Nemo meets Broadway is how I would describe this one and it’s such a sweet show it makes me tear up.
It’s not really a secret that my favorite place in Epcot is Mexico (did someone say margaritas?). Coco now has a bit of focus at the Mexico Pavillion and I can’t get enough of it. As you enter Mexico you’ll see displays, there are an interactive Coco game and Coco items. Disneyland has a Coco inspired land and while I’m a bit jealous I’m thankful we get a taste of the fantastic movie in Mexico. Who votes they adjust the 3 Caballeros ride to a Coco themed ride??
Let it GO! If you’re anything like my little family then you love a good sing-a-long. For the first time in Forever: A “Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” at Hollywood Studios is a live show with a great mix of comedy, singing, and a surprise visit from Elsa herself! If you are looking for an Olaf meet and greet, it is located near the show exit. At EPCOT’s Norway Pavillon you can ride a viking ship through Frozen Ever After, and then meet Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus which is also located in Norway. Frozen is a must watch if you plan on heading to Disney World. Elsa and Anna make an appearance during the castle show each night. Singing, character meetings, and lots of merchandise make this one a watch before you go to the parks for sure.
Extra’s: Hercules, Little Mermaid, and Brave. Okay, so this isn’t just one movie it’s 3 bonus movies. If you can’t fit in watching all 3 then just pick one prior to heading to Disney World. Hercules has a key role in Happily Ever After (the castle show at night at the Magic Kingdom), The Little Mermaid has attractions at multiple parks, and you can meet Merida from Brave at Magic Kingdom (she holds a special place in my heart).
Holidays: The Nightmare Before Christmas. The last one is a bit of a bonus must watch before heading to Disney World. If you plan on attending Disney during Halloween or Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween event watching Jack the Pumpkin King is a must. The Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise is sold year-round at Disney World but Jack and Sally take over Disney during Halloween and it’s magical and spooky at the same time.
It was challenging limiting the 10 movies to watch before heading to Disney World list to just these movies but they’re musts in my book. From a frequent park goer and lifetime Disney fan, I can’t recommend these Disney movies enough.
You can find me pushing a double stroller through the magic most days.
I’m a toddler boy mom that has a passion for Florida living and all things Disney! As a Florida native and self proclaimed Disney staycation pro, I look forward to guiding you through the magic.