Here are the 20 best Disney movies to watch on Disney Plus, going from worst to best. We’ll include both live-action and animated movies on the list, but we’re excluding any movies that aren’t purely “Disney,” so there are no Marvel or Star Wars movies here.
And I guess no Die Hard or Alien movies either… I still can’t believe those are Disney franchises now. I can’t wait for the John McClane meet and greet coming to the Disney parks.
20. The Little Mermaid
This movie marked the beginning of the Disney Renaissance, where Walt Disney Animation Studios started making critically and commercially successful movies again after a series of flops. Following this movie’s release, Disney produced hit-after-hit, such as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.
Though this movie has some questionable messages for kids, it’s easy to see why it’s still popular after thirty years.
The animation is great, the characters are charming, and the songs are fantastic – possibly some of Disney’s best, in fact.
19. Cinderella (1950)
It’s amazing that seventy years later this movie still holds up. Even though there have been countless adaptions of this story, when somebody says Cinderella, the first thing that comes up in people’s heads is the 1950 Disney classic.
Probably what people find so appealing in this story is the idea that miracles happen. It’s a nice story of somebody in a dire situation finally getting a break.
18. Alice In Wonderland (1951)
What I like about this one is it feels very different from any of the other Disney movies. There isn’t much of a story to it: it’s just a showcase of a bunch of strange, imaginative characters and locations. You can tell the animators are letting their imaginations run free.
This movie also has one of the best Disney villains, the Queen of Hearts. One minute she’s calm, the next she’s exploding in rage, executing people for making the teensiest of mistakes.
The Tim Burton live action version is also available on Disney Plus – however, that’s a whole other experience!
17. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
This Disney classic just had to be included in the Best Disney Movies On Disney Plus list. The original and still worth watching.
Snow White changed cinema forever, being that it was the first fully animated feature. It would’ve been amazing to see this movie when it premiered. Before Snow White premiered, animated films were only a few minutes long, so it was a huge feat creating an 83-minute 2D animated movie. It changed the movie landscape forever.
This is a story that’s been ingrained in our pop culture. Everyone knows the characters, songs, as well as the iconic poison apple scene.
16. The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King is an absolute masterpiece in animation. This movie feels huge! It’s so cinematic! The opening to the movie is still one of the best scenes in animation. The opening shot is ingenious – everything is quiet, then BAM! The intro to Circle of Life blasts through the speakers.
Something else I like about this movie is it has a very adult lesson. Usually Disney movies include messages for are targeted towards kids, like “be yourself,” or “don’t lie.” This one however teaches a lesson that lots of adults can learn from too.
15. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
This is one of the darkest movies Disney has ever produced. The intro includes a man almost drowning a baby because they were too ugly. Not your usual Disney movie …….
Like the Lion King, Hunchback is very cinematic. The best part of the movie is when Quasimodo swings over the crowd and saves Esmerelda from Judge Claude Frollo – it looks incredible!
Speaking of Judge Claude Frollo, in my opinion, he is the best Disney villain. None of them are as complex as Frollo. Usually, they don’t have much character depth other than doing evil stuff, but Frollo has an entire scene dedicated to how conflicted he is with his feelings for Esmerelda.
14. Mulan (1998)
Out of the Disney movies, Mulan is the most inspiring. I love seeing Mulan sacrificing herself to save her father and going from being completely useless in a fight to becoming the savior of an entire nation. Also, it’s good to see a female action hero in a movie. Even now, we still don’t have that many decent heroines in movies.
Just to clarify, I’m talking about the animated version here. I’m not even sure where to begin with the new live version, except perhaps to wait until its not on pay per view.
Originally, I was going to put this movie much lower on the list, but then I remembered that this has “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You,” so I bumped it up from #20 to #16. That song is amazing. I listen to it every day…
13. Lilo & Stitch
The highlight of this movie is the relationship between the two lead sisters, Lilo and Nani. It feels like a real dysfunctional relationship and you get really caught up in the drama between the two.
My favorite part of the movie is when Nani sings “Aloha ‘Oe” to Lilo after Agent Bubbles (ha!) says he has to take Lilo away. It’s a very emotional scene and it’s the closest I’ve ever come to crying in a Disney movie.
Though I love the character, I actually don’t care that much about Stitch’s story – I just like the scenes with Lilo and Nani.
12. Peter Pan
Peter Pan is one of those movies that makes you feel like a kid again. I love the idea of flying over to an island where the impossible becomes possible. The part where they fly over London is one my favorite scenes out of all the Disney movies.
Not is the story fantastic, but the characters are too. Smee and Captain Hook are hilarious. I like it how Smee is always incredibly nice to Captain Hook even though he’s so diabolical.
11. The Princess And The Frog
After a number of critical failures such as Meet The Robinsons, this was the first great Disney animated movie for a long time. It was similar to the Disney Renaissance in a lot ways.
With this movie, we finally went back to the classic fairy tales and hand-drawn animation.
Something I especially like about this movie is it feels like a classic Disney picture except all of the lead characters are positive role models. I like Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Snow White, but they’re infamous for having somewhat twisted role models for kids. Aurora is very passive, Snow White marries a man she’s just met, and Ariel gives up her voice without really thinking it through.
I can’t think of any bad messages this movie would send out to kids. Though, maybe don’t kiss a talking frog…
10. Mary Poppins
Again, what impresses me about a lot of Disney movies is they still hold up years later. This came out 50 years ago and we all still love it.
I rewatched this a couple of years ago, having not seen it a while, and surprised me was that this is actually nearly two-and-a-half hours long. I thought it was only 90 minutes! This movie feels so fast! That’s a sign of a great movie: even if it’s 150 minutes, the runtime goes by quick.
I understand if somebody disagrees, but I think this movie has the best songs out of any of the Disney movies. We all know “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” and my favorite, “Feed The Birds.”
Even though I’m getting tired of seeing this movie everywhere, I still love it. It’s clever how they subvert your expectations and put a new spin on Disney clichés, like how the handsome prince turns out to be the main villain.
No Disney movie had been this popular since The Lion King. There were a few hits like Wreck-It-Ralph and Tangled, but none of them became a cultural phenomena like Frozen. Seven years later, people are still rewatching this movie over and over again.
Tangled isn’t as original as Frozen, but I prefer it nonetheless, mainly because I think the characters better. For me, some of the characters in Frozen are a little forgettable. Whenever I get up to the scene with the rock trolls, I think “oh, yeah, there’s these guys…”
And Mother Gothel is certainly one of the best Disney villains.
Also, I’m someone who really likes to laugh, and in my opinion, Tangled is much funnier than Frozen. Nothing in Frozen compares to the gag with the frying pan or when Flynn Rider fights Maximus.
Plus, this movie has one of the best shots in animation history where all the lanterns light up in the village when they sing “I See The Light.”
7. Aladdin (1992)
This Disney movie has everything: romance, catchy songs, adventure, a great villain, funny jokes, beautiful animation, and to top it all off, Robin Williams.
It’s pretty hard to pin point any flaws in this movie, besides some minor nitpicks. It’s the perfect Disney movie.
6. The Emperor’s New Groove
If you’ve ever seen this movie, you know exactly why this on the list (you might be wondering why it isn’t higher). Disney animated movies usually have a few jokes in them, but this is one of the few that’s a straight-up comedy and a hilarious comedy at that.
There are so many great jokes in this movie, like Yzma turning into a cat, Cuzco nearly running into Yzma at the diner, and the scene where they have to climb up the cliff.
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
The story is a little basic, but the highlight of the movie is the world, which comes as no surprise since it’s a Tim Burton movie. The sets are so detailed with every prop has some gothic element to it.
The songs are great too. “This Is Halloween” and “Jack’s Lament” are among the great Halloween classics like Thriller, Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, and – well, uh… actually those are pretty much the only Halloween songs there are. Nonetheless, The Nightmare Before Christmas has some great songs that you’ll want to listen to over and over again!
Though, I still can’t say whether this is a Christmas or Halloween movie.
4. Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Blackpearl
The first entry in the Pirates franchise, The Curse Of The Blackpearl is one of the best action/adventure movies Disney has ever made.
It has everything from sword-fights, ship battles, gags, a great villain, and to top it off, one of the best action heroes in cinema, Jack Sparrow. I know lots of people are tired of him and think he’s gradually got less entertaining as the movies progress, but he is very good in this movie.
It’s funny how he always makes mistakes, but it’s also a lot of fun seeing him outsmart the villains, such as when he steals Norrington’s boat.
3. Saving Mr. Banks
I was surprised at how adult this movie is. When I saw the trailer, I assumed this going to be your run-of-the-mill family-oriented Disney movies. It is still a family movie, but there are some very dark elements to it, like the scene where the main character’s mother almost commits suicide.
The part that made me spit my drink out was when Walt Disney puts out his cigarette. The Disney company usually portrays him as this perfect almost god-like figure, so I was surprised when they showed off some of the darker elements to his character.
My favorite part of this movie is the message. I like the idea of using stories as a way of coping with trauma and how you can write your own happy ending for some event that didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to.
2. Beauty And The Beast (1991)
The perfect Disney movie. It has great characters, songs, and a very heart-warming message.
I watched the 2017 remake recently, and in no way does it match up to the original. Almost everything is ten times better. Something I couldn’t get over was how weird the Beast looked – it just doesn’t work.
Another perfect Disney movie. Zootopia is my vote for the number one movie to watch on Disney Plus.
I really like the two main characters, Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps. They have really good chemistry and it’s nice to see a male and female lead in a movie NOT get together at the end.
The highlight of this movie is the message. It’s a very important message for kids, especially in today’s climate, and the way they illustrate it is very clever.
I could watch this movie over and over again and I wouldn’t get tired of it. It’s funny, the characters are fantastic, and again it has a great message.
How Do I Watch Disney Plus?
Disney Plus really is the essential streaming service for Disney fans. It has a huge variety of things to watch – not just the obvious Disney movies. You can get the details at Disney +
Pricing starts at just $69.99 a year or $6.99 per month.
Which do you think are the Best Disney Movies On Disney Plus? Leave me a comment below.
You may also like:
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.