If your toddlers are anything like mine, they are well versed in the characters within the Disney Universe. Most toddlers are familiar with the main characters, such as Mickey, Minnie, and the gang. I like to build the excitement and anticipation before our trip and movies are a really fun way to do it! You can make your Disney vacation just a little more magical by getting your toddlers acquainted with more of the characters that star in the most toddler-friendly rides and attractions.
I’ll have the kids decide on a movie and then I talk about what we will see in Disney World relating to the movie, whether its a character, “We are going to meet Jasmine in Epcot!” or a ride, “You loved the Tea Cups last time we went!” Plus, putting a movie on is a really great way to get some packing done, or even to just actually sit down to eat your lunch.
I’ve grouped them by the parks, but a lot of these have experiences in more than one of the parks. Here’s our list of the 19 Movies to Watch Before your Disney World Trip:
Lion King. It’s been a little while since we have watched Lion King. Both Eli and Emmy really enjoy the Lion Guard that is on our Disney Junior app. But they need to become acquainted with the real Lion King again, for the first day of our trip at Animal Kingdom when we see Festival of the Lion King. Plus, we will see of all these animals on Kilimanjaro Safari.
A Bugs Life. I know there will be no arguing when I suggest to Elijah to watch this one. He loves A Bug’s Life and I know he will giggle all through It’s Tough to be a Bug, hopefully they’ll both keep their 3D glasses on.
Finding Nemo. There is also the musical at Animal Kingdom, which we will definitely see, but the ride, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, is in Epcot. I made fast pass reservations for it and I have a feeling that, and Turtle Talk with Crush, is going to be a huge hit.
Big Hero 6. You can now meet Baymax at the Character Spot in Future World West, and my toddlers clearly are big Big Hero 6 fans, just check out their halloween costumes. They really don’t need a refresher on Big Hero 6, but I think it will help build the anticipation.
Toy Story. I anticipate Pixar Place being the highlight of Hollywood Studios for us. Between Toy Story Mania and the character meet and greets and the army men that mill around and the awesome design of the Pixar Place area and Pizza Planet, there is so much Toy Story fun to satisfy my little fans.
Cars. One of the best memories from our last Disney Trip is when Eli met Lightning and Mater. We still talk about that first engine rev he heard and how his jaw dropped. Character meet and greets are the best at this age.
(Lego) Star Wars. Elijah is tall enough to go on Star Tours, but I still don’t think he’s old enough to watch the actual Star Wars movies, so the Lego version will have to do.
Monster’s Inc. The Laugh Floor at Magic Kingdom is always a fun one, but the meet and greet area for Mike and Sulley is in Hollywood.
Lady and the Tramp. We probably won’t eat at Mama Melrose, but why not add another movie to the list that we don’t watch often.
Fantasia. We saw Fantasmic when Elijah was 2 and a half and he was sort of terrified. So we probably won’t go see it this trip, but just in case, we need to get a viewing of Fantasia in. I have a feeling Emmy will love the dancing hippos and their tutus.
Peter Pan. It’s my absolute favorite movie, (remember Elijah’s Neverland nursery?) and Peter Pan’s Flight is the ride I have to go on. Elijah often sings “Following the Leader” and it’s adorable when he gets to the “dee dum, dee dee” part.
Dumbo. When we went in October 2014, we rode Dumbo the Flying Elephant 3-4 times. It really is the perfect ride for toddlers, especially with the interactive waiting area they have now.
Beauty and the Beast. I made us lunch reservations for Be Our Guest and a fast pass for Enchanted Tales with Belle, so Eli needs a refresher on Belle, mama’s favorite princess. Emmy, on the other had, is very familiar with both Belle and the Beast.
Little Mermaid. Emmy says “re-elle” so sweetly. I can’t remember if we rode Under the Sea–Journey of the Little Mermaid, on our last trip, but I know Eli met Ariel, and was a little starstruck.
Cinderella. I know Emmy will want to meet both Cinderella and Rapunzel. And her castle basically makes the Magic Kingdom.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think the tiny humans have actually watched Snow White. They know who Snow White is, they have a Little People set and Emmy got a Duplo for Christmas. But we don’t own this one, so chances are they haven’t watched it. We probably won’t go on the Mine Train, but it will still be good for when we’re there.
Swiss Family Robinson. I’ll have to preview this before I show it to my kids, but I have always loved the Swiss Family Treehouse and it’s a good way to get ready for naps, making them climb all of those stairs, right?
Alice in Wonderland. My absolute favorite picture of Eli was on the tea cups at Mad Tea Party. And hopefully we’ll be able to meet Alice right in front too.
Winnie the Pooh. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride is another one that is designed for toddlers, with great activities in the line while you wait. I think they have a few Pooh movies on Netflix now, too.
Did I miss any? What should I add to list? Tell me in the comments!