Would it surprise you to hear that almost every movie on Disney+ is kid-friendly? You shouldn’t be shocked. For nearly 100 years, Disney has built its brand on family entertainment. Adding Star Wars and Marvel to the mix has only increased Disney’s dominance and paved the way for Disney+. In terms of kids films, the animated Disney and Pixar movies could keep you busy for a long, long time. But really, how many times can you actually watch Frozen? Only your children know for sure. But if you and your family are ready for some variety, we’ve selected a few of the very best kids movies on Disney+.
Big was not originally a Disney movie, but it’s got the heart of a Disney story. The film is all about Josh Baskin (David Moscow), a kid who uses a mysterious Zoltar carnival fortune teller machine and makes a wish to be “big.” The next day, Josh (Tom Hanks) awakens as an adult and experiences a meteoric rise as he lands a dream job at FAO Schwarz and wins the heart of Susan Lawrence (Elizabeth Perkins), one of his adult co-workers. For a while, Josh’s life is about as good as it gets. But this kid in an adult’s body can only take the drama and responsibilities for so long before he desires to regain his youth and reunite with his family.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Stars: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard
Director: Penny Marshall
Runtime: 104 minutes
Imagine if Disney had a shared universe before connected franchises became all the rage. That’s essentially the starting point for Descendants, which follows the journey of four teenagers whose parents include Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, the Evil Queen, and Jafar. Mal (Dove Cameron), Carlos (the late Cameron Boyce), Jay (Booboo Stewart), and Evie (Sofia Carson) accept the invitation of Prince Ben (Mitchell Hope) to attend Auradon Preparatory away from the influence of their evil parents. But the Disney villains have plans to escape their prison, and they want their kids to follow in their evil footsteps. However, once the teenagers experience life in Auradon, they’re no longer sure where their loyalties lie.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Fantasy, Musical, Comedy
Stars: Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Sofia Carson
Director: Kenny Ortega
Runtime: 112 minutes
Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)
Much as the title suggests, Ever After is a Cinderella story. It’s just not the one you think you know. Drew Barrymore stars as Danielle de Barbarac, a more active heroine than Disney’s original Cinderella. There is no fairy godmother here, but Leonardo da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey) does provide Danielle with some support and guidance. And rather than pursue Crown Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) because he is royalty, Danielle is drawn to him for who he is beyond his title. She even saves Henry on more than one occasion. This is a relentlessly charming and inventive take on an old tale, which still feels fresh and daring two decades later.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Romance, Drama
Stars: Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Jeanne Moreau
Director: Andy Tennant
Runtime: 121 minutes
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
There aren’t a lot of stop-motion animated films on Disney+, but Fantastic Mr. Fox has a unique style and humor all of its own. Director Wes Anderson adapted Roald Dahl’s classic novel, with George Clooney providing the voice of the titular Mr. Fox. Although Mr. Fox is an exceptional thief, his wife, Felicity (Meryl Streep), convinces him to leave his life of crime behind. Years later, while raising their son, Ash (Jason Schwartzman), Mr. Fox is drawn back to his old life out of frustration. Unfortunately for the Fox family, the angry farmers literally go after them where they live … which forces the Foxes to go farther underground.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson
Director: Wes Anderson
Runtime: 87 minutes
High School Musical (2006)
The original High School Musical movie not only kicked off a franchise, but it also made Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens into stars. Within this film, Efron and Hudgens play Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez, respectively. Troy and Gabriella are immediately drawn to each other when she transfers to his school. Collectively and separately, the duo works up the courage to audition for the school musical despite their athletic and academic callings. However, their fellow student, Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), schemes to keep them out of the musical in order to maintain her own place in the spotlight. Fortunately for the lovebirds, they have some very loyal friends.
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Genre: Musical, Romance, Comedy
Stars: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Lucas Grabeel, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu
Director: Kenny Ortega
Runtime: 98 minutes
Over two decades ago, Disney successfully adapted the legend of Mulan as an animated film. For the inevitable live-action adaptation, there is no talking dragon. But there is a witch. Yifei Liu stars as Mulan, the young woman who goes to war disguised as a man named “Hua Jun.” Under the tutelage of Commander Tung (Donnie Yen), Mulan finds her inner warrior. She also makes a strong connection with Chen Honghui (Yoson An) as they prepare to take on the forces of Böri Khan (Jason Scott Lee). The fate of the kingdom is in their hands.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Stars: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Tzi Ma, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Ron Yuan
Director: Niki Caro
Runtime: 115 minutes
The Peanuts Movie (2015)
Another Snoopy flick? “Good grief.” All kidding aside, The Peanuts Movie is a nice CGI update of the classic comic strip created by Charles Schulz. This time, the focus is almost entirely on Charlie Brown (Noah Schnapp). After pining for the Little Red-Haired Girl (Francesca Angelucci Capaldi), Charlie Brown broadens his ambitions to improve himself and catch her eye. His fortunes rise and fall throughout the school year, in keeping with his eternal underdog status. Yet Charlie’s heart shines through, and even the other kids finally come to see him for who he truly is.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, Mariel Sheets, Alex Garfin
Director: Steve Martino
Runtime: 88 minutes
Pete’s Dragon (2016)
Although the original Pete’s Dragon is very charming, the 2016 remake is ultimately the stronger of the two films. Bryce Dallas Howard stars as Grace Meacham, a forest ranger who discovers Pete Haley (Oakes Fegley), a 10-year-old boy who has spent half a decade in the wild following a terrible tragedy. Pete’s loyal companion is Elliot, a dragon who can sometimes become invisible. Once the town gets wind of Elliot’s existence, Pete and his surrogate family go to great lengths to protect the dragon just as he had protected Pete for years.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Robert Redford
Director: David Lowery
Runtime: 103 minutes
Queen of Katwe (2016)
Queen of Katwe is based on the real story of Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga), a young girl whose family struggled despite the efforts of her mother, Nakku (Lupita Nyong’o). A missionary named Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) teaches Phiona how to play chess, and she quickly proves to be a prodigy. Phiona’s fervent hope is that her newfound skills will allow her family to escape poverty in Katwe. But the international chess competition is far more difficult than even Phiona had imagined.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga, Esteri Tebandeke, Peter Odeke
Director: Mira Nair
Runtime: 124 minutes
Sky High (2005)
Marvel movies are great, but they’re not necessarily the best introduction to superheroes for the younger set. That’s where Sky High comes in. This Disney original features Michael Angarano as Will Theodore Stronghold, the son of two superheroes: The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston). Unlike his parents, Will doesn’t have any powers when he gets enrolled in Sky High, a literal high school in the sky that teaches superheroes the ropes. While Will struggles to find his place in his parents’ world, an old enemy from The Commander’s past plots to take down the heroes once and for all.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Genre: Action, Superhero, Comedy
Stars: Kelly Preston, Michael Angarano, Danielle Panabaker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kurt Russell
Director: Mike Mitchell
Runtime: 100 minutes
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