Best Musicals on Disney+
The Walt Disney Company has produced many movies over the years both animated and live action. And, one thing Disney is known for is musicals. It’s been almost 10 months since the launch of Disney+ and the company has placed many of its musicals on the streaming site. And, as contracts with other services end, more will be added soon. Earlier this year, former CEO Bob Iger discussed how musicals have been a big part of the success of Disney+, basically saying “musicals are doing very, very well.” So, I’m ranking the Top 25 Musicals currently on Disney+
The only Disney+ Original Movie on this list, “Stargirl” is based on the New York Times bestseller about a high schooler who finds himself drawn to the free spirited new girl.
24. THE THREE CABALLEROS
This package film from Disney’s Wartime Era puts several shorts together to make a feature length film. It focuses on Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles as they tour South and Central American learning about the Latin culture.
This Disney Channel Original Movie teaches lessons about not being scared of those who are different in a town that has both humans and zombies. It also sparked a sequel that was rather enjoyable.
This Disney Channel Original Movie features the descendants of some of Disney’s most iconic villains as they get the chance to earn redemption thanks to the actions of the son of Belle and the Beast. This popular film spawned two more sequels in the DCOM canon.
21. DISNEY FAMILY SINGALONG
This made for TV special features celebrities and Disney fans singing some classic Disney songs. There are two specials of this singalong that took place during the early days of the 2020 pandemic that shut down countries all over the world.
20. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
The final Disney Channel Original Movie on my list, “High School Musical” sparked a craze that led to multiple sequels and a Disney+ Original Series. It also helped launch the careers of Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale. It’s not my ideal choice of musical, but its impact can’t be ignored.
19. A CELEBRATION OF THE MUSIC OF COCO
This concert held at the famous Hollywood Bowl takes some of the great music from amazing Pixar film “Coco” and has it performed live. “Coco” has some of the best music in the Pixar canon, especially for those who appreciate its Latin flair. If you want to hear some great Latin music, but don’t have time to sit down for a feature length film like “Coco,” this is great for you as it only runs about 45 minutes, but you still get the hit music.
18. BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS
This 1971 film stars Angela Lasbury as an apprentice witch who joins three kids and a conman who are looking for the missing part of magical spell during World War II. Not as popular as its live action-animated hybrid counterpart, “Mary Poppins,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” is still a lot of fun for the whole family, featuring some amazing songs from the vaunted Sherman Brothers.
This musical, directed by Kenny Ortega, focuses on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. The film features some great music and, for many, was the introduction to Christian Bale.
This is my least favorite movie of the Disney Revival and maybe my least favorite Disney musical of all time. That being said, its impact can not be denied. It spawned a sequel, a short, a LEGO miniseries and a Yule Log. Regardless of my personal feelings, it’s clearly loved by many others.
15. MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND
The Muppets take on the Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, “Treasure Island.” The film features some great songs, all featuring that Muppet flair. Plus, Tim Curry steps up to deliver an amazing solo in “Professional Pirate.”
This classic of the Disney Renaissance tells the story of the Native American, Pocahontas, and her interaction with British colonizers; specifically John Smith. While historically inaccurate, it features one of the best soundtracks in the Disney canon with some great songs from Alan Menken; on his own with Disney for the first time since the passing of Howard Ashman.
13. HELLO DOLLY!
This musical focuses on Dolly, a woman with excellent matchmaking skills as she tries to orchestrate the love lives of her friends in New York City. The music from this musical experienced a mini-renaissance thanks to its inclusion in the Pixar hit “WALL-E.”
12. THE SOUND OF MUSIC
The first of two musicals on this list featuring the incomparable Julie Andrews, “The Sound of Music” tells the story of the Von Trapp family in Nazi-occupied Austria during World War II.
The ultimate dream of Walt Disney, “Fantasia” takes seven animated shorts and sets them to classical music. Two of the most iconic scenes in Disney animation; “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Night on Bald Mountain” are featured in this film. While it was a box office disappointment in 1940, it’s gained a cult following over the years and is a great way to introduce your children to classical music.
10. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
This film from the mind of Tim Burton tells the story of how the people of Halloweentown learn about Christmas. Jack Skellington attempts to take over as Santa Claus leading to lots of problems for the people of Halloweentown and in the regular world. It features amazing music from Danny Elfman and works for two holidays, even if Burton’s intention was for it to only work for Halloween.
9. THE LITTLE MERMAID
The movie that launched the Disney Renaissance, “The Little Mermaid” features the first pairing of the iconic duo of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. There are some amazing classics that helped shape a generation of Disney fans. This film’s place in history can not be overstated.
The final film featuring the iconic pairing of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, you can really hear their partnership shining in the songs. Plus, they wrote a song that featured Robin Williams singing. For my money, it’s hard to beat anything starring Robin Williams. Plus, this is my favorite Walt Disney Animation Studios film of all time.
7. THE LION KING
The pinnacle of Disney animation, in my opinion, this film features the styling of music legend Sir Elton John. It’s filled with songs that a generation of kids are still singing as adults. It also provided a break from the stylings of Alan Menken, who had worked on the last three Disney animated musicals, prior to this one.
6. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
The second of three films featuring Ashman and Menken, this is by far the most successful. Several of the songs are still being sung by adults who saw this film as a kid. It was the very first animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. It was basically Howard Ashman’s crowning achievement as a musician.
5. BLACK IS KING
This visual album by Beyonce features a lot of her music inspired by the live action version of “The Lion King.”
The hit Broadway play about one of the lesser known founding fathers of the United States, “Hamilton” focuses on the life and political career of Alexander Hamilton. The play written by Lin-Manuel Miranda has been a sensation for years. Its recording and inclusion on Disney+ allowed many who might never get to New York to see the play a chance to see it with the original cast.
3. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
This musical takes a look at the life of famed circus promoter P.T. Barnum. Much like “Pocahontas,” this film takes a lot of liberties with facts to make it more palatable for the masses, but also features some of the best music you will ever hear.
If you have more than 45 minutes to check out the music from this Pixar classic, the complete movie is even better. This is without a doubt the best musical in the Pixar canon. Granted, Pixar hasn’t produced too many musicals, this one does a great job telling the story of Dia de las Muertas and its importance in the Latin culture.
1. MARY POPPINS
This is my favorite musical of all time. There are some great songs that can only be sung by the incomparable team of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. This is also the film where so many of us learned about the greatness of the Sherman Brothers.
That’s my ranking. We’re not all going to agree and that’s okay. How would you rank the musicals on Disney+? Did I miss any that are important to you? What musicals are you most interested in watching?