From its inception, The Walt Disney Company has made memorable music a cornerstone of its approach to entertainment.
“There’s a terrific power to music,” said Walt Disney during an October 1940 story meeting on Bambi. “You can run any of these pictures and they’d be dragging and boring. But the minute you put music behind them, they have life and vitality they don’t get in any other way.”
Indeed, the studio’s grand tradition of lavish movie musicals has been a big selling point for Disney Plus (though several remain missing at present).
Even in television, Disney excelled from the start at creating catchy theme songs for TV shows. Decades later, as the company moved full-force into TV animation and then Disney Channel sitcoms, producers again worked to pull viewers in with music.
Today, Disney Plus includes tunes from several generations of songwriters and composers … along with acquired properties (i.e. The Muppets and The Simpsons) that have their own unique penchant for theme music. Like Disney Plus itself, this list leans towards animation until more binge-worthy live-action series are added.
This article will be a work in progress as fans provide feedback on the unofficial Disney Plus Facebook group. Current honorable mentions include: Bluey, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles, The Mickey Mouse Club, Phineas and Ferb, Recess, Smart Guy, Spider-Man, TaleSpin, That’s So Raven, and Wizards of Waverly Place. All titles below available on Disney+ U.S.
10. Boy Meets World (1993-2000)
Elevating classic sitcom tropes, Boy Meets World chronicles the ups and downs of Cory Matthews and his friends along with the lessons they learn from their teacher George Feeney. The theme song by Phil Rosenthal carries a singable 90s vibe.
9. The Proud Family (2001-2005)
When Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child, and Solange sing the theme, it’s gonna make the list. The Proud Family follows the misadventures of Penny, a typical African American girl who’s doing her best to navigate through the early years of teen-dom. A reboot of the animated series, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, is expected to release in 2021.
8. Zorro (1957-1961)
The first TV drama series produced by Walt Disney himself, Zorro introduces star Guy Williams as a Bruce Wayne high-society type in 1820’s California — moonlighting as the masked hero of justice. Disney Plus currently includes this theme (by Norman Foster and George Bruns), along with snippets of eight episodes, in the film The Sign of Zorro. Fans await release of the full series.
7. Kim Possible (2002-2007)
Normal high school student by day, crime fighter by night. Alongside her sidekick Ron Stoppable, Kim Possible deals with worldwide, family, and school issues every day. One of Disney Channel’s biggest hits, the action-oriented yet light-hearted show features pop star Christina Milian voicing the theme song.
6. DuckTales (1987-1990) & (2017-2021)
Disney’s first big-budget foray into TV animation in 1987, which launched The Disney Afternoon cartoon block, DuckTales features a catchy story-driven tune by songwriter Mark Mueller (who also wrote the “Rescue Rangers” theme song). When the series got a three-season reboot starting in 2017 — arguably better with its serialized storytelling — the theme returned, this time sung by pop star Felicia Barton.
5. Hannah Montana (2006-2011)
It became a Disney Channel trope to have pop stars with a secret identity (JONAS, anyone?) If ratings are any indication, Miley Cyrus did it best in her hit show.
4. Walt Disney’s Disneyland (1950s)
Much as Disney+ makes family entertainment more accessible, Walt Disney first “opened the vault” back in 1954 by introducing an anthology TV series that brought many Disney films into homes for the first time. By using “When You Wish Upon A Star” as its theme song, it became a melody forever associated with the entertainment company. Only a few episodes of the original anthology series have been released, including The Plausible Impossible.
3. The Simpsons (1989-present)
The longest-running scripted primetime comedy in history, The Simpsons satirizes American family life and pop culture through the lens of one dysfunctional family. All seasons of the Matt Groening-created show are on Disney Plus, and it consistently ranks in the Top 5 of all trending shows.
2. The Muppet Show (1976-1981)
Jim Henson spent decades pursuing his dream of “making millions of people happy” through his big-eyed colorful puppets. He finally achieved it with a syndicated variety show that ran for 120 episodes — each one full of wildly diverse musical numbers, laugh-out-loud moments, and gags at every turn. Henson co-wrote the theme song with acclaimed songwriter Sam Pottle.
1. X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997)
This landmark show laid the groundwork for dozens of Marvel Comics adaptations to come, with serialized storytelling, stunning visuals, and a stellar voice cast. Watch the in-depth video below for more on how this epic theme song came to be.
What show do you think should be in the Top 10? Comment below and join the discussion.