Planning a trip to Walt Disney World with your young kids in 2023? Is it their first time visiting Disney parks? A great way to get them prepared for their Disney trip is to watch some Disney movies before going. Not only is it a fun way to prepare your little one for their Disney vacation, but it is also some quality time spent having family movie nights. But what are the must-see movies before going? Check out this list of the best Disney movies to watch before going to Disney World in 2023!
If you enjoyed this list of the best Disney movies to watch before going to Disney World in 2023, check out these other articles: Best football movies on Netflix, Valentines movies to watch on Disney Plus, Disney Villains after hours at Disney World, Disney World has lost its magic.
Best Disney Movies To Watch Before Going To Disney World in 2023
Depending on which of the Disney World theme parks your family plans on visiting, I’ve broken down the best movies to see for each location. The list of movies is based on some of the most popular rides, classic rides, and, of course, some favorite characters. The list includes fan favorites from Disney, upcoming attractions for 2023, and even a Pixar movie!
Movies To Watch Before Going To Disney World: Magic Kingdom
Snow White Plot: The Grimm fairy tale gets a Technicolor treatment in Disney’s first animated feature. Jealous of Snow White’s beauty, the wicked queen orders the murder of her innocent stepdaughter, but later discovers that Snow White is still alive and hiding in a cottage with seven friendly little miners. Disguising herself as a hag, the queen brings a poisoned apple to Snow White, who falls into a death-like sleep that can be broken only by a kiss from the prince.
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a steel roller coaster located at Magic Kingdom and is situated in the Fantasyland area of the park.
Peter Pan plot: In this Disney animated film, Wendy (Kathryn Beaumont) and her two brothers are amazed when a magical boy named Peter Pan (Bobby Driscoll) flies into their bedroom, supposedly in pursuit of his rebellious shadow. He and his fairy friend, Tinkerbell, come from a far-off place called Neverland, where children stay perpetually young. Enchanted, the kids follow him back. But when Pan’s nemesis, the pirate Captain Hook (Hans Conried), causes trouble, the kids begin to miss their old life.
Peter Pan’s Flight: Board your pirate galleon and follow Peter Pan as he beckons you to join him on the flight of a lifetime. Wave goodbye to Nana and join the Darling children on a gentle cruise over London, where Big Ben and Tower Bridge light up the night sky. Descend into Never Land between glowing volcanoes and sparkling waterfalls. As you swoop into Pirate’s Cove, there’s danger ahead! Can Peter Pan defeat the dastardly Captain Hook and return his young companions safely to London? Or will someone meet an untimely end… in the jaws of a ticking crocodile?
Cinderella plot: With a wicked stepmother (Wilfred Jackson) and two jealous stepsisters (Homer Brightman, Harry Reeves) who keep her enslaved and in rags, Cinderella (Clyde Geronimi) stands no chance of attending the royal ball. When her fairy godmother (Hamilton Luske) appears and magically transforms her reality into a dream come true, Cinderella enchants the handsome Prince Charming at the ball, but must face the wrath of her enraged stepmother and sisters when the spell wears off at midnight.
Cinderella’s Castle: Welcomes you to a magical world where dreams come true. The 189-foot landmark boasts lofty spires and ornate turrets and is the gateway to Fantasyland. Surrounded by a tranquil moat, the grounds offer an array of picture-perfect photo ops. Explore lush lawns, gardens and Cinderella’s own wishing well. Inside the castle view exquisite handcrafted glass mosaics that tell the classic story of Cinderella’s rise from orphan to princess. Then, enjoy an elegant meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Be sure to reserve a table in advance for this one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Beauty and the Beast plot: An arrogant young prince (Robby Benson) and his castle’s servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns him into the hideous Beast until he learns to love and be loved in return. The spirited, headstrong village girl Belle (Paige O’Hara) enters the Beast’s castle after he imprisons her father Maurice (Rex Everhart). With the help of his enchanted servants, including the matronly Mrs. Potts (Angela Lansbury), Belle begins to draw the cold-hearted Beast out of his isolation.
Gaston’s Tavern: The manliest of manly places, Gaston’s Tavern serves up satisfying snacks, including warm cinnamon rolls. Plus, enjoy refreshing beverages like LeFou’s Brew—the restaurant’s signature non-alcoholic drink.
Be Our Guest at Beast’s Castle: Feast on French-inspired fare in one of our elaborately themed rooms—straight out of the beloved Disney classic! Be Our Guest Restaurant is an expansive and elegant dining destination located at the foot of Beast’s Castle in Fantasyland. Whether you are enjoying lunch or dinner, you will experience an atmosphere made for memories.
Swiss Family Robinson plot: A Swiss family from Bern—Father, Mother, and their three sons—are relocating to a colony in New Guinea to escape the Napoleonic Wars when their ship is attacked by pirates and flees into a storm. The crew abandons ship, leaving the family on board, and the ship grounds on rocks off of an uninhabited island.
Swiss Family Treehouse: Tour the island abode the Swiss Family Robinson built after they were shipwrecked on a deserted island. Cross a bridge at the foot of a large leafy tree and climb handcrafted wooden stairs. Explore the living quarters of the famous adventurers and discover open-air rooms brimming with a bevy of 19th-century articles salvaged from the wreck.
Monster’s Inc. plot: Monsters Incorporated is the largest scare factory in the monster world, and James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) is one of its top scarers. Sullivan is a huge, intimidating monster with blue fur, large purple spots and horns. His scare assistant, best friend and roommate is Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), a green, opinionated, feisty little one-eyed monster. Visiting from the human world is Boo (Mary Gibbs), a tiny girl who goes where no human has ever gone before.
Monsters Inc Laugh Floor: Step inside the only laugh factory in Monstropolis and make your way into a comedy club hosted by Monster of Ceremonies Mike Wazowski. These scare-acters love to engage the audience. Don’t be surprised if you become part of the show!
The Little Mermaid plot: In Disney’s beguiling animated romp, rebellious 16-year-old mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson) is fascinated with life on land. On one of her visits to the surface, which are forbidden by her controlling father, King Triton, she falls for a human prince. Determined to be with her new love, Ariel makes a dangerous deal with the sea witch Ursula (Pat Carroll) to become human for three days. But when plans go awry for the star-crossed lovers, the king must make the ultimate sacrifice for his daughter.
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid: Your underwater adventure takes you below the waves on a tour of Ariel’s gadget-filled grotto. Immersive special effects and hand-drawn animation sequences recreate each unforgettable scene. Watch Sebastian the crab conduct every singing, dancing fish in the sea. Skulk past a sinister eel-infested lair, and then cheer as Prince Eric kisses the girl.
Pirates of the Caribbean plot: Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) arrives at Port Royal in the Caribbean without a ship or crew. His timing is inopportune, however, because later that evening the town is besieged by a pirate ship. The pirates kidnap the governor’s daughter, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), who’s in possession of a valuable coin that is linked to a curse that has transformed the pirates into the undead. A gallant blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) in love with Elizabeth allies with Sparrow in pursuit of the pirates.
Pirates of the Caribbean Ride: Board a weathered barge for a treacherous voyage to the 17th century, when rowdy rogues and ruthless rapscallions ransacked Caribbean seaport towns. Sing along as pirates serenade you with their anthem, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).” Sail past haunted Dead Man’s Cove. Navigate cannon fire between a Caribbean fort and a striking 12-gun galleon. Behold boisterous buccaneers drunk on the spoils of plunderin’ as flames engulf a seaside town. Be sure to keep a spry eye out for Captain Jack Sparrow, from The Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Ye beware, mateys: Dead men tell no tales!
Dumbo plot: A young circus elephant is born with comically large ears and given the cruel nickname Dumbo. One day at a show, he is taunted by a group of kids, inciting his mother into a rage that gets her locked up. After Dumbo’s ears cause an accident that injures many of the other elephants, he is made to dress like a clown and perform dangerous stunts. Everything changes when Dumbo discovers that his enormous ears actually allow him to fly, and he astounds everyone at the circus with his new talent.
Dumbo The Flying Elephant: Based on the 1941 Disney animated masterpiece Dumbo, this classic attraction lets you hop atop everybody’s favorite circus elephant as he discovers he can fly. Dumbo’s faithful friend Timothy Q. Mouse helps keeps you aloft with his “magic” feather. As the jubilant organ melody begins, lift off for a graceful cruise around (and around and around) Storybook Circus.
Tron plot: When talented computer engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) finds out that Ed Dillinger (David Warner), an executive at his company, has been stealing his work, he tries to hack into the system. However, Flynn is transported into the digital world, where he has to face off against Dillinger’s computerized likeness, Sark, and the imposing Master Control Program. Aided by Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) and Yori (Cindy Morgan), Flynn becomes a freedom fighter for the oppressed programs of the grid.
Tron Lightcycle Coaster: Lean forward into the ultimate race of survival! Leave the real world behind and join Team Blue in an epic quest across the Grid—the dark, computerized world with no horizons from TRON. Here, there’s no limit to the excitement. Climb aboard your very own Lightcycle and take off on a high-speed adventure, racing against the Grid’s most menacing Programs. Surge past your fierce opponents as you attempt to cross through 8 Energy Gates and secure your team’s victory—so you can survive to race another day. Scheduled to open April 4, 2023.
The Haunted Mansion plot: Workaholic real estate agent Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) is accused by his wife, Sara (Marsha Thomason), of neglecting his son (Marc John Jefferies) and daughter (Aree Davis), so he takes the family on a vacation. Along the way, the family stops off at a sinister mansion that Jim has been asked to sell, only to discover it’s haunted by Master Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) ; his stern butler, Ramsley (Terence Stamp) ; and two other servants who need some help breaking a curse.
Haunted Mansion: The disembodied voice of the Ghost Host is your private guide through the cadaverous realm of an eerie haunted estate, home to ghosts, ghouls and supernatural surprises. Glide past a casket-filled conservatory, Madame Leota’s chilling séance room and a ghostly graveyard of singing specters as you attempt to find your way out. Beware of hitchhikers—these phantom pranksters may follow you home. Happy haunting!
Movies To Watch Before Going To Disney World: Epcot
Finding Nemo plot: Marlin (Albert Brooks), a clown fish, is overly cautious with his son, Nemo (Alexander Gould), who has a foreshortened fin. When Nemo swims too close to the surface to prove himself, he is caught by a diver, and horrified Marlin must set out to find him. A blue reef fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) — who has a really short memory — joins Marlin and complicates the encounters with sharks, jellyfish, and a host of ocean dangers. Meanwhile, Nemo plots his escape from a dentist’s fish tank.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends: Board a “clamobile” and descend slowly below the waves, where Nemo’s friends flit through brightly colored coral reefs and gently swaying anemones. Dodge stinging jellyfish, underwater mines, a toothy anglerfish and an even toothier Bruce the shark. Catch a ride on the righteous East Australian Current with Crush the sea turtle and his little dude, Squirt. And don’t forget to Turtle Talk with Crush. But where’s Nemo? Just keep swimming til you find him!
Frozen plot: When their kingdom becomes trapped in perpetual winter, fearless Anna (Kristen Bell) joins forces with mountaineer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer sidekick to find Anna’s sister, Snow Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), and break her icy spell. Although their epic journey leads them to encounters with mystical trolls, a comedic snowman (Josh Gad), harsh conditions, and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff bravely push onward in a race to save their kingdom from winter’s cold grip.
Frozen Ever After Ride: Find a seat aboard your boat and let the lapping waters take you through a frozen willow forest. Soon, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with some “boulders”—a.k.a. Kristoff’s family from Troll Valley—before bracing for the cold. High up in the icy blue world of the North Mountain, Elsa’s enchanting ice palace awaits. Behold the wonder… and keep an eye out for Anna, Olaf and a few more Frozen friends. This enchanting “Summer Snow Day” celebration—complete with many of your favorite Frozen tunes—is sure to melt even the coldest hearts!
Ratatouille plot: Remy dreams of becoming a great chef, despite being a rat in a definitely rodent-phobic profession. He moves to Paris to follow his dream, and with the help of hapless garbage boy Linguini he puts his culinary skills to the test in the kitchen but he has to stay in hiding at the same time, with hilarious consequences. Remy eventually gets the chance to prove his culinary abilities to a great food critic but is the food good? A Pixar animation.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure: In this 4D ride experience, join Chef Remy on a daring culinary caper that will captivate all your senses as you zip, dash and scurry through the bustling kitchen, dining room and walls of Gusteau’s famous Paris restaurant. C’est magnifique!
Guardians of the Galaxy plot: Brash space adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) finds himself the quarry of relentless bounty hunters after he steals an orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain. To evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with four disparate misfits: gun-toting Rocket Raccoon, treelike-humanoid Groot, enigmatic Gamora, and vengeance-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when he discovers the orb’s true power and the cosmic threat it poses, Quill must rally his ragtag group to save the universe.
Cosmic Rewind: Take off on an intergalactic chase through space and time with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Movies To Watch Before Going To Disney World: Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Avatar plot: On the lush alien world of Pandora live the Na’vi, beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved. Because the planet’s environment is poisonous, human/Na’vi hybrids, called Avatars, must link to human minds to allow for free movement on Pandora. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paralyzed former Marine, becomes mobile again through one such Avatar and falls in love with a Na’vi woman (Zoe Saldana). As a bond with her grows, he is drawn into a battle for the survival of her world.
Pandora The World of Avatar: Board your own mountain banshee and embark on a thrilling expedition, where interstellar explorers like you get an up-close look at this moon’s incredible landscape. Bonding with a banshee is a crucial step in the life of a Na’vi hunter on Pandora—and flying on the back of one of these powerful creatures is an important rite of passage. Now, as a visitor to Pandora, you finally have the chance to test yourself like a Na’vi!
A Bug’s Life plot: Flik (Kang Su-jin) is an inventive ant who’s always messing things up for his colony. His latest mishap was destroying the food stores that were supposed to be used to pay off grasshopper Hopper (Lee Hyeon-seon). Now the strong-arming insect is demanding that the ants gather double the food — or face annihilation. To avert disaster, Flik goes on a journey to recruit fighters to defend the colony. When he meets a band of high-flying circus insects, he thinks he’s found his salvation.
It’s Tough To Be A Bug: Become an honorary insect as you take your seat in the theater hidden at the base of the Tree of Life and don a pair of “bug eye” glasses. Enjoy a delightful 3D movie and live show hosted by Flik, the loveable ant from A Bug’s Life, and learn how insects survive in the wild.
The Lion King plot: This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), the heir of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). Simba’s wicked uncle, Scar (Jeremy Irons), plots to usurp Mufasa’s throne by luring father and son into a stampede of wildebeests. But Simba escapes, and only Mufasa is killed. Simba returns as an adult (Matthew Broderick) to take back his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella).
Festival of the Lion King: Delight in a larger-than-life show filled with songs, pageantry and puppetry celebrating the classic movie, The Lion King.
Movies To Watch Before Going To Disney World: Hollywood Studios
Toy Story plot: Woody (Tom Hanks), a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy (John Morris), sees his position as Andy’s favorite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) action figure. Even worse, the arrogant Buzz thinks he’s a real spaceman on a mission to return to his home planet. When Andy’s family moves to a new house, Woody and Buzz must escape the clutches of maladjusted neighbor Sid Phillips (Erik von Detten) and reunite with their boy.
Toy Story Land: Introducing a new, magical land where you can shrink to the size of a toy! Filled with surprises at every turn, you and your family can discover a new kind of fun.
Toy Story Mania:Step inside Andy’s room and make your way through a toy chest full of classic games before picking up a pair of special 3D glasses. Then, board a carnival-inspired tram and use your spring-action shooter to take your best shot at an array of moving targets. Compete with other players for the highest score on all the fast-paced games. May the best toy win!
Slinky Dog Dash: Andy’s assembled his Mega Coaster Play Kit—and Slinky Dog is taking you on a wild ride. Slinky Dog’s springy coils stretch to the limit as you bend around curves, zoom up hills and drop back down. A spring is a marvelous thing—and this attraction is wonderful fun for the entire family!
Star Wars plot: The Imperial Forces — under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) — hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), captain of the Millennium Falcon, work together with the companionable droid duo R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance, and restore freedom and justice to the Galaxy.
Galaxy’s Edge: Discover your own Star Wars™ story and live your adventure in a galaxy far, far away, whilst exploring a remote outpost and flying the Millennium Falcon and battling Kylo Ren.
Star Tours: Board your Starspeeder 1000 and prepare for take off! When a series of mishaps unwittingly causes your starship to launch too soon, protocol droid C-3PO takes the controls. Suddenly, the ship is intercepted by Imperial—or First Order—forces searching for a Rebel spy. To avoid capture, you’ll embark on a thrilling, unpredictable flight that rockets you to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Featuring a flight simulator, digital 3D video, Audio-Animatronics characters and “in-cockpit” special effects and music, this attraction immerses you in the Star Wars mythology for an unforgettable intergalactic adventure. Will your starspeeder elude capture and make it back to the base? May the Force be with you—always.
Indiana Jones (all movies)
Indiana Jones plot: Epic tale in which an intrepid archaeologist tries to beat a band of Nazis to a unique religious relic which is central to their plans for world domination. Battling against a snake phobia and a vengeful ex-girlfriend, Indiana Jones is in constant peril, making hair’s-breadth escapes at every turn in this celebration of the innocent adventure movies of an earlier era.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular: Watch live as the daring duo dodges deadly traps, battles bad guys, leaps from tall buildings and makes thrilling escapes straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The edge-of-your-seat suspense ends with a dynamite finale! Along the way, get an inside look at how stunts are done with demonstrations that reveal how to safely throw and take punches, fall from tall buildings, and even wield whips in the midst of complex action sequences.
Cars (all movies)
Cars plot: In a world where the towns are peopled with cars, and even the bugs are mini motors, a young ambitious racing car called Lightning McQueen is a star. On his way to an important event he has to stop in the little town of Radiator Springs after he accidentally damages the road and is forced to repair it. He finds living in a community oddly endearing, making true friends and beginning to realise there’s more in life than winning. A Pixar animation.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy: To kick things off, Lightning demonstrates what he’s learned over the years by using his brand-new, state-of-the-art racing simulator and its wraparound screen. Of course, as this seasoned racer has discovered throughout his career, things don’t always go according to plan, and he has to think fast to get back on course. With Tow Mater, Cruz Ramirez and the gang from Radiator Springs rooting him on, Lightning gears up for the challenge. Will he emerge victorious? Speed on over to find out.
The Muppets plot: Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, is on vacation in Los Angeles with his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams). They discover that greedy Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to raze Muppet Studios and drill for oil on the spot. Desperate to save the Muppets’ former stomping grounds, the three friends join forces with Kermit to reunite Miss Piggy, Fozzie and the rest of the gang to hold a telethon to raise the $10 million they need to save the studio.
Muppet Vision 3D: Take your seat in a perfect replica of the Muppet Theater from the classic television series, The Muppet Show. As the curtain rises, Kermit, Miss Piggy and the whole Muppets menagerie appear in eye-popping 3D. They’re taking you on a zany tour of their lab and showing off their new movie-making invention: Muppet*Vision 3D. Things go haywire when Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker set a disastrous string of events in motion!
Twilight Zone plot: The Twilight Zone is an American anthology TV series that aired from 1959 to 1964, spanning 5 seasons and 156 episodes. The episodes are half-hour in length, except for season four which has full-hour.
Tower of Terror: Step uneasily inside the infamous Hollywood Tower Hotel and find a dusty lobby frozen in time. Even the subdued hotel staff seems strangely out of another era. Suddenly a television set springs to life and Rod Serling welcomes you on a journey into the Twilight Zone. He reveals that on a gloomy Halloween night in 1939, some hotel patrons were riding the elevator when a violent storm struck the building… and they were never seen again. The hotel closed down and has stood empty ever since.