25 heartwarming musicals to watch on Disney+
Warm up your vocals 'cause it's time to sing.
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From animated classics like Beauty and the Beast to live-action blockbusters like Hamilton, musicals are some of the most beloved Disney properties for a reason. I still remember many (... ok, all) of the lyrics to songs from films like The Lion King and The Sound of Music, due to the sheer number of times I requested those films be put on when I was small.
Musicals form seminal memories for many people, and whether you’re experiencing a fit of nostalgia, looking for new-old films to show the people in your life, or just want to settle in and sing along to a classic, Disney+ has plenty of musicals to choose from.
Here are 25 of the best musicals you can find on Disney+.
Live-action musicals on Disney Plus
1. The Sound of Music (1965)
Odds are, even if you haven't seen this classic, you already know a few of its iconic song lyrics. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music features the story of Maria (Julie Andrews), a headstrong young nun living in 1938 Austria who is sent to the villa of a local widower, Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), to be a governess for his children. Directed by Robert Wise, The Sound of Music is lush, joyful, and features hit songs like "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," and "Maria."
2. Hamilton (2020)
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical about Revolutionary War leader Alexander Hamilton broke countless records and garnered critical acclaim upon its release in 2015, and the recorded original cast performance of the musical can be found in its entirety on Disney+. Hamilton has cleverly crafted sets, gorgeous costumes, and beautiful staging, so the opportunity to view the musical as it’s intended to be seen is a real treat. The Broadway cast performance stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Anthony Ramos, Christopher Jackson, Jonathan Groff, and more.
3. Mary Poppins (1964)
Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke dazzle as Mary Poppins and Bert in this classic film about a nanny and a chimney sweep who help bring the dysfunctional and distant members of the Banks family back together. Mary Poppins is based on the book series of the same name by P. L. Travers and received 13 Academy Award nominations when it debuted in 1964, making it one of the only Disney films to garner so much critical acclaim.
4. Into the Woods (2014)
Stephen Sondheim's lyricism is on full display in this filmed adaptation of the 1986 Broadway musical "Into the Woods." Directed by Rob Marshall, Into the Woods stars Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, and many more in a retelling of several different Grimm Brothers fairy tales, such as "Cinderella" and "Little Red Riding Hood," where the characters from the original tales are forced to contemplate the events of their stories through interwoven narratives.
5. Newsies (1992)
Directed by Kenny Ortega and starring Christian Bale, Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall, and more, Newsies features the story of Jack "Cowboy" Kelly, a newspaper hawker in New York who wants to bring justice to the newsies he represents by striking against their mutual employers and ensuring that they all earn a just wage. Newsies is consistently ranked low on critical lists, but the songs and book from the original film were adapted by Disney Theatrical Productions in 2011 to rave reviews, the Broadway show earning eight Tony Award nominations.
6. Annie (1999)
There have been several film and television adaptations of the story of Annie, an orphan who is adopted by a wealthy New York businessman, but the 1999 Annie starring Kathy Bates, Broadway legend Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Victor Garber, and Broadway queen Audra McDonald is absolutely fantastic. Apart from having a powerhouse cast, the 1999 Annie also has incredible songs such as "Hard Knock Life," "Tomorrow," and "I Don't Need Anything But You."
7. High School Musical (2006)
Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, and Lucas Grabeel star in this deeply iconic live-action musical about teens performing in their high school musical. Troy Bolton (Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Hudgens) meet and later try out for the lead roles in their high school musical, competing with Sharpay (Tisdale) and Ryan Evans (Grabeel) for the roles and navigating their individual high school cliques.
In case that wasn't meta enough, you can also catch High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a series about teens producing and starring in "High School Musical" from the original film, on Disney+.
8. The Greatest Showman (2017)
Hugh Jackman, Zach Efron, Michelle Williams, and Zendaya star in this musical about P. T. Barnum's creation of the Barnum's American Museum. Directed by Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman features hit songs like Academy Award-nominated "This is Me," "The Other Side," and more.
9. Camp Rock (2008)
Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers star in this upbeat, pop musical about a young girl, Mitchie (Lovato) who goes to rock camp over the summer to try her hand at becoming a pop sensation. While at Camp Rock, she meets teens with similar musical dreams and forms a connection with Shane Gray (Joe Jonas), one of the members of a pop group that attends Camp Rock.
10. The Cheetah Girls(2003)
Cheetah Girls, Cheetah sisters. This musical film (based on the books of the same name by Deborah Gregory) stars Raven Symoné, Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams, and Sabrina Bryan as the Cheetah Girls, a girl band trying to make it big in the music industry. If you ever owned a Disney Mix Stick, it's likely you had "Cinderella" or "Girl Power" on a loop.
11. Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997)
Whitney Houston's live-action Cinderella starring Brandy, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, and Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, is one of the most delightful adaptations of "Cinderella." The film features a diverse cast and a more modern orchestration of the classic "Cinderella" songs.
Animated musicals on Disney Plus
12. The Lion King (1994)
Perhaps the most beloved musical Disney film (and a beloved Broadway musical), The Lion King features the story of Simba, a young lion growing up on Pride Rock and learning what it means to have responsibility for more than yourself, what it means to fall in love, and what it means to experience loss. Starring Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Cummings, and many more, The Lion King was part of the Alan Menken era of critically acclaimed animated Disney musicals, and continues to enthrall viewers with hit songs like “The Circle of Life,” “Be Prepared,” “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” and many more.
13. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Witness a tale as old as time in the form of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This classic musical about the tale of a bookish young woman, Belle (Maureen O’Hara) and the Beast she is imprisoned by (and later befriends). Featuring lush, beautiful visuals, highly memorable songs like “Be Our Guest” and “Belle,” and fantastic characters in the form of Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Chip and Mrs. Potts, and more, Beauty and the Beast has entranced audiences for years, and you can catch the original film as well as its live-action remake on Disney+.
14. Moana (2016)
Lin-Manuel Miranda dazzles again through the music for Moana, a musical about a young girl named Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) who lives on an island called Montunui in the Pacific Ocean. For many years, the sailors of Montunui traveled beyond the island across the sea, but in recent years their home has begun to experience blight and sailors find it hard to sail beyond the reef surrounding the island. With the help of the god Maui (Dwayne Johnson), Moana sets out to return the god Te Fiti's heart and restore her people to what they once were.
15. Coco (2017)
Prepare to cry. Academy Award-winning Disney Pixar film Coco, the story of a young boy named Miguel Rivera who dreams of playing music despite his family's deep dislike of music, is rooted in the imagery and tradition of the Mexican Día de Muertos and follows Miguel on a journey through memory and history as he goes to the realm of the dead to find his great-grandmother Coco's father. Featuring stellar voice performances by Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Anthony Gonzalez, Alanna Ubach, and more of the all-Latinx principal cast, Coco is an instant classic that will have you singing along to "Remember Me" long after you've watched it.
16. The Princess and the Frog (2009)
The Princess and the Frog is one of the most original Disney animated musicals to date. Set in New Orleans, this joyful, upbeat tale of a hardworking young woman named Tiana who becomes embroiled in the middle of a magical mixup that turns her into a frog is beautifully animated and has some of the best songs in modern Disney musicals to date. The Princess and the Frog stars Anika Noni Rose, Oprah Winfrey, John Goodman, Keith David, Jennifer Lewis, and more, and features hit songs like "Friends on the Other Side," "Almost There," and many more.
17. Tangled (2010)
Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi star in this musical retelling of "Rapunzel." Rapunzel (Moore) is stolen away from her parents upon her birth by Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy). When Gothel realizes that Rapunzel's hair has magical healing properties, she locks the child up and raises her in a tower. After living for most of her life in a remote tower, Rapunzel gets a chance to escape in the form of Flynn Rider (Levi), who helps her discover her identity.
18. Aladdin (1992)
Robin Williams delivers an incredible performance as the Genie in this beautiful musical adaptation of the folk story of the same name from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. Aladdin is directed by Ron Clements and John Musker and scored by Alan Menken. Aladdin (Scott Weinger) is a thief living on the streets of Agrabah when he runs across Jasmine (Linda Larkin, sung by Lea Salonga), and forever changes both of their lives, all while avoiding the machinations of the villainous Jafar (Jonathan Freeman).
19. The Little Mermaid (1989)
Dive under the sea in The Little Mermaid, Disney's adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson story of the same name about the tale of a young mermaid named Ariel who wishes she could live on land. The Little Mermaid is a classic, inviting audiences to take a journey into Ariel's world alongside Sebastian, Flounder, and Scuttle through songs like "Under the Sea," "Part of Your World," and more.
20. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
While rather dark compared to some of the animated Disney musicals out of the Menken era (or indeed, compared to most Disney films), The Hunchback of Notre Dame is no less brilliant. The animated musical film, based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, features the story of Quasimodo, a man living in the bell tower of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and dreaming of a life beyond the walls of his home.
The songs in the musical are all uniquely fantastic, but "The Bells of Notre Dame" is one of the best Disney songs. Full stop.
21. Frozen (2013)
Frozen remains one of the most popular and high-grossing animated films of all time, and if you have yet to jump on the pop culture phenomenon starring Idina Menzel, Kristin Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad, you're missing out. Frozen features the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, as they attempt to deal with the effects of Elsa's powers and the expectations placed upon them both. Mainly, though, Frozen features Olaf, the sentient snowman who likes warm hugs.
22. Hercules (1997)
Let the muses take you on a journey through the world of Greek gods, monsters, and heroes in Hercules. Directed by Ron Clements and John Muskers, this classic—as in, antiquities—story follows Hercules, son of Zeus, and his rise from zero to hero under the guidance of Phil (voiced by Danny Devito). Come for the singing and Greek-inspired visuals, and stay for James Woods' voice performance as Hades, the put-upon god of the Underworld.
23. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
Directed by Robert Stevenson and starring the iconic Angela Lansbury (who is also Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast), Bedknobs and Broomsticks features the story of three young children who are shipped to northern England during the London Blitz, to the house of a witch (Lansbury) named Miss Price who is attempting to complete her witch certification via a correspondence school.
24. Anastasia (1997)
Anastasia is not actually a Disney film, but it has its home on Disney+. Anastasia features the story of the young Romanov princess Anastasia, known as Anya (Meg Ryan), as she returns to Russia in order to find her family. Along the way, Anastasia is pursued by Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) as he attempts to eliminate the rest of the Romanov line. Anastasia was fairly recently made into a Broadway musical, featuring many of the songs from the original film including "Once Upon a December."
25. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton's story of a skeletal protagonist Jack Skellington from Halloween Town who wants to become Santa Claus, The Nightmare Before Christmas has everything one could want in a Halloween/Christmas animated musical. Apart from, arguably (very arguably), the best Halloween song of all time in the form of “This is Halloween,” The Nightmare Before Christmas also features revolutionary stop-motion animation, music by Danny Elfman, and a stellar cast that includes Chris Sarandon and Catherine O'Hara.
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