20 Best Engaging Disney Movies for Toddlers

Jeff

Jeff

Pennsylvania's Jeff is a seasoned streaming technology expert at WatchTVAbroad. His expertise spans global legal streaming services, particularly for sports like MMA and boxing, TV shows, and movies. His knowledge, born from a late-teen passion for media, is extensive and highly respected.

Parents have been struggling to find good movies for young children ever since films became a thing.

However, after more than a century and a half of cinema, we have a bit easier time than people back in the day. Especially these days, when Disney+ offers the best Disney movies (and other movies) for toddlers, and kids of all ages, really.

Not to mention that even most adults will get drawn into them since most of us grew up watching Disney movies, as well.

Now, you are watching them with your own kids, as your parents watched them with you so long ago.

Disney movies are classics, and as such, they do not grow old. True, some of them might be considered a bit controversial these days, but we tried to keep those off the list.

What remains is the best Disney movies for toddlers, so you can keep them entertained while still giving them age-appropriate content.

Ready to keep your kids entertained? Keep scrolling down.

Toy Story (1995)

The first film on my list of the best Disney movies for toddlers is Toy Story. Toy Story was one of the first Disney films to really, truly blow up, and it became popular among kids and adults alike.

It grossed $373 million, and it ended up having multiple sequels due to its massive success. Toy Story is an animated movie, and it was actually created by Pixar Animation Studios. However, since Disney bought Pixar, it can now be considered a Disney movie.

However, unlike other Disney movies up to that time, it did not have much to do with Disney princesses and evil queens, but rather, it was a film about toys that are alive, but they fake being inanimate objects around humans.

Toy Story revolves around Woody, a cowboy toy who gets jealous when his kid gets a new favorite toy, which soon leads to a lot of trouble for both of them.

I love the original Toy Story and while I’m not a huge fan of the sequels, young kids will definitely love them all.

The film stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Erik von Detten, and others.

The Lion King (1994)

Moving on, we have The Lion King. Now, The Lion King is only one year older than Toy Story, but it might be an even bigger hit. It is a completely different movie, and it can definitely be called a Disney classic, not to mention one of the best Disney movies for toddlers.

Most people know The Lion King well, it is a story about Simba, a lion cub who is supposed to be the lion king after his father.

However, in an unfortunate turn of events, he comes to believe that he is responsible for his father’s death, when in fact, it was Scar, the king’s brother.

Simba runs away, and grows up in exile, while Scar, in control of the land, leads it to ruin. After that, Simba returns, and reclaims his place as the lion king.

The Lion King is a lion-ized story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, so it does have some adult themes. But, it was done brilliantly, and it is safe for young kids to watch.

However, if you have very young children, Scar could seem somewhat scary. My own toddler didn’t seem phased though.

The film stars Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Rowan Atkinson, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, and others.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Another classic Disney movie that everyone has seen in their youth is The Little Mermaid. This is a story that will definitely keep the kids entertained while showing them the amazing world underwater, and they will love watching Ariel’s adventures.

As for the film itself, it is a fun movie that follows Ariel, the little mermaid, who decides that she wants a pair of legs after falling in love with a human prince. An underwater witch offers to take away her tail and give her legs in exchange for her voice, and Ariel accepts.

She becomes human, and experiences life outside of the sea, and things seem to be going well, but after a little while, she realizes that she must go back on the deal to save her father’s life.

The Little Mermaid is one of the best Disney movies for toddlers because it offers a timeless story, catchy songs, and an engaging story. My daughter loves Ariel’s long red hair and there’s plenty for boys to enjoy too.

The film stars Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Pat Carroll, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Jason Marin, and others.

The Jungle Book (1967)

Speaking of the best Disney movies for toddlers, we cannot make a list without mentioning The Jungle Book. Another amazing story by Walt Disney Pictures, The Jungle Book, is filled with great, catchy tunes, talking animals, and important life lessons.

The Jungle Book follows the story of Mowgli, a human child raised by wolves in the jungle.

Mowgli leaves the home of the wolves after a ferocious tiger, Shere Khan, threatens his life, and the lives of the wolves who took him in.

After leaving home, he meets a number of unique characters, some friendly, others not so much. However, along the way, he also learns a lot about himself and finds the courage to face his enemy.

The film has a few intense scenes, so if your child scares easily you may want to be on your guard to fast-forward, but apart from that, it is a fun movie for the whole family.

The film stars Bruce Reitherman, Sebastian Cabot, Phil Harris, Sterling Holloway, Louis Prima, and others.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Moving on, we have Finding Nemo, which is the first movie on this list that was released in the 2000s. One of the best animated movies of its time, Finding Nemo is a perfect film for a family movie night.

It is about a young clownfish called Nemo, who is his father’s only surviving child. However, after he also disappears, his father embarks on a journey to find him, hence the title, Finding Nemo, accompanied by Dory, a blue tang fish with short-term memory loss.

Finding Nemo was a critical and commercial success, and also one of the first Disney films to address mental and physical disabilities.

Finding Nemo teaches kids that even persons with disabilities can be the heroes of the story, and this is an important message to sink in at a young age. This is why we consider it one of the best Disney movies for toddlers, and we highly encourage watching it.

The film stars Alexander Could, Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, and others.

The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh (1977)

One of the best Disney movies for toddlers is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and given its age, it is likely that most of today’s parents grew up watching this Disney movie themselves.

The movie is as relatable and amusing as it has always been, with simple childlike mishaps featured in its stories, no dark or controversial content. just harmless fun that young kids will be able to appreciate.

It is the best Disney movie to keep your child occupied for a while as they follow the adventures of Pooh, his friend Christopher Robin, and other animals.

The story revolves around searching for a missing honey pot, and along the way, the characters, as well as kids who watch the film, learn valuable lessons about cooperation, friendship, teamwork, and more.

The film stars Sterling Holloway, Bruce Reitherman, John Fiedler, Junius Matthews, Paul Winchell, Hal Smith, and others.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is another classic Disney movie that kids and grown-ups have been watching for ages. One of the first Disney movies based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, it came out in 1937, which means that it will turn 86 years in 2023.

The story is well-known to all of us, it is about Snow White, a young girl who escapes the evil queen and her huntsman into the forest, and start living with the seven dwarfs.

However, after the evil queen learns that Snow White is alive, she creates a poisoned apple and disguises herself as an old woman. She then visits Snow White and offers her the apple. With a single bite, Snow White falls asleep so deeply that everyone believes she died.

The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs does have a few frightening scenes but nothing too bad, and the scary scenes are quite short. The animated feature film has a happy ending, and that is what matters most.

It is one of the older films and while kids don’t seem to mind, if you’re an adult watching along you may find it a bit tame compared to today’s offerings.

The film stars Adriana Caseloti, Lucille La Verne, Roy Atwell, Billy Gilbert, Scotty Mattraw, Otis Harlan, Harry Stockwell, and others.

Peter Pan (1953)

Another one of the best Disney movies for toddlers is Peter Pan, one of the best Disney films overall.

The opening scene shows the parents of three children leaving their home while the kids are going to bed. However, as soon as the parents are gone, Peter Pan, a young man who can fly and never gets old, enters the house, searching for his shadow.

In an attempt to find it, he wakes up the children and offers them to fly away with him into the Neverland, where they will never grow old.

However, once there, they find out that even this mysterious and magical land isn’t without flaws, as the infamous Captain Hook seeks a way to take his revenge on Peter.

But, like all Walt Disney movies, the film features many adventures of its main characters and a happy ending where kids learn that growing up is not a thing to be afraid of.

The film stars Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Tommy Luske, Heather Angel, Bill Thompson, and others.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

One of the newer films by Walt Disney Animation Studios is Wreck-It Ralph, a popular animated movie that we also consider one of the best Disney movies for toddlers.

It revolves around Wreck-It Ralph, a kind-hearted game character whose purpose is to destroy everything in his game.

However, he finally has a way to help someone when he meets Vanellope, not quite a Disney princess, but the closest thing to it.

Vanellope is a character from another game, and she is obsessed with candy, which as you can imagine is a very appealing part of the film to young girls and boys.

Best of all, Wreck-It Ralph is equally fun for kids and adults, so if you want to watch movies with your kids, this one should definitely be on the list.

The film stars John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Rich Moore, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, and others.

Cinderella (1950)

Now, if you are interested in Disney movies with the most famous Disney princesses in the history of cinema, then Disney Cinderella is the film to watch.

One of the first and oldest Disney princess movies, this is a film about Cinderella, a young girl whose father remarries after the death of her mother.

However, Cinderella’s stepmother is a strict woman who dislikes her and only loves her two daughters. As for Cinderella, her evil stepmother and two evil step-sisters make her work all day and most of the night.

Her one wish is to go to the royal ball, but even that is denied to her. However, things change when her fairy godmother hears her cries and helps her get her wish. The only condition is that she has to be home by midnight, and Cinderella fails to do.

The film stars Ilene Woods, Verna Felton, Eleanor Audley, Rhoda Williams, Jimmy MacDonald, and others.

Mary Poppins (1964)

Another Disney classic that people of all ages can, should, and do watch to this day is Mary Poppins. This is a film from 1964, and it was a critical and commercial success upon its release, with 13 Academy Award nominations.

It revolves around a dysfunctional family, living in London, England. However, the family members’ relationships drastically change after the arrival of Mary Poppins.

Through the use of her magical powers, she helps the family overcome their problems, teaching them the importance of family bonds.

This is a lot of people’s favorite Disney film, and I would not be surprised if your children end up loving it just as much as the rest of us when we were kids.

A great movie overall, it withstood the test of time, with memorable characters, great music, and important lessons about loving your family. I especially like the songs in this one, do you agree?

The film stars Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, Glynis Johns, and others.

Zootopia (2016)

One of the newest animated movies on this list which also became a huge hit among viewers is Zootopia. Set in a world where animals can talk and they have their own society, the story revolves around a bunny police officer Judy Hopps and her new partner, the fox Nick Wilde.

While the two are natural enemies in the wild, they have to work together to solve a crime.

The film also has a major twist in the end, when it turns out that predator animals, which are feared by prey animals throughout the movie, and blamed for everything, turn out to be innocent.

We see this as one of the best Disney movies for toddlers, as it teaches that one’s nature doesn’t make one evil and that everyone deserves a chance.

The film stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Rich Moore, Byron Howard, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, and others.

Moana (2016)

Another of the best Disney movies for toddlers is Moana, which came out the same year as Zootopia. This one, however, is a film that doesn’t feature your typical Disney princess of old.

The story revolves around Moana, the village chief’s daughter who has the power to control the ocean.

But, the problem is that the world in this Disney movie is dying, and she is the only one who can stop it, by finding an ancient Demigod and making him return what he stole from nature.

Moana is the first Disney movie to tackle the Polynesian culture, and it does it very well, teaching children about right and wrong, never giving up, and also about a deeply interesting foreign culture.

In fact, The Guardian summed it up by describing it as “a joyous tale of a Polynesian teenager’s quest to save her homeland, which boasts eye-watering visuals, earworm songs and heart-swelling messages about respect for the past and hopes for the future.”

Unlike films of old, Moana has a more realistic body image shying away from the traditional ultra-thin, blond hair, blue-eyed stereotype.

The film stars Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, and Temuera Morrison.

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

One of the most popular Disney movies of all time is Alice In Wonderland, a film inspired by the classic novel of the same name, written by Lewis Carroll. This is a story that was remade countless times, in movies, shows, games, you name it.

However, the classic fairy tale by Disney remains the best-known and the most loved version. It is about a young girl called Alice, who chases the white rabbit into its hole, only to end up in a strange, mad land where she has many adventures.

After she finds herself in danger in this bizarre world, she wakes up at the last second, realizing it was all a dream.

This is a movie that jumpstarts kids’ imaginations and makes them love interesting stories. It definitely deserves its place on the list of the best Disney movies for toddlers.

While Alice is certainly popular, it isn’t personally one of my favorites. I find the world and story a little strange, but it may spark your little one’s creative imagination.

The film stars Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, Sterling Holloway, Richard Haydn, Bill Thompson, and others.

Aladdin (1992)

Among many Disney films, few are as entertaining as Aladdin. Inspired by the Middle-Eastern folk tale from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, this is a Disney movie loved by everyone to date primarily due to incredible performance of Robin Williams, who plays the Genie.

The story revolves around Aladdin, a young street rat who was tricked into recovering a lamp for Sultan’s wizard, Jaffar. However, after he gets trapped in the treasure cave, he discovers that the lamp houses a Genie who can fulfill almost any three wishes.

Using his wits, Aladdin tricks the Genie into taking him out of the cave, and uses his wishes for riches. While things don’t go the way this Disney character had expected, he still ends up getting the most important things in life, the love of a beautiful princess and the friendship of the most powerful being in the world.

The film stars Robin Williams, Scot Weinger, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Douglas Seale, and others.

Frozen (2013)

Moving on, we have Frozen, absolutely the biggest animated movie on this side of the 2000s, which has captivated young girls and boys from all over the world.

Undoubtedly the best animated film in many decades, it tells the story of Elsa, a princess with ice powers, and her younger sister, Anna.

After their parents disappear, Elsa is to become a queen. However, scared of her powers, she runs away to become the Ice Queen far away from anyone she could hurt.

But, this is not the origin story of an evil queen, instead, it is a warm story about the love between two sisters that kids watch over and over again, and can never get enough of.

It is the best animated feature film that Disney has produced in a long time, and it definitely deserves a watch. The Guardian commented on it by saying that “there are lovable characters and a robust, satisfying story with a big heart and a neat twist.”

If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll be singing “let it go, let it goooooo” soon enough, I know I do!

The film stars Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, and others.

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Next, we have one of the Disney classics, another story that at least three or four generations have grown up watching, the 1959’s Sleeping Beauty.

This animated feature film follows the story of Aurora, a princess who was destined to fall into a deep 100-year-long sleep due to a curse inflicted by an evil fairy, Maleficent.

In order to prevent that, three good fairies hide her deep in the forest, and raise her as their own. However, unable to cheat destiny, she still fulfills the curse, and falls into a deep sleep.

The fairies do the only thing they can, and cast a spell that puts the entire castle and everyone in it to the same prolonged sleep, so that Aurora wouldn’t be alone when she finally wakes up.

One hundred years later, a young and handsome prince finally lifts the curse by slaying the evil fairy, and wakes the sleeping princess with true love’s kiss.

The film stars Mary Costa, Eleanor Audley, Taylor Holmes, Bill Shirley, and others.

Tarzan (1999)

Moving on, we have Tarzan. Now, this is one of the great movies that doesn’t feature any princesses or castles, but instead, it revolves around Tarzan, a baby whose parents survived a sea storm during which their ship sank.

The only survivors, they wash up on a deserted island where they make a home, but end up killed by a leopard.

Tarzan, the only survivor, gets saved and adopted by gorillas, and grows up to become one of them until one day, humans come to the island, and he realizes that he has far more in common with them, than with the great apes.

One of the instant Disney classics, Tarzan has been one of the most popular stories in book and on screen, and your kids can watch him as an animated character as he tries to understand who he is and where he belongs.

The film stars Tony Goodwyn, Minnie Driver, Rosie O’Donnell, Brian Blessed, Glenn Close, and others.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Nearing the end of this Disney movie list, we have Beauty and the Beast. Another very popular film at the time, which recently received a live-action remake, the film revolves around Beast, who used to be a handsome but arrogant prince who got cursed by an enchantress, alongside all the staff of his castle.

The enchantress gave him a magical rose and told him that he must find true love before the last petal falls off, or he will remain a monster forever.

For many long years, he keeps getting more and more angry and desperate, until he meets Belle, who finally starts to draw him out of his isolation.

The beast can be slightly scary for very young children so judge your little one best if you decide to give this a binge-watch.

The film stars Robby Benson, Paige O’Hara, Richard White, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, and others.

Tangled (2010)

Finally, the last on our list is another one of the extremely popular Disney movies called Tangled.

This is a film about Rapunzel, and it tells the story that we all know, a girl with extremely long hair locked up in a tower by a witch who one day lets down her hair for a handsome prince to climb and save her.

However, instead of a handsome prince, she gets a local con man, Flynn Rider. Meanwhile, instead of a helpless princess, this Disney movie features a funny, kind, creative, and rather skilled daredevil princess who wishes to see the world.

The film has an excellent soundtrack, characters that are too easy to fall in love with, a very exciting story, and more.

The film stars Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, and Donna Murphy.

Summary

Many of the films above have been remade either into live action movies, complete remakes or in a remastered form.

You’ll find all of the classic movies and remakes on Disney Plus.

Which is your favorite on the list? Or did I miss it completely? Let me know in the comments section below as I would love to hear which you (and your children) love the most!

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