The Best Movies to Watch Before Visiting Disney World

Are you looking for a fun way to get excited about your upcoming Disney trip? This list is the best movies to watch before visiting Disney World to get you excited and familiar with the rides and attractions.

A great way to countdown to your Disney vacation is by planning family movie nights featuring some of the must-see movies from the Disney film collection.

Disney plus has made Disney movies much more accessible to watch before you visit the parks. A lot of the characters to meet in the parks are the main character from these beloved animated classics.

When visiting Disney World it is nice to have some familiarity with the characters and attractions. We usually countdown to our Disney World vacation with Disney themed movie nights to get us excited for the trip.

We put this list together based on some of our favorite Disney movies, and where you can find attractions, shows, or characters in the Disney World parks. Most of these movies can also be found on Disney+.

Check out this list of Disney+ movies that are great for family movie night.

Best Movies to Watch Before Going to Disney World

The four Disney theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom all have places to meet characters and have attractions based on movies.

Whether this is your first time visiting Disney World or you’re a return visitor, watching the movies that inspired the rides helps everyone get excited for the trip.


Magic Kingdom

At Magic Kingdom guests can fly on the Magic Carpet, a ride similar to Dumbo, and also meet Aladdin and Jasmine. Aladdin has a live action movie or the animated classic as a choice for a family movie night.


Epcot has the Morocco pavilion in the World Showcase and guests can meet Princess Jasmine at the Lamps of Wonder location.

Alice in Wonderland

Magic Kingdom

Alice in Wonderland is another movie that has a live action and animated version. Both are currently on Disney+. There are a few places you can find Alice in Wonderland at Disney World.

Magic Kingdom is home to the Mad Tea Party Tea Cups as well as character meet and greets from Alice and the Mad Hatter. Sometimes you will see the Queen of Hearts meeting guests as well.

Across from the Mad Tea Party is a bakery called the Cheshire Cafe. Here you can pick up a coffee and pastry themed to the Alice in Wonderland cat.


In the United Kingdom pavilion guests can meet Alice at The Tea Caddy Gardens. This is usually a quiet meet and greet and the lines don’t get too long.


Avatar may be the most amazing area to walk through in all of the Disney Parks. Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Pandora-The World of Avatar is an incredible land with two great attractions.

We have not seen the Avatar movie and still appreciated the land and attractions. The movie is more geared toward older kids, and is an option if you are visiting the parks teens.

Read: The Best Rides at Animal Kingdom for Families

Flight of Passage attraction at Animal Kingdom.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies and there are a few places in the parks you can find them at the Disney parks.

Magic Kingdom

At Magic Kingdom you can dine in Beast’s castle. This is probably the most amazing thing to do for a Beauty and the Beast fan. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.

Breakfast and lunch are kind of quick-service but you have to make reservations. Dinner is pricier than breakfast and lunch but the Beast is there to meet.

You can also meet Belle at Enchanted Tales with Belle. This is next door to Be Our Guest and is an interactive retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story. Guests have an opportunity to play their favorite characters and be part of the show.

You can also visit Gaston’s Tavern for a cinnamon roll and meet the man himself at Belle’s Village Courtyard.


Another place you can see Beauty and the Beast is in Epcot. There is a brand new Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along in the France pavilion and you can also meet Belle in this area.

Bug’s Life

Bug’s Life is an often underrated Pixar movie but it is really good! It’s Tough to Be a Bug is a 3D show located inside the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It can be a little creepy for some kids but it’s a good attraction at the park.


There are 3 Cars movies you can watch before you visit Disney World and one park to meet them.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests can watch the Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy show and meet Cruz Ramirez and DJ from the movie.

Guests can also stay in a Cars themed resort at the Art of Animation Resort on Disney property. The Art of Animation also has Nemo, The Lion King, and the Little Mermaid themed areas.

cars at art of animation resort

Classic Mickey Cartoons (Fab Five)

You can meet all the Disney Fab Five characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Pluto throughout the four Disney theme parks.

There is The Barnstormer roller coaster and Mickey’s PhilharMagic (3D Show) at Magic Kingdom.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be the first Mickey themed attraction opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is so much fun for all ages.

The Barnstormer at Magic Kingdom.
The Barnstormer at Magic Kingdom.


Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a classic ride at the Magic Kingdom. Guests can play in the waiting area playground, soar up in the sky on Dumbo, and there is even a photo-op between the attraction.

You have two options for watching Dumbo. Enjoy the classic cartoon or watch the newest Dumbo live action movie.

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo and Finding Dory are classic Disney movies that are great for families. There are two parks that Nemo can be found.


At Epcot there are two attractions. They are The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush. You can also explore the aquarium areas at Bruce’s Shark World.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom has one of my favorite shows at any of the parks: Finding Nemo: The Musical. This show is incredible. It has amazing music and I was blown away by the production.


Frozen can be found in two locations at the Disney Parks.


Epcot is where you can meet Anna & Elsa and also ride the Frozen attraction. If you have a Frozen fan in your family Epcot is the place to go.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has the Frozen Sing Along. I actually didn’t think we would like this but it was so much fun. The kids really enjoyed it. The actors were funny and the entire show is very engaging.

You can also meet Olaf at Hollywood Studios in the Echo Lake Celebrity Spotlight area.

The Lion King

The original Lion King animated movies is one of the best and is worth watching before you visit Animal Kingdom.

The Lion King can be found at Animal Kingdom at the Festival of the Lion King show. This show celebrates the music of the movie. You can also meet Rafiki and Timon at Animal Kingdom.

Learn More: Where to Meet Characters at Animal Kingdom

Monster Inc.

Hollywood Studios

Monsters Inc. fans can meet Sulley and Mike Wazowski at Hollywood Studios.This is a fun meet and greet for families. We always enjoy meeting their larger than life personalities.

Magic Kingdom

There is also an interactive comedy show at the Magic Kingdom. Guests can submit jokes to be read during the show and often get asked to participate.

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride existed long before the movies but they have incorporated parts of the story into the attraction.

One notable addition is Jack Sparrow can be found throughout the Magic Kingdom attraction. Guests can also meet Jack Sparrow outside the ride.

Peter Pan

Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the most popular attractions at the Magic Kingdom. The lines get very long and this should be at the top of your list when visiting the park.

Peter Pan can also be found walking around Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom to meet guests.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Magic Kingdom

There is a family fun roller coaster at Magic Kingdom themed to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is called Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

You can also meet Snow White at the Germany Pavilion at Epcot. During special events, like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you may have the opportunity to meet the Seven Dwarfs.

Star Wars Movies

Star Wars can be found at Hollywood Studios. You can meet Kylo Ren and Chewbecca as well as enter Batuu, a fully immersive Star Wars land. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has two attractions Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon.

There is a third attraction Star Tours that is not located in Star Ways Galaxy’s Edge. This attraction has been at Hollywood Studios for many years and is always a fun one.

Guests can also build a Droid at the Droid Depot or build a Light Saber. If you are a Star Wars fan you definitely want to check out Galaxy’s Edge.

The Little Mermaid

Magic Kingdom

The Little Mermaid has an attraction at the Magic Kingdom, Under the Sea-Journey of The Little Mermaid. This dark ride attraction takes guests through the Little Mermaid story. You can also meet Ariel as a mermaid next door to the attraction.

Toy Story Movies

The Toy Story franchise spans 4 movies and 20 years. It is a classic. You can find Toy Story attractions in two places at Walt Disney World.

Hollywood Studios

The first is at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios has Toy Story Land. Guests will shrink to the size of a toy and explore Andy’s backyard. Toy Story Land has 3 attractions: Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucer, and Toy Story Mania.

You can meet Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, and Bo-Peep too! There is also a quick service dining option, Woody’s Lunchbox and opening March 23rd Roundup Rodeo BBQ.

Learn more: Where to Find Toy Story at Disney World

toy story land at disney hollywood studios

Magic Kingdom

You can also find Toy Story at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

When you visit the Magic Kingdom make your way to Tomorrowland to meet Buzz and ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. This attraction is closely aligned with the introduction of Zurg in Toy Story 2.

Winnie the Pooh (Movies & TV Specials)

There are so many movies and tv shows created around the beloved characters from Winnie the Pooh. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a family favorite and we also enjoyed the live action Christopher Robin film.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a family fun attraction at the Magic Kingdom. I love that it is great for families with kids of all ages.

You can also meet Winnie the Pooh and Tigger at the Magic Kingdom. Winnie the Pooh can also be met at Epcot.

If you want more time with the characters Winnie the Pooh and Tigger can be met at the 1900 Park Fare Breakfast.

Tower of Terror (Movie)

A few times an attraction comes along that inspires a movie. Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios is one of those attractions.

The movie was made after the attraction, even though The Twilight Zone existed long before. This ride is a bit scary and you don’t really need to know the story before you arrive.

Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror


UP! may be one of the most emotional movies ever! It has me crying in the first 15 minutes every time I watch it. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom there are three ways to celebrate the movie at the parks.

Animal Kingdom has a meet and greet where you can visit wtih Russell and Dug. There is also a show called UP! A Great Bird Adventure that runs multiple times throughout the day.

One of my favorite things to do is become a Wilderness Explorer at the park.

This is a free activity that allows guests to earn badges as they work there way through the park. You can read all the details in this article about How to Become a Wilderness Explorer at Animal Kingdom.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardian’s of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is an indoor coaster that is the latest thrill ride at Epcot. It is very popular. Guests should secure an lightning lane pass or join the virtual queue.


Ratatouille is located in the France pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot. This family friendly dark ride originated in Disneyland Paris and has become a family favorite in the states.


Moana is getting its own attraction at Epcot. This will be an interactive water attraction that is set to open in 2023.

The Princess and the Frog

Splash Mountain is closed and will be transformed to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure when it opens in 2024.

Movies to Watch and Characters to Meet at the Disney Parks

This quick list of movies do not have attractions but they do have character meet and greets. Be sure to check the My Disney Experience app for the most updated character information.

  • Wreck It Ralph- Meet Ralph and Vanellope at Epcot.
  • Cinderella- Meet Cinderella, Anastasia, and Drizella at the Magic Kingdom.
  • Inside Out- Meet Joy and Sadness at Epcot.
  • Lilo & Stitch- Meet Stitch at the Magic Kingdom. Also meet Lilo & Stitch at Ohana’ Breakfast.
  • The Princess and the Frog- Meet Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom. Opening in 2024 Taina’s Bayou Adventure (Replacing Splash Mountain)
  • Sleeping Beauty- Meet Princess Aurora at Epcot.
  • Mulan- Meet Mulan at Epcot.
  • Brave- Meet Merida at the Magic Kingdom.
  • The Incredibles- Meet Edna Mode, Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, and Frozone at Hollywood Studios.
  • Disney Junior Characters- Meet Elena at Magic Kingdom and Doc McStuffins, Vampirina at Hollywood Studios.
  • Tangled- Meet Rapunzel at Magic Kingdom. There is also a Tangled theme restroom and sitting area at Magic Kingdom that we love.

With this list of best movies to watch before going to Disney World you and your family will build excitement and be ready to enjoy the characters come to life at the parks.

Read Next: Guide to the Best Disney Resorts for Kids (Updated 2023)

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2 thoughts on “The Best Movies to Watch Before Visiting Disney World”

    • I would watch the Pirates of the Caribbean because of pirate night and you can meet Jack Sparrow. Also all the classic Disney characters, Mickey/Minnie/Goofy are there as well as some princess meet and greets. Be sure to make reservations for these meet and greets on the cruise because the times sell out. We met Jack Sparrow at Castaway Cay and didn’t have to book it, so there are still opportunities.


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