Disney+ could not have been released at a better or more convenient time in history. With the COVID-19 virus taking the world by storm so far this year, millions of people are practicing social distancing by quarantining themselves in their homes. With events being canceled left and right including sports games, theatre closures, and even the closure of Disney parks, many people have a lot more time at home than they are used to. But if there is anything that can add a little magic to our lives, it is, of course, Disney, and those who have Disney+ have a ton of magical content at their fingertips. This list is for people who want to catch up on long-time favorites or discover new films and television shows to watch during this difficult time.
There is a plethora of great Disney content on Disney+. However, I like to start with the classics. Many people may not realize it, but there are numerous cartoons from the early years including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. There are also several Silly Symphonies available including The Old Mill and Flowers and Trees, both beautiful and historically important. As a film and Disney history buff, having easy access to high definition transfers of these cartoons is invaluable.
In addition to the cartoons, Disney+ houses almost the entire Walt Disney Animation Canon. A few years ago, I decided to view every one of the Walt Disney Animated films in chronological order. I highly recommend this undertaking not only to see where Disney has come from, but also for fans of animation to just enjoy the stories that the company has told over the years. The only three movies that aren’t on Disney+ are Make Mine Music, Tarzan, and Ralph Breaks the Internet. The latter two can be found on Netflix, but Make Mine Music is unfortunately not available on streaming. It can, however, be found on DVD.
Apart from the animated collection, here is a list of some of my favorite live-action Disney films, with at least one every decade, that can be viewed on Disney+:
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
- The Parent Trap (1961)
- Mary Poppins (1964)
- Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)
- Pete’s Dragon (1977)
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
- Flubber (1997)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
- Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
For those who grew up in the 90’s, Disney+ offers several of the Disney Afternoon television shows including Goof Troop, Gargoyles, DuckTales and more. Disney Channel fans can also view numerous DCOM’s and television shows from the 90’s and 2000’s.
For those interested in documentaries, specifically about the Disney company, I recommend Frank and Ollie, Waking Sleeping Beauty, and The Imagineering Story. All three of these do an excellent job of informing viewers about various periods in the company’s history.
As this streaming service is still quite young, there is not a wide variety of exclusives available yet, but the best by far is High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, which follows a different plot from the films and can be viewed by both fans and non-fans alike.
Another fun animation marathon is watching all of the Pixar films, including the shorts. Disney+ has all of the shorts and films (except for Incredibles 2). It is enjoyable to watch the shorts before the features to replicate the experience of watching them as they were released to theaters. For a viewing guide to Pixar content, I recommend checking out one that I followed last year for my 25 Weeks of Pixar here.
This month, the digital and physical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is being released, making it a perfect time to rewatch the Skywalker Saga. Episodes I-VIII are available on Disney+, as well as 2016 spin-off Rogue One.
In addition to the live-action films, I highly suggest watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars, especially now that new episodes are being released weekly. If you are caught up with that, I would check out Star Wars: Rebels which is an awesome show featuring characters new and old from the Star Wars universe.
Black Widow may be delayed, but there is lots of Marvel content on Disney+ to watch, and not just from the MCU.
Live-action television shows such as Agent Carter and Inhumans are available to stream as well as many 90’s animated shows such as Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk.
Of course, now is also a good time to rewatch the MCU in preparation for when we DO get Black Widow. Some of my favorites include Iron Man (the one that started it all!), The Avengers, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, and Thor: Ragnorok.
I have to admit that I have seen less National Geographic content than any other category. However, there is a lot available and much of it looks promising. I highly recommend The World According to Jeff Goldblum, which is a Disney+ Original. These short episodes follow Jeff Goldblum as he learns about and explores everyday things while having fascinating and often strange experiences in the process.
Other (Muppets, Touchstone, 20th Century Fox):
The interface for Disney+ only allows for the five categories explored above, but this does mean that the content stops there. There is quite a bit more than can be found with a quick search.
For Muppet fans, I suggest checking out The Muppet Movie and Muppet Treasure Island. Both are delightful and feature memorable songs and great performances by both the human actors and the Muppets themselves. The two most recent films are available as well, as is the canceled ABC series The Muppets from 2015.
There are a few Touchstone films available, which was the banner released by Disney in the 1980’s for films they believed were too adult to carry the Disney name. I recommend starting with Splash, which was the first Touchstone film. After Splash, I suggest Three Men and a Baby and, one of my favorites, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
20th Century Fox has a very limited amount of content on Disney+ with the most notable entry being The Simpsons, which is always fun to watch and The Sound of Music, a classic film that everybody should see.
These are my picks for Disney+ content that is perfect for watching while we are all stuck at home. Let us know what you all think and follow us on our social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!