Posts Tagged ‘disney movies’

Movies to See Before Your Disney World Vacation

by on February 28, 2016


Ready for a Disney Movie Marathon?

When counting down a trip to Walt Disney World, there are a number of things that need to be done from deciding how many suitcases to take, to setting a souvenir budget, to breaking in that new pair of walking shoes. But for me, there’s one more thing that I always have to do when counting down those last few anticipation-filled days, and that’s refreshing my memory and getting in the Disney spirit with a few movies! Kicking back with some popcorn to revisit a classic Disney flick, or even checking out a film for the first time, will only add to your overall Disney World experience. So go pop some popcorn and get ready for a movie marathon with my list of movies to see before your Disney World Vacation!

But first, let me explain how I came up with this list. Naturally, I included a number of Disney animated classics, even though it was really really hard to narrow down my favorites; but just so you know, I based my selections on what films I felt were represented the most at Walt Disney World or a huge part of Disney World history. Secondly, my list is not just Disney animated films, but also live-action Disney films and non-Disney films which are either represented in the parks or, again, played a big role in Disney history or as Imagineering inspiration! But as always, if you feel that I missed an important movie, or would simply like to add to the list, please do so in the comments.

Okay, are you ready for the list? Here we go…

Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney


Disney’s first princess film since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella is one of the most beloved and important films Walt Disney ever made. The film’s release in 1950 was so successful that it revitalized the Disney Company after World War II and kick-started the decade in which we would get the first Disney Park: Disneyland. Why you should revisit Cinderella before your Disney World retreat is because the Magic Kingdom’s castle is called Cinderella Castle! Inside the castle, a sparkly mosaic tells Cinderella’s story and there’s even a themed restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, where guests meet Cinderella herself and dine in a medieval, fairy tale setting. Characters from Cinderella are also known to meet guests around Cinderella Castle and throughout Fantasyland; and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa offers a special character meal at 1900 Park Fare where Cinderella, Prince Charming, and her dysfunctional family meet with guests as they dine. All in all, Cinderella is an important film at Walt Disney World and is definitely worth a watch before you pass through the park turnstiles.

African Queen by IMDB

Photo –

The African Queen

Why is this film my first pick? Well, believe it or not this 1951 classic, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, inspired the Disney Park staple, The Jungle Cruise. Walt Disney saw this film himself and wanted to recreate the experience in his upcoming Disneyland Park. Although, he planned for guests aboard his boats to see live wildlife on the shores, just as the characters in The African Queen did! Of course, live animals wasn’t exactly doable at the time, nor would they be willing to appear and entertain when a boat passed by every few minutes; and so, the plan for live animals was scrapped in favor of one of Walt’s newest innovations: audio-animatronics. Walt’s vision for an attraction where guests could be entertained by live African wildlife was finally realized in 1998 when Kilimanjaro Safaris opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. In this way, The African Queen technically inspired two attractions at Walt Disney World! This is why I encourage anyone going to Walt Disney World to check out The African Queen. While I’ve always loved the Jungle Cruise, seeing the film which inspired it gave me a whole new appreciation for this classic attraction. Tip: Look for The African Queen poster on Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Entertainment to Get You Excited for Disney

by on July 1, 2014

A while back I posted a list of movies to show your kids before your Disney trip, films that would educate them about the Disney canon so that they would be familiar with park iconography. Watching princess movies is definitely going to get the kiddos psyched for your Disney vacation.

Everyone wants to get in the princess mood.

Everyone wants to get in the princess mood, even sitcom characters.

But what about you?

You know alllll about pixie dust. You’ve been there, done that with Cinderella (glass shoe, bibbidi bobbidi, yadda, yadda, yadda). You are fully familiar with dwarf nomenclature and know P. Sherman’s address by heart. So what entertainment do you, grown-up person, consume to get psyched for your Disney vacation? Here are some ideas.

All items are currently available on iTunes, among other places. So load up your phone, tablet, or classic iPod (yep, they still make those) to keep you pepped up during the plane ride to MickeyLand. Some items listed here are specific to Disney World or Disneyland but, in my opinion, any of them will pump you up no matter which coast you’re headed for.


Sometimes you need some information with your inspiration. These ex-TravelChannel videos, while now fairly dated, will fill you in on the highlights of a Disney parks visit.

  • Undiscovered Disney Parks. Focuses on backstage experiences and less popular attractions.
  • Disney Parks: Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Get up close and personal with youngest Disney World theme park.
  • Walt Disney World Resort: Behind the Scenes. A look at some of the WDW infrastructure.
  • Ultimate Walt Disney World. A look at the Disney World thrill rides.
  • Disneyland Resort Behind the Scenes. Go backstage in Anaheim.
  • Samantha Brown Great Weekends, Volume 1, Episode 5: Orlando. Sam shows things to do if you’ll be spending some time off Disney property.

Disney also offers a free trip planning DVD, updated yearly, with all the latest news about Walt Disney World.

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 4.26.12 PM

Also note that there dozens of other old Travel Channel and Food Network episodes which cover aspects of the wonderful world of Disney. (R.I.P. Great Hotels, Season of Disney, and a billion Food Network Challenge Disney cakes.) You can find some these on tapes or DVD, but they are not readily available for quick download.

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