Disney+ is just under two weeks away and after a decade of hopes and pipe dreams, I'll be able to stream all my favorite Disney shows and films in one place! While Movies Anywhere gave us this option for most Disney theatrical films a few years ago, you had to buy each film individually and TV shows weren't eligible for it, so this is the first time a great many classic and modern Disney shows will be easily accessible.
There's a lot to dig into, so much so that it'll take months to get through it all, but here are the movies and TV shows that are at the top of the list for this Disney devotee:
The Three Musketeers
This would be a B movie by today's standards but it's the kind of film that's just some good (mostly) clean fun with good timing and an excellent cast. Tim Curry plays an unabashed villain, Kiefer Sutherland is the seemingly distant but overly emotional wreck Athos, Charlie Sheen is a womanizing man of faith, and Oliver Platt is Oliver Platt.
I'm sure this isn't the movie Chris O'Donnell wants me to remember him for, but at least it's better than Batman & Robin. This swashbuckling, swaggering adaptation of the classic Dumas tale makes me giggle like a schoolgirl and I will duel anyone who says it's not worth watching!!
Newsies: The Broadway Musical
I have never actually seen the Newsies — on film or stage — but after hearing many of its songs over the course of the Disney on Broadway Concert Series at Epcot this spring, I'd like to see what the fuss is about. Also, more views of the Live on Stage version now could mean more chances of Newsies coming back to Broadway next year, which is something a whole lot of theater nerds desperately want, and I want to help them.
Annie (1997 telefilm)
I have no earthly clue why the 1997 Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella telefilm that preceded this one isn't coming to D+ at launch — because it was groundbreaking, hilarious, and Whitney Houston is the best Fairy Godmother ever — but the Annie telefilm is worth watching, too. This star-studded cast was my first introduction to Audra McDonald, Alan Cumming, Kathy Bates and Kristen Chenoweth, and fun staging make this my favorite version of Annie ever. I mean just look at that Easy Street rendition! Just look at it!!
I want the other ABC telefilms to come to Disney+, and that means giving the first one available all the love I can. Please join me in boosting its numbers so that we (hopefully) get the 1997 Cinderella and 2003 Music Man telefilms, too!
Thumbelina isn't a Disney Princess!!! Thumbelina is a Don Bluth film from the 90s, but now that she's on Disney+, it's kind of a moot point, I suppose. While this film was distributed by Warner Brothers initially, its rights eventually went to Fox and now sit with Disney, and even if Anastasia isn't coming to Disney+ on Day One, we're getting closer to having all the 90s animated princesses in one place for easy movie marathoning!
The animation here is great for the conditions it was made under, and the music for this film was written by Barry Manilow. The soundtrack for this film is out-of-print and impossible to find — I owe my copy to the kindness of strangers — but you can still hear it when you watch the film, so if you're a child of the 90s like me, add it to your watchlist and swoon to "Let Me Be Your Wings" with me!
The Sword in the Stone
From a film that constantly gets mistaken for Disney to a Disney film that gets forgotten way too often! The Sword in the Stone is a classic fable with some fun Disney twists, but because it doesn't have a pretty princess and the animal companion is an irritable old owl instead of some cute little rodents, no one remembers it. That's a damn shame, too, because despite Wart's oaf-ish masters, the lessons Merlin has with Wart are all wonderful sequences that each have a unique charm in how they each go completely off the rails.
I kinda wish there'd be some sort of new animated series to show Merlin's continued magical lessons for Arthur as he continues studying to be a fair king to his people after the events of the movie. I know remaking Disney classics in live-action is frowned upon, but we're okay with animated continuations, right? Ah, whatever, I'm gonna go watch Higitus Figitus and wish that I could execute my move in a single song. What a way to pack!
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
Disney+ launches November 12, which is right at the start of the Christmas season, which means it only makes sense to kick it off with a holiday film! The Enchanted Christmas is kinda a mystery as to where in the timeline of the original movie it's supposed to take place, but I don't really care because it gives us some wonderful Christmas songs and Tim Curry playing a scene-stealing, manipulative pipe organ.
The Parent Trap (1997)
Technically I already own this film on Movies Anywhere, but it earns a spot on my list because chances are you don't own it and haven't seen it in 20 years, and you should totally fix that. The 90's remake of The Parent Trap might be making the meme rounds right now because Nick Parker is marrying another hot blonde 26-year-old (and hey, more power to her), but you should watch it again because from start to finish, it's just a delight.
This was Lindsay Lohan's breakout film because she nails Annie and Hallie with some subtle, wonderful distinctions between her portrayals of both sisters, tweaks that shine through even when the sisters are pretending to be each other. Lisa Ann Walter and Simon Kunz (Chessy and Martin) also steal so many of their scenes delightfully, and good god, I miss Natasha Richardson, who plays Elizabeth Banks. The music used in this film is impeccable, too!
Growing up, this was one of like ten VHS tapes at my Oma's house, so this was a movie I definitely saw more than once as a kid but I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about it as an adult. On the one hand, I am absolutely going to cry and films/episodes that let me cry are things that are good to have on hand as an adult in a cruel, chaotic world.
On the other hand, this is a Disney live action film from the 50s, so I'm willing to bet it has not aged well, even if it was definitely one of the better ones Disney did in that era. I'm hoping that doesn't drag me out of the film the way most older films do, but I'm at least going to watch the last twenty minutes and cry, and I invite you to join me in uncontrollable sobs.
Marvel has actually been rotating full episodes of this show in and out on its YouTube channel for a couple years now, but I'm happy I'll be able to watch it all in one place again on Disney+. While there are many, many, many animated incarnations of everyone's favorite neighborhood web-slinger, this one remains my absolute favorite for the nods to the comics medium and for allowing Peter to pause and address the audience with comedic quips, cutaways, and chibis!
The way the show handles these little asides is kind of like a happy middle between regular superhero wise-cracking and Deadpool-level fourth wall-breaking — though they do go full-meta during Deadpool's cameo episode — and Drake Bell nails the line between nerdy, overwhelmed Peter Parker and confidently quipping Spider-Man. Man of Action does amazing work and their unique style of humor is perfectly suited to Spidey, and the regular appearances of Stan Lee, Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson, and J.K. Simmons's J. Jonah Jameson are icing on the action-comedy cake.
I didn't get cable until my sophomore year of high school which meant that when I saw Kim Possible as a kid, I was either at a relative's house or on vacation. This show was popular and it was amazing, and I'm soooo going to enjoy watching a young woman who kicks ass and isn't stuck in some impractical skintight oversexualized nonsense. Kim Possible rocks a utility belt and cargo pants with huge pockets and I've wanted pockets like those ever since.
Like Kim Possible, this is another show that I missed out on growing up because I didn't have cable, though I have caught some episodes here and there on YouTube. I look forward to finally having a proper viewing here and enjoying the fantastic voice casting, especially savoring the sultry tones of Keith David's Goliath and the sass of Salli Richardson's Elisa Maza.
YAY!!!!! This was one of my favorite Kids WB shows — right after Batman Beyond and Megaman: NT Warrior — and I'm happy to finally see it available for legal streaming since this show had the hands-down best version of Nightcrawler, and I just absolutely adore Shadowcat and Rogue. I'm gleefully bingeing this series and then once I finish it, I'll watch Wolverine and the X-Men as a mutant chaser.
Legend of the Three Caballeros
Legend of the Three Caballeros is one of two shows that hasn't aired in the United States yet, but premiered in the Philippines last summer. The art style here has a unique feel to it and The Three Caballeros is a unique piece of Donald's history that I'm happy to see be given a fresh take. It's one of the shorter shows to binge, so if you want something new to watch, this will only take you a long afternoon.
This is another Marvel superhero show developed by Man of Action for Disney XD, and while I haven't had a chance to catch the most recent seasons — the most recent season centered on Black Panther and Shuri fighting some kind of Shadow Council and protecting some sort of ghost-communicating crown — but the early seasons were awesome and even once we got into more insane storylines that involve dimension-hopping and the Inhumans, things still have the right blend of action and comedy.
Avengers Assemble also has a special place in my heart for its voice cast: Travis Willingham's Thor is hilariously prideful, Laura Bailey's Black Widow is commanding and confident, and Fred Tatasciore's Hulk is always a delight, especially when he gets to step outside the normal brawler beatdowns for episodes like "Hulked Out Heroes" and "Hulk's Day Out".
Elena of Avalor
I loved the pilot for Elena of Avalor but had held off buying the seasons a la carte on Google Play — which I did for Tangled: the Series — because I knew that when D+ arrived, she would be on it and then I could enjoy the music, the vibrant worldbuilding, and one of the best handlings of PTSD in a cartoon outside Steven Universe (because no one tops Steven Universe for trauma).
101 Dalmatian Street
This technically isn't available Day One — new content and new episodes are added to Disney+ on Fridays, so this show comes to Disney+ on November 15 instead of November 12 — but I've got enough to get started on while I wait for it. This show actually debuted in March on DisneyChannel UK, but Disney+ will be the US premiere for the show, which is great because it's got a fun style, an even more fun cast of canine characters, and we could all use more puppies in our lives, right?
101 Dalmatian Street showcases the antics of the Dalmatian household, with control-freak Dylan and fun-loving Dolly trying to contain the chaos that is their 97 little brothers and sisters while parents Doug and Delilah are off at work. I'm interested to see how many puppies they showcase before they run out of D-names, and I also just love hearing Michaela Dietz (Amethyst from Steven Universe) playing another go-with-the-flow cool girl razzing a straightedge rival.
What are you watching?
There's a lot coming to Disney+, and my list is far from finished here. There's a lot more shows I need to see here since TV shows have been much harder to procure over the years compared to movies, but I've plenty of both to watch as I head into the hectic holiday season. What's on your list and why? Tell me in the comments so that I can add them to my own watchlist!
All the shows!
I can't wait any longer!
Disney is finally bringing all of its content under one roof for streaming, after years of it being split and scattered among a half-dozen services if it was available at all. Disney+ will be the first time you'll be able to stream a great many classic cartoons and films, and I for one intend to take full advantage!
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