Moana and Maui in the Disney animated film 'Moana'

The 10 Best Disney Movies to Put On For Your Toddler, Ranked by How Tolerable They’ll Be for You

So your toddler wants to watch a movie. Or maybe your toddler is hanging on your pant leg with syrup all over their hands and you want them to watch a movie. Either way, sounds like a toddler-friendly Disney movie is in order! Here are ten of our favorites.

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There are a couple of things to keep in mind as you go through this list. First off, Pixar movies basically count as Disney movies these days, so you’ll find some Pixar flicks on here. Second, this isn’t a ranking of the best Disney movies ever, so chill if your favorite isn’t on here! It’s just films that I and other parents have had good luck showing to the 3-and-under crowd.

Also, remember that every toddler is different. Some of these movies have parts that have permanently scarred some kids, while other kids have watched them with no problem. With each of these movies, your mileage may vary.

Finally, my editors wanted me to rank these, but how can you rank something for such an unpredictable audience? In the end, I went with how relieved I feel when my kids ask to watch each of these movies.

10. Cars

Lightning McQueen in Cars.
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Cars. They’re cars. They drive around. What more do you want? Vroom vroom. Your two-year-old will have a blast.

9. The Tinker Bell movies

A group of animated fairies in the forest with their wings fluttering from the movies featuring Tinker Bell.
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

I have good news about the Tinker Bell movies on Disney+: they’re actually not as bad as they sound. Maybe my standards have just fallen since I had kids, but I can mostly sit through these without wanting to jump out the window. Anyway, there are about half a dozen of them streaming at this point, and one of them has Tom Hiddleston as a pirate, so enjoy.

8. Zootopia

Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde in Zootopia
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

I cringe at how pro-cop Zootopia is, but it’s a city full of animals, so your little one will love it. I can basically recite this movie by heart at this point.

7. Lilo and Stitch

Lilo and Stitch dance in front of a fruit stand in 'Lilo & Stitch'
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

From here on out, the rankings get pretty arbitrary. These movies are all good! Anyway, Lilo and Stitch. Funny aliens and Hawaii? Perfect for a weekend matinee.

6. Robin Hood

Robin the fox in the animated version of Robin Hood
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Robin Hood is another movie about animals, but this one is anti-cop! Yes! Screw that stupid sheriff! Your kids will love the hand-drawn animation and the sound effects that are clearly just some guy saying “whoosh.”

5. The Little Mermaid (the animated version)

Photoshop of JJK characters in The Little Mermaid
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

One of my most cherished memories is my young daughter getting her groove on to “Under the Sea.” I mean she was really shaking that teeny tushy. Then, when she was older, she enjoyed the live-action remake!

4. Frozen

Anna and Elsa Frozen poster
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Toddlers love Frozen. On her way home from daycare each day, one of my kids would always take off her shoes in the car and put her socks on her hands so they could be her gloves. “These are my gloves,” she would announce, as if she hadn’t said the exact same thing the day before. “I’m Elsa.” I don’t know how much she understood the story, but damn, she loved those gloves.

3. The Princess and the Frog

Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) in 'The Princess and the Frog'
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

The music in The Princess and the Frog is so great that I get genuinely excited when my kids want to watch it. This movie is criminally underrated. It has everything: talking animals, princesses, Louisiana Voodoo, several sub-genres of jazz, the works!

2. Encanto

The Madrigal family
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

My other kid was never a huge Frozen fan, but she did love Encanto when she was little. Her favorite character was Luisa, because Luisa is “big and stwong.” She was also fascinated with She-Hulk. Lest you think this is just my kid having bodybuilder fantasies, other parents on Reddit have confirmed that Encanto is a hit with toddlers.

1. Moana

Moana and Maui in the Disney animated film 'Moana'
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

At first glance, Moana may not seem like a great movie for toddlers. Some parts, like Te Kā and the Realm of Monsters, are pretty scary! You’ll have to gauge how ready your kid is for Moana, but if you think they can handle the scary parts (or at least let you cover their eyes), then this movie is a treat for the whole family. It’s not just a good Disney movie for kids—it’s one of the best Disney movies ever.

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)


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Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>