50 Films to Watch Inspired by the Magic Kingdom

Updated: Aug 3



I know we are all missing the most magical place on earth right now. But if you simply need to scratch the itch to live out your favorite Disney adventures from the Magic Kingdom, I've got 50 movies you can binge from home in honor of Florida's premiere theme park. From sailing the high seas with Jack Sparrow to living out your ultimate princess fantasy like Cinderella, I've got you covered. These 50 movie titles draw from the dozens of stories seen on rides and attractions throughout all seven lands of the Magic Kingdom. Watch them in the specified order listed below and you can pretend you're touring the park starting with a stroll down Main Street followed by a visit to Adventureland, Frontierland and so on. If watching over 100 hours of films is simply too much for you, don't worry. I've highlighted in red my top 15 films that best capture the essence of this iconic park. Enjoy!



Main Street U.S.A.

Hello, Dolly! (1969)


Right off the top we have a film that you probably didn't expect. The 1969 film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! was somewhat successful at the box office, but is the perfect way to start our tour around the Magic Kingdom. First of all, the time period in this care-free musical aligns perfectly with the turn of the century architecture found in the introductory land of the park. The story may take place in New York City, but the opening sequence in Yonkers is very reminiscent to the charm and beauty of Walt's boyhood town of Marceline, Missouri. The musical number 'Put on Your Sunday Clothes' will remind you of the old welcome show that used to take place at the train station at the start of everyday at Magic Kingdom. But did you know that Disney actually uses the music seen in this film in the soundtrack to Main Street U.S.A.? Ironically, the film was originally distributed by 20th Century Fox. Since the mouse acquired the film studio and library, Hello, Dolly! had officially become part of the Disney library and it's coming to Disney+ later this month!


But a second film to watch in honor of Main Street of course, is Lady and the Tramp. The original animated version premiered just a few weeks before Disneyland open its gates in California and made several milestones along the way. It was the first Disney animated film to be distributed under the Bunea Vista Films label and the first animated feature filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen format. The film was recently adapted for Disney+ but makes a few changes that make the original 1955 version more appropriate if you trimming this movie list down. The live-action remake changes the setting to New Orleans as opposed to a small midwest town. It also cuts out a few enjoyable songs from the original such as the Siamese Cat Song. So if you're only committing to the top 15, watch the original 1955 animated classic.


1.) Hello, Dolly! (1969) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

2.) Lady and the Tramp (1955) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

3.) Lady and the Tramp (2019) - available on Disney+



Adventureland

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)


Adventureland is a tightly packed land that features a larger collection of stories than you might think. From swashbuckling stories about pirates to adventures through all things tiki; there's a plethora of films to watch in honor of this tropical paradise. The land picks up from the Victorian architecture seen at Crystal Palace by placing Swiss Family Treehouse near the entrance of Adventureland. It's Disney attempt to seamlessly transition from one land to the next by connecting timelines. So this portion of the movie marathon attempts to recreate those physical transitions you experience in the land.


If there is one film that perfectly sums up every angle of Adventureland it's Swiss Family Robinson. This classic Disney movie has it all; from the tropical setting, to exotic animals and even pirates! If you're enjoying the more extended movie marathon, you can ride on a magic carpet to Agrabah by enjoying Aladdin. But a viewing of Moana is a must; not only is it a great princess addition to the Disney library but it is the only film in this list that truly captures the beauty of Polynesia. If you're looking to enjoy films geared to the adults more, there are other classic gems here, such as The African Queen. Which Imagineer Harper Goff has stated served as the inspiration for the Jungle Cruise despite it not being a Disney film.


But if there is truly a film that really exemplifies the spirit of adventure, it's Pirates of the Caribbean. The wildly successful 2003 live-action film was obviously inspired by the legendary attraction which was the last for Walt to supervise from start to finish. It's an important part of Disney history both for the parks and the films. I was very tempted to include at least the original three pirate films here, but we have a lot of ground to cover. Therefore, the first in the franchise is a must and certainly makes the top 15 list.


4.) Swiss Family Robinson (1960) - available on Dinsey+ and iTunes

5.) Aladdin (1992) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

6.) Aladdin (2019) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

7.) Moana (2016) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

8.) The African Queen (1951) - available on Amazon Prime and iTunes

9.) Treasure Island (1950) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

10.) Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) - available on Disney+ and iTunes



Frontierland

Melody Time (1948)


While Adventureland is packed full of stories and films to watch, Frontierland is somewhat scarce. One of the two main attractions in this land is not based on a film at all and the other ties into a controversial movie that is no longer deemed acceptable to watch. But I still found some great titles that celebrate the spirit of the wild frontier. Davy Crockett is the most iconic Disney film that captures the spirit of the great outdoors. Not to mention the fact that the film inspired nearly every kid in America to get a raccoon hat in the 1950s. While there are no attractions left at the Magic Kingdom based on the King of the Wild Frontier, it's deep history with Disney goes all the way back to the early days at Disneyland.


But a great American story still lives in the heart of Frontierland to this very day...The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Tom Sawyer Island is a Magic Kingdom oasis that takes things back to simpler times and offers spectacular views of Big Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion. Now there have been dozens of film adaptations of both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Disney produced two in the mid 1990s that where somewhat successful. The Adventures of Huck Finn was the better of the two, but the elements seen on Tom Sawyer Island naturally lend more to Mark Twain's second major publication. To watch a decent interpretation of Tom Sawyer, you'll have to travel outside the Disney library to the 1973 film produced by Reader's Digest. It is the only film version of the story that is a musical and ironically, the score was written by two Disney legends, the Sherman Brothers. It stars a very young Jodie Foster and includes iconic scenes that are represented throughout the island at the Magic Kingdom.


If a good 'ol traditional cowboy is what you're after, there is no better story to enjoy than the tale of Pecos Bill. Disney produced what they called a package film in 1948 that highlighted the story of Pecos as the main attraction. Melody Time was somewhat meant to be another Fantasia, but not as grand in scale. The various animated shorts celebrate great musicians of the time such as The Andrews Sisters but it's the retelling of the American folktale Pecos Bill narrated by Roy Rogers that you really want to see. Other stories in the package film are completely unrelated to the scenery of Frontierland, so if you want to skip ahead to the legend of Pecos and his horse Widowmaker, jump 52 minutes into the film.


11.) Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier (1955) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

12.) Tom Sawyer (1973) - available on Cinemax and iTunes

13.) Melody Time (1948) - available on Disney+

14.) Tall Tale (1995) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

15.) The Country Bears (2002) - available on Disney+ and iTunes



Liberty Square

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)


Liberty Square is a mini-land at the Magic Kingdom that celebrates the birth of America and includes some great spooky stories. First of all, I did not want to leave out the story of Pocahontas since it is an important chapter in the early stages of American history. The story of how John Smith came to America and met Pocahontas cannot be seen anywhere at the Magic Kingdom, but it lays the ground work for other stories in Liberty Square. If you're opting for the more trimmed down version of this list, you're welcome to skip Pocahontas because she is highlighted elsewhere in my Animal Kingdom Movie Marathon List. But a more obscure Disney film is worth watching here, Johnny Tremain.


The 1957 live-action film is a somewhat forgotten Disney movie that follows a young man in Boston, right at the start of the American Revolution. After losing his job as a silversmith, Johnny becomes a newspaper boy for The Observer. He then gets involved in major historical events such as the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's Ride and the Battles of Lexington and Concord. It is the perfect story to sum up some key points of early American history and surprisingly one of Disney's more accurate historical films. The only downside to this film is that it is one of the very few on this list not on Disney+.


But it's the scary stories that are most associated with Liberty Square. The 2003 live action film The Haunted Mansion was sadly not as successful as Pirates of the Caribbean. But I will never pass up the opportunity to see Madame Leota and her troupe of spooky yet comical ghosts from the mansion. However, if it's any film to watch in honor of Liberty Square it's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Mainly the second half which recounts the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Not only is the Headless Horseman briefly seen at a snack stand in Liberty Square, but also part of the Magic Kingdom's best special event, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.


16.) Pocahontas (1995) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

17.) The Liberty Story (1957) - available on Disney+

18.) The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

19.) The Haunted Mansion (2003) - available on Disney+ and iTunes



Fantasyland

Peter Pan (1953)


The films that inspire the attractions seen in Fantasyland are some of Disney's best and this is naturally the largest section of the marathon. In my humble opinion, the best place to start when it comes to the movies of Fantasyland is The Sword in the Stone. It's the perfect kickstart to other stories about famous princesses, magical wizards and fairies. After witnessing King Arthur pull the sword form the stone, you can relive the story of Robin Hood before venturing into the princess catalogue. From the original princess, Snow White, to the main girl herself here in Florida Cinderella; the classics are all here. Aside from the princess stories, this is also your chance to enjoy other animated classics such as Peter Pan, Pinocchio and Winnie the Pooh before enjoying the great films of the Disney Renaissance.


But after enjoying all the animated classics both old and new, there is one key film you must watch in honor of a Magic Kingdom attraction long gone, but not forgotten...20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The submarine voyage to the depths of ocean once stood where Seven Dwarfs Mine Train sits today. The 1954 live-action film is a Disney classic, and one of the few stories by Jules Verne that Disney adapted to the big screen. It's location at Magic Kingdom, similar to Disneyland, was in the transition from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland. Mainly because the story of Captain Nemo and his Nautilus perfectly blend both technology of the future with fantasy. Which is why it's towards the end of this Fantasyland section. However, before we venture to the land of tomorrow we have to make a slight detour to Storybook Circus.


20.) The Sword in the Stone (1963) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

21.) Robin Hood (1973) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

22.) Sleeping Beauty (1959) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

23.) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

24.) Tangled (2010) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

25.) The Princess and the Frog (2009) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

26.) Brave (2012) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

27.) Cinderella (1950) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

28.) Alice in Wonderland (1951) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

29.) Peter Pan (1953) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

30.) Pinocchio (1940) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

31.) Beauty and the Beast (1991) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

32.) The Little Mermaid (1989) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

33.) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) - available on Disney+ and iTunes


Storybook Circus

Dumbo (1941)


This land within a land is unique in that it is almost entirely inspired by one Disney movie, Dumbo. The simple spinner attraction is a right of passage for kids visiting the theme park and a must-see in any major Disney movie marathon. But, when you look closer at all the little details in Storybook Circus, you'll notice a truckload of other vintage Disney characters are also celebrated in this corner of the park besides the flying elephant and Casey Junior.


Near Pete's Silly Sideshow at the back of the land, you'll see posters advertising all the animal acts that have pulled into the circus and this is where those vintage characters are celebrated. Humphrey the Bear is heavily featured in the smaller details throughout the land and he appeared in several Donal Duck animated shorts of the 1950s. Two of which are available on Disney+ right now! A bonus here is that Beezy Bear also features Spike the Bee, which Flower & Garden fans will recognize.


But Storybook Circus is also the place to celebrate Goofy. The wacky Barnstormer coaster is probably the first roller coaster your kids will get on at the Magic Kingdom and celebrates the several 'How-To' animated shorts that starred the lovable Goofy. While none of the shorts specifically tie into the attraction or circus, The Art of Skiing is considered to be the short that inspired other recognizable titles such as How to Fish and Hot to Swim.


34.) Dumbo (1941) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

35.) Dumbo (2019) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

36.) Lambert the Sheepish Lion (1952) - available on Disney+

37.) Beezy Bear (1955) - available on Disney+

38.) Bearly Asleep (1955) - available on Disney+

39.) Rescue Dog (1947) - available on Disney+

40.) The Art of Skiing (1941) - available on Disney+



Tomorrowland

TRON: Legacy (2010)


We finally arrive to Tomorrowland which includes an eclectic variety of Disney films. If we're going in order of attractions you'll experience in the park, starting off with Monster's, Inc. is great way to celebrate this land. Across the Laugh Floor at Magic Kingdom stands a theatre that has changed many times of the years from Alien Encounter to Stitch's Great Escape to rumors of a Wreck-It Ralph attraction. So in honor of all three, I've included their corresponding films. If you want to join Star Command with Buzz Lightyear, you can enjoy the short-lived television show that was the real inspiration for Space Ranger Spin. But if you can't get your hands on that, Toy Story 2 will do just fine. The opening sequence where Buzz is fighting off Zurg also ties into the Tomorrowland attraction nicely.


A more recent Disney film that embodies the spirit of tomorrow better than the titles I just mentioned is Meet the Robinsons. The story follows a young inventor who meets a time-traveling friend from the future. Lewis is encouraged to not give up on his inventions and continue pursuing his optimistic outlook for the future. Which leads me to one of the final films in the marathon...TRON. The 1982 classic was way ahead of it's time. While it didn't do well at the box office, it has since inspired a plethora of dedicated Disney fans and watching both the original and 2010 sequel is the perfect way to end a tour of Tomorrowland by looking at what will soon come to the Magic Kingdom.


41.) Monster's, Inc. (2001) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

42.) Lilo & Stitch (2002) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

43.) Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2000-2001) - available on Amazon

44.) Meet the Robinsons (2007) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

45.) Wreck-It Ralph (2012) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

46.) TRON (1982) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

47.) TRON: Legacy (2010) - available on Disney+ and iTunes



Special Events

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)


But before we finalize this epic movie marathon, I have a trio of films that celebrate the fan-favorite events at the Magic Kingdom. No other theme park at Walt Disney World captures the magic of Halloween and Christmas quite like this park. Some iconic moments at both the Halloween and Christmas party at the Magic Kingdom are pulled from great films. In recent years, Hocus Pocus has become synonymous with Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party thanks to an adored stage show. Following the Sanderson sisters on their one night back from the dead is the perfect way to celebrate Halloween Disney style.


If you're a fan of Christmas, a viewing of Babes in Toyland is in order simply because the iconic toy soldiers seen during the Christmas Parade came from this 1961 film. But why not enjoy both holidays? Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is an iconic Disney film that celebrates both Halloween and Christmas and a unique way to end this Magic Kingdom Movie Marathon.

48.) Hocus Pocus (1993) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

49.) Babes in Toyland (1961) - available on Disney+ and iTunes

50.) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - available on Disney+ and iTunes



Want even more films to watch inspired by Walt Disney World? Check out my other lists to have a fun movie marathon at home inspired by Disney's Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios as well as Future World and World Showcase at Epcot. But don't forget to watch my recent YouTube video 23 Hidden Details inside the Magic Kingdom which reveals references to some of the films in the list above and other fascinating smaller details throughout the park.



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