Disney World. The iconic vacation destination for just about every kid (and most adults) in the world. The whole trip is about full immersion into the various Disney properties - all within a single Floridian city. With travel restrictions finally starting to loosen up, my wife and I finally had a chance to take a trip ourselves, and you guessed it - we went to Disney!

How ill-prepared we were to enter into the House of Mouse. We spent the entire trip commenting "I wish we would have watched (Insert Disney movie/show here) before we came" and "We are going to have to watch this when we get home." There were some things that left us wondering "Which movie/show did this even come from?" Needless to say, we arrived home with quite the list of Disney things to watch.

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So, before you break quarantine and take your own trip to Disney, check out my list, in no particular order, of must-watch movies and shows before you go. With the overwhelming size of the parks and featured attractions, I will cover each park in a separate article. First, we head to the classic Disney Magic Kingdom{/bold.

The Little Mermaid (1989)



The Little Mermaid

This one was a stunner for me. Far from my favorite film, and something I haven't watched in a very long time, this was one of my favorite attractions of the entire trip. The "Under the Sea" portion of the ride in particular was amazing, fully realizing the iconic song and scene from the movie in all of Disney's inventive and animatronic glory. Make sure to watch the movie so you can pick out all the details.

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

The Curse of the Black Pearl

The Pirates ride at Magic Kingdom was around long before the film, however, in recent years, the ride has incorporated Captain Barbosa and Jack Sparrow on the heels of the popularity of the films. It's the ride based on the movie based on the ride! Hop in your boat and follow along as Barbosa storms Port Royal looking for Jack, loosely reminiscent of when Port Royal was stormed early in the first film. I won't spoil the ending for you, but definitely give the movie a watch to get you in the pirating mood.

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2000)

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command

Both an animated film and a spinoff series, everything you need is here to get you locked and loaded for boldBuzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin./boldThe ride loosely follows the idea of these animated offerings, teaming you up with Buzz and other Space Ranger recruits to defeat Zurg. Sadly, there is no direct Toy Story ride tie-in here, but the ride was cool nonetheless. Set your phaser for fun!

The Haunted Mansion (2003)

The Haunted Mansion

Another instance where the ride came first. Very little update to the ride needed here, as the movie is a direct re-creation of a bunch of the elements that makes the ride so fun. Hop on your "doom buggy" if you are brave enough, and enjoy the tour as the mansion and its inhabitants try to get the best of you. Hopefully, you can pick out some of the details from the film. The ballroom was my favorite part.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

This one is a really fun little ride. It was hard not to be nostalgic, as I was a huge fan of the cartoon and books when I was a kid. The attraction literally takes pages out of the books as part of the scenery, as you make your way through the 100 Acre Wood with Pooh and the gang. The animated series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988) would also serve well here. Can't go wrong either way. Just make sure you catch at least a few of the short episodes before you go, and watch out for the Heffalumps and Woozles!

Peter Pan (1953)

Peter Pan

Like the Little Mermaid attraction, this ride follows an abbreviated version of the original film. Strap into your pirate ship, as Tinkerbell hits you with some fairy dust so you can join her and Peter on a trip high over London and into Neverland. You should recognize a bunch of iconic scenes come to life almost directly copied from the movie.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The ride here is the boldSeven Dwarfs Mine Train/bold. The coaster takes you through the mine along with the Dwarfs on a full working day. Really a loose offshoot of the classic film, if you just want a refresher and don't necessarily care for the whole movie, you could always cheat and just watch the first part of the movie where it shows them all working. Heigh Ho!

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

The Princess and the Frog

The famous boldSplash Mountain/bold ride is finally being re-imagined. Be sure to check before you go, and if they have done the conversion, they are all but guaranteed to have some great scenes from The Princess and the Frog. The current version of the attraction is based on Song of the South (1946), but no need to re-visit this insensitive and outdated film. Disney wholeheartedly agrees with the upcoming re-branding of the attraction.

Jungle Cruise (2021)

Jungle Cruise

If the movie releases before you take your trip, and you have a chance to catch it, it is a sure bet (high wattage cast, great story line and extra time to edit is sure to make it a winner). Seeing as how this is another movie based on the classic ride, and that the attraction itself is going to be updated in the near future, we can assume they are going to bridge the two properties to reflect each other. Plus, it's The Rock. Even his bad movies are fun.

There you have it. These are all the Disney movies and shows I recommend to get that "I am in the movie" feel when you finally head to Disney Magic Kingdom. Check back later to see what you should watch before Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Sadly, we were not able to reserve a spot in Hollywood Studios when we booked our trip, because Star Wars. So, if you CAN get in, my guess is you will want to watch Star Wars. Any other recommendations for Disney Magic Kingdom? Agree or disagree with the list? Let us know in the comments!