Disney Movie Magic: Show & Favorites!
What’s your favorite Disney movie? Most people generally concur up thoughts of animated film classics from Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs to The Lion King to Tangled & Moana. These and more are found in Wonderful World of Animation, a projection show mapped out on the Chinese Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But that show has a companion piece, and recently Disney Movie Magic returned to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This projection show under the stars after sunset is a companion piece to that animation tribute. I want to showcase that film, and use it as a stepping stone to talk about my favorite Disney film classics. Moreover, let’s talk about the presence of those same films (or lack thereof) in the Disney parks. As we look over the decades, we see that beyond animation, Disney’s film productions are a showcase in and of themselves.
Disney Movie Magic: The Projection Show
Listen to this show and see how many films you can make out.
Disney Movie Magic: My Top 10 List
My list doesn’t include anything from Lucas Film, Jim Henson, Marvel or 20th Century Fox. With the exception of two films it does not include films from Touchstone or Hollywood Pictures or any other subsidiaries. New films like Beauty & the Beast, The Jungle Book, as well as Aladdin are not included as they were originally animated films. Some films have been combined into their franchise series profile to allow the development of the list shown below:
From a strict story line, this film does not deserve to be on any list. But its music and characters and dancing are so memorable that you have to pay attention. Fortunately, others did and they made the film to even a better musical on Broadway. It needs to be remade again with a new plot line similar to the musical on Broadway, but the original still has plenty of heart. A show with Newsies off the Red Car Trolley used the “Seize the Day” number at Disney California Adventure.
There’s also a great musical number done for the 2012 Christmas Parade show at Magic Kingdom.
The original film was a pioneer in computer graphics, inspiring John Lasseter to form what would become Pixar. Still, I’m not entirely sure that I have ever stayed awake watching the first film. And yet the second companion film decades later brings things together in a new way, and this is an intellectual property that should not be ignored. Moreover, the coaster is amazing.
8. The Love Bug
This too is a series, but unfortunately, the more films Disney made with Herbie, the worst it became. The original was novel and became so heartwarming. It also starred David Tomlinson, who shows up in this list more than any other star. How to turn it into an attraction at Disney? Well, it’s been tried and showcased. But there’s still room for a Herbie ride. It’s disappointing that the film only shows up in any permanent form at Disney’s All Star Movies Resort.
7. The Rocketeer
Hey, how about doing a comic book style of film! As we well know, with Marvel it’s been done. But it also appears that this one is coming back as well on Disney+ in The Return of the Rocketeer. Beyond Peevy’s Polar Pipeline do you remember where the original film showed up in the Disney Parks?
6. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
This is a dark film for Disney. But this Jules Verne classic has many wonderful layers to it. The original cast was impressive, but the real star of this show was the Nautilus. It’s every Imagineer’s film to recreate this in the parks. It’s best results show up in Tokyo Disney Sea in the form of Mysterious Island.
5. Bedknobs & Broomsticks
Long before Harry Potter there was magic in London. I want to go on record that this is a film I never stopped believing in. It’s Angela Landsbury’s first foray into Disney films. Add the music of the Sherman Brothers and touches of Disney animation and cinematic magic, what what do you get? Substitutiary Locomotion. Thrilled to see this film become a play on the London Stage. This cinematic creation badly needs a new re-birth.
4. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
A touchstone film, combined with Amblin entertainment. The great tragedy is that while there were additional shorts built, another film was never created. Those same legal tensions have kept the film from being more prominent in the parks, though Roger Rabbit’s Toon Town spin is still a great attraction, even as it evolves. It is the story, the characters and the share technical achievements of this film that make it great, despite the moments that keep this film from being a classic families can watch without wincing.
You can see Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin at Disneyland below:
3. Swiss Family Robinson
On its own as a single film, this actually would be my number one choice. It’s that good, and there’s a couple of treehouses in the Disney Parks that prove it. The attractions inspire seeing the film again and again, and the film makes you want to climb the treehouse.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
This includes all of the series, each of which have great moments in them, but the original Black Pearl film set the stage for all to follow. Of course, this is the one attraction based on a ride at Disney and not the other way around. Still, the film inspires the attraction and other settings such as Castaway Cay.
1. Mary Poppins
The original is dear to my heart, starring Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke. It is wrapped in music by the Sherman brothers with moments that are as memorable as they come. Still, if Mary Poppins Returns had been the first film years ago, it might have been more acclaimed than the original. It’s that good, and the quality of experiences are terrific. Combined into one, they easily become my favorite film of all time. As for attractions, the tragedy is that the Great Movie Ride is gone and there is no sure word of an attraction for Mary Poppins in the UK pavilion at Epcot.
Runner Up List
There were many other favorites that were near the top of the list:
- Pete’s Dragon
- Davy Crockett
- Parent Trap
- The Happiest Millionaire
- Anything with Kurt Russell & Medfield
- The Black Hole
- Johnny Tremain
- Dick Tracy
You can also see Wonderful World of Animation also playing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We’ll be sure to do a similar run of that in the future.
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