Taking a trip to Disneyland is a childhood dream for many kids- and adults! Before you take your family on their first Disneyland vacation in California, you’ll want to do a little homework! Don’t worry: it’s all fun and will just enhance your Disney trip. Here’s a list of movies to watch before going to Disneyland in 2023. The Disney Plus streaming service makes this super easy! ps- if you are heading to Florida and Walt Disney World, here’s your list for those parks too. There are some slight differences depending on which coast you are visiting.
In our house, the kids are being raised as Disney kids- which means we watch all the movies, enjoy the Disney Channel, and can’t wait for our next Disney trip.
We love the new Disney+ streaming service– all Disney all the time? We’re so in.
And yes, we are *those* people that you hear about.
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Movies to Watch Before Going to Disneyland In 2023
But we realize this crazy Disney-loving world isn’t the same for all families. You might need a little help deciphering between a Peter Pan and a Peter Parker.
It would be totally normal to think your kids might not “get” what the whole Disneyland experience is all about!
Especially if they don’t see a lot of movies or read a lot of Disney books just yet.
We’re here to help you change all that.
This is a list of movies and tv shows that you can work through before your next Disneyland trip to ensure your kiddos have some connection to the magic they are about to experience.
Is it required? Of course not! A Disneyland trip is cool no matter how much or little you know about it.
But seeing the connection and “aha!” moment on your kids’ faces is absolutely priceless.
This is the list of movies to watch before going to Disneyland. It’s a long one encompassing most attractions you’ll encounter, but don’t feel you need to watch them all.
Choose what is most age-appropriate and of interest to your family.
I’ve included Amazon affiliate links with this post, but be sure to check your On Demand options via cable, Netflix, Disney+ or Hulu as well.
Movies To Watch Before Going to Disneyland: Disney California Adventure Park (DCA)
There are two parks at Disneyland: the original Disneyland Park and the newer Disney California Adventure Park.
We think you need to visit both to get the full Disneyland experience so we broke the list down into what you’ll see from an attraction standpoint at each park.
There are also traditional character meet and greets throughout the parks that could change from day to day. Check the Disneyland App to see who might be there when you are visiting.
Here are the movies to watch before going to DCA:
- Cars (1, 2, and/or 3 but at least the first one. Your mind will be BLOWN when you get to Carsland!)
- The Little Mermaid
- The Incredibles (1, 2, and/or 3)
- Toy Story(2, 3, and 4 for Jessie content)
- Inside Out
- Monster’s Inc.
- Silly Symphony film series
- Any cartoon with Goofy in it
What Marvel Movies and Shows Should You Watch Before Going to Disneyland?
This one gets a page all on its own.
Because there are A LOT of shows and movies to catch up on! If you have superhero-loving kiddos, they will definitely want to watch some of these movies and shows before going to Avengers Campus at Disneyland.
Special note: Avengers Campus has been highlighting the characters from their most recent movie or show being released. This means they will change out characters and showcases from time to time.
There are some standard characters you will see on pretty much every trip. That list of characters at Avengers Campus includes:
- The Dora Milaje
- Black Panther
- Black Widow
- Captain America
- Doctor Strange
- Iron Man
- Scarlet Witch
- Captain Marvel
But when a new show or movie has been released, you get bonus characters as well.
We saw Shang-Chi fight the Taskmaster alongside Black Widow last summer for example.
Right after Loki was released on Disney+, the Loki Variants all got a turn for a limited time at Avengers Campus. So you may want to be sure your family is up to date on the MCU Disney+ shows!
And we even saw The Mighty Thor meeting alongside Thor.
Movies To Watch Before Going to Disneyland Park In 2023
Across the Esplanade from DCA is the original park.
Disneyland is where dreams began and continue for kids of all ages!
Here is the list of movies that will help your family prepare for the attractions at Disneyland:
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Jungle Cruise
- Peter Pan
- The Haunted Mansion
- Alice and Wonderland
- Winnie the Pooh
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- Star Wars– we suggest taking in the whole Star Wars movies in order if you need to! Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open now and it’s a full land devoted to the franchise.
- Indiana Jones
- The Lion King
- Finding Nemo
- Sword In The Stone
- Toy Story
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
This list of movies to watch before going to Disneyland in 2022 should have you in great shape!
And we promise you, it will be fun “homework” for everyone involved.
Bonus: Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood?
Check out this bonus list: if you decide to hit up Universal Hollywood while you’re in the area, we’ve got the 12 key TV shows and movies to watch before your Universal vacation.
This is written for Orlando, but you will see most of the same attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood as well!
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Patty Holliday has been running Disney since 2011. She knows just about every tip, trick, and hack there is to cover the runDisney Magical Miles at Disney World and Disneyland. She knows every mile isn’t *always* magical- but with training, tips, and a little bit of pixie dust, they can be a lot of fun! You can also find her at noguiltlife.com and noguiltfangirl.com