Not all Disney films are (in my opinion) appropriate for younger kids. This is a list of the best Disney movies for toddlers.
When putting together this list of the best Disney movies for toddlers I considered 3 different movie aspects: scariness, inappropriate jokes or language, and difficult subject matter. A lot of Disney classics contain material that is a little too mature for younger kids.
I’m not saying that my kids will never watch them, but I will definitely make them wait until they are older.
The Best Disney Movies for Toddlers
Cinderella is a Disney classic and great for younger audiences. It is full of fantastic music, magic, and fun little talking animals. While Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters certainly aren’t kind characters, they aren’t too scary as far as Disney villains go.
The stepsisters do use bullying language, like “stupid,” both towards Cinderella and each other. There is also a scene where the king and Grand Duke smoke cigars.
Moana has been a favorite for my kiddos since its release. They love the music and the characters. The movie has a PG rating. However, I find it more appropriate than some of the older Disney films. The story does include the death of the grandmother, but her spirit continues to guide Moana in parts of the film. My children never grasped that the grandmother died, so it did not spark that conversation.
There is some bullying language. Plus, Moana calls Maui a “son of a” but the last word is completely cut off. The villain of the film, Te Ka, is a giant lava monster. That may be scary to some kids. Her monster form is revealed to not be her true self, so my kids were never really afraid.
Frozen is another favorite in our house. The music is wonderful and it is very visually appealing. This film is also rated PG and definitely has some thrilling parts. There are a few intense scenes where it appears that Anna and Elsa may not survive, but they always do. I also love the message of “not marrying a man you just met” because that is the trend in so many other popular Princess movies.
My girls have also seen Frozen II but I do a lot of fast-forwarding through that one. I feel like the tone is much more serious and more mature than in the first Frozen.
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (G)
Everyone’s favorite snowman is on a mission to find the perfect holiday traditions in Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. This short movie is full of fun songs, a moving holiday message about family, and hilarious Olaf antics. There is a brief part where Olaf is chased by wolves in the forest. But the snowman plays it off for laughs, so it isn’t quite scary.
Finding Nemo (G)
I am honestly surprised that Finding Nemo is only rated G. The opening scene of the movie is extremely traumatic, as well as the kidnapping scene and the whole shark bit. This movie is only on my list of best Disney movies for toddlers because my kids LOVED it. And it sparked a big interest in the ocean and sea creatures for them.
However, they have never seen the opening scene where Nemo’s mom and all of his brothers and sisters are killed by a barracuda. I always fast-forward right past that part and start the movie at the title screen.
My oldest daughter cried when the diver took Nemo. We watched the movie together to the end. I wanted her to see that he is reunited with his dad. My younger daughter was unfazed by that scene, so it really depends on your child and what they can handle. Again, this movie also has bullying language.
Finding Dory (G)
Finding Dory is a tamer version of Finding Nemo. Dory begins to remember her family in a series of flashbacks and goes off searching for them. The flashbacks are of Dory when she is young and could be sad for some kids. There is also a scary incident where they are almost eaten by a giant squid.
This movie also doesn’t contain as much bullying language, which is a plus. I think my kids may actually like Finding Dory more than Finding Nemo.
Wall-E is one of those movies that seems less well-known. It’s so underrated! My kids LOVE Wall-E! The first half of the movie doesn’t have any dialogue. It’s just a little robot cleaning up a very dirty and messy Earth. The premise of the movie is that Earth became so polluted that all the humans had to leave. Robots are left behind to clean up the mess, but eventually, they all break down, except for Wall-E.
Wall-E is quirky and special and easily makes friends. There are some scenes where Wall-E and other robots break. Since they are robots and not people, none of them “die.” They are easily repaired.
Mary Poppins (G)
Both of my kids LOVED Mary Poppins at two years old. It is hands down one of the best Disney movies for toddlers. I believe that is due to all of the music and the combination of animation with live-action. We just exited the Mary Poppins phase with my youngest where she was asking to watch it over and over every day for weeks. Mary Poppins was one of my favorites as a kid, so I don’t mind rewatching it.
The only scene that could be a tad scary for kids is when the children run from their father at the bank. They end up in a dirty part of the city where a dog barks at them and an old beggar woman approaches them. It is a very short scene. Other than that, the movie is very fun and innocent for kids.
The Disney Fairies (aka Tinker Bell and friends) movies are more of the “straight to DVD” variety, but my kids love them. They are fun and exciting, occasionally a little perilous, but not scary. There isn’t bullying language, though in a few of the movies the fairies aren’t always friendly to each other.
The biggest issue with these movies, in my opinion, is that sometimes the fairies are a little too sassy and Tinker Bell gets angry and snaps at her friends. These scenes teach a lesson of some sort and everyone apologizes in the end.
I love Tinker Bell and think she is a very important piece of the Disney brand, so these movies are a great way to introduce her to little kids outside of Peter Pan.
Tangled is another example of a Disney movie that is mostly okay for toddlers. I do fast-forward through the part at the beginning where Mother Gothel kidnaps her as a baby. And then towards the end, I also skip the stabbing scene. BUT! Aside from those two brief scenes, Tangled is a fun adventure. My youngest is obsessed with Tangled and all things Rapunzel.
Tangled does contain a lot of swords, fighting, and weapons in general.
Fantasia 2000 (G)
The classic Fantasia is a bit too frightening for toddlers. But Fantasia 2000 is much more appropriate. My children are mesmerized by the animation paired with classical music.
One of the stories does feature a volcano erupting and a forest spirit fleeing. However, the animation continues the story by showing her reborn from the ashes. It may be briefly frightening for some children.
Piglet’s Big Movie (G)
In Piglet’s Big Movie, Piglet feels neglected and ignored by his friends. So he decided to set off on his own. When his friends discover that he’s missing, they set out to look for him. But the only clues they have are in a scrapbook Piglet left behind.
The Winnie the Pooh movies often feel emotionally heavy to me as an adult. But my children don’t seem to pick up on it and love them.
Winnie the Pooh (G)
Winnie the Pooh is a classic Disney film full of friendship, adventure, and everyone’s favorite silly ole bear. Pooh and his friends are on a quest to find Christopher Robin. They believe he has been taken and needs rescuing. However, it’s all just a misunderstanding.
Again, Winnie the Pooh movies feel a little heavy. But it’s not something my children pick up on. If you have a sensitive child, just be aware this movie could make them sad.
Sofia the First, Once Upon a Princess (G)
Once Upon a Princess is the only made-for-TV movie on this list. And it’s not on Disney Plus. However, Sofia the First was my daughters’ favorite show for a long while. Sofia is a little girl that is new to the whole princess thing. This movie kicks off the popular television series, Sofia the First.
At first, Sofia’s new stepsister is a bit of a bully, but they reconcile along the way. A few moments of bullying are the only issues with this movie.
These movies are the best Disney movies for toddlers, especially if you want to shield them from scarier villains or more advanced subject matter. They are more lighthearted and easier for young children to digest. If you’re interested in more of my recommendations for kids, here’s a list of the best shows for toddlers and preschoolers!
What do you think are the best Disney movies for toddlers? If there are any Disney movies you think I missed that your toddler loves, drop them in the comments! I’d love to give them a shot!