Last year, the magazine Entertainment Weekly posted a Best Disney Song “playoff” bracket and I took it way too seriously. We have a mix of Disney songs playing on repeat at my house, so I have what I’ll admit are ridiculously strong opinions on this topic.
Here’s my top eleven in no particular order (I just couldn’t keep it to ten):
“Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid – While this list isn’t ranked, if it were, this is the only song whose placement I’d be confident about: it’ll always be my #1. I have never listened to this song and not teared up, for 30 years and counting. And whenever I go to Disneyland, I ride Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at least 3 times and sing along (loudly).
“How Far I’ll Go” and “We Know the Way” from Moana – I think these two might win for the most rousing Disney songs. I knew I was going to love the entire Moana soundtrack even before it came out because I’m a huge fan of the Hamilton musical, and its creator Lin‐Manuel Miranda most of Moana’s songs.
“A Whole New World” from Aladdin – This is probably the Disney song I’ve seen performed the most, between countless viewings of the original animated film, the musical I went to in Chicago and this year’s live‐action reboot, which just hit the Box and Redbox on Demand. It never fails to be thrilling. It’s also the only Disney song to have earned a Grammy for Song of the Year (on top an Oscar for Best Original Song). But I also need to give an honorable mention to “Prince Ali,” which was especially fun to see brought to life in the reboot.
“Something There” from Beauty and the Beast – Yeah I’m going a little off the beaten path with this one because the title song from this film has never really done it for me. But I’ve always been drawn to this shorter track that chronicles Belle and the Beast’s changing relationship.
“I See the Light” from Tangled – Here’s yet another incredible ballad from super‐composer Alan Menken, who wrote the Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast songs on this list, too! Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi sing this as their characters Rapunzel and Flynn Rider during the gorgeous “paper lantern sequence” in the film — another Disney moment that moves me to tears.
“Let it Go” from Frozen – Haters gonna hate because this song was definitely overplayed when it first came out, but there’s no denying that it IS amazing. Plus it’s the only one on this list that my 4‐year‐old daughter knows all the words to already. I am doubtful the upcoming Frozen 2 is going to be able to top this theme.
“Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King – Yet another Oscar‐winning song, this one written by Elton John and Tim Rice. And yet another one that makes me cry. Are you sensing a theme yet?
“When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio – While Pinocchio is not a fave movie of mine overall (and its Disneyland ride is straight‐up horrifying), there’s no way I couldn’t include what many people consider to be the overall theme of ALL things Disney. Plus, “Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through” is one of my all‐time favorite lyrics.
“Once Upon a Dream” from Sleeping Beauty – This one is just a good old‐fashioned romantic ballad from Disney’s string of animated classics in the 1950s that I’ll randomly find myself humming during the day. I also dig Lana Del Ray’s moody, critically praised cover of it for the live‐action Maleficent prequel.
“Remember Me” from Coco – While many songs on this list have made me get all verklempt, no other has made me hardcore SOB like this one. If you watch Coco and do not bawl your head off during the final performance of this song when Miguel sings it to his grandma, you might be a robot. I AM CRYING AGAIN JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.
There you have it. What Disney songs do you like the most that didn’t make my list?