Disney songs have provided the soundtracks to millions of childhoods, from the tunes in the Golden Age animated movies of the 1930s to the “Mickey Mouse March” of the 1950s to the princess renaissance of the 1990s and beyond.
Disney songs speak to universal emotions of love and longing, and they have major staying power — one of the most impressive things about Disney songs is how they have remained popular throughout the company’s 100-year history.
Here, we’ve gathered a list of some of the most beloved Disney songs of all time — from the poignant beauty of the classics to the poppy sass of the newcomers. We bet you’ll be singing along to your favorites as you scroll through this list!
1. “Someday My Prince Will Come” — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Considered the first Disney Princess movie, Snow White is one of the most stunningly animated and acclaimed productions from the House of Mouse. “Someday My Prince Will Come,” sung by Adriana Caselotti, is a simple yet beautiful plea for love.
Surprisingly, Caselotti wasn’t credited for her iconic vocals, because Disney wanted to maintain the illusion that Snow White was real. The song became a standard, and was covered by everyone from Miles Davis to Barbra Streisand.
2. “When You Wish Upon a Star” — Pinocchio (1940)
“When You Wish Upon a Star” might just be the quintessential Disney song. First sung in Pinocchio by Cliff Edwards, who played Jiminy Cricket, the song is known by Disney fans of all ages, as it’s featured as a musical motif in Disney’s production logos and frequently appears at the beginning of Disney films from all decades.
3. “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” — Cinderella (1950)
Nothing says Disney like songs about dreaming and wishing. “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” is sung by Cinderella (played by Ilene Woods) to her adorable animal friends. Many of the early Disney songs took inspiration from classical music — this one had a melody based on a composition by the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt.
4. “The Unbirthday Song” — Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Some classic Disney songs actually aren’t about hopes and dreams. “The Unbirthday Song” from Alice in Wonderland is a rather nonsensical tune performed by the Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn) and the March Hare (Jerry Colonna). The song, which celebrates the 364 days a year that are not your birthday, is jaunty and perfectly suited to the movie’s madcap world. You might even want to throw an Unbirthday Party of your very own any day you choose!
5. “You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly!” — Peter Pan (1953)
“You can fly!” is a pure and simple affirmation that captures the old Disney magic. The song marks the characters’ flight to Neverland, and is performed by the Judd Conlon Chorus and the Mellomen. These musicians packed some serious chops: Judd Conlon worked with Judy Garland and Bobby Darin, while the Mellomen worked with Bing Crosby, Arlo Guthrie and Elvis Presley.
6. “He’s a Tramp” — Lady and the Tramp (1955)
The rare Disney song that’s not quite wholesome and childlike, “He’s a Tramp” is an anthem for anyone who’s dated an irresistible bad boy. Musical icon Peggy Lee gives the tune a combination of playfulness and seductiveness that makes it endure. Lee collaborated with musicians of all stripes and was known for her sultry voice. Musicians of the day unanimously praised her, and Tony Bennett even called her “the female Frank Sinatra” — not bad for a singing cartoon dog!
7. “Mickey Mouse March” — The Mickey Mouse Club (1955)
“M-I-C…K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!” So goes the rollicking theme for the classic Disney TV show The Mickey Mouse Club. Written by Mouseketeer Jimmie Dodd, the song was meant to usher kids into the wonderfully carefree world of Mickey and his pals. Dodd got the part of Mouseketeer Master of Ceremonies after submitting a song to Walt Disney himself. Disney was impressed with Dodd’s personality and how well he got along with younger actors, and signed him on the spot. The Mickey Mouse Club ran from 1955 to 1959, with new versions in the ’70s and ’90s. The ’90s version featured Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell before they were famous.
8. “Cruella de Vil” — 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Oh, Cruella de Vil… so fashionable, yet so devious. Performed by Bill Lee, the song describes the Dalmatian-stealing heiress as a “vampire bat” and an “inhuman beast.” Harsh! Cruella may have been evil but she looked fabulous, and while she’s pretty over the top, she was actually drawn from real life. Disney animator Marc Davis took inspiration from Tallulah Bankhead, a sassy actress of the ’30s and ’40s known for her wild ways.
9. “Let’s Get Together” — The Parent Trap (1961)
In the ’60s, Disney released a number of classic live-action movies. The Parent Trap starred Hayley Mills in a dual role as teen twins trying to reunite their divorced parents, and was later remade with a young Lindsay Lohan in the ’90s. “Let’s Get Together,” performed by Hayley Mills and… Hayley Mills had major contemporary pop bounce, and its success led the actress to record an album, also called Let’s Get Together.
10. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” — Mary Poppins (1964)
When you have legendary actress and singer Julie Andrews leading your cast, you know you’re in for a brilliant soundtrack. In Mary Poppins, she made her screen debut as the whimsical nanny, and taught us all a new word with the upbeat song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” Surprisingly, the long, impossible-to-spell word didn’t actually originate in the movie, and may go all the way back to the ’30s.
11. “The Bare Necessities” — The Jungle Book (1967)
“The Bare Necessities” offers an inspiring lesson about not worrying and instead appreciating all the little things in life. Originally performed by Phil Harris and Bruce Reitherman, the song was famously covered by the jazz great Louie Armstrong. This jaunty tune almost didn’t make it into the movie — it was originally written for an earlier draft that wasn’t produced, and was the only song used from that version.
12. “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” — Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
This fantasy about a magical car gave us a bouncy onomatopoetic tune. “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” refers to the titular car’s distinctive engine sounds — sounds that proved so catchy, the song earned an Oscar nomination. While Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a wholesome family story, it comes from a decidedly adult source: The novel on which it was based was written by Ian Fleming, who was best known as the creator of James Bond.
13. “Part of Your World” — The Little Mermaid (1989)
Following Walt Disney’s death in 1966, the company went into decline over the next two decades, and while they released some popular movies like The Aristocats (1970), Robin Hood (1973) and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) they didn’t quite replicate the success of classic fairytales like Snow White and Cinderella until the late ’80s, when their renaissance period began and they released one beloved movie after another (movies then brought to an even bigger audience thanks to the advent of home video). “Part of Your World,” sung by Jodi Benson, may well be the theme song of this legendary Disney era. The soaring, heartstring-tugging ballad feels of a piece with earlier songs like “Someday My Prince Will Come.”
14. “Be Our Guest” — Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Who knew a song performed by household objects could be so catchy? Performed by Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach (playing a teapot and a candle, respectively), the energetic tune wouldn’t be out of place on a Broadway stage. The imagery in the scene, which features a fantastical array of dancing tableware, was meant to be a visual reference to Busby Berkeley, an Old Hollywood director and choreographer known for his elaborate set pieces. Following Lansbury’s death in 2022, a behind-the-scenes clip of her recording the song went viral, for showing just what a talented star she was.
15. “A Whole New World” — Aladdin (1992)
What could be more fantastical than a magic carpet ride? “A Whole New World,” sung by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga, captures the wonder of having big possibilities on the horizon. The song won an Academy Award, and a version by musicians Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle that played over the movie’s end credits topped the Billboard charts in 1993. It was the first song from an animated Disney movie to achieve this milestone.
16. “Circle of Life” — The Lion King (1994)
“Circle of Life” might just be the most triumphant song in the Disney catalog, capturing all the majesty of the animal kingdom with its intense vocals. The song was composed by pop icon Elton John and sung by Carmen Twillie. The opening of the song is performed in Zulu by South African musician Lebo M. While many American viewers have sung along to that part without understanding the lyrics, they actually translate to “Here comes a lion, father, Oh yes it’s a lion. Here comes a lion, father, Oh yes it’s a lion. A lion we’re going to conquer, a lion, a lion and a leopard come to this open place,” which is more literal than you might expect.
17. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” — Toy Story (1995)
Veteran singer-songwriter Randy Newman made his mark on the very first Pixar film with this sweet tune. Unlike many Disney songs, this particular one doesn’t have sweeping romance or dramatic vocal fireworks. Rather, it’s just a simple song about the power of friendship. It provides a grounding force to Disney’s computer-animated debut. While “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” was nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globes for Best Original song, it lost to another Disney classic, “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas.
18. “Colors of the Wind” — Pocahontas (1995)
“Colors of the Wind” is a ballad that takes a contemplative, philosophical tone as it poses questions about the ways in which we experience the world around us. Most of the Disney Renaissance songs were written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. However Ashman sadly died of AIDS in 1991 — his final film was Beauty and the Beast, but he didn’t live to see the final cut, so it ended with a dedication to him. Following Ashman’s premature passing, Menken worked with lyricist Stephen Schwartz. The Pocahontas song, performed by Judy Kuhn, was their first collaboration.
19. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” — Mulan (1998)
Sung by none other than former ’70s teen idol Donny Osmond, “I’ll Make a Man of You” soundtracks a high-energy training montage. The rare Disney song that could provide a soundtrack to a workout, the song is also a playful take on gender conventions. It had an international reach, and was covered in Cantonese for its Hong Kong version by martial arts star Jackie Chan.
20. “You’ll Be in My Heart” — Tarzan (1999)
Written and performed by the popular musician Phil Collins, formerly of the band Genesis, “You’ll Be in My Heart” is a sweet ballad that won an Oscar and topped the Adult Contemporary Billboard charts — not bad for a song from a family movie! Collins originally wrote the song as a lullaby for his daughter, Lily (who, as the star of Emily in Paris, is now a pretty big name herself!).
21. “Let It Go” — Frozen (2013)
Broadway star Idina Menzel truly gave it her all when it came to belting out this power ballad. The defiant song won an Oscar and topped the music charts, and harkens back to the emotional powerhouse stylings of “Part of Your World.” However, some of the inspirations for this song may surprise you: Husband-and-wife songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez cited singers like Adele, Aimee Mann, Lady Gaga, Avril Lavigne and Carole King as influences.
22. “How Far I’ll Go” — Moana (2016)
Written by Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda and sung by Auliʻi Cravalho, “How Far I’ll Go” follows in the classic Disney tradition of songs about wanting to explore the world and achieve your dreams. In an interview, Miranda revealed that he “went method” to write the song, explaining that he wrote it while locked in a bedroom in his parents’ house, so he could channel the mood of being a teenager and feeling like what you want is just out of reach.
23. “Surface Pressure” — Encanto (2021)
“Surface Pressure,” also written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and performed by Jessica Darrow, is inspired by Reggaeton and Cumbia, which sets it apart from many other Disney songs. The song’s lyrics highlight the struggles that can come with being strong and living up to everyone’s expectations, and it’s meant to convey the struggle of being an older sibling with heart and sass. Miranda wrote the song as a tribute to his own older sister, Luz Miranda-Crespo.
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