5 Best Disney Movies to Watch on Netflix Before ‘The Lion King’

With the live-action (sort of) remake of The Lion King scheduled to hit the silver screen July 19, 2019, fans of the original Disney classic have quite some time on their hands to let the anticipation build. Will the new musical numbers be as satisfying as those from the original soundtrack? Will Simba’s journey from impressionable youth to brave king inspire us once more? Will Scar’s new look sit better come July? All remains to be seen.

Disney MGM Studios Logo
The Disney-MGM Studios logo | Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

While you await Disney’s remake of The Lion King, you might as well sit back on the couch and enjoy a few Disney movies on Netflix that are guaranteed to get you hyped for the Summer blockbuster. Below, find the top five Disney movies that you can currently stream on Netflix.

5) ‘Hercules’ (1997)

Tackling Greek mythology with a fast-paced narrative and several references to then-contemporary popular culture, this one’s fun for the whole family – parents and children alike (as are, let’s be honest, most Disney movies). While many feel that Hercules does not measure up to some of Disney’s finer classic tales, it’s still a joyful ride packed with catchy musical numbers and instilled with a positive message.

Starring Tate Donovan (Hercules), Danny DeVito Phil), James Woods (Hades), Susan Egan (Meg), and more, the movie also boasts a pretty impressive cast, so Hercules is definitely worth your time when it comes to Disney movie marathons.

4) ‘Tarzan’ (1999)

With a soundtrack written by the incomparable Phil Collins, you can’t go wrong with Tarzan. From “Son of Man” to “Two Words,” the songs are heartfelt, intelligent, and easy to sing along to.

Tarzan boasts several action sequences, taking a tale as old as time, and transforming it into a light-hearted romantic adventure. However, the depiction retains its touching narrative while bringing the story into a more contemporary space. The film stars Tony Goldwyn (Tarzan), Glenn Close (Kala), Minnie Driver (Jane), and Rosie O’Donnell (Terk).

3) ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ (2000)

If you’re looking for some big laughs, start your Disney marathon with The Emperor’s New Groove. While it may not deliver on all fronts – in terms of narrative depth and complex characterization – when compared to others in its kin, the film definitely still delivers. And, whatever it lacks, it makes up for in humor. The Emperor’s New Groove was a step in a slightly different direction for Disney – a little bit more hip and crazy – and the risk paid off.

The Emperor’s New Groove stars David Spade (Kuzco), John Goodman (Pacha), Eartha Kitt (Yzma), Patrick Warburton (Kronk), and Wendie Malick (ChiCha).

2) ‘Lilo & Stich’ (2002)

Is it acceptable to watch this one again, even though you’ve seen it nearly 100 times already? Of course! Lilo & Stich became an instant classic for anyone who was a child in the early 2000s, and these children made their parents put this one on over and over and over again. Lilo & Stich was 2002’s Frozen.

Lilo & Stich deserves such great recognition for it is a bit more serious than traditional Disney movies; the film explores family issues with both a lightness and a necessary degree of gravity. The story is poignant, but the tale never veers into all-encompassing melancholy. Daveigh Chase plays Lilo, and Chris Sanders plays Stitch. Tia Carrere portrays Nani.

1) ‘Mulan’ (1998)

Mulan – featuring a female protagonist in 1998 – explores themes like honor and duty, while bringing a vibrant and action-packed saga to the screen. Taking on concepts like gender roles (at a time when such issues were less frequently explored), the film traversed new lands and did so while remaining true to Disney’s core strengths: humor, heart, and catchy harmonies.

Mulan stars Ming-Na Wen (Mulan’s acting voice), Eddie Murphy (Mushu), Lea Salonga (Mulan’s singing voice), and B.D. Wong (Captain Li Shang).