N.B. I am a DisneyLife Brand Ambassador and this post was created in partnership with DisneyLife who have provided me with a free 12 month DisneyLife membership.
At just over two, Toddler L is now at an age where she’s understanding things that bit more. Each week, her comprehension, vocabulary and memory are improving at what feels like an alarming rate. I’ve said it before, but she seems like a proper little kid. A fact that’s awesome and scary in equal measures.
The cool thing now is that she’s like a sponge (she soaks up anything and everything – rather than being yellow and used to wash the car). This means that I can start to introduce her to new things so that she can decide what she does – and doesn’t – like. I’m a big believer in her being able to do and like whatever she wants to. But, let’s be honest, it’s more fun if you share some of the same interests. Considering that she’s 50% made from me, she’s surely got to like half of the stuff I do.
As such, I’ve started introducing her to some of the TV shows and films that I used to watch as a kid. Maybe it’s the nostalgic part of me, but I don’t think kids’ TV today is what it used to be. I’ve therefore found myself turning more and more to our DisneyLife membership in the search for childhood classics. With the best of Disney all in one app, I’ve got a huge choice of things to share with her.
Choosing what to watch with Toddler L has been a tough task. Disney felt the right place to start though. With the enchanting storylines, catchy songs and ability to span all ages, I saw it as something we’d be able to enjoy together. I’d be more than happy to sit down and watch childhood favourites like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Sister Act, Mary Poppins, Three Men And A Baby or Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, but I think we’ve got a few more years until she can appreciate these for what they are. I’ll just have to watch these in my own time when she’s at nursery.
Instead, I’ve started to focus on the animated classics – think 1937 through to 1996. I’m a fan of the Pixar stuff, but as Toddler L has already part watched things like Finding Nemo, Cars and Frozen, I’ve decided to go a bit old school and show her the magic of Disney animation as it used to be.
The trouble is that I just have so many favourites. When I think back to my childhood, I remember that my brother and I used to watch a lot of Disney films. This included both animated and non-animated movies, along with the early Pixar films. I’m going to give my age away now, but I was well into my teens when the whole CGI animation stuff became more mainstream – with the notable exception of the game-changing Toy Story.
I’ve recently managed to whittle it down to three favourites which I’ve introduced her to. I do feel I need to make a reference to those films that didn’t quite make the shortlist though. Here goes – Dumbo, Pinocchio, Robin Hood, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Alice In Wonderland and Snow White. So, with those animated classics parked for now, which three have we been watching?
The Lion King (1994)
My first memory of Simba and the gang was when I went to see this at the cinema with my family. Going off the release date, I’d just turned nine and can still clearly remember being sat in my seat waiting for it to start. I can even recall watching the “When I was a young warthog” bit – my dad cracked up laughing when Timon cut short Pumbaa’s song, yet I had no idea why this was funny. I’m now the one to giggle like a school boy when Timon nearly says “farted”.
Having already seen The Lion Guard on Disney Junior, it made sense for us to watch The Lion King as Toddler L would recognise some stuff. The fact that she also loves animals means that she has plenty to keep her occupied on screen. We’ve not quite gotten through the film in one sitting yet, but that’s to be expected with a two-year old. Instead, I’ve enjoyed going straight to my favourite bits – “Hakuna matata”, anyone?
Lady And The Tramp (1955)
I have no idea when I first watched Lady And The Tramp, but some of the scenes from that film have been ingrained in my mind. The Siamese cat song, the eating spaghetti scene and the one with the rat in the bedroom – the latter still scares me to this day, but I won’t admit that publicly…
Due to her love of animals – particularly dogs – Lady And The Tramp was a no-brainer. At just over an hour in duration, she’s managed to sit through the majority of it. She’s actually pretty vocal throughout too – I think the fact that we have a dog allows her to understand the film more as she recognises things we do on a daily basis with our dog, Dax. She particularly cracks me up when she shouts “quiet” when Tramp barks on the screen – just like we do with Dax when someone rings the doorbell!
It’s a close call with The Lion King, but I’d say that Aladdin is probably my favourite Disney film. My brother was Aladdin-obsessed, which by proxy, meant that I was constantly exposed to the goings on in Agrabah. I think that the film has it all, but then there’s the performance of Robin Williams as the Genie which takes it to the next level.
Again, we’ve not sat through the entirety of this film in one go, but I’ve picked different bits for her to watch. For instance, at her dancing class, we act out going on a magic carpet. So we’ve watched the Cave of Wonders and “A Whole New World” scenes multiple times. Similarly, anything with animals gets her attention, so having a monkey turn into a camel, horse and elephant always goes down well. You don’t see that happen at the zoo!
With half-term in full swing, we’ve been watching these three Disney films quite a lot. I hate to sound like a grump, but we tend to hibernate when all of the kids are off school as everywhere is so much busier. As such, watching some of my favourite Disney films couldn’t have come at a better time. What’s not to love about snuggling with your toddler under a blanket sharing memories from your childhood? Sounds pretty perfect to me!
What’s your favourite Disney films from when you were a kid? Have you shared any of these with your children yet? Let me know below!