My Favorite Disney Songs to Sing to My Girls
One of the great thing about very small children is that they have no idea if you have a Broadway star voice or if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket (I’ll let you guess which one I am!).
A few weeks ago, I was folding laundry with both of my girls sitting on the bed and we had the Disney Pandora station playing. When one of my favorite songs started playing, I started singing along quite loudly. My toddler said, “How you know this song?” and I suddenly realized I get to have the joy of introducing her to the fabulous world of Disney songs as she continues to get older.
Over the next few days, I couldn’t resist singing one song after another to her, each one reminding me of yet another song I loved (it also reminded me of the white and purple cassette of Disney songs we had growing up. My sisters and I would play it over and over again, making up dances to go along with them and memorizing every word, even for songs from movies we’d never seen).
Here are the Disney songs I love most; you’ll notice I definitely gravitate toward the high-energy, clever lyric songs:
You'll Be in My Heart
Tarzan is currently my toddler’s favorite Disney movie (she’s much more into animals at the moment than she princesses), and we watch the first twenty minutes of this again and again. I try to blink back tears while this song plays – fortunately for my mascara, we don’t usually get quite this far.
Cruella de Vil
This is one of the catchiest songs ever – I love the piano accompaniment and the clever wording. I was terrified of Cruella de Vil as a kid, but this song made up for her scariness.
When Will My Life Begin?
I love the just all-around Disney feel of this song. From the first time I saw Tangled in the theaters, I loved this tune.
Mad Madam Mim
This is a just a bizarre little song, but The Sword in the Stone is one of the few Disney movies we owned when I was growing up and so I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for it.
Whistle While You Work
I still remember seeing this movie in the theaters with my mom and my younger sister. And this song always reminds me of my mom who is a world-class whistler (I can’t whistle to save my life as my toddler likes to remind me).
Colors of the Wind
I do not have the vocal range to even come close to giving this song justice, but you’d better believe I don’t let that stop me for a moment. If you hear me starting in on this song, you might want to plug your ears. Fortunately, my daughters haven’t heard the recorded version, so they don’t know how badly I’m butchering it.
I've Got No Strings
This is one of the songs I knew well from our cassette tape but didn’t see the movie of until much later in life.
You Can Fly
Is there anything more imagination-grabbing than being able to fly? I’m nearly thirty and I still wish I could fly.
I'll Make a Man Out of You
This is, hands down, my favorite Disney song of all time. I was listening to the CD of it on a recent road trip and played it on repeat for about six times, until my voice started to give out from all the belting I was doing.
Let's Go Fly A Kite
This was the final song on our childhood cassette, and it tells you how many many times we listened to it that I still remember the order this many years later. It has such a triumphant finale feeling to me still.
Be Our Guest
Until I was about eight, Beauty and the Beast was one of only two kid movies we owned, and actually this one was borrowed from my grandparents. I watched it probably 100 times and I knew every word. I love this song and I especially love it with the video along with it.
Part of That World
You’ve never looked at a fork the same way after seeing this movie, have you? Me neither.
The Circle of Life
After Tarzan, The Lion King is the second most popular movie in our home (more animals!). Ella names off each animal as they appear on the screen, and I marvel that I never stop loving this gorgeous song.
The Bare Necessities
I still remember that this was my dad’s favorite song on the cassette (his love of fast-paced lyrics has been passed down to me), which makes me think my daughters will someday remember which songs I loved best.
Friend Like Me
I love this song so much – in my mind, it is hard to beat the clever and quirky nature of this song, with its many many fantastic words that I’d never heard before (“nabob” and “baklava” spring to mind).
I Won't Say I'm In Love
In high school, a bunch of my friends and I assigned ourselves all Disney characters. I was Meg (I have no idea why, since I don’t have red hair, waist-length or otherwise). Weak ankles are about all we have in common. But I’ve loved this song for more than a decade. It’s a close second for my favorite Disney song.
The Work Song
It’s still funny to me to hear a song sung by little mice voices. We don’t own this one, but I know as soon as my toddler sees it, she’ll be in love with the little talking mice.
I saw this on an IMAX screen in high school and watching this song, with all the villagers and the details of a tiny French town, was just absolutely magical.
Zero to Hero
I can’t get enough of this catchy tune and the muses who sing it. (I also love the Hercules action figure they show in this song).
Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat
How can you not love the jazz tones of this song? I think everything about it is perfect, especially “everybody’s pickin’ up on that feline beat
’cause everything else is obsolete.” (Actually, it’s killing me not to put ALL the lyrics in here).
Here’s another of those quick-paced songs I can’t get enough of. My husband and I watched this recently (after our children were in bed, in fact) and we both could spit out all the lyrics. We were probably a little irrationally proud of ourselves.
Two Worlds, One Family
I love the underlying rhythm in this song and now that I’ve seen the opening scenes of this movie at least 15 times, I could sing it in my sleep. And I wouldn’t even mind.
I have so much love in my heart for Bert, played by Dick Van Dyke. Don’t you wish he drew pictures on the sidewalk in front of your house?
Sometimes I like the more introspective songs too! And this gorgeous song is definitely one of my favorites, even if it’s not quite the toe-tapper many of the others on this list are.
Chim Chim Cheree
I’ve always liked this song, but when I saw the unbelievable stage version of it in London, there was no going back. I LOVE this song. If you ever have the chance to see it live, don’t miss it.
The Siamese Cats
I’ve always thought cats were a bit on the creepy side and this song just confirms my suspicions.
There’s nothing quite like the bad guy songs in Disney movies, is there? I remember my whole family in our minivan singing along to this song. The bit about eating 5 dozen eggs will be in my memory forever.
Prince Ali Reprise
I love the original Prince Ali song where the Genie introduces Aladdin to the city, but I love Jafar’s riff on it even more – the mocking, sinister-ish edge is just so funny to me.