I mentioned in my last article that Disney has dibs on just about every story relating to love and marriage. I'm pretty sure almost all of us watched these films on repeat, having dreams of our own weddings (there's a reason there's a market for Disney Princess Wedding Dresses). These films and songs have been an important part of our lives, our loves, and our culture. So here is a list of my personal favorites, please keep in mind this is by no way comprehensive and it strictly opinion based. That being said, please comment below with your favorites, I am always excited to talk about Disney films with people! If you are curious, check out my geeky music, musical theatre, classic pop/rock, and non-Disney animated love song lists. Now, without further ado...
1. Ma Belle Evangeline - The Princess and the Frog
Released in 2009, The Princess and the Frog is a retelling of "The Frog Prince" that takes place in New Orleans in the 1920's. It features Disney's first African-American Princess and the fourth woman of color in the Disney Princess franchise (if you include Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame before she was revoked of that status in 2004). I adore the simplicity of this song and how Ray the firefly is basically singing to a star in the sky. I also love how in traditional Disney style, the singer is a third party while the main couple experiences the emotions of falling in love during the song. I truly believe The Princess and the Frog is a highly underrated film and that the music is one of Disney's best. You can buy the soundtrack HERE.
2. That's How You Know - Enchanted
In 2007, Disney released a live action film to be both a parody and an homage of its Disney Princess franchise and reputation. Enchanted is the gift that keeps on on giving with its Easter Eggs and genuinely enjoyable story. That's How You Know, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, has Giselle telling disgruntled Robert how to show his fiance Nancy that he loves her, and she is joined in by all of New York. I love this song because of how upbeat and joyous it is. Most of the songs on this list are slow, but this one is fast and fun to dance to. What better way to celebrate your wedding than to dance like a Disney princess to a song all about how to show your love? You can find the soundtrack HERE.
3. Elaborate Lives - Tim Rice and Elton John's Aida
Okay, so on this one, I cheated a little bit. After the success of The Lion King, Disney approached Elton John asking if he would compose the music to an animated film of Aida, based on a storybook version of the opera Disney had acquired the rights to. They shelved the idea of doing an animated film, but they produced it for the stage in the year 2000. It was nominated for five Tony Awards (winning two of them), and won the Grammy Award for Best Album. Aida is one of my favorite musicals and I think everything about is superb. I posted this because I think it is genuinely one of the best love songs ever written and because I want everyone to bask in the perfection that is Heather Headley and Adam Pascal. You can buy the soundtrack HERE.
4. So This Is Love - Cinderella
Released in 1950, Cinderella was Disney's biggest hit since Snow White and The Seven Dwarves and it saved the company from bankruptcy. Walt Disney himself said Cinderella was his favorite fairy tale because he had to work to get everything he wanted, so he was very thankful when the film did well. It was also the first Disney film to feature a duet between the princess and her prince. I adore this song because it's so sweet and optimistic. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it; these two are in love and want to be together, despite only knowing each other for one night. You can buy the soundtrack HERE.
5. If I Never Knew You - Pocahontas
Cut from the theatrical release in 1995, If I Never Knew You was added back into Pocahontas for the 2005 for the 10th Anniversary special edition. Despite it's absence, it was included on the original soundtrack and was behind only "Colors of the Wind" as the most popular song on the soundtrack. There are many problems with Disney's adaptation of Pocahontas' story: the quality of this song is not one of them (the inaccuracy of their relationship is one of the big problems, but the song is the symptom, not the problem.) I love this song because of how perfectly Mel Gibson's and Judy Kuhn's voices blend together and because of how heartfelt their declarations are; John Smith is sentenced to death for their love affair and he is proclaiming that he would rather die than live life without having known her. It's really touching and heartbreaking. You can buy the soundtrack HERE.
6. Can You Feel The Love Tonight? - The Lion King
The Lion King was released in summer of 1994 and is the highest grossing 2D animated film of all time. It was also the first Disney film to not be solely based on a preexisting work, though it takes inspiration from the Joseph and Moses stories in the Bible, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and actual animal behavior. Can You Feel The Love Tonight? won the 1994 Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song and is generally considered a classic Disney song. I particularly love Timon and Pumbaa in this song and have often had fantasies of the groomsmen and bridesmaids at my own wedding singing their parts in a live performance of this song that my spouse and I would perform. You can buy the soundtrack HERE.
7. Once Upon A Dream - Sleeping Beauty
Released in 1959, Sleeping Beauty was Walt Disney's final film based on a fairy tale to be released before his death. Considered a flop at the time, it has recently been hailed a classic and as an important part of the Disney catalog. Despite being a big The Little Mermaid fan as a child, I remember putting on various dance costumes and twirling around in my dining room as I was singing this song to myself. For better or for worse, this song is an important thread in the fabric of a lot of young kids' ideals of romance and that's why I think it's the perfect love song to waltz to at a wedding. Just make sure the fairies aren't changing the color of your wedding dress as you dance. You can buy the soundtrack HERE.
8. A Whole New World - Aladdin
Followed by the success of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin was released in 1992 and introduced Disney's first princess of color. This scene is one of the few scenes from the original storyboard to make it into the final cut of the film and by the power of magic and love, Aladdin and Jasmine travel from Agrabah to Egypt, Greece, and China (hey, I'd fall in love with a guy too if he had magic carpet that traveled at the speed of light!) It's just such a beautiful song and has spawned many covers, professional and karaoke based, throughout the years. You're entering a whole new world of marriage at your wedding, this is the perfect song to celebrate that. You can buy the soundtrack HERE.
9. Bella Notte - Lady and the Tramp
Since this film was released in 1955, children (and, let's be honest, adults) everywhere have attempted the noodle kiss. Despite being about two dogs who love each other regardless of their class differences, Lady and the Tramp and this scene with the spaghetti have become an integral part of pop culture and our views on romance. If your spouse is willing to nuzzle over the last meatball, that is true love! Also, I just love the concept of these two adult chefs, who do not speak dog, just assuming the two dogs are on a date, giving them spaghetti, and singing to them. This song is both goofy and beautiful, which is pretty close to how love actually is. You can buy the soundtrack HERE.
10. Tale As Old As Time - Beauty and the Beast
How could I write this list and not include this song? Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991 and was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It was the last film that Howard Ashman worked on (with Alan Menken) before he passed away and this song won the Academy Award for Best Song. Continuing in the classic Disney style of having a third party sing about the relationship of the main characters, it's all about loving each other in spite of your differences and learning to compromise. I love this song because I spent a lot of time growing up feeling like I was the Beast in my relationships and this song gave me hope that I could find love and be accepted for being the weirdo that I am. I think this is the perfect wedding song and I can't wait to dance to it at my own. You can buy the soundtrack HERE.
What are your favorite Disney songs? Post them in the comments.
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