I asked all of the Unofficial Guide authors to share which Disney movies are their favorites. As it turned out, choosing just one was not as easy as I thought it would be. Sometimes it is really hard to decide, and I am guilty as charged. So, without further ado, here are our favorite flicks.
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Len Testa, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and founder of TouringPlans.com, credits Fantasia (1940) with his interest in classical music. When he heard the first segment of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor combined with the imagery of the movie, he was hooked.
Next Len conveys that he thinks that Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) is the best movie Disney ever made. The script is funny, surprising, and packed full of action. The effects are incredible. Hans Zimmer’s score is stirring. The call-outs to the theme park attraction are perfect, and Len loves that it begins and ends with “Yo Ho.” I am sure that we all can agree that Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush created new and exciting classic film characters.
Last, but certainly not least, Len loves Ratatouille (2007). Every time he sees the movie Len wants to buy a baguette and book a flight to Paris.
Growing up, Ritchey Halphen, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line, wasn’t a big fan of Disney animated films. He actually was a Looney Tunes kid. He was, however, introduced to live-action Disney movies of the 1960s and ’70s. His favorites are The Monkey’s Uncle (1965), The Love Bug (1968), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), and The North Avenue Irregulars (1979).
Erin Foster’s favorite animated Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast. Before writing about Disney, she was a librarian—and the library in the movie left her breathless.
Her favorite live-action movie is the first original Star Wars film. (Released in 1977, the Star Wars franchise was created by George Lucas. In 2012 he sold his production company to Disney.) Erin’s family moved to a new state the summer the film came out. At first, she didn’t have many friends and there wasn’t much to do until school started, so she ended up seeing the movie 13 Saturdays in a row. She has the dialogue memorized! Erin is the coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line.
Seth Kubersky’s favorite Disney movie is The Little Mermaid. It was released while he was in high school, and it single-handedly reignited his childhood Disney obsession, which had become “uncool” in his teenage years.
Seth fell in love with the lifelike animation, the amazing musical score by Ashman & Menken, and most of all Ariel herself. He thinks that it probably is not a coincidence that his first wife was a redhead! Even though Beauty and the Beast is probably a more polished film, The Little Mermaid remains his sentimental favorite from Disney’s “second Golden age” of animated movie making. Seth is the author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando and the coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland.
Bob Sehlinger is a big fan of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and the giant squid is his favorite Disney character. The film, adapted from Jule Verne’s 1870 novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, won two Academy Awards. Did you know that, when it was released in 1954, it was the second-highest-grossing film? Number one that year was White Christmas. Bob is the founder of The Unofficial Guides and coauthor of many of our books.
Tron, the 1982 science-fiction flick, is Guy Selga Jr.’s favorite Disney movie. When he saw it as a kid in the ’80s, there was nothing else like Tron. The visuals were odd and imaginative, and everything had a strange glow to it— perfectly matched by the soundtrack.
With all that being said, the main reason Guy loves the movie is because he wanted to be Kevin Flynn (played by Jeff Bridges). Guy thought that Kevin Flynn had the dream life: video game creator by day, living in a loft above the arcade that he owned. Guy acknowledges that the movie has aged in terms of visuals and pace, but he still thinks there’s nothing like it out there. Guy is the coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland.
As for me, the first movie I ever saw was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney’s first and oldest feature-length animated film. Making its debut at the Carthay Circle Theatre on December 21, 1937, the movie was first released nationwide on February 8, 1938.
Snow White was again shown in theaters when I was a child. I saw the movie back in Belgium at the age of six. All I remember is that once the Wicked Witch appeared, I spent the rest of the screening time hiding in my mom’s lap. So it took a while for me to jump up and down whenever I was asked if I wanted to see a Disney movie. After all, Bambi’s mom dies, so does Cinderella’s mom, and seeing the live-action movie Hocus Pocus did not make me sleep too well at night.
Once I was a mom myself, I, of course, watched them all, and my favorite movie is Disney Pixar’s Brave. The story of the red-haired Princess Merida of DunBroch fascinates me because she is a good role model for girls. (Even though I am mom to a boy). She is brave, independent, and the movie does not end with her getting married. I guess she would not have hidden in her mom’s lap when watching Snow White. Did you know that she was Pixar’s first female lead?
Like Erin Foster, I am also a huge Star Wars fan and I have watched all the movies, including the Mandalorian series on Disney+. I can’t wait for more!