hidden gems to watch on Disney+

I’m a huge fan of Disney Plus because, well, it’s Disney! Sure, the streaming service isn’t perfect (where are you, The Happiest Millionaire???), but it’s made me happy time and time again with great content. With a library of titles as vast and varied as Disney Plus has, some films and TV shows are almost certain to slip through the cracks. With that in mind, I’ve curated a list of some lesser-watched movies/shows that I think you should check out.

(Byt the way, I have Canadian Disney Plus, which seems to have a somewhat different collection than the American version of the website, so apologies in advance if some of these titles are unavailable for you.)

DAN IN REAL LIFE (2007)

When I realized that I would be able to write about Dan in Real Life for this post, I literally felt giddy. This is such a good movie! Don’t let the poster fool you though, because despite the silly vibes and Steve Carrell playing the main character, this isn’t a screwball comedy (or even really any kind of comedy). Yes, there are some funny parts. But overall, this is a sweet, melancholy, quiet, nostalgic look at coming to terms with grief and navigating the sometimes tricky, sometimes impossible ins and outs of romance. A lovely setting, awesome cast, and engaging storyline make this film near-perfect fall/winter viewing.

ENCORE! (2019)

Disney Plus originals kind of have the reputation of being a bit mediocre (The Mandolorian excepted). But Encore! is a fun reality show all about different high school musical casts that come together again (in their thirties and forties) to re-stage ‘their’ musical in just one week. Sounds pretty crazy, right? It is, but it’s also pretty good entertainment (especially if you’re a fan of musicals). Each episode deals with a different show/cast, and they have feature some of the most iconic musicals–The Sound of Music, Annie, High School Musical, Fiddler on the Roof, and more! Go check it out!

CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (2003)

I remember catching this movie on TV at a hotel once with my mom. #goodtimes Even though it won’t be for everyone, if you’re looking for a funny, heartwarming family film Cheaper by the Dozen is a great choice. It’s genuinely funny, not just slapstick comedy (which I personally don’t like) and the cast fits together well. As is typical with these types of movies, the ending tries to pull on your heartstrings (and your tear ducts), and…it kinda works.

ONCE UPON A MATTRESS (2005)

Okay, so I’d never heard of this musical before I found it on Disney Plus. Have any of you guys heard of it? It’s a retelling of the Princess and the Pea fairytale, with a bunch of musical numbers thrown in (the quality of those songs varies widely, but they’re not all bad). I will say that even though this is a fairytale musical on Disney Plus, I wouldn’t recommend it for kids. There are definitely mature themes/songs…so just keep that in mind. But anyway, this musical isn’t the absolute best, but it is fun and joyous and sweet. ❤

FREAKY FRIDAY (2003)

Disney’s done at least three different Freaky Friday films and this one is my personal favorite (I haven’t seen the 2018 one though). A lot of that has to do with the cast. Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis play off each other wonderfully and the film as a whole is such a good time. (Well, except for the annoying ?subplot? with the mom and the daughter’s boyfriend *shudders*).

CINDERELLA III: A TWIST IN TIME (2007)

Y’all can say whatever you want about Disney’s direct-to-DVD sequels, but there are actually some not terrible ones out there. I personally enjoy The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea and Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. And then there’s Cinderella III! You need to watch this! Cinderella and Prince Charming actually get personalities, one of the stepsisters gets a happy ending, and there’s time travel involved (always cool and fun). This is the perfect movie to watch when you’re looking for a dose of nostalgic, simple Disney magic.

HERBIE GOES TO MONTE CARLO (1977)

Have you seen any of the Herbie movies? He’s like the Kevin McAllister of cars. Herbie Rides Again (also recommended!) and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo were childhood viewing staples, and I’m here to share my personal fave with you. First all, this film is classic Disney live-action. Clean, hilarious fun that isn’t too dumbed down. You’ve got a couple bumbling villains (including one played by Bernard Fox, an old friend from Hogan’s Heroes), the immortal Don Knotts, and a European adventure/mystery. This is such an entertaining film…I want to watch it again myself now!

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (2017)

“What?” you say. “The Greatest Showman? That’s hardly a hidden gem!”

Oh isn’t it? I’d just like to know why everyone thought it was okay to stop talking about this glorious movie just because it isn’t 2017-2018 anymore. Come on! Now more than ever we need that type of energy back in the world! Go forth and watch it and never stop singing ‘A Million Dreams’, I beg of you.

=)

So tell me: do you have any Disney+ hidden gems that you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Eva-Joy

13 thoughts on “hidden gems to watch on Disney+

  1. I’ve never heard of Dan in Real Life! But it sounds delightful. Thanks for these recommendations I shall have to check it out. Any other movie recommendations/blog posts you could point me to?

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  2. I’ll have to check some of these out. Oh my word, my sisters and I watched Cinderella III so much. We honestly saw it more than the original. Ah, and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo is my favorite of all the Herbie movies! Good list!

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  3. I enjoyed seeing Cheaper By The Dozen when it first came out, and I’ve been meaning to see it some time again. It’s a good family comedy with some legitimately good themes behind it.

    Also, Cinderella III: A Twist In Time is much better than it has any right to be.

    I’ve also seen Freaky Friday. I can understand it’s appeal, but it wasn’t for me.

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    1. I feel like people so wholeheartedly condemn Disney’s direct-to-video sequels (and, admittedly, they have a point) that they miss the few ‘diamonds in the rough’ that are out there.

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      1. The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride is also pretty good. Aladdin 3: The King of Thieves has its good points (one being that Robin Williams returns after not being involved in the first sequel or the TV show), and you also learn about Aladdin’s parents. Still wouldn’t recommend it though.
        I haven’t seen them, but I’ve heard good things about Lilo & Stitch 2 and 102 Dalmatians. Some argue that 102 Dalmatians is actually better than the first one.
        But for every good straight to video sequel Disney’s done, there are several sequels that are straight up trash. Cinderella 2 is completely pointless, both Little Mermaid sequels (well, one is a prequel) are weak, even if the sequel has a decent idea. Return of Jafar is lame. All of the Beauty and the Beast sequels and midquels are awful. And Mulan 2 is so bad that it’s straight up offensive to fans of the original.

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  4. AHHHH I LOVE Once Upon A Mattress!!!!!!… the soundtrack that is LOL! I’ll have to check the movie out! Have you listened to the Original Cast Recording with Carol Burnett as Winifred?
    And yes, The Greatest Showman is underrated!!

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  5. I also respectfully submit that The Greatest Showman once again become a universal topic of conversation, everywhere, immediately.

    I enjoyed the first season of that High School Musical tv show–I wish they would update it with more episodes.

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  6. Okay, so I just need to say THANK YOU for including Once Upon a Mattress… I have loved this film for YEARS, and finding someone else whose actually seen it, & enjoyed it just as much as I do is quite exciting, haha!!

    I also couldn’t agree more with your assessment of it (fun and joyous and sweet are such spot-on descriptors!), and my favourite song would have to be a tie between Normandy and In a Little While… what’s yours?

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    1. You’re welcome! I probably don’t enjoy it AS much as you, but it is pretty fun. 😀

      I feel like I’d need to listen to all the songs again to decide on a favorite, but I love the tune of the Spanish Panic–it’s so exuberant and happy.

      Liked by 1 person

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