Charming, Funny, Inspirational: Best Disney Songs Ever

The theme songs of childhood are forever engraved into the hearts and minds of children everywhere, providing both fond memories as well as a host of guiding proverbs to live by as they grow into adulthood. Music has always been the thread of unity that binds together the various parts of every Disney story, as important to the tale as the colorful animation and the heroic main character. Disney songs tend to be charming and funny, or romantic and inspirational, and they almost always convey a message of hope and good will. Here are a few of Disney’s best ever movie theme songs:



Everyone has a favorite Disney song, whether you are a kid or just a kid at heart. As a parent, I have not only warm memories of Disney movies from my own childhood, but also a collection of great memories of my children singing along to their favorite Disney sons. Generation after generation, Disney songs find a place in our hearts that never forgets.

10. When You Wish Upon a Star, Pinnocchio

In 1940 when this film was created it was only the second movie released by Walt Disney. This theme song sung by the iconic narrator character, Jiminy Cricket, has become the theme song for the Disney company and is ranked by the American Film Institute as 7th in their “100 Greatest Songs in Film History,” and it also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Best Original Musical Score. (On a side note, rock-star Gene Simmons of Kiss fame covered this song on his 1978 solo album.) The lyrics emphasize the overall Disney theme, “Dreams come true,” as elaborated in this song excerpt:

When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires

Will come to you

9. Part of Your World, The Little Mermaid

In this 1989 film based upon a Danish fairy tale written by Hans Christian Anderson, a beautiful young mermaid princess longs to become human. Although “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl” both received Academy Award nominations, this song seems much more meaningful to me. Written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, this song sung by Princess Ariel touches a sympathetic cord in the heartstrings of anyone who has ever been on the outside looking in, wishing they could fit in with a different group. All the wonderful things that she does have in her life are unimportant to her in light of her dream to be “Part of Your World.”

8. Just Keep Swimming, Finding Nemo

In this 2003 animated classic, the intrepid Dory reminds us to never give up, even when life seems bleak and discouraging. Written by Thomas Newman and sung by comedian/actress/talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, this song excerpt demonstrates its message of encouragement:

Hey Mr. Grump Gils,

Ya know what you gotta do when life gets you down?

Just keep swimming

Just keep swimming


7. You’ll Be in My Heart, Tarzan

Written by Phil Collins in 1999 and winner of an Academy Award, this beautiful lullaby is a comforting reminder of a mother’s love for a child. Sung by Kala, baby Tarzan’s adoptive mother, she promises him that he will be safe, warm and loved regardless of the fact that they are so different.

6. Some Day My Prince Will Come, Snow White

The song that inspired generations of young girls to dream of their own handsome prince, this inspirational theme song from Disney’s first production in 1937 is the very epitome of the dream of “happily ever after.” Written by Larry Morry and Frank Churchill, “Some Day” is dreamy and romantic, as you can tell from these heartfelt lyrics:

Some day my prince will come

Some day we’ll meet again

And away to his castle we’ll go

To be happy forever I know


Some day when spring is here

We’ll find our love anew

And the birds will sing

And wedding bells will ring

Some day when my dreams….come true


5. Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and the Beast

In this “tale as old as time,” Angela Lansbury sings this song beautifully in an inspirational rendition of the song that won an Academy Award, a Juno and a Grammy. Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, it reminds us that love may come when we least expect it, and that letting go of old prejudices and grudges can lead to wonderful things.

4. A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes, Cinderella

Written by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston for the original 1950 film production, the Disney dream theme continues with Cinderella’s “dreamy” song of encouragement sung to her animal friends:

No matter how your heart is grieving

If you’ll just keep on believing

The dream that you wish will come true


3. Go the Distance, Hercules

The 1997 cartoon  version of the ancient Greek legend of Hercules offers an inspirational message that is captured in this song written by Roger Bart and sung by Michael Bolton. As the young Hercules sets off to meet his destiny, he determines that with perseverance and determination he will reach his goals:

I will find my way

I can go the distance

I’ll be there someday

If I can be strong


2. Bare Necessities, The Jungle Book, AND Hakuna Matata, The Lion King

Second place in the list of Best Disney Songs had to be a tie between two very light-hearted yet inspirational songs. Both songs teach us to focus on the truly important things in life, and to not waste time worrying about trivial matters. First in the 1967 Jungle Book, then the 1990 remake, the friendly bear, Balloo, teaches his young friend Mowgli to “forget about your worries and your strife.”

In 1994, an adorable warthog and his meerkat best friend, Pumbaa and Timone, teach a similar lesson to their young lion friend, Simba, in a song titled in Swahili for “no worries.”

Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

Hakuna Matata, ain’t no passing craze

It means no worries for the rest of your days

It’s our problem free philosophy, Hakuna Matata

1. Colors of the Wind, Pocohontas

The very best, most important and significant Disney song ever was a 1995 Academy Award, Golden Globe and Grammy winner sung by Vanessa Williams. In this song, Disney touches upon current issues of racism and tolerance as Pocahontas teaches Captain John Smith to live in harmony with nature and to be open-minded and tolerant toward other cultures, life lessons that if we all learned could change our world.

When you walk in the footsteps of a stranger

 You’ll learn some things you never knew

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