I say you can never be too old for Disney.
Do you remember sitting at the TV with a bowl of cereal, watching your favorite Disney cartoons when you were a kid?
Now as an adult, maybe you’re sitting with your kids on your lap watching their favorite Disney movies.
Or maybe you just love the crazy adventures or addictive songs in Disney films.
There’s always something fun and exciting about them!
And if you’re an English learner, there’s even more for you to enjoy.
Disney is an English learner’s dream, with its many entertaining and educational cartoons, movies and songs. You’ll love them so much it won’t even feel like you’re studying.
So then, let’s start our English learning journey here today with 10 of my all-time Disney favorites.
But before we get to those, let’s look at what makes Disney such an awesome resource for English learners.
What Makes Disney Great for English Learning?
- Vocabulary lessons: Disney movies and songs feature simple English with lots of repetition. It’s easy to pick up new words!
Plus, since they’re so fun, you can watch the movies and listen to the songs as many times as you need to remember the words.
- Sing-alongs: Disney movies often include fun songs that are easy to sing along with. So take the opportunity to practice your English pronunciation by singing with the music!
- Common expressions: You’ll hear many common expressions and phrases used naturally in the context of these movies and songs. Simply adapt them for your own use in real life.
- Family learning: For generations, the common belief has been that Disney is for kids. But not any more. In recent years, Disney storylines have been modernized to appeal to teens and adults, too. This makes it the perfect place for the whole family to jump in and learn English together.
Disney Fluency! The Best Movies and Songs to Learn English with Disney
Here are our favorite ideas to learn English with Disney, from classic cartoons, to movies, to songs—and even a fun option for traveling! We’ll also show you some cool Disney worksheets and exercises for extra learning.
If you want to be sure that any English video you watch can teach you English, be sure to check out FluentU.
Unlike traditional language learning sites, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.
FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning and recommends examples and videos to you based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
You can also check out FluentU’s YouTube channel. There, you’ll find tons of videos on tips for learning English, English vocabulary and grammar and more. Take this video for example—FluentU introduces you to the best Disney movies for learning English.
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1. Classic Disney Cartoons
Snow White is a princess who’s more beautiful than her stepmother, the evil Queen. Jealous of Snow White’s beauty, the Queen sends a hunter to kill her. Snow White escapes and finds friendship with the “Seven Dwarfs,” who live in a cottage in the woods. Ultimately, she wins the heart of a handsome prince.
Younger children will enjoy the songs and simple storyline of this movie. There’s more singing than dialogue! This movie also teaches phrases for housework like washing the dishes, tidying up (cleaning), etc.
Watch the trailer:
Peter Pan is a boy who lives in Neverland, an island in the sky inhabited by mermaids, fairies and pirates. Peter Pan refuses to grow up. He visits three kids named Wendy, John and Michael one night, teaches them to fly and takes them to Neverland.
This movie centers around a series of adventures and may be suitable for older children. The dialogue is spoken at a low-intermediate English level.
Watch the trailer:
A litter of 101 Dalmatian puppies is abducted (stolen) by the evil Cruella de Vil, who plans to make the puppies’ fur into a coat for herself. This sets the neighborhood dogs off on a mission to rescue the stolen puppies.
The storyline features vocabulary for farm animals like ducks, horses and dogs that kids will love. The dialogue is spoken at a low-intermediate level, some of which is simple enough for kids of all ages to follow.
For some extra practice, check out this reading comprehension worksheet based on the movie.
Watch the trailer:
2. Modern Disney Movies
Rapunzel is a young princess with magically long golden hair, who wishes she could leave her castle and see the outside world. With the help of an intruder, Flynn Rider, she escapes the tower and ventures into a world she’s never seen before.
This movie is suitable for the entire family. In her adventures, Rapunzel often uses language to express her surprise at new things and ideas. There’s lots of vocabulary and expressions to be learned! For extra language practice, check out these “Tangled” worksheets from iSLCollective.
Watch the trailer:
Nemo is a little clownfish who’s been captured by a scuba diver and taken away from his father, Marlin. This sets Marlin on an adventure across the ocean to find his son.
As Nemo meets new friends along the way, you’ll also learn common greetings and phrases to ask for directions and help from strangers.
This is a heart-warming movie that’s fun for the whole family. Kids will be excited to learn animal vocabulary such as shark, sea turtle and lots more. You’ll also find some great worksheet activities for kids here.
Watch the trailer:
This hugely popular fantasy series (there are five movies so far) is about the adventures of swashbuckling (daring) pirates in the days of the British Empire.
This series involves storylines and scenes that may not be suitable for young children. But for adults, the action-packed adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow are a big hit. As you’ll notice from the movie trailer below, old-fashioned English is used in some of the dialogue.
For some language practice following this movie, try your hand at these intermediate-level worksheets.
Watch the trailer for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales:”
3. Disney Songs
“I See The Light” (“Tangled”)
This song expresses Rapunzel’s newfound freedom from the tower where she’s spent all her life, as well as her blossoming romantic relationship with Flynn Rider. During the song, they watch thousands of lanterns rising up into the night sky.
Singing along to this song is a great way to practice your pronunciation and fluency. To get started, simply use these lyrics.
“A Whole New World” (“Aladdin”)
This song from the movie “Aladdin” describes the main character Aladdin’s love for Princess Jasmine. During the song, they ride a magic carpet to a whole new world of freedom for the princess.
Like this hugely popular song? Well then, sing along with these lyrics right now.
“Let It Go” (“Frozen”)
In this song from the movie “Frozen,” the character Elsa celebrates her freedom from the restrictions of her childhood. She can now let her past go and be free.
She does so by throwing away the glove that holds back her power and taking off the tiara that holds back her long hair.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy singing along to this popular song with these lyrics.
Here’s one just for fun! When you’ve achieved your English learning goals, you can reward yourself by visiting a Disney theme park and experiencing firsthand everything you’ve seen and heard in Disney movies and songs.
Worldwide there are Disneyland theme parks in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai and Paris. In the U.S., there are Disney parks in Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida.
I hope you’ve enjoyed watching and listening to all my Disney suggestions above. There’s no better way to motivate yourself to learn English than that trip to Disneyland that you’ve promised yourself. So keep working on your English. Disneyland’s waiting for you!
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