Finally, Christmas is upon us. The good old Elf on the Shelf is up to his normal tricks, there are mince pies aplenty in the shopping aisles and Christmas lights light up the roads outside. But with the usual festive fair comes the dark cold weather and to boot. In most countries around the world, there’s still some kind of lockdown in action. So, it’s a good job, this Christmas, we have an extra bit of sparkle in our homes in the form of Disney Plus.
From family favourites and classic movies to festive shorts and new Christmassy content. Disney Plus has a host of Christmas films and specials to keep you cosy on your sofa with a hot chocolate until New Years. Below is a guide of what’s in store for you when you turn on our new favourite subscription service.
Before we fully get into it, one of the best things about Disney Plus is its quirky features and specials. Including the Arendelle Castle Yule Log. You can really get into a cosy Christmassy mood with the help of the Frozen 2 set. It’s 3 hours of uninterrupted crackling fire in the Arendelle castle fireplace. It’s perfect to have on while you’re eating Christmas dinner, playing games or when you’re sitting at your computer reading articles, like this one.
So why not indulge? Type Arendelle Castle Yule Log into the Disney Plus search bar and get all cosy.
Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Home Alone or Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Since the moment 10-year-old Macaulay Culkin took to the screen in 1990 as Kevin McCallister, it immediately became a classic. As did the second instalment, which was released in 1992. Both these nostalgic Christmas films can be found on Disney Plus. Along with its less-idolised third instalment: Home Alone 3 (1997). A word of warning, this film has none of the original cast, but the lead is played by an equally as cute Alex D. Linz.
Another classic Christmas film starring a young 90s child star is I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998). By the film’s release, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who was known for playing Randy Taylor in Home Improvements and the voice of Simba in Disney’s The Lion King, was becoming somewhat of a heartthrob. I’ll be honest, this film does rely quite heavily on 90’s Taylor Thomas being a bit of a hottie. But, it is also a fun festive film that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Along with Taylor Thomas, there is another Home Improvements alum with a host of Christmas films under his belt – Tim Allen – three of which are all on Disney+. They are all part of The Santa Clause trilogy. You have The Santa Clause (1994), The Santa Clause 2 (2002) and Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006). As with most sequels, the first film is by far the best. By the time you get to the third film, it’s…well, just OK.
I have left what we think is the best until last: The Nightmare Before Christmas. This Christmas Classic should always be watched around this time of year (or Halloween, or any time you feel like it). This legendary 1993 Tim Burton animation is a different take on a Christmas film. It has quite rightly gained a cult following over the almost 3 decades since its release. The animations are top-notch, the characters are well developed and fascinating, and the soundtrack is just the cherry on top of the Christmas cake.
A Christmas Carol
So, a film we were going to put in the classic category was The Muppets Christmas Carol, as it is most definitely a favourite for many. But, as Disney Plus offers three different films based on the 1843 novel by Charles Dickens, we thought the films deserved its own section.
As we’ve already mentioned, the best of the three has to be The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992). The funny yet serious take on the tale is perfect for adults and children alike. But, if you want to discover some other remakes of the story, there’s a Mickey Mouse version too. Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) is again the serious story told with a glimmer of humour and a smattering of the Disney sparkle that we all love! Obviously, our beloved Mickey couldn’t play the part of Ebenezer Scrooge as he was a perfect fit for Bob Cratchit. Luckily there was already an established Disney character waiting in the wings to play the part of his namesake. Donald Duck’s maternal uncle, Scrooge McDuck. The film is full of all your favourite original Disney characters. Jiminy Cricket even pops in to play the part of ‘The Ghost of Christmas Past’.
The final Christmas Carol film on the service is Disney’s A Christmas Carol, which was released in 2009. Jim Carrey lends his voice to this computer-animated retelling. He not only voices the main character of Ebenezer Scrooge, but also the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Over the years, as you would imagine, Disney has made a whole host of Christmas family films. Which are now all available on Disney Plus for us to enjoy. This includes films with Mickey and the gang, including Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999) and Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004). Each film is split into smaller sections, with stories around our favourite Disney characters.
Once Upon a Christmas is all classic cartoon visuals and feels very nostalgic. But, Twice Upon a Christmas has computer-animated the classic characters, making the film a lot more modern.
If you have animal fans in your household, fear not, as there is a trilogy for that too. Including Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws (2009), The Search for Santa Paws (2010) and Santa Paws 2 – The Santa Pups (2012). These adorable films are a great watch… I mean, come on now, who doesn’t love a dog in a Christmas hat?
If you prefer more live-action festive family viewing, there are also several Disney Channel original movies. Such as Good Luck Charlie It’s Christmas (2010), which is a spin-off from the Disney Channels sitcom, Good Luck Charlie.
Twas the Night (2001), which stars Josh Zukerman and Bryan Cranston. They who take a joy ride in Santa’s new high-tech sleigh.
There’s The Ultimate Christmas Present (2000), a cautionary tale of what could go wrong if you try to skip school with a snow day using Santa’s weather machine.
Or One Magic Christmas, which was released in cinemas around the USA in November 1985. This film is a proper winter warmer, and a great way to restore your faith in the magic of Christmas.
Finally, there’s an ultimate family Christmas movie on Disney Plus, which just embodies those magical festive feels. That’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018). The film is based on the classic ballet. It’s full of wonder, incredible costuming and set designs. With plenty of famous actors, including Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and Richard E. Grant
Now, we all enjoy a little bit of romance over the festive period, but Disney Plus does it a little differently. There are really only two full-on Christmas romcoms. One of which is While You Were Sleeping (1995), which was made by Disney’s Hollywood Pictures and Caravan Pictures studios. This film could easily also be in the classic film category as it’s such a great film and arguably catapulted Sandra Bullock to fame. Then there’s ABC TV film 12 Dates of Christmas (2011), which is a Groundhog Day-style film. It still gives you all the predictable romcom scenes that you need for a romantic night in.
There are also a few other films that have a dash romance, though could be classed as more of a family comedy. They are: The Mistle Tones (2012), starring Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tori Spelling – if you love the Pitch Perfect movies, you will like this.
What about Snowglobe (2007), starring Christina Milian? Or last year’s Noelle (2019), starring Anna Kendrick. This film is a great story about the legend of Santa and it has a very positive and welcomed outcome, as well as a lot of laughs and songs.
Disney and Disney Pixar have always been pretty strong when it comes to their short films.
Among their impressive backlog, there are some Christmas shorts, two of which are extensions from some of Disney Pixar’s biggest film releases. Such as Ice Age: a Mammoth Christmas (2011), which is a 26-minute adventure, where Sid finds himself on the naughty list. Or Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017), where our favourite snowman and reindeer duo tries to save Christmas in a 22-minute escapade.
But don’t worry, it’s not just the Pixar characters who get their own Christmas short: Pluto has one too. In the late 40s and early 50s, there was a series of 6ish-minute short stories starring Mickey Mouse’ dog. Disney’s Pluto series were normally played pre-feature film in the theatres, and they had a festive instalment called Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952) too. This film, along with the rest of the series, is all on Disney Plus for Christmas.
Finally, for the Festive Shorts, we must tell you about Prep and Landing. These 20-minute, computer-animated TV Christmas specials are great and you’ve got 3 to get watching. Prep & Landing (2009), Prep & Landing, Operation: Secret Santa (2010) and Prep & Landing: Naughty vs Nice (2011). Dave Foley lends his voice to main prep and landing elf, Wayne. He helps Santa and Mrs Clause on the big day with several tasks, which may or may not go a little wrong…
Disney’s own full-length Holiday Specials
If something works, run with it; that is exactly what Disney tried to do with the following Christmas films that follow on from their box office hits. First, we go back to visit Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997). This film which is set in the middle of the original film where the beast is still… well… a beast. I think I prefer him as the beast, and I used to get quite upset when he turned into the prince. True to form, Beast is not a fan of Christmas, so Belle sets out to make it one he will never forget.
Secondly, there’s Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year (2002). This film originally went straight to VHS and DVD on release, so many of us may not have seen it the first time around. But it’s worth a family watch, as Winnie and friends take you on a magical festive adventure.
Thirdly, there’s Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish (1998)… but before you get too excited, it has none of the original cast in it. Richie is played by David Gallagher, not Macaulay Culkin.
New for 2020
Unfortunately, getting to the cinema is still a bit tricky, but don’t worry as there are still new films being released on Disney Plus for Christmas. Among them is Godmothered and The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special.
Godmothered has a little bit of everything for a range of audiences: it has comedy, music, a little bit of romance and a heavy dose of magic and fantasy. It’s a great story about a young fairy, Eleanor. She wants to be a godmother, but after finding out they are closing the Fairy Godmother school to retrain them all to be Tooth Fairies, Eleanor takes her fate into her own hands.
The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special is exactly what you would expect from a Lego movie: dark humour, action and, of course, Lego. But, this is only a short at 44 minutes long. This time around the film is set around Rey, who finds herself lost in a cross-timeline festive adventure.
So, there we have it, our guide to all things Christmas on Disney Plus. How did we do? Did we miss any films or specials that you think should be on the guide? Let us know in the comment section below.
Now, turn down the lights, wrap up in your blanket and switch over from the Arendelle Castle Yule Log and put on your favourite Disney + festive film.
Oh, and… Merry Christmas you filthy animals and a Happy New Year.
Read about 7 Christmas movies that aren’t Christmas movies HERE.
Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters
Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?
Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw
While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.
Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor
Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff
Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.
Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw
Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.
Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.
Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor
Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.
Dr Strange- Ravenclaw
Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff
Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.
Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin
This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.
T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff
T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor
At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.
Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.
Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.
- Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters July 23, 2021
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