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.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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