Picture it, it’s Thanksgiving Day. You wake to a chill in the air for a morning of cooking mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and cranberry sauce for a delicious lunch with family. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is playing in the background as you prep food, and you enjoy the flashes of New York City on screen. As the parade draws to a close, the big man himself, Santa Claus, closes out the parade and ushers in the Christmas season.
But don’t worry, we are not jumping into the Christmas movies yet. We will leave John Candy (Home Alone), Steve Martin (Mixed Nuts), and Tom Hanks (Polar Express) for another day.
After the family Thanksgiving dinner is enjoyed and cleanup is over, everyone is ready for a little rest and relaxation. What better way to unwind and enjoy each other’s company than with a movie?! A Thanksgiving episode of a show from Disney Channel on Disney+ is a great option to enjoy some laughs during a shorter TV session. Speaking of Disney Channel, does anyone remember the clips of Disney Channel Stars’ Thanksgiving food commentary?
Still, I always opt for a full-length Disney movie when the occasion allows, and what better way to relax with family, than to watch a Disney or Pixar movie that is family-centric? If you are ready for a Thanksgiving movie session, we have all the recommendations for you. Here is the perfect Thanksgiving Disney movie list for your family!
Lilo & Stitch
Families come in all shapes and sizes. When orphaned sisters Nani and Lilo adopt space alien Experiment 626 from the humane society, chaos ensues. Nani and Lilo must navigate their changing relationship as Nani steps into a guardian role for Lilo. All the while, Stitch is having some growing pains of his own as he learns to be a “model citizen” and adjust to his new home. This movie teaches us that ‘Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.
Big Hero 6
Here we have another family that is anything but traditional. Aunt Cass is the mom/guardian to Hiro and his older brother, Tadashi. When tragedy strikes and Tadashi is killed in an accident, Hiro grieves with the support of Aunt Cass and an adorable marshmallow-like personal healthcare companion created by Tadashi, called Baymax.
Baymax, and later Tadashi’s friends, rally around Hiro in his time of need, showing us that family is not just the group you are born into, but can also be a group you choose.
Tangled is a feel-good Princess movie with great music that shares the story of how Rapunzel was taken from her family and brought to live in a secluded tower. Watch as the dapper Flynn Ryder (AKA Eugene) shows her the wonders of the outside world on her pilgrimage to see the floating lanterns that fill the sky each year on her birthday.
Nontraditional families include foster parents. Did you know that Princess Aurora had three aunts who served as foster parents from birth until her 16th birthday? Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather cared for this Disney Princess, teaching her, loving her, and standing in the gap for her parents during her hidden years in the forest.
You may not think of this 1959 Disney film as a family-focused flick, but I sure do. The beautiful hand-drawn animation in this film is pure art, and I love the antics of the three adorable fairies-turned-foster-parents as they work to make it in the mortal world without the help of magic.
The Swiss Family Robinson
If you have ever climbed in the Adventureland treehouse that is now under refurbishment at Walt Disney World, but have never seen the movie that inspired this walk-through attraction, it’s time you did! I love a classic Disney film, and The Swiss Family Robinson fits the bill as a family film where a shipwrecked family bands together to make their way on a tropical island. Battling pirates, the elements, and encountering wild animals are all challenges the Robinson family face. The best news? You can stream this movie on Disney+.
A family with superhuman capabilities, what’s not to love? This Disney Pixar movie has some awesome one-liners and cool characters. Elastigirl is truly awesome, and I love the way each member of this superhero family band together to use their powers to set the world right when things get hairy. Bonus points — you can even meet members of The Incredible Family in a Disney Park on your next Disney World vacation!
The Parent Trap
We love a good switch-a-roo! Add in awesome summer camp scenes and a unique family dynamic, and we are hooked. Both the 1961 and the 1998 versions of The Parent Trap are great, so take your pick. That said, I love every detail of the original movie just a bit more than the remake, so I highly recommend a watch if you have never seen it.
Showing you that family ties know no end, even extending beyond the grave, is the theme of this beautiful Disney Pixar movie, Coco. Watch eager Miguel as he stumbles into the Land of the Dead on the Day of the Dead. Watch his family on each side (living and dead) fight to protect him as Miguel works to sort out painful details from his family’s past. Your family will love the music in this movie!
Family is everything and, even when we don’t see eye-to-eye, they will always be in our corner. Princess Merida in the Disney Pixar movie Brave, learns this the hard way when a spell turns her well-meaning but nagging mother into a black bear.
Merida mobilizes to break the spell, all while her mischievous triplet brothers and her blundering father go about their regular antics in the Scottish Highlands. The soundtrack to this movie is awesome, so I recommend you give it a listen.
We hope you enjoy some of the best Thanksgiving movies with your family this holiday season. Happy Turkey Day!