The holiday season brings with it many things: food, parties, family, friends, love, and holiday specials! Disney excels at this. Everyone knows that there are Christmas specials galore, but what about Thanksgiving specials? These are much harder to come by. But they do exist, and they are wonderful. If after the turkey and the big game your family is feeling like settling down with a nice show or movie, we have some suggestions. So fire up Disney+, get another slice of pie, and snuggle in because it’s TV time!
Boy Meets World
Boy Meets World is most known and beloved for being such a wholesome 90’s show. This is never more true than in its holiday specials. The Thanksgiving episodes stand out in our mind. In the tenth episode of season four, Cory and Shawn learn about the prejudice in tribes in Africa from their history teacher Mr. Feeny. Recognizing some similarities in this story and their own families, they decide to host a joint Thanksgiving at Shawn’s home in the trailer park. This episode is poignant and honest and, frankly, difficult. The families all struggle with their own prejudice and have to face these uncomfortable truths. Most children’s shows don’t address these important topics, which is why we still love Boy Meets World so much.
For a more lighthearted Thanksgiving episode of Boy Meets World, we recommend season 5, episode 8. It’s hilarious. Cory, Shawn, and Topanga have their own plot, but the Thanksgiving plot is for Eric and Jack. It’s their first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner in their apartment at Pennbrook, and it all goes fantastically wrong. They have no idea what they are doing, and it is a ball to watch. Thankfully, the Matthews family knows them better than that and brings the dinner for the boys and the day is saved. Both are great episodes.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
We weren’t sure about this show when it was first announced, but High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has stolen our hearts. Every episode is emotional, but we love the Thanksgiving special in season 1. In this episode, Ashlyn invites the entire theater department to her house for food and games, and they play Carlos’ homemade High School Musical game. There are many things going on in the kids’ lives, but this night is especially meaningful for Gina, who has never had a place to call home before. She finally settles into herself and into this chosen family, and we think it is just perfect for celebrating Thanksgiving.
Good Luck Charlie
A classic Disney Channel Thanksgiving episode comes from Good Luck Charlie’s second season. In this episode, Amy doesn’t have to work on Thanksgiving and is excited to finally get to cook for her family. Unbeknownst to her, Bob asks PJ to do the dinner since he is the best cook. Meanwhile, Grandpa Duncan falls in love and Charlie tries to get the latest tech. While this episode doesn’t cover any deep topics or anything too emotional, it is classically fun and silly, much like Good Luck Charlie. This is a great episode to throw on in between things or just to have a laugh with the whole family!
Whether you’re psyched that The Simpsons are a part of Disney+ or still think it’s a little weird, there’s no denying that they go all out for holiday episodes. There are at least 4 popular Thanksgiving episodes that fans love: “Bart vs. Thanksgiving,” “Homer the Moe,” “Homer vs. Dignity,” and “Thanksgiving of Horror.” This one may be best to throw on after the kids go to bed! The Simpsons has been on since 1989 and these episodes are still hilariously funny. With such a peculiar little family, it’s perfect to watch after your odd little family has been at your house all day!
This movie is a classic for the holiday. Pocahontas tells the loose history of how John Smith and Governor Radcliffe came over from England and tried to colonize America. This beautiful love story is great for the whole family to enjoy. It has amazing music, gorgeous animation, and a crucial message about tolerance and respect between nations. This is a great way to talk about the origins of our country and the Native Americans who were here from the start.
Rise up! The hit Broadway musical on Disney+ is one of the best things to happen in 2020. Hamilton is the perfect Thanksgiving movie because it is such a brilliant telling of the founding of our country. This musical is (mostly) historically accurate, unbelievably catchy, and completely revolutionary. This is such a fun one to watch on Thanksgiving as a way to educate and entertain. And no matter how many times you watch this show, you will always get the music stuck in your head!
Miracle on 34th Street
To finish out this Thanksgiving Disney+ list, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street. We adore this movie. And we’re talking about the 1947 black and white version, thank you very much. This phenomenal movie puts Santa Claus on trial. It’s a Thanksgiving movie because it opens with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when the real Santa Claus joins the parade. Miracle on 34th Street is so heartwarming and has something for everyone: romance, comedy, drama, and wit. This movie helps transition into the Christmas season with fun for the whole family.