Finding shows and movies that'll keep the family entertained during the school holidays can be a tall order. Thankfully, there's one streaming service that makes this task pretty simple: Disney Plus.
With hundreds of family-friendly TV shows and movies on offer, including Disney's entire back catalogue of animated classics, Disney Plus is the perfect streaming service to entertain school-age kids these holidays.
With hundreds of films and shows to choose from – both classic and new – it's relatively easy to find something to watch on Disney+, but to steer you in the right direction, we've compiled our top school-holiday picks.
Best kids shows and movies on Disney Plus
Arguably the very definition of a school holidays flick, Luca involves three kids getting up to various adventures on the Italian Riviera during summer break. Oh, did I mention that two of the kids are actually sea monsters who appear human when on land? One of these kids is the titular character Luca (Jacob Tremblay), who develops a particularly strong bond with Giulia (Emma Berman), a human girl from town. But what will happen when Giulia discovers Luca's secret? And how will Luca's sea monster best friend Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) react to Luca's decision to go to school like a normal kid? Visually stunning and endlessly adorable, Luca is a wonderful film for the whole family.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers (TV series)
Picking up nearly 30 years after the original Mighty Ducks movie (released in Australia as 'Champions' at the time), The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers gives the long-dormant ice hockey franchise the Cobra Kai treatment – albeit for an even younger adolescent audience. When Evan (Brady Noon) is unceremoniously cut from the Ducks, his mother Alex (Lauren Graham) decides to start a new team called the Don't Bothers, made up of misfit kids who have been marginalised. Original star Emilio Estevez returns as Gordon Bombay, now a grumpy owner of an ice rink who wants nothing to do with ice hockey.
The Mighty Ducks (Movie)
Before you get stuck into The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, it might be worth revisiting the classic kid's film that started it all. When former ice hockey player and hotshot attorney Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) gets into legal trouble himself, he is sentenced to coach a hapless pee wee ice hockey team. In doing so, Bombay ultimately turns the ragtag group into a real team and rediscovers his heart. In other words, The Mighty Ducks is a quacking good time.
The Mandalorian (TV series)
Action-packed and as cinematic as anything on the big screen, The Mandalorian follows a lone gunslinger who makes a living by accepting bounties – and being extremely good at completing them. However, the usually-dependable bounty hunter's world is flipped upside down when he instead decides to save one of his targets from the shady people that hired him. Chances are you already know who this target is, but we won't spoil it for you if you're unaware. What we will say, however, is that he's likely to become one of your favourite characters in the entire Star Wars universe. This one's an absolute must watch for fans of Star Wars both young and old.
Jingle All The Way (Movie)
The perfect film to introduce your small children to the glorious ways of action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jingle All The Way is a family-friendly holiday classic that sees Arnie set off on the seemingly impossible mission of tracking down the season's hottest toy, Turbo Man, for his son (Jake Lloyd) in time for Christmas. Sure, it's corny as hell, but watching Arnold poke fun at his tough guy image is always entertaining.
The Simpsons (TV series)
Undeniably the greatest animated sitcom of all time, The Simpsons is now available to stream on SVOD in Australia! Join Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie as they get up to all sorts of crazy hijinx. These aren't just a few episodes, either – Disney+ is hosting 29 seasons, which amounts to hundreds of hours of Simpsons hilarity to snack on! And every one of those episodes is available to download to your smart device for offline viewing, so you can take them on the road too.
Bob's Burgers (TV series)
From one animated family sitcom to another, Bob's Burgers is a hilarious show which follows the Belcher family as they try to keep their burger restaurant above water. Unfortunately for Bob, his three precocious kids don't make things easy on him.
Home Alone (Movie)
The premise of Home Alone is simple: an eight-year-old kid is accidentally left behind while his entire family goes on vacation, and he finds himself fending off a couple of bumbling burglars with a series of comically over-the-top booby traps. In the wrong hands, this kind of material could've been insufferable. Instead, a delightfully playful and clever script by the late John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) and spot-on direction from Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) resulted in pure magic. Some of that magic surely comes down to the casting of Macaulay Culkin, who in spite of his young age managed to find the perfect balance of precociousness and heart.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (Movie)
A sequel that's almost as good as the original, Home Alone 2 once again finds Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) separated from his family while on holiday, only this time he's alone in the Big Apple! Unfortunately, the Wet Bandits (now known as the Sticky Bandits) are also in New York and have a score to settle with Kevin, which means he'll have to come up with some new and inventive booby traps to foil them once again.
Home Sweet Home Alone (Movie)
Like seemingly every franchise from the '90s, Home Alone has received the reboot treatment with Home Sweet Home Alone, a Disney Plus original film that switches things up by being set in England rather than the United States. Archie Yates (Jojo Rabbit) takes on the role of Max Mercer, a clever kid who's accidentally left home alone during Christmas while his family goes on an overseas trip. Just like in the original films, Max must fend off a pair of burglars with a serious of home-made traps. While it's not a patch on the original, chances are your young kids will lap it up.
The Lion King (Movie)
Once considered the high-watermark of Disney animation, The Lion King offers a little bit of everything: catchy musical numbers, laughs, tears and a large helping of awe. When a young lion prince named Simba is shunned from his home by his evil uncle Scar, he settles into a new life alongside new friends, a meerkat named Timon and a warthog named Pumbaa. Despite living by the credo of having "no worries for the rest of your days", Simba must eventually return home and take his place as king. The 1994 original is best, but there's also fairly recent CGI remake available to stream on Disney Plus that's also quite good.
For those of a certain age, Aladdin is considered one of the best Disney animated films ever made. It follows a young street kid named Aladdin who finds a magic lamp that will change his life forever. Inside the lamp is the magical (and manic) Genie (voiced to perfection by the incomparable Robin Williams), who offers Aladdin three wishes. The first? Become a prince so that he may have a chance with the beautiful princess Jasmine. Like The Lion King, Aladdin has also been remade recently, with Will Smith in the wise-cracking role of Genie. That version is also available to stream on Disney Plus.
Lady and the Tramp (Movie)
2019 was a big year for live-action versions of Disney films, with The Lion King, Aladdin and Dumbo offering new and spectacular big-screen interpretations of beloved classics. However, Disney somehow managed to save its most adorable live action re-imagining for the small screen with Lady and the Tramp. The updated version of this beautiful story once again follows a beloved house dog (Tessa Thompson) who meets and falls for a street mutt (Justin Theroux) with a heart of gold. It's a story that's just as heart-warming now as it was in the original animated film, which was released way back in 1955. A perfect family movie if ever there was one.
If you're a parent, chances are your kids are already obsessed with Frozen, the brilliant animated Disney film that's based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. If that's the case, they're going to love the ability to download Frozen in the Disney Plus app and watch it over and over again on their smart devices! Featuring the now classic songs 'Let It Go' and 'Do You Want To Build A Snowman?', Frozen also flips fairy tale traditions on their heads, teaching girls that they don't need dashing princes to come and rescue them, and that they can be the masters of their own destinies.
From the same animation team that brought you Frozen comes Moana, a visually stunning adventure movie about a young girl who sails away from her paradise home in Ancient Polynesia in order to reverse a curse on her island caused by the demigod Maui (hilariously voiced by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson). Like Frozen, Moana features a number of memorable characters and catchy songs, backed by a story that's both epic and heartfelt.
Raya and the Last Dragon (Movie)
The makers of Frozen and Moana are back with their latest epic, Raya and the Last Dragon. Though the film is brand new and still showing in cinemas, it's also available to stream on Disney Plus via Premiere Access for the price of AU$34.99 – a fair bit cheaper than a family outing to the movies. The film follows a warrior named Raya whose land is threatened by monsters known as the Druun. Now, Raya must track down the last dragon in her world if she has any hope of saving it.
DuckTales (TV series)
A fresh new take on an old favourite, DuckTales brings back the wealthy adventurer Scrooge McDuck and his family of loveable cohorts, including Launchpad McQuack, Mrs. Beakley, Webby Vanderquack, Donald Duck and his three precocious nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. It may not be quite as good as the original series, but chances are your kids will prefer this updated take.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV series)
Set in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an action-packed adventure series that's beloved by fans of the Star Wars saga. Almost every episode of the series is delivered as a self-contained story, making each entry feel like a mini Star Wars movie. A must-watch for devoted Star Wars fans.
Heads up: Disney Plus now has parental controls
At launch, the entire library of movies and shows on Disney Plus was family friendly. However, Disney has since launched Star – a new streaming brand which offers more adult-oriented content as part of a Disney Plus subscription.
Parents, take note: if you're concerned about your children accessing movies and TV shows on Disney Plus that are strictly for grown-ups, make sure you set the appropriate parental controls in the app's settings. Disney has thankfully provided a step-by-step guide on how to do so.
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Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible.
He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.