Disney has built an empire by telling tales of love. Though there are many Disney love songs, there are some so great they actually enhance the story Disney is trying to tell. These are my personal favorite 20 Disney love songs.
1. “Beauty and the Beast” sung by Angela Lansbury from Beauty and the Beast.
There are two versions of this song, like most songs Disney intends for marketing on mainstream radio, but this version is my choice. A very personal song penned by the songwriting duo Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, arguably the best Disney songwriters since the Sherman Brothers, this version shows a mother teaching her child what true love really is: two people meant to be, both having gone through their own struggles, and slowly finding what they truly need is each other.
2. “Kiss the Girl” sung by Samuel E. Wright from The Little Mermaid
Another Menken and Ashman hit, “Kiss the Girl” is on every list of Disney love songs. Anyone who listens to this song can totally relate to 16-year-old Ariel and 18-year-old Eric and the fear and anticipation of that “first move.” No love story ever begins without someone gaining the courage to take that first step.
3. “A Whole New World” sung by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga from Aladdin
After the tragic passing of Howard Ashmen, Alan Menken went on to pen this song with Tim Rice. Though from totally different social classes, two people come together to show love truly conquers all.
4. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” sung by Elton John from The Lion King
Elton John, one of the greatest songwriters of all-time, writes and sings this classic Disney song. Looking deeper in the lyrics, Elton John sings about how even the strongest person can be afraid, but knowing the one they love believes in them is all it takes to overcome any obstacle.
5. “Le Festin” sung by Camille from Ratatouille
Sadly, most don’t even realize this is a love song because it’s sung in French. Furthermore, most people don’t realize it explains the movie with much more emotional depth — Listen a little more closely to “Frozen Heart” on the Frozen soundtrack for another example of this. Remy’s whole philosophy is food isn’t just something you put in your mouth; it’s love, and making a meal is showing love for those you cook for… and it’s earned, not taken.
“Dreams are to lovers as wine is to friends
Carried through lifetimes, (and) spilled now and then
I am driven by hunger, so saddened to be
Thieving in darkness; I know you’re not pleased
But nothing worth eating is free”
6. “I’m Wishing/One Song” sung by Adriana Caselotti from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Though I will always question The Prince’s high creepy factor in this movie, you can’t have any list of Disney love songs without Disney’s first love song.
7. “If I Never Knew You” sung by Jon Secada and Shanice from Pocahontas
This song was originally sung by Mel Gibson and Judy Kuhn, but was cut from the original theatrical version. It was later sung by Jon Secada and Shanice for the end credits, and the original version was added in the re-release as an optional viewing option. “If I Never Knew You” demonstrates that not every Disney love story ends happily ever after, but it’s always better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
8. “Love” sung by Nancy Adams from Robin Hood
One of the most underrated Disney love songs, “Love” gives a little more back-story to Robin Hood and Maid Marian. They have loved each other since they were children, and though events in their lives tore them apart, their love never faltered.
9. “So This is Love” sung by Ilene Woods from Cinderella
When you look a little more into this song, you realize it’s actually heartbreaking. Cinderella lost her father at such a young age and was raised by the cruel hand of her step-family. Though she always put on a happy face, you see in these lyrics how unhappy she truly was. She never knew what it was liked to be loved and cherished… until now.
10. “Candle in the Water” sung by Helen Reddy from Pete’s Dragon
Another under-appreciated Disney love song, this song is from the live action classic, Pete’s Dragon. No matter how many people have given up hope of Paul’s return, Nora always believes he will come home safe. You never give up on the ones you love.
11. “Once Upon a Dream” sung by Lana Del Ray from Maleficent
They’re the same lyrics from the original Sleeping Beauty, but the way in which this song is sung gives it a totally different meaning. In Lana Del Ray’s version, the heroine is haunted by love rather than enraptured by it, which fits perfectly into the whole storyline of Maleficent.
12. “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” by Susan Egan, Cheryl Freeman, LaChanze, Vaneese Thomas, and Lillias White
Hercules: Are you a damsel in distress?
Meg: I’m a damsel. I’m in distress. I can handle this. Have a nice day.
I love Meg’s character in Hercules. Though the movie didn’t succeed as well as some of its predecessors, Meg (as well as Pocahontas) shows the start of the shift in how Disney women are typically portrayed. And in typical Meg fashion, she doesn’t want to admit that she’s falling for Hercules, but resistance is futile.
13. “That’s How You Know” sung by Amy Adams from Enchanted
Enchanted — the Disney movie that totally wasted the power house musical talent that is Idina Menzel– brings us this song about how no matter how old fashion one feels gestures of love to be, love needs to be shown and felt… or perhaps sung with a giant dance number with hundreds of dancing and singing extras. Bonus about this song: the entire number, filmed in New York’s Central Park, is chock-full of Disney Easter eggs.
14. “Never Knew I Needed” sung by Ne-Yo from The Princess and the Frog
I don’t feel this song really added more to the movie than additional marketing ability. But with that said, I just really like it.
15. “Paperman” by Christophe Beck from the Disney Animated Short: Paperman
Some love songs don’t need words. This is definitely the case with Beck’s “Paperman.” This is my personal favorite Disney short, and you can feel every emotion just by listening to the music. The animation for this short was beautiful, but the music was meant to be the real storyteller.
16. “Married Life” by Michael Giacchino from Up
I could not list “Paperman” without including “Married Life.” Disney was able to tell the tale of one of its best love stories with only this song. You are giggling with Carl and Ellie at the beginning, but crying for Carl’s loss by the end of it. It’s the most emotional five minutes you’ll ever experience.
17. “Love is an Open Door” by Kristen Bell & Santino Fontana from Frozen
Sometimes love is being naive, as Ana soon finds about her “true love,” Hans.
18. “I See The Light” by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi from Tangled
Indina Menzel and Kristen Bell both auditioned for the voice of Rapunzel, but I’m so happy they chose to save them for the future production of Frozen and chose to cast Mandy Moore instead. Mandy Moore gives such youthful innocence to this song, and it really helps show how Rapunzel is coming of age and learning what real love is. I don’t see it so much as romantic love, but rather love is sacrifice and devotion. No matter what form it takes, those you love will always help you fulfill your dreams.
19. “Where is Your Heart At” by Jamie Cullum from Meet the Robinsons
The only song most people remember from this movie is Rob Thomas’ “Little Wonders.” However, most don’t appreciate what an awesome Jazz talent Disney hired in Jamie Cullum for the lead singing voice of Franny’s band of musical frogs. I am a bit biased when it comes to this song because I am a HUGE Jamie Cullum fan. However, this song still belongs on the list because what is love without the thrill of the chase?
20. “Almost Home” sung by Mariah Carey from Oz the Great and Powerful
Some may totally disagree with me on this one, but my final song is very personal. My husband is in the Army, and this song came out during his last deployment. He is my happily-ever-after, and this song got us through when our spirits were low… that and our planned Disneyland trip when he returned.
Okay, let me hear from you! What do you think? Do you have any to add? Click here to listen to this list and a few that almost made the cut on Chip & Co’s Spotify channel!