Introducing The Ultimate Disney Animated Song Bracket


Ever since doing my Britney Spears song bracket back in March, I've been mentally fixated on my next bracket project. I didn't know for certain what it would be until I went to Disneyland in May, and as soon as I arrived at the park and starting hearing all those classic songs (okay, so I might have been listening to them on the plane and in the car too) that I knew it had to be a bracket of Disney songs. I love all things Disney, but especially the animated films and the songs from them (full disclosure: I'm employed by a small division of Disney you might have heard of called ESPN, but I obviously have nothing to do with making Disney movies and my Disney obsession dates back to before I was employed by the company -- or was legally allowed to be employed by anyone since I was 8 years old at the time).

Well, there are 55 official movies in the Walt Disney Animation Studios canon, starting with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" in 1937 and running through, most recently, "Zootopia" in 2016. Those movies have produced more than 200 songs, so that gives us a very strong field to narrow down -- and that's before even considering the possibility of including songs from Pixar movies. I knew if I expanded the field too much, it'd become impossible, so I decided to ignore Pixar, Disney Channel originals, and live-action Disney films (with three exceptions, that I'll explain shortly).

It was a difficult task to go from 200+ to a field of 68, and I knew right away that trying to seed them was going to be impossible. So instead, I broke out the regions by decades. Instead of seeding the songs in each "region" (basically time periods), I evenly distributed songs from the same movie across the bracket so they wouldn't meet in the first round, and -- with only a couple rare exceptions -- could meet no earlier that the Round of 16.

The first region covers all the films released prior to 1960 (so "Snow White" through "Sleeping Beauty"). The second region runs from 1960 to 1989 ("101 Dalmatians" through "The Little Mermaid"). The third region is the 1990s ("The Rescuers Down Under" through "Tarzan") and the final region covers 2000 through today ("Fantasia 2000" through "Zootopia"). Originally I had it with the '60s and '70s as one region and the '80s and '90s together in another, but having "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", and "The Lion King" in a single region would have pushed so much else out that I had to find a better way to break it up (plus, by getting "The Little Mermaid" into the earlier region, it covers up that the '60s and '70s were not a great time for Disney Animation).

Now, beyond the official canon, there are songs from three additional movies I wanted to get into the bracket: "Song of the South", "Mary Poppins" and "Enchanted". The latter is one of my top 3 favorite Disney movies of all time, and is basically an ode to every great Disney Princess movie, and has a few incredibly memorable songs. "Mary Poppins" is an all-time classic and has unforgettable music, including a couple songs that could legitimately contend for a spot in the final four of this bracket. As for "Song of the South", yes it's incredibly... let's say "problematic"... looking back at it, and is all but disavowed. But it still provides the soundtrack for Splash Mountain (one of my favorite rides at Walt Disney World), and "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" is probably one of the more recognizable vintage Disney tunes, even among those who have no idea what it's from.

I picked two songs from each of those movies to compete as "play-in" games in their respective brackets, and we'll start with those polls later today -- and yes, there's no "play-in" game in the '90s region, because that region was already super-packed.

Now that I've rambled on long enough, here are the regions and the first-round matchups. Again, there's no seeding within the regions -- the matchups were set only to spread out songs from the same movies.

Pre-1960 Region

- "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" (from "Song of the South") def. "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" (from "Cinderella")
- "You Can Fly" (from "Peter Pan") def. "Baby Mine" (from "Dumbo")
- "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (from "Cinderella") def. "Little April Shower" (from Bambi)
- "Heigh-Ho" (from "Snow White") def. "In a World of My Own" (from "Alice in Wonderland")
- "Once Upon a Dream" (from "Sleeping Beauty") def. "Little Dressmakers" (from "Cinderella)
- "Whistle While You Work" (from "Snow White") def. "Hi Diddle Dee Dee" (from "Pinocchio")
- "Some Day My Prince Will Come" (from "Snow White") def. "So this is Love" (from "Cinderella")
- "When You Wish Upon a Star" (from "Pinocchio") def. "Bella Notte" (from "Lady and the Tramp")
- PLAY-IN MATCHUP: "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" def. "Everybody's Got a Laughing Place" (from "Song of the South")

Second Round
- "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" (from "Song of the South") def. "You Can Fly" (from "Peter Pan")
- "Heigh-Ho" (from "Snow White") def. - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (from "Cinderella")
- "Once Upon a Dream" (from "Sleeping Beauty") def. "Whistle While You Work" (from "Snow White")
- "When You Wish Upon a Star" (from "Pinocchio") def. "Some Day My Prince Will Come" (from "Snow White")

Third Round
- "Heigh-Ho" (from "Snow White") def. "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" (from "Song of the South")
- "When You Wish Upon a Star" (from "Pinocchio") def. "Once Upon a Dream" (from "Sleeping Beauty")

Regional Final
- "When You Wish Upon a Star" (from "Pinocchio") def. "Heigh-Ho" (from "Snow White")

1960-1989 Region

- "Part of Your World" (from "The Little Mermaid") def. "Oo-De-Lally" (from "Robin Hood")
- "I Wan'na Be Like You" (from "The Jungle Book") def. "Heffalumps and Woozles" (from "Winnie The Pooh")
- "Kiss the Girl" (from "The Little Mermaid") def. "Ev'rybody Wants To Be a Cat" (from "The Aristocats")
- "Poor Unfortunate Souls" (from "The Little Mermaid") def. "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" (from "Winnie the Pooh")
- "The Bare Necessities" (from "The Jungle Book") def. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (from "Mary Poppins")
- "Cruella De Vil" (from "101 Dalmatians") def. "Fathoms Below" (from "The Little Mermaid")
- "Winnie the Pooh" (from "Winnie the Pooh") def. "Why Should I Worry?" (from "Oliver & Company")
- "Under the Sea" (from "the Little Mermaid") def. "Not in Nottingham" (from "Robin Hood")
- PLAY-IN MATCHUP: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" def. "A Spoonful of Sugar" (from "Mary Poppins")

Second Round
- "Part of Your World" (from "The Little Mermaid") def. "I Wan'na Be Like You" (from "The Jungle Book")
- "Kiss the Girl" (from "The Little Mermaid") def. "Poor Unfortunate Souls" (from "The Little Mermaid")
- "The Bare Necessities" (from "The Jungle Book") def. "Cruella De Vil" (from "101 Dalmatians")
- "Under the Sea" (from "the Little Mermaid") def. "Winnie the Pooh" (from "Winnie the Pooh")

Third Round
- "Kiss the Girl" (from "The Little Mermaid") def. "Part of Your World" (from "The Little Mermaid")
- "Under the Sea" (from "the Little Mermaid") def. "The Bare Necessities" (from "The Jungle Book")

Regional Final
- "Under the Sea" (from "the Little Mermaid") def. "Kiss the Girl" (from "The Little Mermaid")

1990s Region

- "A Whole New World" (from "Aladdin") def. "Out There" (from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame")
- "I Just Can't Wait to be King" (from "The Lion King") def. "Gaston" (from "Beauty and the Beast")
- "Circle of Life" (from "The Lion King") def. "Reflection" (from "Mulan")
- "Be Our Guest" (from "Beauty and the Beast) def. "One Jump Ahead" (from "Aladdin")
- "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (from "The Lion King") def. "Friend Like Me" (from "Aladdin")
- "Belle" (from "Beauty and the Beast") def. "Zero to Hero" (from "Hercules")
- "Hakuna Matata" (from "The Lion King") def. "Prince Ali" (from "Aladdin")
- "Beauty and the Beast" (from "Beauty and the Beast") def. "Colors of the Wind" (from "Pocahontas")

Second Round
- "A Whole New World" (from "Aladdin") def. "I Just Can't Wait to be King" (from "The Lion King")
- "Circle of Life" (from "The Lion King") def. "Be Our Guest" (from "Beauty and the Beast")
- "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (from "The Lion King") def. "Belle" (from "Beauty and the Beast")
- "Hakuna Matata" (from "The Lion King") def. "Beauty and the Beast" (from "Beauty and the Beast")

Third Round
- "A Whole New World" (from "Aladdin") def. "Circle of Life" (from "The Lion King")
- "Hakuna Matata" (from "The Lion King") def. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (from "The Lion King")

Regional Final
- "A Whole New World" (from "Aladdin") def. "Hakuna Matata" (from "The Lion King")

2000-2016 Region

- "Let It Go" (from "Frozen") def. "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" (from "Lilo & Stitch")
- "Down in New Orleans" (from "The Princess and the Frog") def. "Mother Knows Best" (from "Tangled")
- "I See the Light" (from "Tangled") def. "Fixer Upper" (from "Frozen")
- "That's How You Know" (from "Enchanted") def. "Ma Belle Evangeline" (from "The Princess and the Frog")
- "For the First Time in Forever" (from "Frozen") def. "Almost There" (from "The Princess and the Frog")
- "Love is an Open Door" (from "Frozen") def. "When Will My Life Begin?" (from "Tangled")
- "I've Got a Dream" (from "Tangled") def. "Barking at the Moon" (from "Bolt")
- "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" (from "Frozen") def. "Dig a Little Deeper" (from "The Princess and the Frog")
- PLAY-IN MATCHUP: "That's How You Know" def. "True Love's Kiss" (from "Enchanted")

Second Round
- "Let It Go" (from "Frozen") def. "Down in New Orleans" (from "The Princess and the Frog")
- "I See the Light" (from "Tangled") def. "That's How You Know" (from "Enchanted")
- "For the First Time In Forever" (from "Frozen") def. "Love is an Open Door" (from "Frozen")
- "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" (from "Frozen") def. "I've Got a Dream" (from "Tangled")

Third Round
- "Let It Go" (from "Frozen") def. "I See the Light" (from "Tangled")
- "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" (from "Frozen") def. "For the First Time In Forever" (from "Frozen")

Regional Final
- "Let It Go" (from "Frozen") def. "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" (from "Frozen")

Final Four

- "Under the Sea" (from "The Little Mermaid") def. "When You Wish Upon a Star" (from "Pinocchio")
- "A Whole New World" (from "Aladdin") def. "Let It Go" (from "Frozen")

Final

- "A Whole New World" (from "Aladdin") def. "Under the Sea" (from "The Little Mermaid")

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