This is about the best disability-related content on the Disney+ streaming service. I will be updating this post as I watch or hear of more movies, so keep it bookmarked! Disney+ is out now.
That is, the full vault of all of their movies, unleashed.
In and of itself, that’s huge, but they have also added new content – or at least, it’s new-to-me content, as I have not subscribed to cable or any type of TV content in, well, forever.
So I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see disability-related content on Disney+
Sparkshorts – An Artist’s Project from Pixar
There are quite a few of these lovely little short films from Pixar.
When you first log in to Disney+, you have the option of going to Pixar, Disney, National Geographic, etc. Just head over to Pixar, and there is the entire collection of short films.
The Sparkshorts are an artists’ project, each unique but speaking eloquently of difference, acceptance, love, friendship and more.
All super-good stuff, and most all of it, very transferable and relate-able within a disability context.
Float is a metaphor for Autism.
It’s a subtle metaphor, really “dedicated with love and understanding to all families with children deemed different.” So it’s a short film that goes for anyone or anything that is a square peg in a round-pegged world.
Purl seems to speak to any type of difference, and desire to fit in.
Kit and Bull
Kit and Bull is a tear-jerker on friendship.
Bao is about parental love (- an apt metaphor of a movie for parents of kids with disabilities!), and learning to let go.
Lava is about love, longing and patience. And super-great music.
We have not seen all of them (yet!), but all that we did see were huge hits with my kids. I highly recommend them.
Pick of the Litter
Pick of the Litter is a reality-type show about how a service dog is trained and selected.
This show is not actually out yet: it streams on December 20th.
I love the entire concept of this show. Having had a hearing service dog myself, I know how well trained these dogs are.
I also find the practice of faking a service dog (to get access to public spaces with a dog) eternally maddening. People just don’t understand how much goes into actual, bona-fide service dogs, and I’m glad there is a show coming out that details all of that.
Plus, the dogs are adorable!!
Older Disability Related Movies on Disney+
This is where the disability-related movies become a cross between enjoyable and cringe-worthy.
You can find a ton of fodder for all the conversations you ever wanted to have with your kids about disability here – all the movies with (pretty obviously) sighted people playing blind characters, super “huh?!!” movies on Autism and all the rest of it.
Just bookmark this link below on How to Talk to Your Kids About Disability in Movies, and you’ll be set!
This is a list of older disability related content on Disney+ – I could not include direct links to Disney+ so I linked to the Wikipedia pieces about each movie.
- Going to the Mat: blind kid at new school, gets into wrestling
- Miracle in Lane 2: wheelchair-using kid gets into race car driving
- Tru Confessions: sibling perspective of a kid with a disability (interestingly, the kid with the disability is played by Shia LaBeouf, who later rocked out Peanut Butter Falcon…. )
Disney+ Disability Related Films
While it’s not often that a film is specifically touted “disability,” I think it is very common for films to have a thread of something that is transferrable or applicable to disability.
Movies that automatically come to mind as examples are Frozen (- Elsa), Dumbo (- Dumbo), Alice in Wonderland (- Mad Hatter), BFG (- the BFG), Wreck It Ralph, Part 2 (- the brother/little brother), Snow White (- the dwarves), Finding Nemo (- Dory), Iron Man (- Iron Man), X-Men (- the whole concept of mutants).
The list can go on.
In striving to understand disability as an integral part of the human experience, just place the lens of curiosity and active investigation over every movie we watch, and see what happens. I sell many of my photos on my photography website, Meriah Snaps (or Meriahs Naps! haha)
You can also order things like canvas and metal prints, phone cases, and cool stuff like that. Just click the link below to go to my photo website.
Alternatively, if you subscribe as a Patron, you will get free downloads every month!
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.