The Best Disney End Credit Songs, Ranked

in Disney, Movies

mulan reflection the face of gender confusion

Credit: Disney

In 1937, a significant historical moment was reached as Walt Disney Pictures premiered Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. This occasion represented the first-ever release of a full-length animated feature film by The Walt Disney Company, initiating a groundbreaking revolution in the field of animation. This achievement not only cemented Disney’s reputation as a pioneer in storytelling and exceptional artistic expression but also established the cornerstone for a century of shaping and inspiring generations with their distinctive brand of nostalgic storytelling.

Up close clip of Snow White
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Related: Exposé Reveals Disney Sabotaged Own Marvel Studios, ‘Star Wars’ Franchises

The Disney Movie Legacy

Today, Disney provides a diverse array of entertainment, spanning from epic superhero stories within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) produced by Marvel Studios to captivating intergalactic adventures in the Star Wars universe under Lucasfilm. They’ve even built, owned, and maintained the entirety of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and various other Disney Park locations around the globe.

Woody (Tom Hanks) and Jessie (Joan Cusack) talking in 'Toy Story 3'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

They continue to house the pioneering Avatar series by James Cameron and the innovative realm of 3D animation from Pixar Animation Studios, with enduring film franchises like Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Cars. The Walt Disney Company’s remarkable Walt Disney Animation library encompasses cherished classics like The Little Mermaid (1989), The Lion King (1994), Beauty and the Beast (1992), and Frozen (2013), which have delighted audiences across multiple generations.

Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' singing "Part of Your World"
Credit: Disney

Related: All the Disney Horses, Ranked

What Is a Disney End Credit Song?

A Disney end credits song, often referred to as an “end credits theme” or “end credits music,” is (for the purposes of this list) a piece of music that plays during the closing credits of a Disney film. Typically, these tunes are designed to provide a sense of closure and reflection after the Disney movie in question has concluded.

Belle (Paige O'Hara) and Beast (Robby Benson) in 'Beauty and the Beast'
Credit: Disney

Disney is well known for incorporating memorable and sometimes original songs into their films, and these end credits songs can help leave a lasting impression on the audience while they watch the credits roll. These songs often reflect the themes or emotions of the movie and can be performed by a variety of artists or featured in different styles, depending on the specific film or show.

We’re not looking for the “best Disney songs” (though you can read all about that here), but the best songs for the end credits of Disney movies!

Ranking the Best Disney End Credit Songs

Now grab your containers and their remaining popcorn dregs and get ready to sidle your way down the aisle — because the best Disney end credit songs are about to play you out of the theater! Here, we’ll rank the top Disney end credit tracks from worst to best.

9. Brother Bear (2003)

There’s something astoundingly ’90s-2000s about Phil Collins and Disney.

The Brother Bear ending tune, “Look Through My Eyes” is one in the classic vein of Collins’ Disney “not-exactly-musical” animated films. The first of these Disney movies, Tarzan (1999), began this trend of Phil Collins crooning hyper-specific lyrics over the action of the animated film, and Brother Bear is no different — if not even more hyper-specific.

Since Brother Bear is about a brother who becomes a bear and then becomes the brother to a bear — “Look Through My Eyes” is clearly about the aforementioned Brother Bear taking a look through the bear’s eyes, and recognizing the folly of his ways.

Having this play after those classically 2000s “fake animated bloopers”? A real blast from the past.

8. Hercules (1997)

Who wants to hear Michael Bolton mumble his way through “Go The Distance” from Disney’s Hercules? Well, you’re going to hear it if you watch Hercules all the way through to the end!

This rendition of “Go The Distance” is complete with soaring ’90s instrumentals — those sparkly, tinkling chimes and a truly epic guitar solo. If you can make out the lyrics that Bolton is singing without looking them up, though? You’ve more or less earned yourself a “True Disney Fanatic” medal.

And the song echoing the original tune from the movie but jazzing it up with a truly late ’90s pop ballad twist? All of that, plus the continuation of the musical motifs, really put this song on the list.

7. Frozen 2 (2019)

Frozen 2‘s “Into The Unknown” might seem like a bit of a wild card in this list, but there’s something truly epic about walking out of the theater to Panic! At The Disco AKA Brendon Urie’s ululating vibrato serenading the unknown (and your glorious exit).

It’s frankly too epic to not add to this list. Unfortunately, Demi Lovato’s sweet, poppy rendition of “Let It Go” from the first Frozen (2013) film doesn’t hold a candle to this rather over-the-top experience.

6. Tarzan (1999)

Tarzan is the quintessential Disney-Phil Collins combo. With a musical vibe that’s arguably Phil Collins at his very peak of Phil Collins-ness, Tarzan ends with the anthemic Best Original Song winner, “You’ll Be In My Heart” — a song that encapsulates Tarzan’s relationship to both his adoptive mother, Kala, and his newfound love, Jane Porter.

It’s a theme that transcends the movie itself and also perfectly brings to mind the wild animation style and vivid imagery of Tarzan swinging through the jungle — and hands touching palm-to-palm, very, very slowly.

5. The Little Mermaid (1989)

Now comes the granddaddy of the Disney Animated films’ end credits, the one that basically started the trend!

This one is a little bit different compared to the others, in that Disney had not yet figured out the formula of re-recording songs from the shows, or even creating all-new tracks (that would ideally be able to chart and get some radio play).

“Under the Sea” by legendary composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman is therefore not strictly an end credits song, per se — but it does its job as an end credits song spectacularly! That means that the track is perfect for exiting the theater to, creating the right sort of vibe and atmosphere that already starts constructing fond memories of the thing you just watched. Again, revisiting a musical motif from earlier just works super well.

4. The Lion King (1994)

Elton John is back at it again.

Here, John adds his own personal spin to the iconic “Circle of Life” track from The Lion King. The song itself acts as a callback to the music at the opening of the show, serving to “bookend” the movie with a recall of one of the film’s most critical overarching themes — that everything falls into the great Circle of Life, eventually.

Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala.

3. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Ah, Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. A truly iconic early ’90s duo, delivering a truly iconic Disney classic.

All those ad-libs and all that vocalizing coming together with those gated reverb drums? It’s another fantastic example of the themes and tunes from the movie getting re-flavored and re-delivered to the audience to close off the film properly.

It’s truly a tale as old as time and a tune as old as song… “Beauty and the Beast”.

2. Pocahontas (1995)

What can be said about “If I Never Knew You” by Shanice and Jon Secada?

Well, it’s simply a fantastic song to carry the romantic-yet-bittersweet, almost melancholic feel of Pocahontas‘ ending through and kind of bring those emotions to a close. Also, it was meant to be in the film originally and sung by Pocahontas and John Smith (sung by Judy Kuhn and Mel Gibson respectively) while the latter is being kept as a prisoner awaiting execution.

Unfortunately, the song was cut for the final theatrical release, eventually finding its home in the film’s end credits. And boy, does it do an epic job at being an end credits icon.

1. Mulan (1998)

“True To Your Heart” by 98 Degrees and Stevie Wonder.

Now this is one heck of an end credits song! Totally incongruous with the ending of Mulan, a movie about war and sacrifice and loyalty and hard work. Featuring a lesser-known boy band of the period, and of all people, Stevie Wonder. A song that absolutely slaps you in the face when it starts — but wow, does it do its job as an end credits song!

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to leave the theater to this absolute bop. We got Stevie Wonder on the harmonica, come on!

Mulan doing a flying kick in the army training montage of "I'll Make A Man Out Of You"
Photo Credit: Shondaland

As much as we would like to add them in, there are other Disney end credits songs we’re missing out on — particularly in the Pixar Animation Studios universe of movies (and mostly Randy Newman bangers). Unfortunately, we won’t be including them here today. Perhaps, another time!

Either way, we’ve gone on a definite journey of epic end credit songs. At the end of the day, “the best” is always subjective — but very few would be able to deny the strength of these songs at either continuing themes from the animated films, creating closure, or just being straight-up earwormy bops.

What do you think of our list of the best-ever end-credits songs? Is there anything we missed? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

in Disney, Movies

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