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Disney is more than Star Wars and Marvel. Rediscover old classics and new finds with our ranking of the best hidden gems on the streaming platform.

During these times of self-isolation, you may have found yourself frustrated and searching for something new to watch on your favourite streaming platform. This might be particularly true for fans that signed up for the six-month old Disney+ and found themselves craving more original content after the end of the first season of the supreme The Mandalorian. Or perhaps for fans who might not be able to stand any more Hakuna Matata’s and Let it Go’s. But, hey, Disney and 20th Century Fox have been around for almost a hundred years each, so there’s always tons of content to discover.

We put together a short list of five things to stream with unexpected genres with the hopes that you explore the hidden gems of Disney+.

Fantasy Adventure – Willow (Ron Howard, 1988)

Willow is a movie about a bunch of peaceful, small, human-like creatures that find themselves on a quest to fight a powerful evil force and save a land full of warriors and magic. This movie was filmed in New Zealand and produced by an FX wizard. Move over, Lord of the Rings. Fun fact: producer and creator George Lucas found it very difficult to sell the idea to movie studios at the time.

Horror – Return to Oz (Walter Murch, 1985)

Disney has a love-hate relationship with dark materials, but not even The Black Cauldron can compare to Return to Oz. This nightmarish movie begins when Dorothy, at the tender age of ten years old, is left alone at a psychiatric hospital where she’s about to get an experimental electroshock treatment to treat her fixation with Oz. That’s just the beginning. Fun fact: the movie got a well-deserved Oscar nomination for its special effects.

Disney Feature Animated Classic – The Princess and the Frog (Ron Clements & John Musker, 2009)

Disney is considered the epitome of American culture. However, just a few of its classic animated films are set in the U.S. One of these exceptions is the dynamic and charming film The Princess and the Frog. Released at the height of the post-Shrek CGI madness as a love letter to 2D animation, this movie is the first Disney animated film with an African American cast. It’s gorgeous aesthetically and has one of the most underrated Disney villains ever drawn, Dr. Facilier (cosplay!). Fun fact: Tiana, the protagonist, was drawn to be left-handed, the only character with this trait in Disney history.

Musicals – Newsies (Kenny Ortega, 1992)

Can Batman sing? Well, he kind of can! Newsies is based on real-life events – it looks and feels as if it were produced during the 1960s, the last golden age of musicals.  However, this film was made in the early nineties. Future Bruce Wayne, Christian Bale, is a teenage newspaper street seller that confronts “the powers that be” to stop child labour in the 1900s. As serious as it sounds, it’s a full-on musical, one of the few made for boys. Fun fact: Director Kenny Ortega also directed Hocus Pocus, High School Musical, and Descendants.

Cult Movie – Tron (Steven Lisberger, 1982)

If you happen to be a gamer and you haven’t seen Tron – you don’t know what you’re missing. Hint, it’s about whole worlds full of perils and adventures where everyone looks very slick. The ultimate underrated movie, this film embodies one of the most stylish and sexy pop culture revolutions that never happened. This film should have been as big as The Matrix. It was ahead of its time and maybe ahead of our times too. Fun fact: Even though the film was nominated for two Oscars (Costume Design and Sound) it was disqualified for Best Special Effects since it was made using computers (!)

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