For many, Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial end of summertime. With school starting up again, pools closing, and autumnal weather changes right around the corner in most places, it can all be pretty overwhelming wondering where summer’s gone so suddenly.
But the reality is that you still have nearly a month left of what is officially summertime, and you should enjoy as much of it as you can. Perhaps you’d like to celebrate summer’s last wind with a send-off marathon of comforting Disney movies highlighting swimming, beach time, and endless warm-weathered fun. Need some ideas about what to watch?
Here are 14 awesome suggestions.
14. High School Musical 2
This Disney Channel original from 2007 combines the enthusiasm of school spirit that was harnessed by the first High School Musical with emerging good times brought about by the summer months. With a storyline that begins right where the school year ends, you get to find out just how all your favorite, now familiar friends from the original get to spend their summer vacation in this second installment of the three-part popular High School Musical franchise.
13. Teen Beach Movie(s)
If you’re a fan of High School Musical you’ll probably enjoy the Teen Beach Movie franchise as well. The first one premiered on the Disney Channel back in 2013 with continuation to the storyline following in 2015. Combining the nostalgic feel of classic 1960s beach movies with modern interests, this novel classic creates a warm, endless summertime feeling, laden with catchy music, fun dancing, and a transcendence that both old-timer fans of original beach flicks and the youths of today can mutually enjoy together.
12. Camp Rock
Another musical throwback original by the Disney Channel, this pick from 2008, highlights the idea of summer camp fun at its fullest set to the musical interests of all the key players. And if you’re still in full fledged camp mode when you finish this one consider following it up with Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam from 2010.
11. The Parent Trap
More summer camp fun is in store when two identical twins separated at birth meet one summer at camp, connect the dots, and devise a clever scheme to get their divorced parents back together by switching places. This is the time-tested plot of The Parent Trap—originally produced by Walt Disney Pictures back in 1961 with a remake of the same story produced in 1998. Whichever version you choose, both are excellent summertime picks to keep you in summer mode.
10. The Even Stevens Movie
This 2003 movie based off the once-popular Disney Channel original series of the same name centers around the Stevens family and their island vacation, which turns out to be a reality show with twists, turns, and an unexpected adventure nobody saw coming. It goes without saying that this is plenty of fun to watch as a family.
9. Swiss Family Robinson
Would you like to continue with the idea of family island adventures? Then consider this timeless Disney classic from 1960, which highlights the adventures and resourcefulness of the Robinson family as they adapt to their new life on an unknown tropical island after being shipwrecked.
8. Summer Magic
What can be more summer-focused than a film that literally has “summer” in part of its title? This surprisingly underrated musical made by Disney back in 1963 focuses on the financial burdens of a family one summer, the adolescent struggles that emerge when clashing cousins are thrown together, and a whole series of humorous mishaps and lighthearted drama harkening back to nostalgic good old days.
7. That Darn Cat!
While there is a remake from 1997 of the same name, we recommend the original 1965 classic installment of this Disney film. Admittedly, the movie does not focus too heavily on the fact that it takes place during the summertime, but all same, you cannot deny that there is a wholesome carefree, vacation-from-school summertime vibe you get when watching it. This is especially evident when you consider the fact that going to the beach with one’s friends everyday and out to drive-in movies every night is the norm for the film’s primary character (second to the title cat).
6. Finding Nemo
We cannot really assign a specific season in which this computer-animated Disney-Pixar collaboration from 2003 takes place, but anything oceanic and nautical admittedly evokes feelings of summertime fun. And once you finish with this fishy favorite focusing on the struggles and adventures of a lost little clownfish, then consider following it up with its 2016 sequel Finding Dory—another lost fish storyline that reels in a whole host of new mishaps and maritime amusements.
5. Lilo & Stitch
A tropical island premise is what you really need to set off lasting summer vibes, regardless of the season. So why not expand your summer with this 2002 animated alien-tinged tale about friendship between a human girl and an extraterrestrial set in the tropics of Hawaii? It only makes perfect sense to do so.
In keeping the warm breezes of the South Pacific blowing strong, this computer-animated new Disney classic from 2016 is another favorable summertime consideration. Experience that warm, tropical island feel as you navigate along with the title protagonist on an epic journey to save her island and the people living on it while meeting with unexpected adventures along the way.
Perhaps this next frosty recommendation has you scratching your head a bit, but when you stop to consider the fact that this popular computer-animated Disney production from 2013 does in fact take place during the summertime it’s not such an odd choice. Aside from that, this film has successfully revised the concept that snowmen are exclusively seasonal to winter months, with the character of Olaf presenting himself as a summer-loving snowman who even sings his own tribute song to that favorable season during one of the film’s musical numbers.
2. The Little Mermaid
There’s nothing like a good mermaid tale to keep those summertime vibes going strong. That’s why this animated feature film from 1989, detailing one mermaid’s perilous quest to become human and discover life and love above the sea is one of our ultimate recommendations for summertime viewing. Note that you can keep the aquatic adventure of the title character and others in her circle going with two direct-to-video follow up sequels—The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning.
The concept of marine metamorphosis was revisited earlier this year with the recent computer-animated release of Disney-Pixar’s Luca. Set in the heart of the Italian Riviera, the plot centers around sea monsters-turned human and their efforts at trying to survive and thrive among the human inhabitants of a sea monster-fearing community. And with the back-to-school underlying conclusion hovering at the film’s heels, it couldn’t be a more perfect suggestion for topping off your ultimate summertime sendoff!
There are undoubtedly more Disney movies you can add to your endless summer marathon over the next few weekends. In fact any Disney movie that fills you with that warm, carefree on-vacation feel is worthy of a summery designation. Like Disney Magic, the magic of summer is unending and knows no limits.