We all love catchy, memorable Disney songs in our Disney movies. However, there’s something about Disney duet songs that remain extra special, as two characters connect so strongly that a beautiful song emerges as a result.
So here is the list of my favorite duet songs from Disney films!
Disney Duet Songs That I Love
1. A Whole New World – Aladdin
This is the only song that I didn’t think twice about putting on this list. It is simply perfect— one of the most timeless and iconic duets ever. The soundtrack to Aladdin is maybe one of composer Alan Menken’s best works; especially this song, which is both technically and lyrically masterful.
Brad Kane, the voice behind Aladdin, may not be the showstopping vocalist that Lea Salonga is (though in his defense, few can compare). Still, he pulls off some remarkably difficult harmonies in this song though, and the seamless blend of their two voices is one of the things that make the song so notable.
It has everything a perfect duet should: a great balance of solo parts, amazing chemistry and beautiful harmony parts, a call and respond that flows perfectly– not to mention the innovative metaphor for love that fits so well in the story. “A Whole New World” is one of the most culturally and artistically inspirational Disney songs ever, which is what truly earns it the number one spot on my list.
2. If I Never Knew You – Pocahontas
As a kid, Disney’s Pocahontas was one of my favorites; in fact the first time I can remember crying over a movie was during this song. Older and wiser now, I know that the movie was a dangerously romanticized and inaccurate portrayal of what would really have happened.
I may not be able to connect with Pocahontas with the innocent whimsy that I used to, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing— it’s important to be aware of the realities of history, and the movie inspires much more critical thinking now.
I do still think it is a beautiful film artistically, and the character of Pocahontas will always be special to me. I loved her beautiful voice and the way she saw the world in such a magical way. “If I Never Knew You,” is more than just a love song, and the more I know about our real history the more emotional it becomes. What an idea, that the meeting of Native and English cultures could have been something beautiful if it had been approached without prejudice and greed.
3. Bare Necessities – The Jungle Book
You may not know Phil Harris’ name, but most of us would know his familiar voice if we heard it. Harris voiced a variety of beloved Disney characters, most notably Little John in Disney’s Robin Hood, Thomas O’Malley from The Aristocats, and good old Baloo the bear from The Jungle Book. Harris’ warm tone brought an amazingly friendly and comforting energy to the characters he played; it’s part of what makes “The Bare Necessities” so good.
Harris was a jazz musician and radio comedian on top of his acting work, which you maybe could have guessed based on all his work for Disney. His songs are always a fun swinging jazz, which perfectly suits the smooth, carefree characters he’s playing. The energy in “The Bare Necessities” is absolutely unmatched, chill and indulgent to the max— the song couldn’t have been written for anyone else.
4. Love is an Open Door – Frozen
Okay, okay, I know that this song may not inspire pleasant feelings in some of you, especially if you spend a lot of time with young children, but hear me out— there is a reason this song is so overplayed. It’s really great. Not only is it catchy as hell and incredibly performed, but it’s actually… kinda deep, for a silly Disney tune.
First of all, the words of the song are a metaphor– for Anna, this relationship is her open door out into the world… for Prince Hans, it is an open door into the kingdom he wants to take over. More interesting is how this duet turns the classic love song on its head. There is a very silly energy to it, which is odd because the meaning of the scene is nothing but innocent.
Instead of the sincere, gentle sweetness we so often get from a ‘falling in love’ song in film, “Love is An Open Door” is extremely upbeat and punchy. The characters crack jokes about sandwiches and intestinal distress– which on the surface, makes perfect sense for Anna!
She is a very happy, silly young person who has yet to really mature and she’s very excited about her first love. However the lack of sincerity in this song is telling, and adds to the growing feeling of wrongness– because Prince Hans is deceiving her.
Frozen does this layering very well, and I think it gets a bad rap for being a ‘kids movie’ when it is actually very thoughtfully written and well executed.
5. Wouldn’t Change a Thing – Camp Rock 2
This absolute bop from the questionable sequel to Disney Channel’s Camp Rock is definitely my most biased choice on this list. It’s probably the nostalgia; my inner child who still holds a flame for the Jonas Brothers, but I can’t help it! I love this song!
As a whole, Camp Rock 2 was definitely not as great as its iconic predecessor, but a lot of the songs really slapped. Demi Levato and Joe Jonas had both improved significantly as vocalists which may be why they were given a slightly more complex composition the second time around.
Don’t get me wrong, I dearly love the climactic duet from the first movie, ‘This is Me’— but ‘Wouldn’t Change a Thing’ totally blows it out of the water. It feels a lot more sincere and relatable, despite the many cliches in the lyrics (which I love). There’s just a lot of heart in this song, and it feels really good to listen to.
6. For The First Time in Forever (Reprise) – Frozen
After how much I already gushed about Frozen, it would be criminal not to have one of Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa’s (Idina Menzel) duets in my ranking, and this song absolutely deserves the recognition.
Only a little over 2 minutes long, this song brings an absolutely indispensable depth of emotion to a very important scene. To recap: Anna arrives at the ice castle her sister has built and breaks the news that Elsa has doomed their kingdom to eternal winter. Elsa clearly does not know what to do; she has spent her entire life suppressing her emotions and her powers, and has no idea how to deal with either of them, so she tells Anna to go.
The song is an argument that begins as a back and forth and evolves into Kristen and Idina singing two different things simultaneously. Fans of the musical Wicked may find this style of duet familiar; Idina Menzel’s powerful voice and unique tone is part of how Frozen pulled this feat off so well.
Their tones contrast as they harmonize, a representation of the deep bond between them even when they are so at odds. The way they begin to ‘talk’ over each other as the argument swells makes it clear that they aren’t listening to each other, which is part of why there are still another 48 minutes of the movie to go.
This is such an emotional duet, and I honestly wish there was a longer version– it is absolutely my favorite song from the film.
7. Man or Muppet – The Muppets (2011)
The music written for The Muppets has always been very special– “The Rainbow Connection”, “Movin’ Right Along,” “Pictures in My Head”… it is almost magical, the way The Muppets are so silly, downright absurd at times– and yet the artists behind them have consistently brought us some of the most touching, heartfelt media ever.
So while this song from the 2011 film “The Muppets” is a bit less overtly profound than my previous examples, it is no surprise that the soundtrack was pretty masterful.
Performed by Jason Segel and Peter Linz, the song portrays the identity crisis of the two main characters– Gary (Segel), a human man who in helping The Muppets has begun to wonder if he belongs among them, and his brother Walter (Linz), a puppet who wants to live a normal life. This sounds very silly and it definitely is, but that is part of what I love so much about the song.
While I certainly may not be able to relate to the Muppet-specific struggles of these two characters, it is so much fun to act out the epic drama, with its delightful harmonies and emotional delivery. I think “Man or Muppet” is a treasure, and I highly recommend it for any sing-along playlist.
8. What Else Can I Do – Encanto
Blooming flowers isn’t a very original metaphor for a character who is discovering their true potential, but Encanto does it so well.The film uses plenty of classic tropes but feels fresh despite, which is a wonderful reflection of the way the story pays homage to tradition while also showing the value in growth and change.
“What Else Can I Do” is only so low on my list because of how minor a part Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) has; it is mostly focused on the character development of Isabel (Diane Guerrero), who delivers the majority of the vocals. For that reason I think it falls a bit short in the ‘duet’ category– but not in any other way.
The song is gorgeous and the accompanying animation sequence is one of the most beautiful and impressive parts of the movie. The themes of the song are incredibly relatable and the actresses have wonderful chemistry; as an oldest sibling myself, I always get very emotional when I listen to it.
9. Breaking Free – High School Musical
This legendary track was another I knew I had to include on this list– others who grew up in the golden age of Disney Channel surely understand why. “Breaking Free” was the first of many romantic duets between Troy (played by Zac Efron, though Drew Seeley actually did all the singing for Troy in the films) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), and while it may not be the best, it is definitely the most memorable.
The song is pretty simple in every way, and as far as vocal performances it was not the most impressive. However, it became a beloved teen anthem the moment we all heard it. This song earned its spot on my ranking for all the joy it brought to a generation of hopeless romantics who, if they’re anything like me, are still belting it out at sleepovers to this day– thanks for the memories, High School Musical!
10. Supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus – Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins is one of the few films that I think might truly be perfect. Every song from this film is wonderful and timelessly beloved. This one, though… for reasons as inexplicable as the name itself, this song is extra special.
It may have something to do with the value of playfulness, which I believe is the meaning of the song; that imagination is a gift, and that sometimes we should all do things just because they are fun. Young and old, fancy ladies and businessmen, even if we get scolded or told to “grow up!”
“Supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus” isn’t very complex in composition nor does it feature especially impressive vocals despite the incredible talent of the cast– it plays more like a bar song or a shanty, which stays totally true to its’ intent. This song is just plain fun, and it is for everyone to enjoy. That’s special.
Beauty and the Beast by Peabo Bryson and Celine Dion
I put this in the Honorable Mention section only because it’s moreso a theme song for the film rather than a particular song performed by characters in the movie. However, one could certainly argue that this is the best Disney duet song on this list (and performed by two of the best singers of the 1990s).
Hakuna Matata – The Lion King
Now this is a great song—but it kind of features three characters rather than just two. “Hakuna Matata is one of the most iconic songs of all time, and I imagine I don’t need to justify its’ top spot here. The Lion King is a masterpiece, and the breathtaking soundtrack (from the minds of Elton John, Tim Rice and Hans Zimmer) is the heart of the story.
Now “breathtaking” may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of this song, unless you are referring to the smelly jokes– but I know I’m not the only one who gets emotional over the tune… that, and you could easily get winded singing along to it with all your heart!
Nathan Lane (Timon), Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa), Jason Weaver (young Simba) and Joseph Lane (Simba) all deliver absolutely incredible vocal performances on this track. Lane and Sabella’s are especially impressive to me, as they manage to stay in their rather silly character voices while still sounding absolutely incredible.
There is almost too much good to say about this song and I have a limited word count. So, I will point to the incredible legacy of “Hakuna Matata” and allow that to say the rest.
Something There – Beauty and the Beast
This song from the 1991 masterpiece Beauty and The Beast is generally overshadowed by “Tale as Old as Time.” I admit that I was considering placing it much lower on my list until I gave it another listen– but folks, this one is underrated! Admittedly, it kind of features more than two characters and voices here, but I’d say a decent bulk if the song plays out like a pseudo-duet.
A perfect example of one of those sweet and sincere ‘falling in love’ songs I mentioned earlier, the song carries a heavy weight of responsibility– it covers almost the entirety of Belle and the Beast’s growing relationship. While it is supported by the unspoken chemistry and– let’s not kid ourselves–tension in the beginning of the film and the grand gesture of the finale, this 2 minute song is some of the only clearly presented proof of blooming romance in the story.
In other words, the function of this song in the film is to convince the audience that the relationship makes sense… and I think it does an amazing job! The verses from the Beast’s perspective show the audience that he is truly somewhat mystified by his feelings, which is important because it makes him seem more trustworthy– he isn’t trying to trick Belle, he really is falling in love despite himself.
This is only one example of the complex emotional work this song does for the film. On top of being really effective, “Something There” is just really beautiful. The harmonies are lovely, and I think it manages to be one of the catchier tunes on a soundtrack packed full of them.
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