The Most Popular Disney Movies and Rides in Every State

Using Google Trends data, FinanceBuzz explored which Disney rides and movies are the most beloved by fans across the country.
Last updated Oct 26, 2021 | By Josh Koebert | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins
Mickey balloon and Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

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Walt Disney World is turning 50! The most magical place on earth began celebrating a half-century of entertaining and enchanting families from around the globe at the start of October, with celebrations planned for a full 18 months.

Even with a minimum cost of $109 a day for Disney World tickets, the resort is one of the most popular vacation destinations on the planet, averaging over 58 million visitors annually. That average may rise soon, with a year and a half of anniversary celebrations poised to bring even more visitors to the parks while shining a spotlight on all things Disney.

To contribute to the celebration of all things Disney, our team used Google Trends data to explore some fun and lighthearted topics relating to beloved Disney movies as well as Disney World rides. After collecting search volume information on over 200 movies and every ride and attraction at the four Walt Disney World theme parks, we determined which Disney films are most popular in every state, which Disney World attractions are the most beloved across the country, and more. So without further ado, let’s head to the second star to the right and straight on ‘til the results!

In this article

Map showing the most popular Disney movie in every state

State Most Popular Disney Movie
Alabama The Ugly Dachshund
Alaska The Little Mermaid
Arizona A Bug's Life
Arkansas The Lion King (1994)
California Toy Story
Colorado Peter Pan
Connecticut The Lion King (1994)
Delaware The Hunchback of Notre Dame
District of Columbia The Princess Diaries
Florida Tron (1982)
Georgia The Shaggy Dog (1959)
Hawaii Moana
Idaho Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Illinois The Three Caballeros
Indiana The Lion King (2019)
Iowa Chicken Little
Kansas 102 Dalmatians
Kentucky Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Louisiana The Princess and the Frog
Maine One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
Maryland The Lion King (2019)
Massachusetts Saving Mr. Banks
Michigan The Lion King (2019)
Minnesota The Mighty Ducks
Mississippi The Country Bears
Missouri My Favorite Martian
Montana Bolt
Nebraska Frozen
Nevada Pinocchio
New Hampshire Finding Nemo
New Jersey Luca
New Mexico The Nightmare Before Christmas
New York The Wild
North Carolina The Lion King (1994)
North Dakota Inside Out
Ohio The Lion King (1994)
Oklahoma Tangled
Oregon The Muppets
Pennsylvania Toy Story
Rhode Island Hocus Pocus
South Carolina Incredibles 2
South Dakota Monsters, Inc.
Tennessee That Darn Cat! (1965)
Texas Toy Story
Utah Raya and the Last Dragon
Vermont The Jungle Book (2016)
Virginia The Lion King (2019)
Washington Soul
West Virginia Cars 2
Wisconsin The Wild
Wyoming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides    

Movies are a major way many people experience the magic of Disney and develop a strong connection to the brand. While Disney World tickets come with triple-digit price tags and full-on Disney World vacations can cost families thousands of dollars, a much more affordable way to experience Disney is by watching the company’s movies.

To explore that movie magic, we turned to Google Trends data, pulling state-level information on over 200 classic Disney films, starting with the first film produced by the company in 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and running all the way to the newest Disney release, Jungle Cruise.

We found that 42 different films were most popular in at least one state. Leading the way were the two versions of The Lion King, each of which took the crown in four different states. Films from throughout Disney history were represented — from Pinocchio, which came out in 1940, to Raya and the Last Dragon, which was released in 2021.

Comparing the popularity of animated Disney classics and their live-action remakes

Graphic comparing the popularity of animated Disney films and their live-action remakes


In recent years Disney has become known for releasing live-action remakes of older animated films. To date, the company has released 10 live-action movies that are direct remakes of classic cartoon films, right down to shared titles.

To find which version of each film is more popular among fans, we collected search volume data on each version in every state. Google has dedicated topics for each version based on the year of release, allowing us to differentiate searches between movies with the same title.

While the first remake that Disney released, 101 Dalmatians, came out back in 1996, the other nine movies on this list have all been released since 2010. In fact, a full 40% of these remakes (Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Lady and the Tramp) were released in the year 2019 alone.

Across the 10 comparisons we made, the live-action version was more popular 70% of the time, but for both of the two newest matchups, Lady and the Tramp and Mulan, the animated version is more popular.

Map showing the most popular Disney Vault movie in every state

State Most Popular Disney Vault Movie
Alabama The Lion King (1994)
Alaska The Little Mermaid
Arizona Bambi
Arkansas The Lion King (1994)
California Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Colorado Peter Pan
Connecticut The Lion King (1994)
Delaware The Lion King (1994)
District of Columbia The Lion King (1994)
Florida The Lion King (1994)
Georgia The Lion King (1994)
Hawaii The Lion King (1994)
Idaho Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Illinois The Lion King (1994)
Indiana The Lion King (1994)
Iowa Cinderella (1950)
Kansas Bambi
Kentucky The Lion King (1994)
Louisiana The Lion King (1994)
Maine One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
Maryland The Lion King (1994)
Massachusetts The Lion King (1994)
Michigan The Lion King (1994)
Minnesota The Lion King (1994)
Mississippi The Lion King (1994)
Missouri The Lion King (1994)
Montana Aladdin (1992)
Nebraska Bambi
Nevada Pinocchio
New Hampshire Beauty and the Beast (1991)
New Jersey Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
New Mexico Bambi
New York The Lion King (1994)
North Carolina The Lion King (1994)
North Dakota Sleeping Beauty
Ohio The Lion King (1994)
Oklahoma The Lion King (1994)
Oregon Bambi
Pennsylvania The Lion King (1994)
Rhode Island The Lion King (1994)
South Carolina The Lion King (1994)
South Dakota Fantasia
Tennessee The Lion King (1994)
Texas The Lion King (1994)
Utah Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Vermont The Jungle Book (1967)
Virginia The Lion King (1994)
Washington Bambi
West Virginia Bambi
Wisconsin The Lion King (1994)
Wyoming Bambi    

For years, Disney limited home video sales of their most beloved films by pulling them out of stores for years at a time. This was a way for the company to control their market while keeping movies fresh and exciting for a new generation of fans whenever a film was released from “the vault” and offered for sale again. Inclusion in the vault is the truest sign that a movie is a certified Disney classic, and for that reason, we looked at which of the 14 official Disney vault films is most popular in each state.

One movie soared and roared above all others in this regard —the 1994 version of The Lion King was the most popular vault film in over half the country, 29 states in total. Only one other film, Bambi, was most popular in at least five states. Notably, only one Disney vault classic, Lady and the Tramp, failed to be most popular in at least one state.

Map showing the most popular animated Disney movie in every state

State Most Popular Animated Disney Movie
Alabama Tangled
Alaska The Little Mermaid
Arizona A Bug's Life
Arkansas The Lion King (1994)
California Toy Story
Colorado Peter Pan
Connecticut The Lion King (1994)
Delaware The Hunchback of Notre Dame
District of Columbia Soul
Florida The Lion King (1994)
Georgia The Lion King (1994)
Hawaii Moana
Idaho Wreck-It Ralph
Illinois Toy Story
Indiana Tangled
Iowa Chicken Little
Kansas The Aristocats
Kentucky Toy Story 4
Louisiana The Princess and the Frog
Maine One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
Maryland Soul
Massachusetts Soul
Michigan Toy Story
Minnesota Frozen
Mississippi The Lion King (1994)
Missouri Inside Out
Montana Bolt
Nebraska Frozen
Nevada Pinocchio
New Hampshire Finding Nemo
New Jersey Luca
New Mexico The Nightmare Before Christmas
New York The Wild
North Carolina The Lion King (1994)
North Dakota Inside Out
Ohio The Lion King (1994)
Oklahoma Tangled
Oregon Ralph Breaks the Internet
Pennsylvania Toy Story
Rhode Island Toy Story 4
South Carolina Incredibles 2
South Dakota Monsters, Inc.
Tennessee The Lion King (1994)
Texas Toy Story
Utah Raya and the Last Dragon
Vermont The Jungle Book (1967)
Virginia Soul
Washington Soul
West Virginia Cars 2
Wisconsin The Wild
Wyoming Onward    

While Disney has produced movies of all kinds over the years, the heart and soul of the company has always been its animated efforts. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was America’s first feature-length animated film, and Disney has spent the seven-plus decades since that film was released as an industry leader in animated cinema.

Looking at which animated movie from Disney is most popular in every state, 30 different films took the top spot in at least one state. Once again, The Lion King was most popular, as the original version took first place in eight different states.

Interestingly, nearly half (23) of the most popular animated movies across the country were made by Disney-owned Pixar Animation Studios. That level of popularity demonstrates exactly why Disney was willing to pay $7.4 billion when they bought Pixar in 2006. Since that acquisition, Pixar movies have generated over $11 billion in worldwide box office returns for Disney, with the studio showing no signs of stopping when it comes to producing global hits.

Map showing the most popular Pixar movie in every state

State Most Popular Pixar Movie
Alabama Incredibles 2
Alaska Inside Out
Arizona A Bug's Life
Arkansas Incredibles 2
California Toy Story
Colorado Soul
Connecticut Toy Story 4
Delaware Soul
District of Columbia Soul
Florida Ratatouille
Georgia Toy Story 4
Hawaii Finding Nemo
Idaho A Bug's Life
Illinois Toy Story
Indiana Toy Story 4
Iowa Toy Story 3
Kansas A Bug's Life
Kentucky Toy Story 4
Louisiana A Bug's Life
Maine Incredibles 2
Maryland Soul
Massachusetts Soul
Michigan Toy Story
Minnesota Soul
Mississippi A Bug's Life
Missouri Inside Out
Montana Finding Nemo
Nebraska Finding Dory
Nevada Toy Story
New Hampshire Finding Nemo
New Jersey Luca
New Mexico Toy Story
New York Brave
North Carolina A Bug's Life
North Dakota Inside Out
Ohio Toy Story
Oklahoma Monsters, Inc.
Oregon Soul
Pennsylvania Toy Story
Rhode Island Toy Story 4
South Carolina Incredibles 2
South Dakota Monsters, Inc.
Tennessee A Bug's Life
Texas Toy Story
Utah Toy Story
Vermont Inside Out
Virginia Soul
Washington Soul
West Virginia Cars 2
Wisconsin A Bug's Life
Wyoming Onward    

Taking a deeper dive into which Pixar productions are most popular, we ran the 24 movies produced by the Disney-controlled animation studio through Google Trends to find which is most beloved in every state.

Fifteen different Pixar films were most popular in at least one state. Toy Story and Soul tied for most popular overall, earning top honors in nine states each. These two movies cover almost the entire history of the company, from 1995 when Toy Story hit theaters to 2020 when Soul was released.

Speaking of Toy Story, that film and its three sequels were most popular in 15 different states. That is even more notable given that Toy Story 2 failed to take the top spot in any states, meaning the popularity of Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4 allowed the franchise to perform so well overall. Overall, sequels were the most popular Pixar films in nearly a quarter of the country, 12 states total.

Graphic showing which Walt Disney World rides are most popular


Finally, to celebrate 50 years of Disney World magic, we found out which rides and attractions are the most popular at the parks. We collected state-level search volume data from over the last year for every ride and attraction at the four theme parks that make up Walt Disney World, and then we compiled a list of the 25 most popular.

The data revealed that people love the classics. Each of the six most popular attractions opened when Disney World did in 1971, and over half of the top 25 (including the entire top 10) can be found at the original Disney World park — Magic Kingdom.

The park with the next-highest number of attractions in the top 25 is Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with seven. Epcot has three such attractions, while the newest park, Animal Kingdom, has just two. Four of the newest Disney World attractions made the top 25, with Avatar Flight of Passage, Star Wars: Millennium Falcon — Smuggler’s Run, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway all making the list despite being open for fewer than five years.

Tips on maximizing your Disney magic without breaking the bank

While we all know pixie dust is what makes Disney truly magical, saving money on unforgettable Disney experiences can feel like its own kind of magic. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Use a budget to maximize the magic. There are so many unbelievable and can’t-miss Disney experiences available to fans and families that it can feel overwhelming trying to see them all. One way to experience more is by budgeting for your Disney vacation ahead of time, which can help with planning and stretch your magic even further.
  • Earn magical rewards at the parks. A number of credit cards give users cash back and other rewards they can rack up both before and during a Disney vacation. The best rewards credit cards for Disney can vary based on individual spending habits, so be sure to research which one will benefit you the most before heading to the theme parks.
  • Invest in the magic. Disney has long been seen as a blue-chip stock, one that has historically benefited investors. As a result, investing in Disney stock could help fund a dream vacation while also possibly boosting the long-term strength of an investment portfolio.

Methodology

FinanceBuzz collected Google Trends search data on 219 Disney films and 46 Disney World attractions between September 28-October 5, 2021. The time frame for the collected data was set to “Past 12 months.” In the event of any ties for a state, terms were compared head-to-head within Google Trends to determine the winner. For some calculations, the average search volume of all qualifying states was used to create a nationwide representation of search volume.

Author Details

Josh Koebert Josh Koebert is an experienced content marketer that loves exploring how personal finance overlaps with topics such as sports, food, pop culture, and more. His work has been featured on sites such as CNN, ESPN, Business Insider, and Lifehacker.