1. The Lion King
Everyone has their Disney movie of choice and this was mine. While in kindergarten, I used to come home and watch The Lion King almost every day. Not sure how I had the patience for so many rewatches, but I did—and my mom can attest. The story, artwork, and characters captivated every time I guess.
2. Pokémon 2000
This one was legendary. I grew up watching the Pokémon TV series, playing the video games, and collecting the cards. I still remember receiving the Ancient Mew promo card and getting goosebumps when the theme came on over the theater speakers. It deserves a rewatch, soon, as does its predecessor, Pokemon: The First Movie.
3. Digimon: The Movie
Me and my neighbor/best friend growing up used to meet up and draw Digimon a lot. We were both huge fans of the TV series and whenever we weren’t playing Super Mario, or out in the backyard, we were doing a run-through of Digimon: The Movie. This is one you’d wanna watch with your friends.
4. Finding Nemo
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for seafaring stories and marine life, and Finding Nemo is a prime example from childhood. The first time I saw this movie was in a kid’s waiting room at a furniture store. This was one of the only movies to put me in a parent’s shoes, and that’s probably why it stood out when I was younger.
5. Spirited Away
I’ll be honest, the first time I saw this movie, I had no clue what was going on. But after multiple rewatches, I grew to appreciate and the fantastical story elements and incredible artwork more and more. Plus, it was a gateway to other Studio Ghibli movies. Spirited Away taught me to be more open minded about movies, and to imagine more.
There are many more that stand as the gems of my elementary school years, but these five movies played the most into my childhood sensibilities and interests.
Runner-ups include Aladdin, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, Shrek, and Lilo & Stitch.