There are good cartoon movies and then there are great cartoon movies.
Coco falls into the latter esteemed category of truly great, hit ya in the feels cartoon films. But if you and your children have watched Coco one thousand times (or, let’s be honest, more), you need an alternative that is that perfect marriage of heartfelt plotline and earworm songs, a movie like Coco, that is. Fortunately, there are lots of movies like Coco that’ll hit all the right notes.
As you might have guessed many of these movies like
Coco are of the Disney Pixar persuasion. This isn’t out of some kind of Mickey-ear-wearing brand loyalty, it’s just that that company has cornered the market on excellent kid fodder. That said, take a look around other streaming services and you can pluck out more, lesser known production companies producing some equally good movies like Coco. When in doubt use the search term: musical cartoons to find the really good stuff.
So use this list as your guide to movies like Coco and don’t forget to crank up the volume (so you can sing along, natch) and prepare the popcorn. You’re going to want to settle in with the whole crew. It’s family movie night, baby.
A bull who doesn’t want to fight is the protagonist of this sweet story, a retelling of author Munro Leaf’s 1936 children’s book
The Story of Ferdinand. Here, similar Coco-esque themes of life and death play out with the cast of some crazy characters, like a highly entertaining goat named Lupe played by Kate McKinnon, work to rescue Ferdinand from his bull-fighting fate. Can this sweet-hearted cow escape the ring? Or will his animal instincts take over? No spoilers. What can be said is you’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll hit rewind to sing along with Nick Jonas’s killer song “Home.” Stream Ferdinand, rated PG, on Disney+ 2 Sing
Looking for great songs a la
Coco, not just movies like Coco. Then check out Sing. Essentially the fantastical animal version of American Idol, a variety of creatures attempt to earn a spot in the world’s greatest singing contest. The only problem is it’s a scam created by Koala Buster Moon, the proprietor of a failing theater, trying desperately to keep the lights on. Naturally, none of the competitors know this is going on. They just want their moment in the spotlight? Who will win? Meena the shy elephant with a killer set of pipes? Or Johnny, the mountain gorilla crooner? Or will it be Buster who saves the day and his beloved theater? Stream Sing , rated PG, on FXNow, fuboTV, DIRECTV, Spectrum On Demand 3 Soul
If it’s a cartoon that tackles spiritual and existential topics that you’re after (and what toddler isn’t?), consider
Soul. This movie looks at life through the perspective of a jazz musician suffering from a failure to launch. But when he abruptly finds his life cut short, he journeys to the Great Beyond in search of a way to get back to his life. You know, kid stuff. This movie is deep, but, it turns out that kids are here for it. At least older kids — the littlest viewers might not totally comprehend what’s going on. That said, whereas Coco tackled the very real childhood feelings of understanding what happens when we die, Soul does the same, but from a different point of view. In this case, a troubled unborn soul’s search for her spark reveals that there’s more to life than finding a purpose. The joy is the journey of living itself. Stream Soul , rated PG, on Disney+ 4 Over the Moon
Every culture deals with death differently. In
Over the Moon, a Netflix original, a Chinese girl named Fei Fei builds a rocket to the moon to meet a mythical goddess — her mother’s favorite — as she tries to make sense of her world following her mother’s passing. Fei Fei manages to get to the moon and meet the goddess Chang’e, but she’s not as Fei Fei expected. For thousands of years Chang’e has awaited the return of her lost lover and she sends the girl on a quest to return him to her. Incredibly tender and beautifully illustrated, you might be surprised how attached you become to this film. Stream Over the Moon , rated PG, on Netflix 5 Moana
With a score created by Lin Manuel-Miranda, you know this film is gonna be catchy. But more than that, it’s an empowering look at one girl’s quest to find her place in the world, much like Miguel, the star of
Coco’s journey to find his place. Both characters feel undervalued and overlooked. So off they go on the hero’s journey complete with catchy soundtracks and solos to spur them on their way. But even without the great tunes, Moana holds up like Coco because the storyline is so moving and kids feel a great sense of attachment to the main characters, something far too many cartoons can’t seem to master. Stream Moana , rated PG, on Disney+ 6 Inside Out
It’s hard to talk to kids about complicated topics, but that’s where Pixar seems to have found its sweet spot, be it with
Coco or, in this case, Inside Out. Here the subject matter isn’t understanding death, but interpreting feelings instead. As one girl’s decisions play out inside her mind thanks to a braintrust of emotions including Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness, she finds her way and grows in the process. Sound heavy? Thanks to an incredible cast including Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Mindy Kahling, and Bill Hader, the workings of a tween’s mind become incredibly funny with a heavy helping of heartfelt on the side. Stream Inside Out , rated PG, on Disney+ 7 Lion King
Coming to terms with life, death, and growing up gets another interpretation in this Disney classic
The Lion King. Filled with award-winning songs (hat tip, Elton John) and a story that’s been retooled for the stage and screen, The Lion King is a guaranteed winner with any audience. Can’t recall what it’s all about? Quick refresh: Simba, the future king of the savanna, is born to Mufasa and Sarabi. The animals rejoice at his birth, but Simba’s wicked uncle Scar has other plans to take the throne. When Scar causes a stampede of wildebeests to trample Mufasa, Simba escapes, but returns to fight back with his hilarious buddies Timon and Pumbaa by his side. Stream The Lion King , rated G, on Disney+, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and Vudu 8 Up
Pixar and Disney teamed up again for another emotional cartoon comedy back in 2009. In Up, an old man is reminded of his childhood dreams thanks to a plucky scout. See, there was a time when Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman, had dreams of adventure. It was his life goal to travel with his bride, Ellie. But when he becomes a widower, these grand ideas fly out the window. It’s only with the help of a young Wilderness Explorer named Russell that he’s forced to tread a different path. Of course, the story takes some wildly unexpected turns, but the sweetness of the film has all of
Coco's characteristics. Stream Up , rated PG, on Prime Video and Disney+ 9 Ratatouille
This is a film about food, yes. But it’s also a film about fitting in and fighting for survival, something that feels very on theme in the
Coco canon. Here a rat discovers he has a natural culinary talent, but finding his place in the kitchen will be fraught because, you know, he’s a rat! That doesn’t deter our hero, however. With the help of a feckless chef, Remy the rat hides under his toque and directs him to make great meals. But can Remy keep his work under wraps? Or will the health inspector uncover this secret chef? You’ll have to watch to find out. Stream Ratatouille, rated G, on Disney+ and Prime Video 10 Finding Dory Finding Nemo often gets all the love, but don’t forget about this 2016 follow-up that frankly might even top the original thanks to its emotional punch. Here we discover that Dory, Nemo’s absent-minded sidekick, has been trying to find her long lost family all this time. But once she realizes that she once did have a family, she renews her effort to track them down. Cue: All the tears. Just as the movie Coco deals with tricky family relationships, Finding Dory does the same. And since Dory is voiced by the hilarious Ellen Degeneres, there are plenty of laughs in between the many tender moments. Stream Finding Dory , rated PG, on Prime Video and Disney+ 11 Wall-E
Who knew there was such a demand for climate crisis kid movies? Kidding. But even with
Wall-E’s dystopian setting, there’s Coco-levels of heart in this film about a lonely albeit plucky robot left to tidy up the planet. Wall-E spends 700 years doing his job all by himself on the planet until one day he spots a shiny new robot named EVE. After building a relationship with the little bot, Wall-E shares his greatest find, a seedling. When the mothership comes to pick EVE up, Wall-E clings on and is taken up with her where a whole other act of issues come up. With little dialogue, even little kids can enjoy this film which relies on expressions to tell its tale. Stream Wall-E , rated G, on Disney+ 12 Storks
What’s the opposite of death? Life, of course. And that’s the subject of
Storks, a film all about where babies come from that will have your child in stitches. In this Warner Animation Group film, starring SNL alum Andy Samberg, a former baby delivery company has been redesigned as a product delivery company. But that gets upended when Junior (Samberg) accidentally turns the baby making machine back on. Now he has to make his first baby drop which, as you might expect, leads to all kinds of sticky situations. Aiding this wild romp is Tulip, a baby who was kept by a lonely Stork years ago. Together they go off to deliver their babe for a film that may or may not lead to a family discussion about the birds and the bees. Stream Storks , rated PG, on Hulu and Prime Video 13 Onward
Making sense of the loss of a loved one is something everyone will have to go through one day. But how do you tell a child that? With a movie of course, be it
Coco or Onward. For teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley, they’re not ready to say goodbye to their dad until they get one more magical shot at spending the day with him. That’s the subject of this kid flick. Kids will appreciate the fantasy setting, a world filled with wizards and minotaur but enough real world accents — like brother Barley’s van — to make it relatable. And they’ll love the hijinks the two get into when they receive a magical staff from their mom which brings their dad back — well half of him that is. Stream Onward , rated PG, on Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV 14 Beauty and the Beast
One of the main problems Miguel faces in
Coco is being misunderstood. If only everyone would look a little deeper and actually listen to him they might understand what he’s trying to say about music. The same could be said for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The Beast has been vilified by the villagers that no one takes the time to get to know the real Beast. That feeling of being ostracized and misread is something kids can appreciate, which is why this is a great Coco-like movie to play on your next family movie night. It also makes for a teachable moment to discuss acceptance. Stream Beauty and the Beast , rated PG, on Disney+
Nestle in. Ain’t no family weekend like a cartoon binge weekend.