The Best Kids Movies on Disney Plus (May 2021)

Add these Disney Plus movies for kids to your watch list today

The number of Disney Plus movies for kids that are available to watch on the popular streaming service seems to grow daily, with new animated and live-action features added on a very regular basis. Because of this ever-growing library, deciding what Disney kids movies to watch can be a time-consuming process.

It doesn't have to be, though. Here are some of the best kids movies on Disney Plus that are super entertaining while still managing to be family-friendly.

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Cruella (2021): A Classic Disney Villain Gets an Origin Story

Emma Stone in 'Cruella'

Photo by Laurie Sparham/Disney Enterprises, Inc.

IMDB Rating: n/a

Genre: Comedy, Crime

Starring: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Mark Strong

Director: Craig Gillespie

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hours, 14 minutes

Disney successfully crafted an origin story for its evil fairy Maleficent. Now, it's doing the same for another classic villain, Cruella de Vil. As a teenager, Estella (Emma Stone) dreams of becoming a fashion designer while living on the streets as a London orphan. One day, she's given the chance to create a signature piece for a rockstar, but she also has the scheming Baroness (Emma Thompson) to deal with. Maleficent's backstory managed to spawn two successful movies. Could Cruella be Disney's next hit?

Cruella will initially be available on Disney+ via its Premier Access program for $29.99. It will become available to all Disney+ subscribers at a later date.

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Raya and the Last Dragon (2021): A Sassy Girl and Her Sassier Dragon BFF

Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina in 'Raya and the Last Dragon'

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.5/10

Genre: Animation, Adventure

Starring: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan

Directors: Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada 

Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 54 minutes

Raya and the Last Dragon is a fantasy story about a mythical world called Kumandra, where humans and dragons once lived in harmony. But, 500 years later, monsters are threatening the land, so Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) must find the last dragon Sisu (Awkwafina), and convince her to use her magic to save the world. This latest Disney offering was made by the studio responsible for Moana and Frozen. Disney+ subscribers must pay an extra $30 to watch it right now, but it will likely be available at no additional cost at a later date, just like last year's live-action Mulan remake.

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Night at the Museum (2006): The Most Fun You'll Ever Actually Have in a Museum

Robin Williams, Carla Gugino, Ben Stiller, and Mizuo Peck in 'Night at the Museum'

Disney

IMDB Rating: 6.4/10

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Starring: Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Ricky Gervais

Director: Shawn Levy

Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes

When Larry (Ben Stiller) accepts a job as a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History in New York City, he discovers that all of the exhibits come to life after dark. Although it leans a bit too heavily on CGI, it's a pleasant adventure flick that might, at worst, make your kid look forward to their next field trip to the local museum.

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Rio (2011): A Fun, Colorful Animated Comedy

Rio Movie Photo
Photo © Blue Sky Studios/20th Century Fox

IMDB Rating: 6.9/10

Genre: Animated, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez

Director: Carlos Saldanha

Rating: G

Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes

Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) is a domesticated macaw who can't fly and believes he's the last of his kind. Then he hears about Jewel (Anne Hathaway), a free-spirited female macaw living in Rio de Janeiro. He travels to the city to meet her, but they're both captured by smugglers and many animated hijinks ensue. Critics praised this film for its color imagery and comical voice performances.

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The Book of Life (2014): A Celebration of Love and Mexican Folklore

Zoe Saldana in 'The Book of Life' (2014)

Twentieth Century Fox

IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

Genre: Animation, Adventure

Starring: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum

Directors: Jorge R. Gutiérrez 

Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Like the Pixar movie Coco, The Book of Life takes place on the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday where people get together and remember family members who've passed. The story is centered around three friends: a young bullfighter named Manolo (Diego Luna), his best friend Joaquin (Channing Tatum), and a young woman named Maria (Zoe Saldana) they're both in love with. The film features some lovely animation, unusual musical choices, and a positive message about a difficult subject.

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Flora & Ulysses (2021): Best Movie Featuring a Superhero Squirrel

A squirrel does the superhero landing in 'Flora & Ulysses'

Disney

IMDB Rating: 6.4/10

Genre: Adventure

Starring: Matilda Lawler, Alyson Hannigan, Ben Schwartz

Director: Lena Khan

Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Based on the Newberry award-winning book by author Kate DiCamillo, Flora & Ulysses is about a cynical young girl who loves comic books. After she rescues an injured squirrel, she discovers it's sentient and has superpowers. A little goofy and offbeat, critics say this film is charming and fun for the whole family.

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Mary Poppins Returns (2018): Best Musical for Kids on Disney Plus

Disney kids movie Mary Poppins Returns on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 6.7/10

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw

Director: Rob Marshall

Rating: PG

Runtime: 2 hours, 19 minutes

Mary Poppins Returns is a follow-up to the original classic that focuses on the two children whom Mary Poppins looked after all those years ago. They're now struggling with adult situations such as unemployment and financial difficulties. As with the original, Mary Poppins Returns brilliantly balances profound life lessons about embracing your inner child and stopping to smell the flowers with several fun animated sequences that keep the viewer engaged.

The filmmakers integrated the original's numerous iconic songs into the film’s score rather than lazily reprising them. It leaves room for several new songs and a chance for Mary Poppins Returns to stand on its own rather than rely on nostalgia and brand recognition. A Disney Plus movie for kids and adults alike.

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Frozen and Frozen II (2013 & 2019): Most Empowering Kids Movies on Disney Plus

Frozen, Frozen II, and other family movies on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.4/10 and 6.9/10

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad

Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Rating: PG

Runtime: 102 and 103 minutes

Frozen and Frozen II have been mega-hits for Disney due to their ground-breaking digital animation, chart-topping songs, and strong messaging. Adult viewers may laugh at some of the noticeable plot holes and corny character moments in the first film. However, the powerful theme of sisterly love and wintery visuals will still keep everyone entertained.

On the other hand, Frozen II pleases both young and old audiences thanks to its successful efforts to bring added depth to the characters from the original while achieving some phenomenal world-building in the process. What sets Frozen II apart from the original and other kid's movies on Disney Plus, for that matter, are its scenes that show how to navigate stressful, even traumatic, situations even when all hope is lost. This movie is a sequel that easily surpasses its predecessor and boasts a maturity that’s equally surprising and welcome.

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The Little Mermaid (1989): Best 80s Disney Franchise on Disney Plus for Kids

Disney's The Little Mermaid animated version on Disney+.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.6/10

Genre: Animation, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Rene Auberjonois

Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker

Rating: G

Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Few of Disney’s animated features have come close to The Little Mermaid's brilliance with its fun characters, captivating locations, and collection of songs that became instant classics upon its initial release. Disney’s The Little Mermaid may not have the bittersweet YOLO lesson of the Hans Christian Anderson original. Still, it makes up for this change with some genuinely rewarding exploration of father/daughter relationships and a strong warning about stranger danger.

Also available on Disney Plus are the two sequels, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, which follows Ariel and Eric’s daughter, and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, a prequel that reveals the tragic fate of Ariel’s mother. The former is admittedly rather forgettable though the latter is a surprisingly solid entry in the franchise with a good amount of real emotion and heartfelt exploration of family grief. The Little Mermaid cartoon series, which is set between Ariel’s Beginning and the original film, is also a lot of fun and should keep kids engaged for several days.

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Tangled (2010): Best Disney Plus Kids Film About Responsibility

Disney's Tangled and other kids movies on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.7/10

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy

Directors: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

Rating: PG

Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Frozen may be the more popular kids movie on Disney Plus, but most will agree that Tangled is by far the superior film. This reinterpretation of the classic Rapunzel fairy tale sticks fairly close to the source material. Still, it adds a healthy dose of laugh-out-loud humor, witty dialog, and heartfelt character moments that elevate it beyond the average Disney princess outing.

Tangled’s strong messaging about taking personal responsibility for your life, even when placed in a seemingly inescapable situation, is praise-worthy, as is its ability to artfully balance the female lead’s need to be rescued one moment and step up to be the rescuer the next. An animated TV series and several shorts set after the events in the Tangled film are also available on Disney Plus.

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Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1997): Best Disney Plus Musical for Adults and Kids

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Brandy and Paolo Montalban on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 6.7/10

Genre: Family, Fantasy, Musical

Starring: Brandy Norwood, Bernadette Peters, Veanne Cox

Director: Robert Iscove

Rating: G

Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella has become a cult classic for those who grew up with it in the late-90s and early-2000s, and it still holds up today as one of many kids movies on Disney Plus. Its star-studded adult cast of Whitney Houston, Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Alexander, Victor Garber, and Bernadette Peters will keep adults engaged. At the same time, the stunning Brandy Norwood, who’s charming as this modern reimagining of the iconic fairy tale princess, and Paolo Montalban, who some older gamers may remember from the short-lived Mortal Kombat Conquest TV series, will thrill younger viewers.

Cinderella’s traditional messages of believing in oneself, following your heart, and looking beyond appearances remain intact, and the modern presentation makes these ideals more accessible than ever. Looking for the classic telling? Both the original Disney animation version and recent live-action remake starring Cate Blanchet are available on Disney Plus.

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Zootopia (2016): Best Disney Plus Kids Movie About Prejudice

Zootopia

IMDB Rating: 8.0/10

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba

Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush

Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Zootopia, named Zootropolis in several regions, is a rather profound Disney kids movie that explores racism through the lens of a world of animals where humans never existed. To the film’s credit, Zootopia doesn’t speak down to viewers nor oversimplify the discussion and impressively manages to cover the various nuances surrounding race rather well, all within a beautifully animated, thoroughly entertaining, and age-appropriate package.

Ginnifer Goodwin from Once Upon A Time, also on Disney Plus, and Jason Bateman voice the two leads and are backed up by an impressive supporting cast of actors ranging from talents such as Idris Elba and Bonnie Hunt to Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, and Shakira.

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Star Wars Episodes I, II, and IX (1999, 2002, 2019): Best Star Wars Movies for Kids

Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker on Disney+.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 6.5, 6.5, and 6.6/10

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac

Directors: George Lucas, George Lucas, JJ Abrams 

Rating: PG, PG, and PG-13

Runtime: 136, 144, and 141 minutes

Star Wars is a fantastic, family-friendly adventure franchise that’s a reliable option when looking for something to entertain the kids with. With every single Star Wars film and TV series available to watch on Disney Plus, deciding what to throw on can be intimidating and time-consuming. It can also be a bit of a gamble when confronted with a kid who’s never seen a Star Wars movie before and might be bored with some of the original ones, no matter how much the adults in the room dig them.

By far, the safest bets for kids when it comes to Star Wars movies on Disney Plus are Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. All three feature a great variety of colorful locations, kid-friendly characters such as Jar Jar Binks and D-0, interesting aliens, and some of the best lightsaber fights of the entire saga.

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Days of Future Past (2014): Best X-Men Movie for Kids on Disney Plus

X-Men Days of Future Past movie on Disney Plus streaming service.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman

Director: Bryan Singer

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hours, 12 minutes

The X-Men movies are unique as they successfully blend the Sci-Fi and superhero genres while still featuring strong anti-racist and anti-homophobic messaging that doesn’t get lost in the action. The messaging enhances everything that happens on screen and adds depth to the super-powered individuals to a degree that other comic book franchises could only dream of.

Almost all of the X-Men movies are available to watch on Disney Plus, so choosing which one to watch hard. Adults should start with the first film and watch them all in order of release. The best X-Men movie for kids would be Days of Future Past which features time travel, giant robots, some colorful and fun mutant powers, and a massive cast of characters from across the franchise. Days of Future Past also lends itself to being a great world history conversation starter due to its glimpse at a post-apocalyptic future that’s brought about by xenophobia running unchecked in the present and past.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 and 2 (2014 & 2017): Most Fun Superhero Movies for Kids

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 movie on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 8.0 and 7.6/10

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista

Director: James Gunn

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 120 and 136 minutes

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 and 2 are two of the best Disney Plus movies for kids due to their fun vibe, an eclectic cast of characters, and a strong focus on family-friendly action and spectacle. While this pair of Sci-Fi films can get quite big in scale, the real focus is the group of alien misfits who, eventually, learn to rely on and accept each other as family.

One of the best things about the two Guardians of the Galaxy movies is that they’re very much in their own stand-alone corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and don’t require the viewing of any other TV shows or films to understand or enjoy. If you’re planning to watch Avengers Infinity War or Endgame, though, both Guardians flicks will enhance your enjoyment of those two enormously.

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Black Panther (2018): Most Unique Superhero Movie on Disney Plus

Marvel's Black Panther film and other Marvel movies for kids on the Disney Plus app.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o

Director: Ryan Coogler

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hours, 16 minutes

Black Panther was a major cultural moment when it premiered back in 2018, and it’s not hard to see why with its skillfully shot action sequences, fun cast of characters, and the big-screen debut of the fictitious futuristic city of Wakanda. It’s not all fun and action, though, with a strong sense of family and a powerful message about the flaws of protectionism being ever-present throughout.

Like Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther requires very little knowledge of the MCU and can be enjoyed entirely on its own. And the story started in this film continues in Avengers Infinity War, also on Disney Plus.

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Avengers Infinity War and Endgame (2018 & 2019): Most Epic Marvel Movies on Disney Plus

Avengers Endgame with Iron-Man, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Thor, and other superheroes on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 8.4 and 8.4/10

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 149 and 181 minutes

It’s hard to find a more crowd-pleasing pair of kids movies on Disney Plus than the third and fourth Avengers movies, Infinity War and Endgame. The films culminate the numerous subplots introduced in almost all of the previously released Marvel films, and each is paid off in a very epic and satisfying fashion.

The main appeal of both Avengers movies, and what makes them great for kids, is their breakneck pace and the number of popular characters that appear. From Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Thor to Spider-Man, Iron-Man, and Captain America, pretty much you can find everyone’s favorite superhero here. It’s not all action and fan service, though, as there’s a powerful exploration of what it truly means to be a hero that’s present in both films.

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The Princess and the Frog (2009): Best Disney Kids Movie About Strong Work Ethics

The Princess and the Frog on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.1/10

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, Oprah Winfrey

Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker

Rating: G

Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes

The Princess and the Frog is a modern reinterpretation of the classic frog princess fairy tale set in New Orleans. This kids movie, one of Disney’s last to be made in the traditional 2D animation format, received praise for its focus on a strong female black character upon release. However, what’s gives it legs is its superb animation, strong chemistry between its two frog leads, and powerful message about having a dream and working hard to make sure that it comes true.

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Aladdin (1992): Best Version of Aladdin on Disney Plus

Disney's Aladdin animated film on Disney Plus app and streaming service.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 8.0/10

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin

Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker

Rating: G

Runtime: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Disney’s Aladdin remains one of the company’s best animated features with its skillfully crafted tale of the orphan who learns a powerful lesson about being honest while encountering a genie, a princess, and an evil sorcerer intent on conquering the kingdom.

It’s a thoroughly entertaining movie for kids packed with adventure, lovable characters, catchy songs, and strong performances by everyone involved. Its two sequels, The Return of Jafar and King of Thieves, are also available to watch on Disney Plus, as is the Aladdin cartoon series set between them.

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Mulan (1998): Best Disney Kids Movie About Family Honor

The original animated Mulan movie for kids on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.6/10

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family

Starring: Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, BD Wong

Directors: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Rating: G

Runtime: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Disney’s Mulan is a super-fun animated interpretation of the Chinese folk tale featuring loads of comedy, quirky characters, and action sequences which were considered groundbreaking when it came out back in 1998. Ming-Na Wen, who modern audiences will recognize from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and the Disney Plus Star Wars The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett series, shines as the teenage girl learning about the meaning of honor and family. And the creatively cast Eddie Murphy is instantly iconic as the dragon sidekick.

2020’s live-action Mulan remake gets a lot of attention, but it didn’t come close to this animated version in terms of messaging, plot, characters, and entertainment value.

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The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005): Best Epic Fantasy Film for Kids

The Chronicles of Narnia the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe kids movie on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 6.9/10

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, William Moseley

Director: Andrew Adamson

Rating: PG

Runtime: 2 hours, 26 minutes

This epic retelling of the classic children’s book, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, is a must-see for fans of the source material and those who enjoy fantasy in general. Both 1940 London and the magical realm of Narnia are fully realized in the big-budget blockbuster. The casting of the four junior leads and the White Witch, played delightfully by Tilda Swinton, is pitch-perfect.

Most kids will watch this first entry in the Narnia Chronicles for the magical creatures and battles. There’s also a powerful message about respecting, understanding, and forgiving your siblings that many will find impossible to ignore. The two sequels, Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader are also available on Disney Plus.

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): Best Muppets Movie on Disney Plus

Disney's The Muppet Christmas Carol and more Disney Plus movies for kids.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.7/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family

Starring: Michael Caine, Kermit the Frog, Dave Goelz

Director: Brian Henson

Rating: G

Runtime: 1 hour. 26 minutes

Not only is The Muppets Christmas Carol widely believed to be the best Muppets movie, but it’s also considered to be one of the strongest retellings of A Christmas Carol as well. Creative production design, snappy dialogue, and a powerful performance by Michael Caine as Scrooge all come together to make one of the best family movies on Disney Plus and one that kids and adults will return to time and time again.

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Home Alone and Home Alone 2 (1990 & 1992): Funniest Comedies on Disney Plus for the Whole Family

Classic Christmas movie for kids Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on Disney Plus.

Disney

IMDB Rating: 7.6 and 6.8/10

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Family

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern

Director: Chris Columbus

Rating: PG

Runtime: 103 and 120 minutes

The cult classic, Home Alone, and its equally iconic sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, are a pair of kids movies on Disney Plus that likely get a lot of rewatching by fans and are essential viewing for anyone who has yet to see them. Each film follows Kevin McCallister as he’s unintentionally separated from his family during the holidays, first at home and then in an entirely different city. Seriously funny and packed with genuine emotion and lessons about empathy and family, everyone needs to watch Home Alone and Home Alone 2 at least once.

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