Return to all postsReturn to all resources
The Happiest Disney Songs of All Time

The Happiest Disney Songs of All Time

Written by

James Picken


September 26, 2023



In celebration of Disney’s 100th Anniversary on 16th October, we looked at which beloved Disney songs make people feel the happiest.

We all know the ‘emotional power’ behind the Disney brand has captivated audiences for generations and it’s hard to escape the dopamine hit when hearing a nostalgic classic from your childhood. Music can be so powerful at evoking memories and emotions for us all.

With Disney celebrating its 100th Anniversary on 16th October, we couldn't help but wonder - which Disney songs do this best?

How did we find out?

We analysed over 100 popular songs from Disney films, ranking them against criteria that are proven to boost our happiness – including tempo, key, positivity and nostalgia. And, we of course listened to some on the way. For science.

Studies show there is a strong relationship between a song’s tempo and how it makes us feel. Songs with a higher tempo can elicit a more positive psychological response. The Lion King is also the highest-rated Disney movie in the study, providing listeners with that nostalgic emotional response.

Which songs won gold, silver and bronze?

With lyrics like "It means no worries for the rest of your days", it's no surprise that Hakuna Matata from the original The Lion King (1994) film is crowned Disney's happiest song. The song has an overall score of 8.6 out of 10 thanks to its high tempo (170 bpm), C major key, film popularity (IMdB 8.5 rating) and positivity level (72%).

In second place is The Scuttlebutt from The Little Mermaid film (2023), scoring 8.5 out of 10. This is the first of three songs from the movie soundtrack that is featured in the top ten – each performed in a major key which are perceived by our brain more positively than minor keys.

Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid re-boot comes in third place, scoring 8.3 out of 10. The original song won an Oscar in 1989 for Best Original Song but the updated version by Daveed Diggs features more layers of instruments including congas, bongos and shakers which makes it more upbeat than the original.

In fact, the updated version of this song is 121 bpm, compared to the 99 bpm of the original. This song also has one of the highest positivity ratings in the top ten (93%). Research has found that those who prioritise positivity and seek it out are in fact happier.

What about the best of the rest?

Three songs are tied in sixth position, including I Just Can't Wait to Be King from The Lion King (1994), I've Got a Dream from Tangled and This is Halloween from A Nightmare Before Christmas. Each of these songs has a rating of 8.1 out of 10.

Interestingly, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, has the lowest tempo in the top 10 (99 bpm), which is below what is typically considered to make us happiest. However, its positivity score (90%) is among the highest in the study, securing it a spot in the top ten.

I’ve Got a Dream stands out as one of the most absurd songs from the Tangled film, featuring a cast of intimidating characters who unexpectedly burst into song, revealing their hidden passions. It boasts a high bpm of 134, securing it a spot in the top ten.

This is Halloween is one of the most upbeat in the study, with a bpm of 168, which boosts its feel-good qualities. However, the slightly darker tone of this song contributes to its lower positivity rating (65%).

Listeners of Stand Out (A Goofy Movie), Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (Pinocchio, 1992), Kiss the Girl (The Little Mermaid, 2023) and Un Poco Loco (Coco) may also get a happiness boost. These songs have a score of 7.8 out of 10 and complete the top ten happiest Disney songs.

Top 10 happiest Disney songs

Song/Film Tempo (bpm) Positivity (%) Key IMDB Film Rating Happiness Score
Hakuna MatataThe Lion King (1994)
170 72 C Maj 8.5 8.6
The ScuttlebuttThe Little Mermaid (2023)
150 86 G# Maj 8.2 8.5
Under the SeaThe Little Mermaid (2023)
121 93 F Maj 8.2 8.3
I Just Can't Wait to Be KingThe Lion King (1994)
99 90 F# Maj 8.5 8.1
I've Got a DreamTangled
134 89 C# Maj 7.7 8.1
This is HalloweenThe Nightmare Before Christmas
168 65 G Maj 7.9 8.1
Stand OutA Goofy Movie
142 94 C Maj 6.9 7.8
Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor's Life for Me)Pinocchio (1992)
122 89 D# Maj 7.5 7.8
Kiss the GirlThe Little Mermaid (2023)
131 67 D Maj 8.2 7.8
Un Poco LocoCoco
126 64 G Maj 8.4 7.8

There were some surprises...

Interestingly, some of Disney’s highest-grossing films don’t have songs featured in the top ten happiest. This includes Frozen and Frozen II which have grossed nearly $2 billion combined. The happiest song from the movie franchise is Let It Go with a score of 6.6/10.

Songs from the Toy Story franchise, which has grossed over $3 billion, also don’t feature in the top ten. Interestingly, You’ve Got a Friend in Me, the most listened-to song in the movie franchise, has a score of just 5.9/10.

We bet you're dying to listen to some of these songs now. So next time you need a bit of a pick-me-up, or you simply want to cheer your little ones up, you know what tunes to stick on.

Hey, we've just met you and this is crazy. But here's our number +44 (0)203 397 7676. So, call us maybe?


Startle analysed 102 songs (excluding songs from tv shows or theme parks/attractions) from the Disney100 Official Playlist to identify the happiest Disney songs. We used internal data to identify the tempo and key of each song, Musicstax to identify each song’s positivity, and IMDB to collect the rating of the film each song featured in originally on 13th September 2023. These values were normalised to give each song a score out of ten for each metric, and the normalised values were averaged to find an overall happiness score.

The Happiest Disney Songs of All Time

James Picken

Creative Director at Startle. It's my job to produce and execute our music output, making sure everything is sounding, feeling and performing just right for our customers. When I'm not doing this, you can find me either walking my dog, remixing 90s divas on Logic Pro X, returning overdue library books or throwing weights about in the gym.

Say hello on LinkedIn

Hey, we've just met you and this is crazy. But here's our number +44 (0)203 397 7676. So, call us maybe?

  • Number of locations *