Top Ten Best Disney Theme Songs

One of the most thrilling moments of any child’s memories is hearing the theme song of their favorite show coming on the TV. A good theme song is supposed to energize you, thrill you, get your blood pumping…so you can sit back down and do squat for the next 26 minutes. But hey, that’s marketing.

In all seriousness, though, there’s something to be said about a good theme song. it’s meant to thrill, entice, and showcase everything you love about a show in sixty seconds. It sets the scene, it sets the tone, and it sets your expectations. And while you may like your whistling of The Andy Griffith Show or going down to Cheers, where ev’rybody knows your name, I wanted to take a look at the top ten musical introductions to some awesome Disney shows.

Note: some of these songs never had anything written beyond their minute-long intro sequence, but most of them did. So I’ll be referring to their full, uncut versions in each entry where applicable.

10. Call me, Beep me (Kim Possible, 2001 – 2007)

Doesn’t matter when or where there’s trouble, if you just call my name: Kim Possible!

A few months ago, while people were throwing tantrums about the live action Kim Possible movie, I sat back and jammed out to “The Naked Mole Rap” that I was “gonna buy me some bling bling”. Ah, simpler times.

How do you telegraph high-tech badassery and super secret agent prowess in a pre-smart phones era? Lots of beeping and whirring to compliment Christina Milian’s vocals, that’s how. One minute, she has a low, intense voice, before launching into a powerful note to symbolize KP’s effortless heroism. The lyrics are a bit simple, as it is, well, a theme. Kim, canonically, got her start advertising herself on a website, proclaiming, “she can do anything!”, with the spy stuff that came along by accident. But what’s important to note is while the song focuses on all the awesomely cool action moves she can pull off, the core of the song is her personal investment to help, save, and rescue anyone, anytime, anywhere. She will help you, no questions asked. That’s a fundamental aspect of her character.

9. TaleSpin (TaleSpin, 1990 – 1991)

Spin it, let’s begin it, bear and grin it, when you’re in it, you can win it in a minute when you spin it, spin it, spin it!

This show had a 1930’s aesthetic, but it was still based on a 1967 movie that took place in the jungle. As such, the theme song of TaleSpin incorporated a lively percussion-infused beat.

The lyrics are relatively nondescript, just are about how much fun it is to get in trouble with friends. The theme definitely highlighted the action side of the show, with guns, cutlasses, claws, lightning, etc. meanwhile our protagonist downs Don Karnage by tossing a pineapple in his propellor. It’s danger, sure…but it’s the fun kind of danger.

Arguably the best part is the last verse, a tongue-twister that is ridiculously fun.

8. Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers (Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, 1988 – 1990)

No no, it never fails, they’ll take the clues, and find the wheres, the whys, and whos!

This song starts with a tone of ominous danger, warning, even. It sets up the idea that the crime-ridden streets are filled with scum and villainy that often elude the law. However, when that happens, a team of tiny crime stoppers are there to put a stop to it. In the show, there were few truly great crimes that occurred, and many were simple mysteries and problems. Still, the theme injects some great energy to get you psyched to see two chipmunks, two mice, and a fly solve crimes.

Like a lot of the classic themes, the lyrics are filled with vague descriptors like “never fails”, “no case too big, no case too small”, “Whatever’s wrong gets solved”, and “the chips are never down”. Still, you hardly doubt the team are going to be there to help.

7. Zorro (Zorro, 1957 – 1959)

He is polite, but the wicked take flight, when they catch the sight of Zorro! He’s friend of the weak, and the poor and the meek, this very unique señor Zorro!

The mid-twentieth century was known as the silver age for comic books. This was the era of goofy, campy, silly superheroes. Even Earth’s finest were not immune to this, as Superman had the temporary superpower of shooting mini-Supermen out his fingers and Batman had a zebra-stripe costume. And Batman was turned into Bat-baby. It’s funny to think that the figure who inspired Batman in the same time period would actually be the more mature, darker hero…produced by Disney.

Yes, two decades after Bruce Wayne lost his parents after seeing Zorro, the Fox so cunning and free would dominate TV screens in the American home, and his theme song was glorious. With crackles of lightning, the Mellomen booming in chorus, and the ominous black figure atop his horse would open the title sequence. The grand tone and intensity would maintain steadily throughout the opening, as we watched the hero of Los Angeles swipe his trademark Z upon a variety of surfaces, including Sergeant Garcia’s trousers.

Even the echoing, slightly haunting call “Zorro!” that faded into the show’s opening was kind of perfect. It’s a great way to start off an action drama no matter what decade.

6. Darkwing Duck (Darkwing Duck, 1991 – 1992)

Cloud of smoke and he appears: master of surprise! Who’s that cunning mind behind that shadowy disguise?

Darkwing Duck has always been a parody of the pulp heroes of yore, as well as of the spy genre and even Batman. By the late eighties, the appeal just wasn’t there anymore. But once the show aired, audiences were eating it up, and it had a great theme song to jazz up viewers.

Mellow enough to be easy listening, but bombastic enough to get viewers excited, the Darkwing Duck theme centered around how D.W. was going to stop bad guys, but unlike Kim, it avoided the nuance of saving the populace. This was kept in line with the protagonist’s motives, who fought crime not to keep the city safe of be a moral beacon of righteousness, but because he wants the fame and attention that comes with being a hero.

Still, it’s catchy, it’s upbeat, and it’s perfect for the Terror that Flaps in the Night. Plus, props for the rhyming of “Trouble you” and “Call D.W.”

5. Today is Gonna be a Great Day (Phineas and Ferb, 2007 – 2015)

We’ve got our mission and suppliers, yogurt, gum balls and desires, and a pocketful of rubber bands, the manual on handstands, unicycle, compass, and camera that won’t focus, and a canteen full of soda, grab a beach towel, here we go! (this is Ferb-tastic!)

Most theme songs are usually summed up to either establish the premise or invite viewers on the adventure the episode is about to take them on. The theme of this popular Disney Channel series had both going for it, as sung by the pop/rock band Bowling for Soup, but used its unorthodox nature to really sell the wild, adventurous, creative spirit of the show.

Phineas explains in the show’s pilot he does not want to waste his summer watching TV, something the theme song spells out before delving deep into all sorts of ideas. You know, building a rocket, fighting a mummy, climbing up the Eiffel Tower, discovering something that doesn’t exist, giving a monkey a shower, those kinds of things.

This song has insanely positive energy and enthusiasm, and easily the best part is the bridge, where it’s just a smorgasbord of random words, but it still feels like it’s an assemblage of things you’ll need to have the best day ever.

4. The Wonderful World of Color (Alternate theme) (Walt Disney’s The Wonderful World of Color, 1961 – 1969)

The world is a carousel of color! History, comedy, fantasy! There’s drama and mirth, there’s old Mother Earth, with all of her secrets to see!

After seven years on ABC, Walt had switched over to NBC due to their ability to broadcast in color. Because of this, the show was renamed The Wonderful World of Color, and introduced Professor Ludwig Von Drake, who even sang the praises of color in his famous tune, “The Spectrum Song”.

Walt didn’t believe in subtlety in that respect.

In any case, the alternate version of the song is less about colors and more about the kind of things Walt loved to talk about: everything there is to learn. Unlike the other version, it’s upbeat and cheery, and full of the wonders of the world. Travel, science, history, magic, fantasy, animals…the list goes on. It’s inspiring, plus it’s energetic without being crazy.

3. Swamp Fox (Walt Disney Presents, 1959 – 1961)

“My name is Francis Marion. I fought the British redcoats in ’76. Hiding in the Carolina swamps by day and surprising them with swift strikes at night! They called me a tricky swamp fox, so a swamp fox I became!”

Walt loved bringing American folk heroes to life on his television shows. We all know what he did for Davy Crockett and Zorro, but he also brought the spotlight to Elfego Baca, Texas John Slaughter, and Francis Marion, aka the Swamp Fox, the Revolutionary War General of South Carolina.

Played by Leslie “Don’t call me Shirley” Nielsen, this was an eight-part mini-series on Walt Disney Presents. Oh, and Nielsen also sang the official theme song.

Which, speaking of, is hopelessly catchy. Just sounding out “swamp fox” feels ugly, but it lends itself a natural rhythm in the chorus. The rest of the verses exemplify what Americans love celebrating about its Revolutionary War heroes: having few supplies, immeasurable pluck and spirit, and of course, fighting for liberty.

There’s definitely a scrappy mentality to this song, and it’s hard not to sing along to.

2. Fight as One (Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, 2010 – 2012)

Our world’s about to break, tormented and attacked. Lost from when we wake, with no way to go back. I’m standing on my own, but now I’m not alone!

Once Disney bought Marvel in 2009, Disney must have had some inkling just how huge the MCU was going to be. The only issue was the Avengers didn’t have the name recognition the Justice League did. After all, they had two cartoons of their own (Yes, I’m counting Super Friends. Still counts.). So Disney set to work on making an Avengers animated series to generate public interest and drum up hype for the 2012 movie. The result was this series, which lasted all of two seasons before it was abruptly cancelled most likely due to executives thinking it didn’t promote the MCU enough. Tragic, really. It was a damn good show. Part of the appeal was the exceptionally good theme, “Fight as One”, sung by Bad City.

Because the show was to promote the Avengers and get public interest going on the upcoming film, both the MCU in phase one and the show were about setting the primary heroes individually before they’d form their team. As such, the song is about a world coming apart at the seams, and even though the singer (a surrogate for any one of the heroes) is strong, he understands just how much more he can be standing alongside others. At this point, the music amps itself up into a frenzy, belting out the chorus, celebrating unity in defeating evil. It’s a lot catchier and less corny than it sounds.

For the show’s second and final season, the intro sequence was supplanted with a monologue by Nick Fury, recapping the basic details of the premise. This left all of 5 seconds to sing two lines of the chorus before the title card and the episode itself. What a crock.

1. DuckTales (DuckTales, 2017 – )

D-D-D-Danger, watch behind you: there’s a stranger out to find you! What to do, just grab onto some DuckTales! Woo-oo!

You all knew this was coming. Admit it. No top ten best theme songs list, Disney or not, is complete without this scene-stealing theme that remains engraved in the craniums of millennials everywhere. But here’s the twist: I love the OG version fine…but I got to say, I prefer the new theme better. Allow me to explain.

First of all, I can’t find anything wrong with the original. It’s just that good. But what sells me on this is the vocalist, Felicia Barton. The version by Jeff Pescetto has a very laid-back attitude, even when he brought it home with the famous “Woo-oo!”. It’s energetic, but it falls short of enthusiastic. Barton, on the other hand, does sound thrilled to be there, while still hitting the mellower notes.

There are very minor lyric changes, but there’s a fun twist at the end where the lyrics collide. The original version had choruses as “tales of derring-do, bad and good luckTales” and the final lyric, “Not ponytails or cottontails, no, DuckTales!” Now, to tie in with the climactic chase in the intro, we get “Tales of derring-bad and good-Not ponytails or cottontails, no, DuckTales!”

Otherwise, it’s still the same song we all grew up on. The same beat, the same lyrics, the same show. It’s just a tad more excited in its execution, making it a fresh, inspired take on this fantastic Disney classic.

So, you mad I skipped Gummi Bears or the Ballad of Davy Crockett? Or you just peeved I like the 2017 DuckTales theme over the 1987 one? Hit me up with your favorite themes!

Oh steering wheel, oh steering wheel, I really want a steering wheel…ba-doo-boo-Boop!

Author: TAP-G

Writer, former podcaster, entertainment enthusiast. Movies and media have the power to shape our world and vice versa. Let’s take a deeper look at them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: