If you’ve had Idina Menzel’s “Into the Unknown” stuck in your head for three months straight or your toddler won’t stop quoting Olaf, you’re probably counting down the days until you can stream Frozen 2. Well good and bad news: the sequel to Disney’s smash hit, Frozen, is arriving on Sunday, May 15, according to a surprise announcement. But what do you do while you’re staying inside?
Frozen 2 is currently available to buy on digital platforms like Amazon and Vudu, and on DVD and Blu-ray, if you need a high-res hard copy to wear down. In the meantime, as you’re probably sitting around at home and thinking about watching Frozen on Disney Plus for the gazillionth time, we’d like to humbly suggest these five alternatives to tide you and/or your children over while you (im)patiently wait for Frozen 2 to be available to stream.
Like Frozen 2, Tangled stars a beloved teen actress from the early 2000s (Mandy Moore to Frozen’s Kristen Bell) as a spunky young princess. Disney’s take on Rapunzel was released three years before Frozen, and shares many of the same elements: a princess with concealed magical powers; a gruff loner love interest; a protective pack animal companion.
Tangled is streaming on Disney Plus.
This CG animated film, inspired by a traditional Chinese fable, is extremely Frozen-esque in execution, but with about 100-times more action. A love story between a snake hunter and a snake demon who loses her memory, the film is a huge Chinese-style blockbuster brought to life with pure CG.
White Snake is available to rent on YouTube.
For some non-Disney princess action, look to Fox Animation Studios’ Anastasia. Like Frozen 2, it’s mostly set in an arctic climate, which means two things: animated snow and cute winter outfits. As it’s based on a particular grisly time in world history, Anastasia is a little edgier than most Disney movies (Rasputin is scary!) but it’s also funny and sweet, and has excellent music. Also, Dimitri is hotter than Kristoff. Don’t @ me.
Frozen and Frozen 2 both excelled with audiences because of their maturity — these weren’t typical Disney princess movies, and the emotional connections were complicated. That’s the reason Jim Henson’s fantasy tale, starring Jennifer Connelly as a young girl figuring out life, and the sexual entity that is David Bowie playing a villain who makes everything difficult, has persisted all these years. While it’s a puppet-friendly adventure in a magical land, the movie has layers, the kind of humanistic hook that should entertain young and older audiences.
Labyrinth is available to rent on Amazon.
If you liked looking at Frozen 2’s animated frozen tundras but thought, “I wish this snow was more realistic,” you’ll love the live-action frozen tundras of the Disney Plus original movie Togo. But if you come for the snow, you’ll stay for Willem Dafoe in a parka hanging out with a pack of Siberian Huskies. Togo is based on the real-life story of the dog sled team that raced medication across Alaska during a 1925 diphtheria outbreak. Balto got most of the credit (and an animated movie of his own) but Togo led the team that covered the longest stretch of the journey.
Togo is streaming on Disney Plus.
If you can remember back to 2013, you might recall that Elsa was originally cast as the villain of Frozen, before the writers started to see her as simply misunderstood. For more twists on the idea of villainy, turn to the Disney Channel Original Movie, Descendants. The DCOM takes place in a shared Disney universe, where the children of classic Disney heroes and villains attend school together. (Yes, it’s very silly. And very fun.)
Descendants is streaming on Disney Plus.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Elsa’s ice powers seem downright tame compared to Flint Lockwood’s machine that causes food to rain down from the sky. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is just an underrated gem of a movie. As the directorial debut of The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it’s packed with jokes that will make both kids and parents laugh out loud.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is streaming on DirecTV
Honorable mention: Howl’s Moving Castle
Though it’s not available on streaming platforms yet, waiting for Frozen 2 is the perfect excuse to check out Studio Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle, which was recently released digitally for the first time. Like Elsa, the protagonist Sophie finds freedom in a “curse” — in Howl’s Moving Castle she’s cursed with old age. More meaningfully, though, while Frozen 2 directly addresses the dangers of climate change, Howl’s Moving Castle is a sharp criticism of war.