We’re not sure what kind of Mickey Mouse wizardry is behind it, but Disney knows how to make food look good, even in cartoon form. Somehow the animated stuff comes across as just as delicious as glossy hi-res shots in certain magazines (ahem). From heaping plates of fried beignets to a towering layer cake that would make any 10-year-old (or… adult) suddenly crave buttercream frosting, here are the 11 best food scenes from Disney movies, according to the food and Disney obsessives of Bon Appétit.
Baking a Pie in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Of all of the animals handling food in Disney movies, none are more endearing than the birds who help Snow White prepare a gooseberry pie for Grumpy. They sprinkle flour with their flapping tails, print perfect decorations in the crust with their feet, and trim the excess dough with their beaks like a bunch of little sous chefs. As Snow White finishes, the Evil Witch shows up and tries to convince her to bake an apple pieinstead, handing her over fruit from a basket. All the birds know that this is because the apples are poisonous, so off they fly to warn the seven dwarfs. Now that’s some high-stakes baking.
A Stolen Loaf of Bread in Aladdin
Aladdin scales the side of buildings, slides across a clothesline, disguises himself as a woman, has his monkey do some intervening, and jumps across a bed of hot coals—all for a stolen loaf of bread, all while singing a very catchy tune. It’s a warning in shoplifting, as well as charity. In the end, he gives the bread away to two hungry children looking for food in the trash, a move that might even be more heroic than when he fights Jafar-turned-crazy-terrifying-giant-snake.
Fried Eggs and Bacon in Mulan
On her first day of training, Mulan’s trusty sidekick Mushu makes and feeds her a bowl of porridge with two fried eggs and a piece of bacon (in the shape of a smiley face, for good measure). She’s overwhelmed, exhausted, and about to walk into high-intensity training surrounded by a bunch of soldiers who think she’s a dude. For all of Mushu’s badgering and impulsive decision-making, nothing says you’re a good friend like serving breakfast in bed.
An Obscene Amount of Tea in Alice in Wonderland
When Alice stumbles into the tea party with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, you wonder if they’re drinking more than, well, tea. They’re sipping out of top hats and dipping saucers into steaming liquid before chomping down like it’s toast. They spread butter and jam inside of the White Rabbit’s watch, dump mountains of sugar over everything, chase the drowsy dormouse up and down the table, and break nearly everything in sight. In this moment the wild, upside-down world of Wonderland is as surreal as it gets—terrifying and inviting all at the same time.
Frying Beignets in The Princess and the Frog
We can all agree that New Orleans is one of the most exciting cities to eat in—in no small part due to beignets. And Tiana knows what she’s doing when it comes to the pillow-y, powdered sugar-coated fried dough made famous by Cafe Du Monde. Her dream of opening a restaurant is finally made possible once her investor tastes those beignets, an inspiring moment for any little girl or boy who’s ever wanted to open their own doughnut-centric business. (So, all of us.)
Spaghetti and Meatballs in Lady and the Tramp
This is easily one of the most romantic scenes in movie history, and it’s all about spaghetti and meatballs. Lady and Tramp sit at an outdoor table, illuminated by candlelight. The waiter places a menu in front of them as they ogle each other, ignoring the breadsticks because they are too busy batting their canine eyelashes. And then comes the mountain of pasta, twirled expertly on the plate, coated in red sauce, with meatballs galore. Suddenly their tails start to wag. They slurp, they smile, and then, once the plate is cleared save for one noodle, they kiss.
Fairy Battle Layer Cake in Sleeping Beauty
When the fairies are getting ready to throw Princess Aurora a birthday party, they decide not to use their wands, leaving them with only their hands and brains to sew a dress and bake a cake. The struggle is real. Fauna uses three different sized cups for the “cups” of flour, doesn’t know what “tsp.” stands for, and puts whole eggs with their shells in the batter. Oh, and she wants to give the cake 15 layers—something that should really only be attempted in a wedding cake bakery or on a Food Network challenge. It comes out lopsided, blue frosting and pink candles slipping down the sides. “Well, what do you think?” Fauna asks. “Why, it’s a very unusual cake, isn’t it?” Flora responds. It’s a sweet and funny scene, and a reminder that baking is a great way to show your love…but it’s also very hard.
Avoiding Capture in The Emperor’s New Groove
When Kuzco and Pacha realize they’re trapped in a restaurant with their arch-enemies Yzma and Kronk, a hilarious game of merry-go-round ensues from dining room to kitchen that is so well done it rivals a Marx Brothers skit. One pair doesn’t know the other is there and so they go back-and-forth, talking to each other but also moving quickly enough to stay out of each other’s sightline. Somehow Kronk ends up behind the stove, the whole staff is throwing a birthday party for Yzma, and our heroes escape unscathed. It may not be the most appetizing of all food scenes, but is definitely the funniest.
Eating Bugs in The Lion King
After his father’s death, Simba escapes from the Pride Lands of Africa and meets Pumbaa and Timon, who teach him the phrase “hakuna matata,” which promptly turns into one of the best musical numbers Disney has ever put forth. Pumbaa and Timon show Simba how to navigate this very chill new world—swinging from vines, lounging in bushes, and eating slimy, squishy bugs. “Ew, gross,” the young cub says as he makes a face. But then he slurps one right up, reminding himself of his new life motto. And he likes it! A lesson in courage, friendship, trust—and trying new foods.
Sebastian Escapes Boiling Death in The Little Mermaid
As Chef Louis prepares a great meal, Sebastian cowers in the corner, terrified of being seen by the singing man who is carving fish, pulling their bones, smothering them with salt, and throwing them in a pot. But then the inevitable happens. “Sacre bleu, what is this? How on earth could I miss, such a sweet little succulent crab,” he belts as he grabs Sebastian from his hiding place and dangles him in midair. One very good chase scene later, Sebastian manages to get away. He later gripes to Ariel, “I hope that you appreciate what I go through for you, young lady.”
The Feast in Beauty and the Beast
“Be Our Guest” is introduced by one of the candlesticks saying to Belle, “Mademoiselle, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight. And now we invite you to relax, pull up a chair, as the dining room proudly presents… your dinner.” What follows is a food lover’s paradise. There are floating, dancing delicacies like cheese soufflé, soup du jour, beef ragout, pie, pudding, cakes, and, perhaps best of all, fountains of Champagne. The spoons do synchronized swimming in the punch, the teapots sing, napkins twirl, and the flower vases give Belle a bouquet. The whole song is an ode to fine-dining and the joy of hospitality—even if you’re serving dinner in a scary castle you can’t escape.