Is ‘Wish’ Scary for Kids? What Parents Need to Know About Disney’s New Movie

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If you’re thinking of taking your kids to see ‘Wish’, and looking for a spoiler-free parent review, don’t worry, I’ve got you. And details to help you decide if ‘Wish’ is scary for kids you might want to bring. This post might contain some commissioned links. 

I have been counting down for the release of Wish since the movie was announced at D23 last year. We didn’t know much, mostly that we were getting a new heroine named Asha, she’s biracial and rockin a cool braided hairdo and she’s voiced by the talented Ariana DeBose. The movie is based in a mythical land off the Mediterranean coast and the movie is all about Wishes. That was enough for me to buy in, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I’ve been rooting for all of Disney’s new stories but some of the recent ones haven’t been it for me. But Wish? This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for Disney to do. 

If you are a fan of Disney movies, specifically their animated musicals, and you loved their whole 90s Renaissance Era, then this movie is especially for you. Younger kids, or adults less familiar with that period won’t miss any of the plot, but if you hear a little gasp or laugh at something it might just be a little inside nod.

I’m not going to dive too deep or give anything away. No spoilers in this review but let’s jump in. 

What parents need to know about ‘Wish’ 

Parents need to know that Wish is Disney Animated Studio’s latest musical. It’s about Asha, a charismatic idealist who makes a wish that summons a cosmic force in the form of Star, a cute ball of endless energy that doesn’t speak, but manages to say so much. Together they have to work to confront the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico and save Asha’s community. The movie includes some mild violence such as magic spells, falls, and moments of peril, which I’ll get more into in a bit. The story includes positive examples of bravery, determination, protecting your dreams, and helping others. With a runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes, it’s not too long for younger kids with shorter attention spans. 

Is Asha Latina? Disney's Asha stands with her hands out in a dark room with a small gold star hovering over her hands.
© 2023 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

My 5-year-old daughter loved it even though she was feeling sick during the movie and even puked in our large popcorn during the end credits. She is excited to see it again next week. My 10-year-old son was not a fan. My 13-year-old daughter hasn’t seen it yet but we’ve got tickets for next week. Her being a huge Disney fan I think she’ll like it so long as I haven’t hyped it up for her too much. We’ll get more into their reviews in a bit.

What I thought of Wish: Parent Review

Walt Disney Animation Studios has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid but the musicals were always my absolute favorite. Big Hero 6 is probably my favorite non-musical but it still had a great soundtrack. I think that’s something that was lacking in more recent movies like Raya and the Last Dragon. Encanto has some fun music and a beautiful but heavy storyline, and Strange World was… strange. And deep when you think about the message. What I love about Wish is it doesn’t try too hard. It’s very reminiscent of the earlier Disney movies that just gave us a simple, pure story with beautiful animation, a villain you love to hate, and songs you wanted to play on repeat. I could do a whole other post about each song but I’ll wait until you have a chance to watch it. 

The film features the voices of Academy Award®-winning actor Ariana DeBose as Asha, Chris Pine as Magnifico, and Disney voicing superstar Alan Tudyk as Asha’s beloved goat. I loved all of them but Chris Pine’s character Magnifico surprised me. 

The Villain 

I’m so glad that Disney brought back another TRUE villain. Not some plot twist villain (I’m looking at you Zootopia, Moana, and Big Hero 6), or a metaphorical villain (Frozen 2, Strange World, and Encanto). The last real villain we had with a bad guy song and all was Mother Gothel in Tangled. It was time.  

When I first heard Magnifico’s villain song “This is the Thanks I Get?” ahead of the movie I was wondering what in the world I was listening to. It was seemingly the worst Disney villain song I’d ever heard. But when I saw it on the big screen? BRILLIANT. It doesn’t take long to get to know King Magnifico’s personality and he’s not the sinister bad guy we’re used to. He kind of melts down into this prideful spiral and you see his transformation start to play out in the song. Chris Pine did an amazing job, and I love that there’s even another song with him as a duet that’s one of my favorite songs in the film. 

Animation

Disney Wish's Asha stands under a glowing star
© 2023 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Ok, so we’ve established that the music is absolutely my favorite part of the movie, but up there is praise for the new animation style. Disney took a risk trying something new and I’ve seen all sorts of people bashing it up and down across the internets before the movie is even out. Listen it is hard to appreciate it in photographs online and social media but again, it works on the big screen. It was giving me Across the Spider-Verse or Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vibes. New for Disney and bravo, because it’s stunning! 

Easter eggs

Another favorite for me are all of the easter eggs. The little hidden Disney gems snuck in from other movies. Some are more obvious than others. But it’s not so overwhelming that it distracts from the story. I counted at least a dozen on my second watch and I’m certain I probably missed twice as many. My son noticed a couple also, which he was pumped about because we love hunting for easter eggs and normally don’t catch them on first watch. 

Diversity

Finally, going into the movie I was most excited about Asha being another Black princess, rockin some braids and cornrows. We haven’t seen this kind of main character for Disney. But watching the movie that wasn’t the part that wound up sticking out for me. I love that the diversity in the film was evident and not overstated. Asha is a young woman of color and her melting pot of a city is embraced for what it is. As I’ve mentioned before, I think sometimes it’s ok to have a movie about a non-white character where their culture isn’t their entire story. That said, her personality is probably the one little gripe I have about the movie.  

What I didn’t like about Wish

Some might argue that for an original story there were way too many call outs to other Disney films but I’d say that in no way do you need to have seen any of the classics to enjoy the story, but knowing the other films will make it that much more enjoyable to watch.. And as someone who noticed a lot, it wasn’t overpowering.  But one familiar trait that bothered me a little is Asha’s personality feeling very familiar. Especially in the beginning where her mannerisms and even voice reminds me of Moana. Other times a little Anna seems to come through, it’s almost as though they were inspiration for her character. Then there’s a part that sounded almost identical to Jane in Tarzan. I can’t imagine it was intentional, and it wasn’t a deal breaker to me but it did annoy me a little. And maybe other people who haven’t seen these other Disney movies a billion times won’t notice it as much, but since she seems most similar to some of the most recent main characters, it could hit you the same way. 

On my first watch I also felt like something was missing. I was thinking perhaps a male counterpart character as featured in some of my favorites like Tangled, however on second watch I really appreciated how Asha manages to stand on her own, and with the support of friends. Perhaps had she started out more dull and uninteresting then had some personality growth it woulda made for a more compelling character arc. Maybe here Disney went a smidge too simple which might leave some viewers feeling less love for Asha than other heroines. 

Is ‘Wish’ scary for kids?

Alright now you might be wondering what age Wish is best for, or wondering if Wish is scary for kids. Wish is rated PG for thematic elements and mild action. As I mentioned I took my 5-year-old kindergartner. She has seen a lot of Disney movies and movies in general. She doesn’t always have the best attention span but she’s getting better. Wish to other Disney movies, it doesn’t have the jump scares you see in Zootopia, or the monsters seen in Strange World. It does have some mild violence and scenes where characters are in danger, being thrown around with magic, and captured. There are also characters who have evil glowing green eyes, use magic to cast spells and harm people. There are no lasting injuries and moments of tension and fear don’t last too long. There’s one scene that had Lee Lee scrunch up and nearly cover her eyes and she said it was a little sad/scary but overall she said the movie is not scary. More on her review below. 

But enough of what I thought, here’s what my kids have to say about Wish. I’ll note any spoilers in their comments before their comment. I’ll be adding Jayda’s thoughts Monday night.  

What my kids thought of Wish

What did you think of the movie?

Lee Lee [Spoiler included]: Good. Because Asha saved the world. 

Ty: I thought it was not entertaining.

Jayda: I thought it was good because I really liked the meaning of dreams and wishes coming true.

What life lesson did you learn? What message was the movie trying to get across?

Lee Lee: It teached me that you shouldn’t steal other people’s wishes and you should save yours in your heart. True happiness is possible. 

Ty: Don’t give away your wish. 

Jayda: That you can make your own wishes come true and even if your wish seems impossible you can still try to make it happen. Sometimes it seems easier to forget about your wish if you think it won’t come true. But if you forget your wish and it comes true you won’t feel the joy in working for it and seeing it actually happen.

Who was your favorite character?

Lee Lee: The Star.

Ty: John, the bear, Bambi, all the animals and then the villain. 

Jayda: Asha because she was the hero. I also like her friends a lot because they helped her.

What was the funniest part to you? 

Ty: When he was like “thanks for not eating me” and he’s like “no problem Bambi.”

Lee Lee: When the goat said “My butt found it!” 

Jayda: The goat’s deep voice.

Who would you recommend this movie to? Friends or others? 

Ty: You (mom), and kids that like wishes and movies with singing.

Lee Lee: Jayda [her big sister], Indi and Elle [her young friends]. 

Jayda: People like my mom who don’t like sequels and want new Disney movies.

What Age is Ok for Wish? Do you think it’s for older kids or younger kids? 

Ty: I think it’s PG-6

Lee Lee: I think it’s more for medium. 

Jayda: I feel like it could be all ages.

Did you think ‘Wish’ was scary?

Ty: No. 

Lee Lee: No. One part was scary but the rest wasn’t. 

Jayda: The king at the end did seem a little scary but I don’t think it would be that scary for little kids. It just seemed villainy but so are other villains.

Would you want to watch it again? 

Ty: No.

Lee Lee: Yes. One hundred times.

Jayda: Yes! Definitely! Make sure you add the exclamation points.

How would you rank it compared to other movies we’ve seen recently? 

Ty: This is barely better than The Little Mermaid, I liked every other movie more, I liked Elemental more than this, and Paw Patrol. I don’t like princess movies. 

Lee Lee: I liked this more than Paw Patrol. Wish more than Elemental. Both this and Ninja Turtles are tied. 

Jayda: I liked Wish more than everything but Spider-Man Across the Spiderverse I think, and those are tied.

What was your favorite part? 

Ty: When he was singing “This is the Thanks I Get?”

Lee Lee: The end.

Jayda: The “At All Costs” song.

How many stars would you give it?

Ty: On a scale of 1-5, a 2. 

Lee Lee: 101 stars. 

Jayda: 4-5 stars.

Is it worth going to the movies to see?

Ty: Yes. 

Lee Lee: Yea. 

Jayda: Yes, because I like the theatre experience.

So there you have it friends. My son, who says he didn’t like it, even recommends you go see it. 

Is there an end credit scene in Wish?

I think the story definitely leaves the story open for a sequel, but does a great job of wrapping it up as a standalone. Make sure you stay for the end credits scene. Throughout the credits you’ll see images from each movie from Disney Animation Studios in the order of their release. My kids and I enjoyed calling them out as they each appeared.

I suggest you print out my free Disney Movie Checklist so you can see how many movies you’ve already seen. Go see Wish, and see how many easter eggs you recognized and from which movies. Or have a movie marathon and watch a bunch then go back and see Wish again.

When will Wish be on Disney Plus?

Next year. No, honestly, I don’t know this for sure but I hope Disney holds out a while for this one because it’s really something to see it on a big screen. Come on, you know we’ve all been back at the movies going to see Taylor Swift and Barbie, you can add this one to your list too. I’m gonna be doing some Fandango gift card giveaways in my Instagram stories so stay tuned on my page if you’re looking to score some free tickets.  

Wish is dropping into theaters November 22nd, but you can check and see if yours has early access tickets for this weekend! 

Wondering how our review of Wish might compare to yours? Check out some of our other movie reviews.

If you like watching movies together as a family you’ll love our Family Movie Night Journal! Created by me and my oldest daughter Jayda. It’s bringing a family tradition of movie watching and rating to families around the world.

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2 Comments

  1. Would you mind sharing which part scared Lee Lee? My daughter is easily scared and worried going to the theater that she’ll be scared of something. She’d do better with a specific warning so she can be prepared. Thanks!

    1. Not at all! Spoiler ahead (yet it’s predictable for adults I’m sure). Her favorite character is Star and there’s a part where Star gets sucked into the scepter and disappears. She was kinda sad/scared for a second. Star is fine and returns 🙂

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