Why the early era of Disney Channel is irreplaceable



Displayed is the newer version of the Disney Channel logo. Just like Disney Channel’s varying logos, their television shows and audiences have also experienced change over time.

Justine Hooker, Section Editor

  Anyone who grew up watching Disney Channel dreamt of drawing the famous Mickey Mouse logo with the magic wand like their TV idols. Said idols starred on shows like Hannah Montana, Lizzie McGuire, That’s So Raven, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, The Proud Family, and Wizards of Waverly Place. These are some of the most-loved Disney Channel hits. While many shows are fan favorites, these shows make up the earlier era of Disney Channel which is arguably the best days of the network. The “old” Disney Channel is a nostalgic part of many childhoods. There is a longing for the “golden age” of Disney Channel. This nostalgia has also begun another conversation: Does the “new” Disney Channel compare? There is a difference between the two phases. In Senior Mary Buffaloe’s opinion, she thinks that the new Disney Channel shows “are all kind of unoriginal and they do not have creative storylines.” The shows were iconic, but so were the DCOMs (Disney Channel Original Movies). The Halloweentown, High School Musical, The Cheetah Girls, and Camp Rock series are some of the networks most popular. Disney Channel even produced stellar movies based on some of their popular TV shows. Some examples include Hannah Montana, Good Luck Charlie, Wizards of Waverly Place, The Proud Family, Phineas and Ferb, and Lizzie McGuire.

  According to Statista, High School Musical 2, which aired originally in 2007, is the most-watched premiere on Disney Channel. It brought in over 17 million viewers. Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, based on the hit show, came in second place with over 11 million views. These DCOMs are time-honored favorites. They were produced during the “old” Disney era. As someone who grew up watching Disney Channel in the 2000s, Mary agrees that something has changed: “It may be because I was at a younger age when the old Disney Channel shows were coming out, but I genuinely think that they were more engaging and had better casts.” Perhaps since the way we watch television has changed, so have people’s attention. Viewers are not restricted to only watching live. DVR, on-demand, and streaming services have made it easier for people to watch what they want on their own time.  This may be one of the reasons why the “old” Disney is credited with such a large audience. With the overabundance of shows and an increase in streaming services and YouTube videos for kids to watch, the newer shows that are airing seem to not resonate as much with audiences.

  It is not to say that the “new” Disney Channel does not have any good shows or movies, but that it lacks the nostalgia and style that comes with early Disney. However, there are some current movies and shows catching people’s eye. The movie Descendants, with its first premiere in 2015, is already on its third sequel and has been very successful. Raven’s Home, a spin-off of That’s So Raven, seems to be favorable as well. Many new and old shows and movies are on various platforms like Disney Plus and Netflix. Disney Plus, whose main purpose is to allow audiences to reminisce and rewatch childhood favorites, has become a game-changer for many people. 

  Change is inevitable when it comes to television. While Disney Channel has progressed, there is something about the classics that hit home. The famous phrase “and you’re watching Disney Channel” will always be remembered, but the real question is, are you watching the “old” or “new” Disney?