Picture this: you come home from elementary school at 3 p.m., grab a snack, plop down on the couch, and turn on Disney Channel. Immediately, you’re transported to the Waverly Sub Station or the S.S. Tipton with your favorite characters, away from your ordinary, non-magical life. The shows on Disney got me through the highs and lows of childhood, providing a consistent dose of comedy interspersed with profound discussions about the struggles of growing up. Now that I’m in college, there is nothing more nostalgic than rewatching my favorite Disney shows. So, here are my top 10 Disney Channel shows from my childhood.
- American Dragon: Jake Long
A Chinese family tree of metamorphosing dragons? The premise of this show is fantastic! But what makes this show resonate even more is the awkward relationship tension it sets up between Jake (Dante Basco) and his crush, all while entertaining six-year-olds.
- The Emperor’s New School
This show is certainly a reliable one to turn on after class. I always enjoy seeing Kuzco come up with clever solutions to avoid doing work. His adventures never fail to amuse.
- Lilo and Stitch
While series spin-offs from movies do not typically bode well in my opinion, Lilo and Stitch pulls it off. It continues the storyline well while still keeping to its original tone. I think that as a kid, I truly enjoyed the idea of a pet alien who was your best friend.
- That’s So Raven
Raven Baxter never fails to make me laugh. Every installment has me guessing as to how her psychic vision will connect to the episode’s plot. The show even led to a successful spin-off, Cory in the House, which is just as hilarious. To me, Raven remains a true icon.
- Kim Possible
Kim Possible’s greatness stems from the cohesive friendship that binds Kim’s teammates together as a unit. A clumsy best friend, a mole rat sidekick, and a computer genius make quite a force. By the way, the fact that this show was able to fit in two puns for names (Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable) is remarkable.
- Good Luck Charlie
If the PG rating ever meant anything to Disney, Good Luck Charlie would not be the best example; thus, what makes the dialogue so fantastic is the fact that it appeals to adults with jokes that go over kids’ heads. Rewatching it makes me appreciate the show even more. Moreover, it makes me reminisce about PJ (Jason Dolley) and Gabe’s (Bradley Steven Perry) stupid pranks while also helping me realize that I greatly vibe with Bob Duncan (Eric Allan Kramer).
- Hannah Montana
Slight confession: as a kid, I did not realize Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana were the same person until I started watching this show (don’t ask). So, I actually got the best of both worlds. The series’ storyline flows well, and it is great to see how Miley handles her double life through the joys (and challenges) of adolescence. Plus, Jackson (Jason Earles) and Rico’s (Moises Arias) feuds are legendary.
- Suite Life of Zack and Cody
Who doesn’t love watching our favorite twins (Dylan and Cole Sprouse) grow up? The characters on this show are immaculate, with Esteban (Adrian R’Mante) being the most missed when the twins set sail On Deck. The twins’ stories made me wish I had a hotel suite for a room. Plus, this show has comedy, romance, and horror (yes, “The Ghost of Suite 613” is indeed scarier than any of the Conjuring movies).
- Phineas and Ferb
Along with having arguably the best theme song of all Disney shows, Phineas and Ferb also manages to add a second subplot about a pet secret agent that seamlessly connects back to the main characters’ story in every episode. This series is genuinely funny with every character providing something to each episode. Although, I do still wonder how there are 189 episodes but only 104 days of summer vacation.
- Wizards of Waverly Place
This show is the complete package: character development, an interesting/developed story arc, and a funny script. The world of magic in Wizards creates so many great possibilities that the series explores so well. It was truly difficult to find a series to surpass this show’s story and entertainment value, easily making it the best Disney Channel show of my childhood.