The Best TV Shows to Watch on Disney+ Right Now
Rewatch all of your Disney Channel favorites.
While The Mandalorian was the shiny centerpiece of the Disney+ launch slate of original programming at the end of 2019, there's a lot more to binge than just the adventures of Baby Yoda. In addition to Marvel movies, original Star Wars films, Pixar tear-jerkers, and classic Disney animated titles, the archive also includes a wide range of TV shows that you may or may not remember from your Disney-obsessed childhood. Excited for Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series?
To help you sift through the range of titles available, we've gone ahead and selected the best shows you can stream. That means old Saturday morning cartoons, Marvel animated series, and the live-action Disney Channel shows you thought you'd erased from your brain. Plus, there's a certain family from Springfield you might want to get to know.
Andi Mack (2017-2019)
Lizzie McGuire creator Terri Minsky was behind this recent Disney Channel hit, and the showrunner's influence is clear. Like what Lizzie was for audiences in the '00s, Andi Mack was one of the network's most thoughtful series in tackling earnest adolescent issues -- from puberty to learning disabilities and the channel's first-ever coming out story -- in the 2010s. About the titular Andi Mack (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), who finds out on her 13th birthday that her cool older sister who raised her is actually her mother, the show follows her and her best friends' heartwarming journeys toward self-discovery as they endure middle school together.
Boy Meets World (1993-2000)
If you've yet to marathon this classic sitcom or need a nostalgic re-watch, then get ready because class is in session and Cory Matthew's teacher next-door Mr. Feeny has more than a few life lessons to share. The long-running '90s show follows an awkward, loud-mouthed boy named Cory (Ben Savage), his best friend from a broken home Shawn (Rider Strong), and his forever-crush Topanga (Danielle Fishel) from middle school to college, documenting their coming-of-age. Originally airing on ABC, this sitcom is less filtered than most Disney Channel favorites, exploring topics like poverty, absent fathers, and (gasp!) sex to make for a holistic, honest series about adolescence. And because fans just couldn't get enough of these characters, the series was rebooted with Girl Meets World, a sequel about Cory's daughter, which is also available on Disney+.
Though it was recently rebooted by Disney XD with comedians like Ben Schwartz, Danny Pudi, and Bobby Moynihan providing the voices, the original DuckTales is still worth divining into like Uncle Scrooge leaping into that giant mountain of gold coins. One of the first successful Disney animated shows, the adventures of Huey, Dewey, and Louie were popular enough with kids to help launch similar whiz-bang Disney animated shows you can find on Disney+ like Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck. Plus, the insidious theme song is probably already stuck in your head.
Even Stevens (2000-2003)
Besides kick-starting the career of a young actor named Shia Labeouf, Even Stevens was part of a run of clever, quirky Disney Channel original shows from the early '00s that helped the kid-friendly cable network figure out exactly what it wanted to be. It might not be getting the reboot treatment like Lizzie McGuire, but the endearing mix of surreal goofball style and family sitcom schtick made it reliable afternoon post-school viewing. Even Stevens existed at an odd middle ground between the more rebellious Malcolm in the Middle and slightly more hokey sitcoms on ABC's T.G.I.F. line-up.
Girl Meets World (2014-2017)
Finished watching Boy Meets World? Great: Now you can tune into the 2010s reboot. The fandom around the '90s series -- from OG viewers who watched it on air and went on to have their own Disney-Channel-viewing-aged kids to those who watched reruns -- was so strong that Disney cranked out one of its first reboots of nostalgia properties with this series about Cory and Topanga’s pre-teen daughter, Riley (Rowan Matthews), with just about the entire original cast returning. GMW isn't afraid to go there with tough teenage issues, so you can tell the love is as real with this one as it was in the original.
Gravity Falls (2012-2016)
Created by Alex Hirsch, Gravity Falls is a whole lot of supernatural weirdness wrapped up in a perfect two season package. Set in the fictional Gravity Falls, Oregon, the series follows twins Mabel and Dipper Pines as they spend the summer at their Grunkle -- Great Uncle -- Stan's supernatural tourist trap museum. Along the way, they make friends, pine over crushes, and uh, stop the apocalypse.
Hannah Montana (2006-2011)
Miley Cyrus was always poised to become a mega-star, playing a regular teenager named Miley Stewart who wanted "the best of both worlds" by keeping her identity as pop star Hannah Montana a secret. Watching young Cyrus navigate tweenage concerns and family problems, even acting opposite her own IRL dad Billy Rae Cyrus, is very heartwarming -- but the Disney-fied peer into pop-stardom is what makes the show essential viewing for the non-triple-threats of the world. And, sweet niblets, the bubble gum songs the musical-comedy produced remain bops to this day.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (2019- )
The title really covers any and all bases, but, no, actually, this is not a show adaptation of one of the most popular Disney Channel Original Movies of all time. It's a mockumentary-style series set at the high school the original film was shot in where the current students decide to hold the stage musical of High School Musical. Because this Disney+ exclusive is its own show and doesn't try to step on the toes of the beloved movie, it allows you to cheer for a new class of Wildcats, and is surprisingly enjoyable. Any former theater kid will give this one a standing ovation.
Kim Possible (2002-2007)
Until the school bell rings, Kim Possible is a normal high school cheerleader. But once she gets a call on her flip phone after class -- answering with "What's the sitch?" -- she takes on the identity as a crime-fighting teen who's after a mad scientist plotting to take over the world. Joined by her best friend, Ron Stoppable (and, for whatever reason, his naked molerat Rufus), the animated action-series plays like a quirky Y2K comic book, bringing traditional Bond-inspired spy tropes into the then-new digital age and giving it a helping of tween girl power.
Lizzie McGuire (2001-2004)
Before the reboot starring Hillary Duff premiers, you'll want to re-familiarize yourself with the trials and tribulations of Lizzie McGuire, a middle-school outcast with a wild sense of style, a strong moral code, and a very annoying younger brother. Combining brief animated interludes with live-action sitcom shenanigans that could feel cartoon-like at times, Lizzie McGuire didn't rely on a braying laugh-track to keep your attention. Instead, it zeroed in on the stressful challenges of early teenage years, doling out life lessons and silly gags with a zany, earnest touch.
The Mandalorian (2019- )
One of the greatest draws to Disney+ is the promise of new, original Star Wars properties -- and they proved to come through with its first of its kind, The Mandalorian. The series follows a helmet-shrouded bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) who only wants to ply his trade but is forced by his honor code to protect a Yoda-esque toddler who is wanted by ex-Imperial baddies a few years after the events of The Return of the Jedi. It may be loaded with Star Wars universe references, but the series has also carved out its own place in the four-decade-old franchise by not trying to do too much, but utilizing Warner Herzog as the mysterious Client who wants that Baby Yoda to his best potential. Ultimately, it’s a solid tale about a compelling character who lives by a code who is thrust into the unlikely role of guardian to the galaxy's cutest individual.
Phineas & Ferb (2007-2015)
Between its catchy Bowling for Soup theme song and wacky sense of imagination, Phineas & Ferb was easily one of Disney Channel's best cartoon series of the 2000s. Taking massive liberties with its relatively simple premise, the series has impossible rollercoasters, iconic rivalries, and plenty of genuine heart. There's also a new spin-off movie called Candace Against the Universe coming out on Disney+ in 2020, which is just as good an excuse to brush up on your Phineas and Ferb knowledge as any.
Originally released as part of ABC's "One Saturday Morning" block of programming, Recess immediately stood out for its willingness to play with genre and subvert viewer expectations. Characters like T.J. Detweiler, Vince LaSalle, Ashley Spinelli, Gretchen Grundler, Mikey Blumberg, and Gus Griswald might present themselves as slightly one dimensional elementary school stereotypes -- a star athlete, a gawky nerd, or a rough-housing tomboy -- but the series often revealed surprising depth to each of them over the course of a single episode. By imagining playtime as a high-stakes, hyper-stylized world of competing rivals, Recess managed to slip some heavy truths about childhood in between the manic set-pieces.
The Simpsons (1989- )
Ever heard of The Simpsons? If not, here's your chance to catch up on Springfield's most famous family, who have been brought into the Disney fold after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox in early 2019. From a brand perspective, it's a slightly odd fit -- The Simpsons was often framed as the rude, whip-smart alternative to more squeaky-clean Disney fare in the '90s -- but the availability of the series makes Disney + a must-have for anyone who owns any Duff Beer paraphernalia or a wrinkled Bartman t-shirt. However, Disney needs to fix the aspect ratio issue soon if it hopes to keep the hardcore Simpsons loyalists hanging around!
There are a handful of Spider-Man series available on Disney +, including the '80s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and the more recent version that premiered in 2017 on Disney XD. But don't sleep on this take on the web-slinger that aired as part of the FOX Kids lineup in the '90s. Along with the more widely acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, this heavily serialized Spider-Man series introduced a relatively sophisticated mode of comic-book storytelling to a young audience, spinning complicated narrative arcs over the course of whole seasons.
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (2005-2008)
If you watched Disney Channel in the aughts, chances are you wished 1. You were best friends with the Sprouse twins and 2. Lived in the (fictional) Tipton Hotel. In Suite Life, the now indie actor and Riverdale star, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, play middle-school-aged troublemakers living with their lounge singer single mother in a ritzy Boston hotel. With constant shenanigans from the boys, it's extremely goofy, but the entire cast of great characters (like Brenda Song as Paris Hilton rip-off London Tipton) makes it all extremely enjoyable.
That's So Raven (2003-2007)
While she was an '80s and '90s child star on The Cosby Show, Raven-Symoné's star-making moment was on Disney Channel playing a psychic teenager. Sure, nearly every episode of That's So Raven follows the same formula of Raven having a psychic vision and trying to prevent said vision, which makes (what she misinterpreted all along) go as planned -- she's also always forced into the truly wackiest scenarios, and the teenstar's got great comic timing. Disney Channel loves "crazy, meddling kids," but the added supernatural element here makes this sitcom stand out from the rest.
Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012)
Wizards of Waverly Place has a very quirky, very Disney Channel premise: three kids who live above their family's sandwich shop in Manhattan must train as wizards so that they can one day fight and determine who gets to keep their powers into adulthood. Although the last bit sounds kind of grim, the setup provides for plenty of magical shenanigans as the Russo children -- Justin, Alex, and Max -- both attempt to master their magical abilities and live average teenage lives. One of the most beloved Disney Channel series of the mid-aughts, Wizards of Waverly Place still holds up.
X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997)
The opening theme music to this show is powerful enough to send superhero fans of a certain age into a laser-blasting, claw-shooting, wall-smashing frenzy. Across five seasons, the mutant-centered series mined the pages of the original Marvel comic books to refashion beloved storylines like the Dark Phoenix saga and "Days of Future Past" into spectacle-packed, pathos-filled multi-episode narrative arcs. While Hollywood adaptations would eventually mangle many of these tales, the animated show did an effective job of capturing the cosmic scope and beating heart of this team of misfits. And, again, that theme song is incredible.
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