No matter what anyone tells you, you'll never be too old to watch the Disney Channel. Mickey Mouse's home network still features fun original movies and terrific shows like Andi Mack and K.C. Undercover, but it's no secret the Disney Channel was just better when you were a kid. No disrespect to the current lineup, but nothing can compare to the original DCOMs, throwback cartoons, and half-hour gems of the mid-90s and early '00s.
Growing up in the era of Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens was an embarrassment of riches. Not only were the shows great, Disney fans were watching future stars grow up right before their eyes. As an added bonus, this was when Zoog was a thing, and Zoog was the actual best. The Disney Channel of your youth had everything you could possibly want from kid's TV: quality cartoons, original movies, a compelling reality series, and the best seasonal programming blocks ever. It didn't matter what holiday vacation you were on, Disney had your back. Christmas, New Year's, Halloween — you could bet there would be a marathon of one of your favorite shows to keep you occupied throughout your school break.
While there's plenty of room in your heart to love the modern day Disney Channel and its old school counterpart, here are all of the reasons why Disney was way better when you were growing up.
1. The Throwback Cartoons
Disney was all about bringing classic cartoons to the next generation. Some of your favorite shows like Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series, and The Care Bears all originated in the '80s.
2. The DCOM Goodness
Disney Channel's original movies are always fun, but their early efforts are timeless. Movies like Cadet Kelly and The Cheetah Girls are almost impossible to top.
3. The Zoogs
These little robot guys make seem silly now, but Disney used them to integrate the internet into your TV experience. And that was a big deal in the '90s. You know nothing was cooler than seeing one of your high scores from the website's video games show up in the lineup's scroll.
4. The Live-Action Originals
This was the era of The Famous Jett Jackson, So Weird, In a Heartbeat, That's So Raven, and Lizzie McGuire. Disney had live-action shows for every genre, and the channel seemed just as committed to entertaining viewers as it was to presenting them with relatable characters to grow up with.
5. Young Shia LaBeouf
No matter how you may feel about the actor now, young LeBeouf was a gift. Whether he was making you laugh in Even Stevens or cry your heart out in Tru Confessions, it was clear the kid had serious talent.
6. The Halloweentown Series
These movies are so good, there's a festival that celebrates them every year.
7. The Mickey Mouse Club
All of your favorite pop stars got their start as Mouseketeers. Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera — they all began their careers during the '90s revival of The Mickey Mouse Club. Even Ryan Gosling was part of the gang.
8. The Canadian Imports
There is an excellent chance that the first time you ever saw Anne of Green Gables, it was on Disney. The network used to show the miniseries regularly, alongside the equally amazing Road to Avonlea.
9. The Proud Family
The Proud Family is easily one of the best animated shows ever, and it was a staple of Disney's '00s lineup.
10. The Holiday Episodes & Movies
When the holidays rolled around, you could always count on Disney to deliver themed programming. Whether they were showing classic episodes of Mickey Mouse or doling out holiday-appropriate DCOMs, there was no holiday the channel couldn't make better.
11. Bug Juice
A quality reality show for kids not only existed, it made kids want to go to camp.
The Disney Channel will always be a bastion for quality kid's TV, but it's just a fact that you grew up during its best era.