13 Reasons The 2000s Were Peak Disney Channel

Photo: Photofest.
In my mind, there is no denying it — the 2000s were the halcyon days of the Disney Channel. As a kid — especially one with younger siblings — it was always on at our house. The Jonas Brothers were the it-band, Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana were the same girl, and High School Musical's Troy and Gabriella were the ultimate couple to ship. A lot of those ‘00s Disney stars are still super famous today — Demi Lovato, Zac Efron, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, and Nick Jonas, to name a few.

Now, obviously, I’m not sitting around watching Disney as much as I did as a child (I wish). But even if I did, there simply isn’t as much hype around modern-day Disney. In the golden age of the 2000s, every Disney Channel star had a show and an album. Does anyone not know what Lizzie McGuire is? Final bonus: They were all best friends, so the fandoms were endlessly interconnected.

Ahead, 13 shows, Disney Channel Original movies, and miscellaneous moments that made the 2000s an unforgettable era of the Disney Channel.
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1 of 13
High School Musical (2006)

Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) and Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) make their way through high-school drama, relationship drama, and actual onstage drama over the course of three movies, two of which were Disney Channel Original movies.

Guilty secret: I didn’t like High School Musical when it came out — I was lying to myself. There is no denying that these movies are low-key great, and some of the the best Disney Channel Originals ever. Even 10 years later, they make me laugh, cry, and deal with major waves of nostalgia. Plus, they gave us Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, the most iconic Disney couple since Britney and Justin.

Once a wildcat, always a wildcat.
2 of 13
Camp Rock (2008)

The Jonas Brothers play a boy band whose lead singer, Shane Gray (Joe Jonas), is being sent off to camp to reel in his diva tendencies. There, he meets Mitchie Torres (Demi Lovato), and is fascinated by her incredible voice. The rest is (drama-filled) history.

As a huge Jonas Brothers fan, this was truly a peak moment. Plus, it thrust Demi Lovato into the spotlight, a major step up from As The Bell Rings (remember that?).

Was the acting Oscar-worthy? No. Was the plot predictable? Totally. Was it still great? 100%.
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3 of 13
Hannah Montana (2006-2011)

Where do I even begin? Hannah Montana was truly incredible. Miley Cryus (Hannah Montana) is living life as a normal girl, Miley Stewart, but secretly moonlights as a pop star with a little help from a transformative wig.

From the 98 episodes to the tours, the merch, and the guest stars, it truly was a phenomenon. And if you go back and watch episodes now, it’s almost guaranteed to still crack you up. Oh, sweet niblets. (Bonus reference: Remember the cheese jerky song?)
4 of 13
Sonny With A Chance (2009-2011)

Sonny Munroe (Demi Lovato) joins live comedy show So Random!, and the show skips between her on-screen work and her behind-the-scenes life, including some flirty drama with fellow actor Chad Dylan Cooper (Sterling Knight).

This was a short-lived wonder, but Demi Lovato was a true star in it. It’s no wonder she’s still such a force today. Plus, I totally had a crush on Chad Dylan Cooper (who you might recognize from 17 Again).
5 of 13
Wizards Of Waverly Place (2007-2012)

Alex Russo (Selena Gomez) and her siblings Justin (David Henrie) and Max (Jake T. Austin) are teen wizards whose family also runs a deli in New York. Enough said.

This show was genuinely funny, involved teen wizards (an instant winner with any child of the Harry Potter era), and brought Selena Gomez onto our screens. I still think of it every time I pass Waverly Place in New York.
6 of 13
That’s So Raven (2003-2007)

Raven Baxter (Raven-Symoné) is a teenager who can see the future. Honestly, what more do I need to say?

The banter on this show was always amazing, and there are still so many quotable moments (ya nasty). Plus, that theme song was catchy as hell.
7 of 13
The Cheetah Girls (2003)

Another Raven-Symoné classic! Four girls form a girl group in New York, while also attending high school (as you do). The movies — The Cheetah Girls, The Cheetah Girls 2, and The Cheetah Girls: One World — followed them through fame, travel, love, and life as a teenager.

This was such a classic Disney franchise. Raven went off to have her own show, That’s So Raven, and we got multiple albums and tours from the girls. You might even recognize a young Adrienne Bailon (a la 3LW), who later showed up in the early days of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
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8 of 13
Kim Possible (2002-2007)

Kim Possible was every teenager’s dream — just a girl, fighting crime with her best friend, Ron Stoppable (and a naked mole rat, Rufus).

Call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me. Also, the Kim Possible games on Disney.com were amazing back in the day.
9 of 13
Lizzie McGuire (2001-2004)

There is no denying the magnitude of this one. Lizzie McGuire (Hilary Duff) and her friends Gordo (Adam Lamberg) and Miranda (Lalaine) star in a sitcom about being a 13-year-old.

While the show itself was a classic (but not without its problematic scenes), what came from it was even better. The Lizzie McGuire Movie is truly a cinematic classic. The show also launched Hilary Duff’s singing career, starting with the theme song to Laguna Beach.
10 of 13
Phil Of The Future (2004-2006)

“Meet a boy named Phil and his family, on vacation from the 22nd century.” The theme song here said it all, which only made it better.

Also, Aly Michalka from Aly and AJ was in one of the starring roles. Cue “Potential Breakup Song.”
11 of 13
The Suite Life Of Zach & Cody (2005 -2008)

Isn’t if funny how Ross Geller’s son Ben ended up having a twin and living in a hotel?

Zach and Cody Martin (Dylan and Cole Sprouse) live with their mom in the Tipton Hotel, where we follow their misadventures and attempts to avoid getting in trouble with hotel manager Mr. Moseby (Phil Lewis). As someone who has always loved hotels, this show was my dream.

We also get to see Ashley Tisdale, post-High School Musical, as the humble Maddie Fitzpatrick.
12 of 13
Disney Channel Games (2006-2008)

These were short-lived, but hilarious. As the Disney Channel version of the Olympics, they brought together all of your favorite Disney stars (read: basically everyone mentioned in this story) to compete in events like “Rock, Paper, Scissors Showdown” and “Hamster Ball Relay.”

Yes, it was ridiculous. But don’t deny it, this made you laugh.
13 of 13
Those Intros Before A Show Came On

Hey, I’m Victoria Tomkinson, and you’re watching Disney Channel!

I’ve always wanted to say that.
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