Did Disney Channel get worse or did we just get older?


Disney Channel averaged about two million views in the year 2014 alone, according to statista.com

Madyson Lawson, Staff Writer


Every generation seems to think that they got to experience the best Disney Channel. 

Growing up my sister and I always fought over what to watch. She wanted to watch “That’s So Raven” or “Corey in the House,” while I wanted to watch “Good Luck Charlie.”

Every time I open any social media, I would see countless posts about older Disney characters I faintly remember, feeling left out or that my childhood was being looked down upon.

“Only ‘98-‘02s kids will understand,” said captions  everywhere; “Things people born after ‘02 won’t understand,” was spread over the media, toys and snacks that I definitely remember being a part of my childhood. I was offended by these accusations, that my childhood wasn’t as good as theirs —which I was quick to point out went just fine. 

As I grew up, more and more of the shows I used to enjoy began going off air. Eventually I couldn’t find anything to watch. All of the stars I used to watch —Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Cole and Dylan Sprouse —were replaced by similar looking actors that seemed to be around my age, possibly younger.

The new actors’ characters made me cringe; Disney Channel and Nickelodeon quickly became unwatchable. 

While in quarantine I found myself on the fairly new streaming service Disney+, which gives direct access to all your childhood favorites. 

While watching these so-called “favorites” that I can recall watching for hours at a time,fully entertained, it just wasn’t the same. While there were some still iconic scenes, like when Troy drives 1,605 miles to surprise Gabriella at her Prom in High School Musical Three,  the shows overall just didn’t hit the spot like they used to. 

In the earlier seasons of “Hannah Montana” and “Zack and Cody,” the actors had yet to come into themselves, the jokes were not good and the plot was terrible. The nostalgia factor wasn’t enough to keep me interested. 

Out of boredom, I found myself surfing through the shows that came out when I was growing out of Disney Channel. What I watched wasn’t much different from what I spent my childhood watching. The storylines of “Girl Meets World’s” later seasons had me hooked, even as a 16-year-old. I was more than shocked by the boldness of “Andi Mack;” I guarantee that storyline never would’ve aired in the early 2000s. 

  After rewatching some of these newer shows, I realized that most of the newer stuff isn’t any worse than what I grew up watching. The whole time I was sharing and liking posts/comments about how “Disney Channel isn’t what it used to be,” I wasn’t living in reality, but nostalgia. I was no different than the early 2000 kids I used to despise. 

Romanticising our childhoods is fine once in a while, but it’s time to admit that we don’t own the title of a “perfect childhood.” As long as kids and tweens are enjoying the shows on Disney and Nickelodeon, it doesn’t really matter what us older Disney kids think. 

Shows like “iCarly” and “Hannah Montana” will always hold a special place in my heart; my nostalgia doesn’t warrant mocking programs that weren’t made for my demographic. There’s no need to turn our childhoods into a competition. A 12-year-old on social media shouldn’t have to feel like they somehow missed out on a good childhood because they’ve never seen “High School Musical.”

At the end of the day, Disney Channel hasn’t expired or lost its magic. We simply just grew up and don’t enjoy that kind of TV anymore. Children’s TV may be changing, but it’s not any worse than what it used to be.