Disney Plus may have Star Wars and Marvel, but those legacy blockbusters are not what appeals to me about signing up for the brand-new streaming service–it’s Disney Plus’ glorious vault of Disney Channel Originals that had handing over $6 a month before it even debuted.
And I’d happily pay more. Though I’d shell out $20 for each episode or and more for a phase of the Infinity Saga, you can’t put a price on unyielded access childhood gems. Titles like The Cheetah Girls, Even Stevens, Hannah Montana and Lizzie McGuire are worth more to me than any generation-crossing epic. And based on the Disney Plus’ Day One tweets that hashtagged these titles, I know I’m not alone.
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For those 18-24 year olds existing with me on the murky border line of young millennial and Gen Z, Disney Channel was everything. We planned playdates around new episodes and DCOM (short for Disney Channel Original movie) debuts, the best of which premiered on weekend evenings.
As a 7-year-old I embarrassingly recall announcing my schedule to my parents every week with, “...and (insert show) starts at 6/7 Central,” even though the Central time zone didn’t matter to me on the east coast. But that’s just how authoritative Disney Channel could be. It ingrained itself so deeply in me that I used its marketing language regularly.
When iTunes began selling video content, it was the only place to buy Disney Channel Originals. However I remember both show episodes and movies being rather pricey. Plus you could only watch them on a computer if you weren’t lucky enough to have an iPod Touch.
And soon social lives existed outside of living rooms (for some, so I’ve heard), so we aged out of the newer Disney Channel shows. Some old favorites, like The High School Musical movies, had stints on Netflix. But until Disney Plus there was no catalog to recreate the experience of an evening watching Disney Channel: a new episode of Wizards of Waverly Place followed by the Camp Rock premiere and wrapped up with a Suite Life of Zack and Cody rerun.
So the fact that all the Disney Channel Originals are now available on the large number of Disney Plus devices is awesome. It proves there’s something on Disney Plus for everyone, even if it’s not among the most popular titles on the platform.
Though I’ve barely scratched the surface of the Disney Plus’ Disney Channel Originals playground, I’m already feeling nostalgic for the days when Smart House wasn’t my tech beat––it was a comedy that demonstrated the havoc a robot-operated house could wreak.