Best Throwback TV Shows to Stream on Disney+!

If you are in a nostalgic mood and looking for some inspo for what to watch then you’re in luck because we’re sharing some of the best mid-2000s throwbacks to stream right now on Disney+!

Wanting a quick getaway but can’t actually get the time off from work or school? I hear ya! When I feel overwhelmed with the endless trials that life has to offer, I like to curl up on the couch and remember when times were good–between the ages of 7-11; the target demographic for Disney Channel! So come as we take you back to the good old days right before technology really got ahold of our generation. Here are my top picks for best shows to stream on Disney+ for when that mid-2000s nostalgia hits you!

Sonny with a Chance (2009-2011)


Stemming from the long era of variety shows, there came sketch comedy where variety meets improvisation and becomes sort of theatrical. There was born, Sonny with a Chance, which came during a very successful run of Saturday Night Live and just a few years after Nickelodeon’s All That came off air. What made Sonny different was that it added this layer of satire in how they portrayed the subject matter in the script. When Twilight was at its peak popularity, then came “Mackenzie Falls”, a combination of the many teen series and films that had heavy melodrama and romance.

Sonny also had this way of appealing to childlike humor in the classic Disney that involves a lot of food fighting and messes while maintaining a level of dramatic irony that resonates with adult audiences who look back on it years later.

Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012)


Everyone knows this beloved classic that launched the career of pop singer Selena Gomez. But consider this your sign to rewatch this hilarious and effortlessly relatable show about a family of wizards in New York City. In my opinion, no character on this show no matter how large or small their part, is a throwaway. Every character takes their spotlight seriously and it is truly a pleasure to watch so many good actors pass through the show.

Furthermore, if you love Wizards, Jennifer Stone (Harper) and David Deluise (Jerry) have a podcast called Wizards of Waverly Pod that is available on Youtube. It’s also super funny and gives some interesting insight into how the people who created Wizards thought initially of their work and what it became.

The Suite Life on Deck (2008-2011)


The breakthrough phenomenon that was The Suite Life of Zach and Cody continues with The Suite Life on Deck, a show that follows the Martin twins as they board the S.S. Tipton for boarding school at sea, and along with them is a cast of new characters and old favorites.

Many people have a vendetta against On Deck because it is so derivative of the original and no one likes a sequel. But I think rather it encapsulates all the good qualities of the original, but it uses its unique “anchor” in its ever-changing location to push forward plotlines that truly dazzle young viewers. It made us want to travel and see beyond the classic single-set productions of the original. The hotel series was great, but it ran its course, so I would rather give a real chance to On Deck because both as a sequel and stand-alone it really holds up.

Gravity Falls (2012-2016)


Ever wonder why your parents sent you away to summer camp instead of small-town Oregon to visit with your conspiracy-involved Gruncle Stan and his merry band of weirdos? I have a sense we were robbed of this cannon childhood experience. But what we can do is live vicariously through Dipper and Mabel as they uncover the mysteries of the anomalous occurrences that happen in Gravity Falls.

Over the seasons, the tension thickens to a point where you wonder is this even a kid’s show? The plot just gets crazier and crazier and I am honestly on the edge of my seat. Rewatching Gravity Falls, especially if you never finished it in the first place, is a must because it has all the trimmings of this era’s nostalgia while also taking the story to greater heights of fantasy and drama.

The Emperor’s New School (2006-2008)


While many people have seen The Emperor’s New Groove, not nearly enough can say they’ve seen the spin-off, The Emperor’s New School, where recently de-throned Emperor Kuzco must take on the task of public school. After being evicted from his palace and sent to live with a small village family of four, Kuzco must adapt to peasant life that is severely lacking in the trappings of royalty to which he is accustomed.

Between watching the cocky and brash Kuzco take on crushes and dating, the major food envy we get from Kronk’s cooking (spinach puffs!!!), and the iconic Yzma (original #skinnylegend) one-liners are an elegantly crafted creation and we must recommend this with all our heart.

And finally, if you are taking any of these recommendations, we encourage you to watch the shows in their entirety. Each one’s unique progression in the story, character arcs, and their roles as period capsules will surely take you on a cathartic journey of delight and nostalgia.

About the Author

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Willow Finn

Willow Finn is a Senior at Chapman University studying Television Writing and Production. She is an avid fan of content in all forms, especially those with detailed storytelling and lore. In her free time, you'll find her exploring her other artistic endeavors, thrift-shopping, going to museums, or spending time with her cat, Sinclair.