Disney Plus has arrived! Whether the new streaming service can compete with Netflix remains to be seen, but it sure is coming out strong. The doors to the Disney vault have been thrown open, with the service offering a potent mix of nostalgic throwbacks and recent hits from throughout the company's history. Whether you’re a parent wanting a break from parenting so are turning to the television for help, or you’re a disenchanted millennial looking for a solice – Disney Plus has got you covered. You can get your fill of Boy Meets World and Star Wars Resistance, all in one hit.
There’s so much content – from animated shows, live-action sitcoms, to National Geographic documentaries – that it might feel a little overwhelming at first. Luckily, we’re here to guide the way, with our picks for the 30 best shows on Disney Plus. Of course, the service will also be offering brand new (and exclusive) programming like The Mandalorian and Encore. But it’s far too early to tell which ones will be worth your time, so we’re just sticking to the shows that have already released full seasons. Without further ado, these are the 30 best shows on Disney Plus right now.
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30. Tangled: The Series (2017)
The show: It doesn’t look like 2010’s Tangled will be getting a sequel anytime soon, but fans can still discover what happened after the “happily ever after” thanks to this Disney Channel animated series. We pick back up with Princess Rapunzel and her boyfriend Eugene Fitzherbert (formerly known as scandalous thief and irresistible flirt Flynn Rider), as they explore the great mystery of why a young woman would end up with a 70-foot long braid of hair endowed with magical healing powers.
Why it’s worth a watch: The series has acquired a pretty active fanbase of viewers both young and old, largely because its storytelling is so much more compelling than you’d expect. There’s a great addition in the character of Cassandra, Rapunzel’s lady-in-waiting, who starts off as a dear friend but is slowly corrupted by bitterness and jealousy. It’s a far cry from the cheap, half-hearted TV adaptations that we’ve come to expect. The art direction is beautiful, while Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi even reprise their original roles. Tangled: The Series means business.
29. Great Migrations (2010)
The show: We all know that Disney acquired a frankly terrifying amount of properties when it snapped up 20th Century Fox. Included in the deal was National Geographic, which conveniently means that Disney Plus will now be able to offer a lot more than just cartoons and hyperactive teen stars. Great Migrations, for example, is a seven-episode miniseries which follows the dangerous, awe-inspiring journeys undertaken by creatures both big and small – from delicate butterflies to gargantuan whale sharks.
Why it’s worth a watch: Great Migrations has long been one of the jewels in National Geographic’s crown. At the time, it was the largest scale enterprise the channel had ever launched and some have even argued that it’s better than the BBC’s Planet Earth. It’s a bold, but not totally unjustified claim, particularly when it comes to the show’s experimental finale. It features zero narration, meaning viewers can immerse themselves completely in all the wonders of nature.
28. Wizards of Waverly Place (2007)
The show: It’s Harry Potter scrubbed of all its darkness and dramatic tension, basically. We follow three wizard siblings – Alex, Justin, and Max – who all live in New York City’s Greenwich Village. For some, seemingly arbitrary reason, they inhabit a universe where each family can only have one magical member, meaning the siblings all have to compete and prove their worth. If this were FX or HBO, we’d be in for a deathmatch, but the worst they do here is throw out a few sarcastic one-liners.
Why it’s worth a watch: The thing is, Selena Gomez’s Alex isn’t actually a typical Disney Channel heroine. She’s sort of rude and, honestly, quite selfish at times. She sees magic as more of a shortcut to getting what she wants than anything else. That’s about as edgy as these shows tend to get, but it’s still refreshing in its own way. Wizards of Waverly Place is also less aggressively silly than usual, while the siblings’ frequent romantic entanglements with vampires, werewolves and angels even gives it a touch of Charmed or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
27. Elena of Avalor (2016)
The show: Anyone who’s a casual Disney fan will probably have seen Elena popping up more and more of late. Sure, she’s not one of the official Disney Princesses yet, but neither are Frozen’s Anna and Elsa. And Elena certainly has her fans. She's a 16-year-old princess who was trapped in an amulet for 41 years, before being unleashed just in time to save her kingdom from an evil sorceress. She wants to rule with a fair and compassionate hand but, as we soon discover, that isn’t always so easy.
Why it’s worth a watch: Elena is very much a modern Disney princess. She’s a leader, a fighter, and has a really great wardrobe. She also happens to be Disney’s first Latinx princess, hailing from the fictional country of Avalor, created to be a blend of Latin cultures and beliefs. For example, we see her celebrate the Mexican holiday of Día de Muertos. An incredible amount of thought and care has gone into this series, which is why it can stand tall next to the likes of Brave or Moana.
26. The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988)
The show: The reason there’s a “new” in the title is because the show follows on pretty directly from the 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (and the handful of shorts that came after it). Inspired by A.A. Milne’s stories, it follows our beloved bear as he wanders aimlessly through the Hundred Acre Woods, doling out zen catchphrases and getting his curvaceous behind stuck in various burrows and tree stumps. Everyone’s favourites are here, from Eeyore to Tigger, while it remains the only series to regularly feature Christopher Robin as a character.
Why it’s worth a watch: The series is a near-perfect continuation of the stories we all know and love. It just has such a calming presence. It’s like a big hug from someone wearing a fuzzy jumper or a cup of tea on a blustery day. In fact, Winnie the Pooh was giving us hygge long before it was popular.
25. The Incredible Hulk - Series (1996)
The show: The Incredible Hulk may have only lasted for two seasons, but it certainly didn’t skimp on action. We start off with Bruce Banner on the run from General Ross, while also in search of a cure so that he can finally separate himself from his big, green, and angry alter ego. By the time season two rolled around, however, She-Hulk’s role was beefed up and the show’s named was changed to The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk. That coincidentally makes it pretty good homework for those wanting to study up before Disney Plus drops its own live-action She-Hulk series.
Why it’s worth a watch: The Incredible Hulk is a fairly faithful translation of the source comics, not only in its look, but in the many cameos from familiar heroes. We get appearances from Iron Man, Thor, War Machine, Doctor Strange, and the Fantastic Four – all characters that even the most casual of Marvel fans are now sure to recognise. The cherry on top, however, is Lou Ferrigno’s returns as the voice of the Hulk, having famously played him in the '70s live-action series.
24. Timon & Pumbaa (1995)
The show: Set after the events of The Lion King, the series follows the pair on a whole new host of comical misadventures, with Simba occasionally dropping by to set them back on the straight and narrow. If he’s not available, you might get Rafiki, Zazu, or the hyenas (Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed) instead. While most of the action takes place on the African plains, the show is notable for sending them out on a number of international tours, with stops in both Canada and Antarctica. Although Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella initially returned to voice Timon and Pumbaa, Lane was later replaced by Kevin Schon and then Quinton Flynn.
Why it’s worth a watch: As this year’s live-action remake of The Lion King showed, Timon and Pumbaa are absolute scene-stealers. The show works as a Disney-branded riff on the Looney Tunes, leaning heavily into slapstick comedy and surreal logic (how do you think they got to Canada?). It also serves as a mini-precursor to the Lion King 1 ½, a deeply underrated sequel.
23. The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (2005)
The show: Riverdale fans will already be familiar with one of the stars of Suite Life, Cole Sprouse, who here got his start alongside his twin brother Dylan. The duo play Zack and Cody, while the basic premise of the show revolves around the question, “How cool would it be to live in a hotel?” The answer is very cool, as it allows you to get up to all sorts of hijinks. The show also features a Paris Hilton parody in the form of Brenda Song’s London Tipton and a role for High School Musical’s Ashley Tisdale.
Why it’s worth a watch: It’s unashamedly goofy, fulfilling the childish fantasy of having no rules and no limitations. These kids run riot. It’s like the hotel turns them into non-murderous, sugar-fuelled little Jack Torrances. It’s definitely miles away from Jughead “I’m a weirdo” Jones, but it’s the kind of fluff that is pure Disney Channel.
22. Muppet Babies (2018)
The show: Now, admittedly, this is not the Muppet Babies of the '80s. We’re talking a CGI reboot that even adds a brand-new character, Summer the penguin. But the concept is still the same, with young versions of the classic Muppet characters all living together in a nursery. They’re cared for by Miss Nanny, whose face we never see and who never seems to let them go anywhere (or see their parents). But the Muppet Babies use their imaginations to travel far from the boundaries of their playroom, on grand and exciting adventures.
Why it’s worth a watch: As different as it might seem from the original show, the new Muppet Babies still holds on to the two most important features: the doo-wop theme and the overbearing sense of cuteness. Every generation deserves their own Muppet Babies, especially since the Muppets at large could use a little boost in popularity at the moment – Disney Plus has already announced it’s cancelling one of its planned series with the characters.
21. Star Wars Resistance (2018)
The show: While the animated shows of the past have focused largely on the gap between the prequels and the original trilogy, Star Wars Resistance takes place right before, and then runs parallel to, the new sequels. Its protagonist is Kazuda Xiono, a pilot recruited by the Resistance and asked to spy on the comings and goings of the First Order. Although it’s got a whole new cast of characters, there are still appearances from familiar faces like Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), and BB-8.
Why it’s worth a watch: As the newest of the Star Wars animated shows, it doesn’t quite have the same levels of fandom surrounding it - but just wait and see. It was, after all, still created by Dave Filoni (who’s also behind Clone Wars and Rebels). It’s also interesting in how it diverges from the usual stories about the Jedi Order, meaning that, like Rogue One, we get to see how ordinary people in the Resistance get by. Kazuda’s high-flying antics definitely have a touch of Top Gun to them, too.
Click through to Page 2 for more of the best shows on Disney Plus