Time really flies! As Disney+ launches today, we’re looking back on how much our favorite Disney stars have changed over the years — from their days on Disney to today!
We cannot believe how much time has passed since these stars were playing secret pop princesses, witches and warlocks, and soaring, flying to the stage of a high school musical! With the launch of Disney+, fans of Disney Channel, their original movies, shows and new projects will get their chance to binge through old and new favorites. For some Disney devotees, it will be a welcome blast from the past and stoke nostalgia all over again. Before you get binge-happy, though, let’s look back at some of our favorite Disney stars and where they are now!
Before she reinvented herself as a modern, young woman crooning about love and loss, Miley Cyrus was the extraordinary talent behind Hannah Montana. Taking on two roles, the “Slide Away” songstress played your average teenage girl who had one little secret — she was also a famous pop star! Miley played both Miley Stewart and Hannah Montana from 2006-2011, with a 2009 film in between. Following her Disney years, it was a rocky road for the young star to reckon with sheltered Disney persona and transition into being a young woman in the public eye. Miley famously starred alongside Liam Hemsworth in the 2010 film The Last Song and went on to release her albums Can’t Be Tamed (2010), Bangerz (2013), Younger Now (2017), and her 2019 scheduled release, She Is Miley Cyrus. Miley also experience a lot of growth, when her personal life was thrust into the spotlight following her 2019 split from Liam. With a new relationship in Cody Simpson and her focus on music, Miley seems to have wholly reinvented herself since her Disney days.
Of course, Miley isn’t the only former Disney star who has seen a lot of growth since her time on the small screen. Actor Zac Efron has quickly become a bonafide movie star since his time donning Troy Bolton’s iconic basketball jersey! The actor who brought Troy to life on the small and big screen through the High School Musical trilogy, quickly became a bankable star for small indies and major blockbusters. Following 2008’s High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Zac appeared in films 17 Again, Charlie St. Cloud, and The Paperboy before flexing his comedic muscles in 2014’s Neighbors alongside funny man Seth Rogen. Zac also appeared in the 2016 sequel, and continued to show off his comedy chops with Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and Baywatch. Nearly 10 years after HSM3, Zac broke out his vocal chords, appearing in the 2017 musical movie The Greatest Showman alongside Hugh Jackman and fellow Disney alum Zendaya! His 2019 films showed two very different sides of Zac, with his predatory performance as Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile and his comedy talents in The Beach Bum with Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey. Of course, Zac also experienced his fair share of personal growth after he and former co-star Vanessa Hudgens broke up in 2010 after roughly five years of dating.
But we can go back even further when it comes to our favorite Disney stars. Coming from the late ’90s and early 2000s, Hilary Duff was something of a Disney darling and starred in a number of Disney’s films and her own show! Fans will know Hilary for her unforgettable roles as Lizzie McGuire in the TV show of the same name. Hilary played the titular role of a young girl maneuvering school, cliques and her family all while a tiny cartoon version of herself offered funny quips and commentary along the way. The show went on to spawn a feature-length film in 2003, where Hilary played both Lizzie and her Italian doppelgänger, Isabella. Along with her role as Lizzie, Hilary also starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie Cadet Kelly in 2002, alongside fellow Disney alum Christy Carlson Romano. While it is Lizzie she is best known for, Hilary also had a successful music career during her tenure as a Disney star. The actress and singer released a slew of albums with hit songs including “Why Not,” “Coming Clean,” and “Beat of My Heart.” Since her time as Disney a starlet, Hilary has gone on to become a mother-of-two and star in the beloved TV Land series, Younger. What’s more, Hilary is joining forces with Disney again and returning to the role that started it all! Yes, Hilary will be back as Lizzie McGuire for the upcoming series on Disney+.
So many of todays biggest stars started out on Disney Channel, and the above are just a few of the many celebs who have found success following their time on Disney! Today will be the perfect time to catch these stars and more at the start of their careers on Disney+. They’ve all gone through a lot of professional and personal growth since donning the Mickey Mouse ears and playing their first major roles on the small screen. To take a look at more Disney Channel stars and see where they are now, click through our gallery above! Happy Disney+ Day!