Time really flies! With ‘The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II’ premiering on May 10, we can’t help but think about our fave Disney stars, like Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, and Zac Efron, and how much they’ve changed over the years.
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+, the recent star-studded singalong special, and now, The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II, Disney Channel devotees have never been happier. Before the second singalong event airs on Sunday, May 10, let’s take a walk down memory lane and see how our favorite stars from the Disney Channel — like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Zac Efron, and the OG, Hilary Duff, have grown and evolved over the years, and over their careers.
Before she reinvented herself as a modern, young woman crooning about love and loss, Miley 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 her sheltered Disney persona and transition into being a young woman in the public eye. Miley famously starred alongside future husband 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 even further into the spotlight following her 2019 divorce from Liam. With a new relationship with 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. Zac quickly became 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 flexed 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 HSM co-star Vanessa Hudgens broke up in 2010 after roughly five years of dating. Since then, he’s been linked to his Baywatch co-star Alexandra Daddario and Prodigal Son star Halston Sage.
Coming from the late ’90s and early 2000s, Hilary was a Disney darling and starred in a number of Disney’s films and her own show! Fans know Hilary for her unforgettable role as Lizzie McGuire in the TV show of the same name. Hilary played the titular role of a tween 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. Hilary also starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie Cadet Kelly in 2002.
While it is Lizzie she is best known for, Hilary also had a successful music and movie career post-Disney. She released a slew of albums with hit songs including “Why Not” and “Coming Clean”, and starred in the classic Cinderella Story. Since her time as Disney a starlet, Hilary is now the mother of two, and stars in the beloved TV Land series, Younger. It was announced that she would be starring in a Lizzie McGuire reboot on Disney+, but the series was scrapped.
Selena is another icon from the Miley-era Disney Channel. Though her career started as a toddler on Barney and Friends, Selena became famous playing witchy tween Alex Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place from 2007-2012. During her Disney days, she also starred in DCOMS like Princess Protection Program with former bestie Demi Lovato. After Wizards ended, she pursued more mature film roles, like in Spring Breakers (2012), and The Dead Don’t Die (2019). But her power lies in her pop stardom. She broke out as a solo artist with her 2013 album Stars Don’t Dance, which featured the hit “Come and Get It”. Her 2015 album Revival included “Hands to Myself” and “Good for You”. Her 2020 album Rare is on its way to being a classic, too.
Selena has struggled with health issues, including a dire battle with lupus, and a secret kidney transplant. She was forced to cancel the remainder of her 2016 Revival tour to seek treatment for depression caused by lupus. Of course, her love life has been a major topic of discussion. She dated Justin Bieber as a teenager, and their on-again, off-again relationship was one of the wildest love stories in Hollywood. After years apart, the couple briefly reunited in 2018. She’s also dated DJ Zedd, and rapper The Weeknd.
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! 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!
And make sure to tune into The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II when it airs Sunday, May 10 at 7:00pm ET on ABC!