The Gen Z’s guide to Disney+

Since its launch in November 2019, there has been tons of buzz around Disney+, which offers a library chock full of nostalgic 90s Disney content, including the decade’s most popular Disney shows and movies. 

For Gen Z viewers, this means the most loved Disney productions from the late 90s and early 2000s are available in one place. 

We took a look at Disney+ content released between 1996 and 2010 and created a list of the era’s best Disney shows and movies, complete with information about each selection’s plot, length, number of seasons and IMDb rating. 

Classic shows and movies on Disney+: 1997 – 2000

Britney Spears, NSYNC, Tamagotchi pets and Beanie Babies were fixtures of the late 1990s. These were some of the last big years for 2D Disney cartoons before 3D animated movies and live-action shows started to increase in popularity. Here are our top picks for the late 1990s. 

Recess (1997 – 2001)

This classic and beloved show follows the lives of a group of tightly knit fourth-grade friends. T.J., Ashley, Vince, Gus, Gretchen and Mikey navigate the school playground’s complex social systems, while dodging kindergarteners and looking for that perfect kickball to play their next game. 

Episode length: 24 mins. Number of seasons: 3. IMDb rating: 7.8/10.

Similar titlesDoug, The Emperor’s New School, Kim Possible

Mulan (1998) 

In this fun, musical movie, a spirited young girl rejects the idea of becoming a quiet housewife and instead dresses as a male soldier to take her aging father’s place in the Chinese army. With guidance from her ancestors and Mushu, a comical dragon, she battles the evil Shan Yu and his band of warriors in a daring fight to protect her father, her emperor and her country. 

Movie length: 1h 28 mins. IMDb rating: 7.6/10.

Similar titles: Tangled, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin

Hercules (1997) 

Based on the Greek legend, Hercules, the son of Zeus, is stolen from his crib and adopted by humans on Earth. The young boy builds his physical strength until he becomes the stuff of legends — but he soon finds that it takes more than physical strength to defeat the evil Hades. 

Movie length: 1h 35 mins. IMDb rating: 7.3/10.

Similar titles: Beauty and the Beast, Lilo and Stitch

Classic shows and movies on Disney+: 2001 – 2004

The early 2000s officially brought Harry Potter to the silver screen, saw the release of the first-ever iPod and debuted big-name musicals like Moulin Rouge and Chicago. And it was during this time that Disney churned out a growing number of Pixar collaborations and hit shows. Here are our favorites from the early aughts. 

Even Stevens (2000 – 2002)

Seventh-grader Louis tries hard to fit in both at school and with his own family. But his quirky personality lands him in unexpected — and sometimes disastrous — situations.

Episode length: 23 mins. Number of seasons: 3. IMDb rating: 7.6/10.

Similar tiles: The Even Stevens Movie, Phil of the Future

Lizzie McGuire (2001-2002)

Junior high is anything but easy, but Lizzie McGuire, along with her friends Gordo and Miranda, work together to make the best of it. 

Episode length: 23 mins. Number of seasons: 2. IMDb rating: 6.6/10.

Similar titles: The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Jonas, Andi Mack

Finding Nemo (2003)

When Nemo, a young clownfish, is captured from the ocean, he finds himself surrounded by strange new friends as his dad, Marlon, hatches a plot to get him back. Join Marlon, Dorey and a host of other characters on their adventures as they work to bring Nemo home.

Movie length: 1h 41 mins. IMDb rating: 8.1/10.

Similar titles: Finding Dory, Toy Story

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

It was just another normal day for monsters Sully and Mike — until a human girl named Boo wandered into their world. Now it is up to this dynamic monster duo to hide the little human while they work to get her safely back home. 

Movie length: 1h 32mins.  IMDb rating: 8/10.

Similar titles: Monsters University, Mike’s New Car

Classic shows and movies on Disney+: 2005 – 2008

In the mid-aughts, The Dark Knight cemented the Joker as one of the most unforgettable movie villains, while light-hearted favorites like The Office and 30 Rock won audiences everywhere. And for better or worse, Keeping Up with the Kardashians debuted and changed pop culture as we know it. Here is the best Disney+ content from this era. 

Hannah Montana (2006 – 2010)

Although Miley Stewart seems like a regular teenager, at night she morphs into Hannah Montana, an ultra-famous pop star. Because she just wants to be normal, Miley works hard to keep her identity a secret from everyone but her closest friends and family.

Episode length: 24 mins. Number of seasons: 4. IMDb rating: 5/10.

Similar titles: Hannah Montana the Movie, Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (2005 – 2007)

Twin brothers Zack and Cody have it made. Holed up with their mom in an upscale Boston hotel, the boys’ wild antics keep hotel visitors on their toes and land them in some sticky situations.

Episode length: 23 mins. Number of seasons: 3. IMDb rating: 6.4/10.

Similar titles: The Suite Life: On Deck, The Suite Life Movie

WALL-E (2008)

In the not-too-distant future, Earth’s natural resources have been gobbled up by humankind. Now the only thing that can survive the harsh conditions is the humble and lovable WALL-E, who has been sent to tidy up the planet. After meeting fellow robot EVE, the two embark on the journey of a lifetime — across the galaxy. 

Movie length: 1h 39 mins. IMDb rating: 8.4/10.

Similar titles: Cars, Brave

Classic shows and movies on Disney+: 2009 – 2012

TV started to step up its game in the late 2000s and early 2010s, with the official debut of the wildly popular Game of Thrones. The era also witnessed the release of the first Avengers movie. Here are some of the most memorable Disney shows and movies from the late 2000s and early 2010s. 

The Suite Life On Deck (2008 – 2010)

Zack and Cody Martin are back in a The Suite Life of Zack and Cody spinoff  — but this time they have moved aboard the S.S. Tipton, are on to new adventures and up to more mischief. 

Episode length: 30 min. Number of seasons: 3. IMDb rating: 6.2/10.  

Similar titles: Hannah Montana, The Suite Life Movie

Tangled (2010)

Based on a classic fairytale, Tangled is the story of beautiful Rapunzel, a princess who has been locked in a tower by an old hag. When a handsome prince seeks refuge in the tower where Rapunzel lives, the two team up and plot a daring escape, so the princess can finally enjoy a taste of life on the outside. 

Movie length: 1h 40 mins. IMDb rating: 7.7/10.

Similar titles: Tangled, the Series, Frozen

Up (2009)

Cranky curmudgeon Carl Fredricksen is fed up with city life and hatches a plan to float away in his beloved house with the help of thousands of balloons. Joined by a boy named Russell and a dog named Dug, the three embark on an adventure that takes them high into the clouds and lands them in the South American wilderness. 

Movie length: 1h 36 mins. IMDb rating: 8.2/10.

Similar titles: Dug’s Special Mission, George and A.J. 

The takeaway

With subscriptions to Disney+ starting at a very reasonable $6.99/mo., or $69.99/yr., it is easy for Gen Z’ers to take a trip down memory lane without breaking the bank. The service also has a bundle package that includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for just $12.99/mo. — perfect for those looking for cost-effective cable entertainment. And Disney+ gives subscribers the option to add up to seven profiles to one account, stream to four different devices simultaneously and enjoy all the classics in 4K and HDR. 

Ready to get nostalgic? Head over to Disney+ and start a free seven-day trial now. 

Suzanna Colberg

Suzanna Colberg specializes in both print articles and search engine optimized web content. Her stories have been published in Massage Magazine, Grand Rapids Magazine, AAA Magazine, and SwitchedOn Leadership magazine. As a senior copywriter and content strategist in Chicago, Suzanna has worked with clients that run the gamut from healthcare to agriculture to hearing aids, human resources software, finance and more.