The Millennial’s guide to Disney+

Childhood TV shows and movies will always hold a special place in many peoples’ hearts. Now the new video streaming service Disney+ – which launched on 12 November 2019 – brings the memories flooding back with a huge catalog of classics that will render you teary-eyed with nostalgia.

We reviewed the best classic shows and movies that Disney has to offer from the childhoods of millennials, people born between 1981 and 1996. We provided a brief reminder of the storyline of each show or movie, the length of episode or movie, number of seasons and the rating provided by online database IMDb.

Classic shows and movies on Disney+: 1981 to 1984

The early 1980s saw shows like Cheers, Fraggle Rock, Knight Rider and Miami Vice first appear on our TV screens, as well as the launch of MTV in 1981. It also brought us classic movies like E.T., Ghostbusters, The Terminator, The Shining and our first taste of Indiana Jones. Disney+ doesn’t give us too much to get excited about from this era, but here are our picks of the best it has to offer from the early ‘80s.

The Great Muppet Caper (1981)

Newspaper reporters Kermit, The Great Gonzo and Fozzie Bear go to Britain to interview a rich fashion designer whose diamond necklace has been stolen. Kermit falls in love with the designer’s secretary, Miss Piggy, and sets about finding the jewel thieves.

Movie length: 1h 37 mins. IMDb rating: 7.2/10.

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981)

An animated series in which Spider-Man forms The Spider Friends alliance with fellow superheroes Iceman and Firestar. They battle a range of Marvel Comic villains and encounter other heroes from across the Marvel Universe.

Episode length: 22 mins. Number of seasons: 3. IMDb rating: 7.2/10.

Tron (1982)

Jeff Bridges stars as a hacker and arcade owner who gets thrown into a computer game and does battle in a series of gladiatorial games.

Movie length: 1h 36 mins. IMDb Rating: 6.8/10.

Additional titles to stream on Disney+

Amy (1981), The Fox and the Hound (1981), Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (1983)

Classic shows and movies on Disney+: 1985 to 1988

The second half of the 1980s saw even more great TV, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Roseanne and The Wonder Years. And who can forget that era’s iconic movies like Aliens, Back To The Future, Die Hard and Stand By Me? Here’s what to watch first for your second batch of nostalgic viewing on Disney+.

Flight of the Navigator (1986)

A boy is abducted by an alien ship in 1978, goes on an eight-year adventure, then returns having not aged a day.

Movie length: 1h 30 mins. IMDb rating: 6.9/10.

DuckTales (1987-1990)

Donald Duck joins the Navy and leaves his nephews in the care of miserly old billionaire Scrooge McDuck. This classic animated TV series follows the treasure-hunting adventures of Hewey, Dewey, Louie and their uncle.

Episode length: 23 mins. Number of seasons: 4. IMDb rating: 8.0/10.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

A true classic of the late 1980s, this movie broke ground with its interactions between real actors and animated characters. It’s probably best remembered for glamorous Jessica Rabbit, who Roger worries is cheating on him. Roger hires detective Eddie Valiant, played by Bob Hoskins, to spy on her.

Movie length: 1h 44 mins. IMDb rating: 7.7.

Additional titles to stream on Disney+ 

The Journey of Natty Gann (1985), One Magic Christmas (1985), Willow (1988)

Classic shows and movies on Disney+: 1989 to 1992

Many memorable TV shows emerged in the early 1990s, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Seinfeld and The Simpsons. It was also a time of timeless movies like Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs and Schindler’s List. Here’s the finest content you can look forward to from this period on Disney+.

Chip’n’Dale Rescue Rangers (1989-1990)

Disney’s original animated chipmunks starred as a crime-fighting duo who started a detective agency. Episode length: 22 mins. Number of seasons: 3. IMDb rating: 7.6/10.

Home Alone (1990)

The McCallister family takes a Christmas vacation to Paris. The only problem is they left 8-year-old Kevin, played by Macauley Culkin, home alone in New York. The film follows his adventures, including ordering takeaway pizza, making a mess and apprehending two burglars who try to rob the house on Christmas Eve. Disney+ also has Home Alone 2 and Home Alone 3 available, perfect for a Sunday afternoon movie session.

Movie length: 1h 43 mins. IMDb rating: 7.6/10.

The Witches (1990)

Forget teary-eyed nostalgia, how about terrifying nostalgia? The movie, based on the book by Roald Dahl, follows a recently orphaned boy whose grandmother takes him to England. They stay at a hotel on the seaside which is overtaken by a convention of witches that have gathered to rid the country of children.

Movie length: 1h 31 mins. IMDb rating: 6.8/10.

The Mighty Ducks (1992)

Lawyer Gordon Bombay faces his peewee hockey demons when he begins coaching a junior hockey team. He takes on a bunch of misfits in this heartwarming rags to glory story. Disney is currently developing a brand new Mighty Ducks series. Movie length: 1h 40 mins. IMDb rating: 6.5/10.

Additional titles to stream on Disney+

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (1989), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Turner & Hooch (1989), Sister Act (1992)

Classic shows and movies on Disney+: 1993 to 1996

The mid-1990s produced a true treasure trove of great TV shows, with the likes of Friends, Frasier and The X-Files becoming instant cult classics. Good movies also kept on coming with titles like Clueless, Groundhog Day, Trainspotting and The Usual Suspects. Disney+ also has its fair share of quality shows and movies from the mid-1990s.

Boy Meets World (1993-2000)

This series follows the adventures of schoolboy Cory Matthews, his best friend Shawn Hunter and Cory’s love interest Topanga. The two aren’t popular with girls, have a bunch of enemies at school and regularly get into trouble with the principal, Mr. Feeny.

Episode length: 23 mins. Number of seasons:7. IMDb rating: 8.1/10.

The Lion King (1994)

Many fans consider this one of the greatest animation movies ever made. The film follows the life of a young lion prince forced out of his pride by his cruel uncle. He grows up thinking he caused the death of his father but discovers his true identity as he comes of age.

Movie length: 1h 28 mins. IMDb rating: 8.5/10.

Toy Story (1995)

What happens when children leave their bedrooms? Their toys come out to play, of course. This Pixar classic brought us the adventures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and their animated toy friends for the first time.

Movie length: 1h 21 mins. IMDb rating: 8.3/10.

Jumanji (1995)

This family favorite revolves around a supernatural board game that unleashes jungle-based destruction with every turn. Robin Williams stars alongside a young Kirsten Dunst.

Movie length: 1h 44 mins. IMDb rating: 7.0

Additional titles to stream on Disney+

Hocus Pocus (1993), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), 101 Dalmatians (1996), The Three Musketeers (1993)

The takeaway

Disney+ provides a wealth of classic content for anyone dying to revisit the shows and movies they grew up with. The streaming service provides ad-free access to thousands of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, National Geographic and 20th Century Fox titles that Disney now has rights to, which also includes all the Star Wars films.

Disney+ launched on November 12, and the service is available for $6.99/mo. An annual subscription will set you back $69.99. The service also offers a $12.99/mo. option that throws in Hulu and ESPN+ for the ultimate cord-cutting cable replacement. Disney+ subscribers receive seven account profiles and can watch 4K and HDR quality video across four simultaneous streams. If you’re ready for your childhood classics streaming marathon, you can try the service out with a seven-day free trial.

Rob Latham

Contributing Writer

Rob Latham is a writer focused on technology, music, entertainment and sports. He is particularly passionate about the role that technology plays in improving peoples’ lives and helping businesses to work more effectively. He’s written marketing content for global B2B technology brands and start-ups, founded his own music blog and is a regular contributor to soccer publications. His professional background is in content marketing, public relations and journalism, and he has a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.