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We Love Animals

What Forgotten Disney Channel Stars Look Like And What They Do Now

On October 16, 1923, Walt Disney and his brother Roy founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in Hollywood, California. The studio, now known as the Walt Disney Company, had a massive effect on the entertainment business and is today one of the world’s major media corporations.

How massive? Well, are Pixar and Marvel big enough? And these two powerhouse studios are not even Disney’s most prolific studios.

No, that honor belongs to the company itself. With Disney now owning multiple franchises and companies, it is easy to forget how this giant is also the mastermind behind multiple successful TV shows and movies. And of course, their stars and starlets.

Becoming a Disney star is the goal for many aspiring actors, but their 15 minutes only last for just that. While some Disney star manages to break out of their child star mold, others fade back to obscurity.

Thankfully, we manage to track down some of them. Don’t you feel old looking at these 10 former Disney stars now?

#1 Anneliese van der Pol — That’s So Raven

Source: © That’s So Raven / Disney© anneliesevanderpol / Instagram

In the iconic Disney series That’s So Raven, Anneliese van der Pol rose to fame as Chelsea Daniels, Raven Baxter’s (Raven-Symoné) best friend. The absent-minded, quirky and hearty girl is just as important as her two best friends: Raven and Eddie.

Although Anneliese does not have acting credits in cinema or television, she does have a long history in theater, where she has been working for the past 30 years. She has been in a number of well-known stage productions, including Sleeping Beauty, Grease, Beauty and the Beast, and Evita. Nonetheless, she has been reprising Chelsea in Raven’s House, a spin-off of the original series, since 2017.

#2 Brenda Song — The Suite Life of Zack & Cody

Source: © The Suite Life of Zack & Cody / Disney© brendasong / Instagram

Brenda Song started acting even before she started on Disney Channel, but she rose to fame as London Tipton in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and its sequels. A parody of Paris Hilton, London is the rich and pompous heiress from the Tipton Hotel, where her adventures took place with the twins and all the hotel’s employees.

Post Disney, she has also appeared in films and television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Station 19, Scandal, Dollface, and Secret Obsession. Quite a steady career in acting. Brenda is now acting on Dollface, a Hulu series.

#3 David Henrie — The Wizards of Waverly Place

Source: © Wizards of Waverly Place / Disney© davidhenrie / Instagram

Although David Henrie has been on huge shows like NCIS, House, and How I Met Your Mother, he only rose to prominence in The Wizards of Waverly Place as Justin Russo, the wiser brother of Alex (Selena Gomez). He also appears in The Suite Life on Deck and the Jonas Brothers’ sitcom Jonas LA.

David married in 2017 and had his first child, Pia Philomena Francesca, a girl named after Pope Francis. He named her after saying a prayer to the Pope. David is now sitting in the director’s chair; This Is The Year and Max & Me, his latest films, are now in post-production.

#4 Jason Earles — Hannah Montana

Source: © Hannah Montana / Disney© realdukeofearles / Instagram

On Disney biggest show Hannah Montana, Miley/Hannah’s goofy brother Jason Steward is played by Jason Earles. Without a doubt one of the series’ funniest characters, his outlandish awkwardness made us all giggle.

In addition to Hannah Montana, he also appeared in American Pie Presents: Band Camp. Following his role as Jackson, the actor appeared in Kickin’ It and Hotel Du Loone. He married his partner, Katie Drysen, in 2017, and now works as an acting coach away from the camera.

#5 Jake Thomas — Lizzie McGuire

Source: © Lizzie McGuire / Disney© sirjakethomas / Instagram

In Disney Channel’s first hit series, Jake Thomas portrayed Matt McGuire, Lizzie’s (Hilary Duff) mischievous younger brother. He was also set to reprise his role in the botched reboot of Lizzie McGuire.

Post-Disney, Jake Thomas has appeared in shows such as House, ER, and Cory in the House. He was also seen in the film The Unwilling and in an episode of S.W.A.T. Outside of acting, Jake is a photographer who created the advertising campaign for the previous season of the television show 13 Reasons Why.

#6 Keke Palmer — Jump In!

Source: © Jump In! / Disney© keke / Instagram

In the double-dutch movie Jump In!, Keke Palmer co-starred alongside the legendary Corbin Bleu as Mary Thomas. And yes, Disney has a movie about jumping ropes that challenge gender stereotype before that was even a thing!

Her time at Disney was not what propelled her to popularity, surprisingly. Keke had previously acted in films and television shows, such as ER, Law & Order, Grey’s Anatomy, Degrassi, and Scream Queens. In 2007, she published her debut album, So Uncool, and also recorded two EPs. She even has her own talk show.

#7 Sabrina Bryan — The Cheetah Girls

Source: © The Cheetah Girls 2: When In Spain / Disney© sabrina.bryan / Instagram

The Cheetah Girls is one of Dinsey Channel’s biggest TV franchises, with insane CD and merchandise sales. The cheery dancer Dorinda in the Cheetah Girls is played by Sabrina Bryan, from 2003 until 2008. The group crossovers into an actual act, and even record their own album.

But the group break up shortly after forming. Since then, she appeared in various dance films and on the television show Dancing with the Stars in 2007 and 2012. She’s been married since 2018 and is expecting her first kid.

#8 Allisyn Ashley Arm — Sonny with a Chance

Source: © Sonny with a Chance / Disney© alwaysallisyn / Instagram

Allisyn acting career began at the age of four, appearing in countless television advertisements, as well as in films and TV shows, such as Friends. Her breakout role came while appearing in Sonny with a Chance, where she portrayed Zora, a wild and zany actress, and also in Sonny’s spin-off, So Random!

Nowadays, she works on film production with her current spouse, Dylan Snyder. The pair founded the production company Watch The Footage Productions in 2015. Her most recent appearance as an actress was in the 2020 TV series A.P. Bio as Heather. She also directed a short film called Seek.

#9 Moisés Arias — Hannah Montana

Source: © Hannah Montana / Disney© 490tx / Instagram

In Hannah Montana, Moisés Arias portrayed the money-loving and scheming Rico. His constant tricks and schemes toward Jackson (Jason Earles) established him as one of the most admired and, at the same time, most despised characters of the popular TV show.

Despite his global fame, the Colombian-American actor has lengthy credits as supporting or side characters in films and television shows, the biggest one being the voice of Antonio Pérez in Despicable Me 2. He also works as a photographer when he doesn’t act.

#10 Kaycee Stroh — High School Musical

Source: © High School Musical / Disney© kaycstroh / Instagram

In the High School Musical trilogy, Kaycee Stroh portrayed East High’s geeky dancer who doesn’t want to stick to her status quo, wow! She received international fame as a result of the trilogy. Other than HSM, Kaycee has also appeared in Zac and Cody: Twins in Action.

She is currently the mother of two girls, Zetta and Lettie. Stroh is one of the HSM participants who pay tribute to the franchise the most on social media. We get a glimpse of her as Martha Cox at the Disney Family Sing-Along virtual concert, when she performed “We’re All in this Together” alongside her former castmates.

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