10 Disney Channel Stars Who Never Lived Up To The Hype (+ 15 Who Found Fame)

There's something magical about Disney.

From its castles and fairytales to its successful children's shows on the Disney Channel, whatever and whoever is touched by Disney is instantly skyrocketed to fame. Including the 25 stars on this list, who were associated with the company when they were children or teens.

Only, not every Disney Channel star retains their fame and becomes even bigger once they stop working for the entertainment behemoth. Some simply fizzle out because they realize much too late that it was Disney's star power that blessed them with fame, rather than their own talent.

But the ones who do manage to become breakout stars once they shed their Disney-imposed personas have all become living legends. There are many household names these days that hark from Disney, even if current fans don't realize it.

So here are 15 Disney Channel stars who found fame after Disney. And 10 who never lived up to the hype created by their respective shows.

From singing sensations who have sold gold and platinum albums to struggling actors who barely make it with the bit roles they are cast in these days, the following list both cheered our hearts with nostalgia and made us sad in equal measure.

So let's dive in without any delay!

25 Miley Cyrus: The Breakout Star


Were we the only kids who thought Hannah Montana was based on real-life events and not a fictional storyline whipped up the writers of Disney? Well, it's still embarrassing to admit that after all these years!

Anyhoo, after Miley shed her squeaky-clean Disney image, she quickly rose to super-stardom with every new album and single release.

And who can forget 'Wrecking Ball'? The single that sparked so much controversy and even inspired many college-grounds pranks.

So yes, Disney Miley is no longer around. But super A-lister Miley is. And now freshly married to the youngest Hemsworth brother.

24 Demi Lovato: Sonny Made The Most Of Her Chance


She lit up our TV screens with her bright and sunny personality on Sonny with a Chance. And then made us scream like possessed fangirls when she starred in Camp Rock and shared some sweet on-screen moments with Joe Jonas (which then went off-screen for a while too).

That's when we knew she was going to be big on the music scene. And thankfully, we were not wrong!

So yes, Demi Lovato was born to be a star. With or without Disney. And every hit single and album just keeps proving that.

23 Lindsay Lohan: Now A Businesswoman On Reality TV


Lindsay Lohan was on the path to A-list glory. Right from when she was a kid and cast as the twins Hallie and Annie in The Parent Trap. After all, her acting skills were so good that we actually thought the twins were real-life twins.

And she kept landing great roles even after she left Disney. Especially in Mean Girls and Herbie: Fully Loaded.

But all that went down the drain once it became apparent that she was losing her grip on real life with her lifestyle choices.

Now, Lindsay Lohan is back with her MTV reality show Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club. And only time will tell what is to come next.

22 Shia LaBeouf: JUST DO IT!


Shia LaBeouf got his start in the reel world playing Louis Stevens on Even Stevens. A show that made us laugh (when we streamed it after almost a decade) and groan because Louis was never up to any good.

And then he quickly transitioned to the world outside Disney by landing roles in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the Transformers movie franchise. Thus, stamping his name on the A-list beyond just a Disney child star.

Plus, who can forget that inspirational video where he screams "JUST DO IT!" over and over again as he urges us to stop being lazy and "JUST DO IT!". #memegoldmine

21 Zendaya: On The A-List


Zendaya began her work as a Disney star alongside Bella Thorne in the hit TV series Shake It Up. And then she starred as a contestant on 'Season 16' of Dancing with the Stars. Then she quickly followed that up with another hit Disney series, K.C. Undercover, where she played the lead role.

Well, eager to prove that she wasn't just a Disney star, she auditioned for the role of Michelle "MJ" Jones in Spider-Man: Homecoming and landed it, and then was cast in The Greatest Showman.

So yes, it's not a fluke or luck that won her more the 50 million followers on social media!

20 Vanessa Hudgens: Fizzled Out


Vanessa Hudgens was on the right track to fame when she landed the lead role of Gabriella in High School Musical opposite Zac Efron. The Disney Channel original movie became so popular that it led to two sequels and a spin-off.

But then one picture broke it all for her. A picture that was too compromising for the G-rated esthetic of the Disney franchise. And which could not be hidden away in the age of the internet.

Well, Hudgens tried her best to come back from that controversial media moment, but her non-Disney roles did not seem to strike a chord with anyone.

19 Nick Jonas: Stop, Heart!


Youngest JoBro, Nick Jonas, shot to massive fame alongside his older brothers Joe and Kevin when Disney picked them up with Year 3000. And then year after year, the brothers pumped out albums that delighted fans in every corner of the world.

So, when they announced that they were splitting up, most people thought that would be the end for the brothers. Only, it was not.

And Nick went on to have a super-successful solo stint in both the music and movie industry, releasing hit singles like 'Jealous', 'Close', and 'Chains', and landing a big role in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle that's scheduled to release a sequel soon. Oh, and the boys are back together now, too.

18 Justin Timberlake: Hitting High Notes Since 1996


Justin Timberlake got his start on The Mickey Mouse Club alongside Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, and Christina Aguilera. And then quickly rose to fame beyond Disney when he joined the band NSYNC.

His solo run was even more incredible, with hit releases like 'What Goes Around, Comes Around', 'Cry me a River', and 'Mirrors'.

He took a hiatus from singing between 2008 to 2012 to pursue acting and starred in hit movies like Friends with Benefits and In Time. But he's back to the music scene now and amazing us just as he has always done.

17 Raven-Symoné: Not Exactly In The Limelight


Who can forget Raven from That's So Raven? The storyline was really cool and every episode left us rolling on the floor when Raven tried to prevent her vision from coming true and only ended up making it happen regardless.

Well, Raven-Symoné could not shake off Raven from That's So Raven, even when she starred in The Cheetah Girls.

So yeah, this Disney star is not exactly in the limelight anymore. Of course, that could change with her Disney reboot, Raven's Home, which follows the grown-up Raven's experiences raising twins (one of whom has visions, too).

16 Debby Ryan: Totally Insatiable


Debby Ryan amassed a lot of fame when she worked for Disney. First appearing on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, then The Wizards of Waverly Place before landing her very own show Jessie between 2011 to 2015.

Her work took a downturn after that, which led her to questionable lifestyle choices. But it all seems to be on the mend now since she landed the lead role in Netflix's Insatiable. But only time will tell if she was rise to fame once again like back in her Disney days.

15 Britney Spears: Love Her, Leave Her, She Doesn't Care


Britney Spears auditioned for a part in The Mickey Mouse Club when she was eight but was rejected for being too young. But her talent impressed the casting director, who recommended her mother to get her professional training as a performance artist.

Well, it worked, because three years later she joined Disney on the same show with Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera. And then went to enjoy massive fame when her music took off after her relatively short stint with Disney.

14 Brenda Song: Suite Life Is Over


Brenda Song delighted everyone with her hilarious portrayal of London Tipton in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and then The Suite Life on Deck. In fact, she was so good that people were surprised when they realized she was quite different in real life compared to spoiled and not-so-smart London on the show.

Anyhoo, she transitioned to a non-Disney path by landing a small role in The Social Network but has since then starred only in small movies and played recurring roles in sitcoms.

But while her acting did not flourish after Disney, she did achieve some fame because of her relationship with Macaulay Culkin.

13 Ashley Tisdale: A Real Life Sharpay


Ashley Tisdale began her Disney stint playing Maddie in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and then The Suite Life on Deck. But the role for which she became really famous was Sharpay Evans, the antagonist twin in High School Musical. She was even given her very own spin-off for a while.

She eventually moved away from Disney and landed a recording deal with Warner Bros. Studio. But her musical path fizzled out after one year of hits. And now she mostly stars in small movies. However, that doesn't mean she's not still in the industry; these days, Ashley is a producer behind the cameras instead.

12 Zac Efron: Looks Don't Lie


Zac Efron worked as a child star on many shows and movies before he landed his breakthrough role as Troy Bolton in Disney's High School Musical. He then reprised the role in the two sequels.

But he quickly transitioned out of Disney by landing leading roles in movies like 17 Again and We Are Your Friends, and Hairspray.

More recently, he has been trying to break out of the romantic hero mold by acting in and producing movies that cover, shall we say, edgier subjects. Like, the documentary on Ted Bundy.

11 Kyle Massey: Lacked Star Quality


Kyle Massey became famous for playing the role of Raven's younger brother, Cory, in That's So Raven. It was a mischievous role and hilarious to boot. And then he reprised the role again in the spinoff show Cory in the House, which did not do as well.

But his fame tanked once he stopped working with Disney. And while he does appear in sitcoms and shows every now and then, they aren't memorable enough to make a splash in the news or on most Disney fans' radars.

10 Ryan Gosling: Yes, That Happened


Ryan Gosling began his acting stint on The Mickey Mouse Club with Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears. But he became even more famous once he became a mainstream actor. Especially when The Notebook became an international success.

He has since then been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Half Nelson. And even won a Golden Globe for La La Land.

His acting trajectory is at its all-time peak now, with his most-recent success being Blade Runner 2049.

9 Selena Gomez: Too Much Drama


Selena Gomez began acting on Barney & Friends before she landed a recurring role in Disney's Hannah Montana and became more famous. But real fame came only after she got her own show, playing Alex Russo in the Wizards of Waverly Place.

But she did not fizzle out once her stint with Disney was over. Nope. She went on to conquer the music industry with her hit singles and albums. She is now is a massive A-lister, and most fans have followed her from her Alex days with respect for how much she's grown.

8 Mitchel Musso: Behind-The-Scenes Now


Mitchel Musso's heart-shaped face and messy hair became famous when he landed the role of Miley's friend Oliver in Hannah Montana. And then he was cast in the lead role of King Brady in the series Pair of Kings.

But his acting stint was clipped short when he decided to dip his toes in the music industry. Not because he wasn't good. He was. His album reached #19 on the Billboard 200. But because he got in trouble with the law, Disney decided to write his character out Pair of Kings and cancel the show PrankStars in which he was supposed to star.

He never managed to rise to fame after that.

7 Joe Jonas: Talk To Me, Baby


Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers became really popular after Disney picked up 'Year 3000'. And then he went on to star in Camp Rock opposite Demi Lovato, among other Disney roles.

So, long story short: Disney made him and his brothers famous. But he didn't fizzle out once their band split up.

Instead, he went on to form the band DNCE, which became crazy famous for their single 'Cake by the Ocean' (along with other hits). And now that the JoBros are back, his fame has skyrocketed once more.

6 Christina Aguilera: Mousekeeter, But Not For Long


Christina Aguilera began her Disney journey singing the theme song for Mulan. She then starred in The Mickey Mouse Club for two seasons with Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake.

But she transitioned out of Disney quickly and rose to critical fame as a singing sensation, featuring in Maroon 5's 'Moves Like Jagger' and 'Lady Marmalade' in Moulin Rouge.

In the course of her work as a singer and songwriter, she has won 6 Grammys and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She even starred in the hit musical Burlesque with Cher.

5 Emily Osment: Couldn't Break Through


Emily Osment was famous as a child star before she joined Disney. All because of her role as Gerti Giggles in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.

She became even more famous when she was cast as Miley's friend, Lily, on Disney's Hannah Montana and the Hannah Montana movie. She also starred in the Disney Channel original movies Dadnapped and The Haunting Hour but wasn't as famous for it.

So by the time she transitioned out of Disney, she had already suffered a bit of fame loss, but these days she's working on more mature shows like Young & Hungry.

4 Hilary Duff: Total Heartbreaker


She became famous as Lizzie McGuire on Disney Channel. And then went on to star in The Lizzie McGuire Movie.

Well, Hilary Duff was born for fame. Because once she stopped working for Disney, she became an even bigger star, starring in many hit romantic comedies like Agent Cody Banks, A Cinderella Story, and Cheaper by the Dozen and its sequel.

As for her phenomenal path in music, that too was started off by Walt Disney Records before she moved on to Hollywood Records and produced hit albums that were certified gold and platinum.

3 Cole Sprouse: Not Cody, Jughead


Who can forget Cody from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody? The nerdier twin who always tried to be the voice of reason but ultimately couldn't stop the mischievous ways of his brother Zack.

Well, Cole Sprouse and his brother disappeared from the limelight to finish their college education after The Suite Life on Deck was wrapped up. Of course, that's not all he's been doing (check out his photography, for one thing).

But now he's back. But as a Netflix star because of his role as Jughead in the hit series Riverdale.

2 Dylan Sprouse: Videogames For Life


Dylan Sprouse became uber famous when he was cast as Zack in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. And the popularity of the show led to the spin-off The Suite Life on Deck, which the Sprouse twins have said in interviews was based on a script they submitted to Disney because they wanted to write for their show.

But unlike his brother, Dylan chose not to return to the reel world after he graduated from Game Design school (though he has done some indie work). He has instead has opened a meadery in Brooklyn called All-Wise Meadery, based on mead recipes he perfected while in college.

1 Aly Michalka: Kinda Not Relevant Anymore


Aly Michalka became really famous when she was cast as Phil Diffy's crush in the Disney series Phil of the Future. She quickly transitioned out of Disney by landing a small role in the Emma Stone-starred Easy A.

But her professional life post-Disney has not been as famous. And while she does have a supporting role in CW's iZombie, it isn't big enough to land her back on the A-list.

She was also part of the musical duo Aly & AJ with her sister, but that did not receive much fame or success.

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