While Disney may be best-known for its classic animated movies, it's also created some pretty successful TV shows over the years. Its live-action and animated series have enthralled kids - and, in some cases, grown-ups - all over the world. Any 90s kids out there will probably remember rushing home from school to watch Even Stevens, or catching up on all of the latest episodes of That's So Raven. More recent fans might still be binge-watching old episodes of Star Wars Rebels. Even if you were more of a Cartoon Network kid, you've got to admit that some of Disney's offerings were worth a watch too.
However, as we all know, all good things must come to an end, and that includes TV shows. As it happens, pretty awful series come to a close eventually too! While you can see why Disney canceled some of its less popular shows, some were definitely axed way before their time. Whether it's down to business reasons, falling ratings, or even a major cast member quitting, lots of Disney creations have had to end despite the protestations of their legions of fans. Some were even forced off the air to make room for a new but unquestionably inferior series!
We've put together a list of the Disney shows that were canceled for the most interesting of reasons - including quite a few that probably shouldn't have been axed at all. Some of these series were once Disney's flagship shows; others were more low-key creations that you might not have heard of. However, all of them probably still have fans out there that wish they'd never been canceled.
25 Sonny With A Chance
After her success in the Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock, Demi Lovato took to the small screen in the short-lived TV series Sonny With A Chance. The show followed the adventures of the titular Sonny, a well-meaning and plucky aspiring comedian. Sonny With A Chance was a real hit with viewers.
So why did it end after just two seasons on air?
The answer lies in Demi Lovato's personal issues. In 2010, Lovato had to remove herself from the production for personal issues. She was unable to take part in the show any longer, so it was promptly canceled.
24 So Random!
While Disney ended up canceling Sonny With A Chance, it tried to carry on the show's storyline in a spin-off. So Random! was a sketch comedy show that starred every single Sonny cast member aside from Demi Lovato. While Disney desperately wanted to keep this franchise going, it just wasn't to be. So Random! just wasn't as good as Sonny With A Chance. Without Demi Lovato, the franchise lost most of its spark. So Random! was canceled after just one season on the air.
23 Even Stevens
Remember when Shia LeBeouf was nothing but a bright-eyed child star, and not a "performance artist" intent on surprising the Internet every two minutes? Yeah... Those were good days. Even Stevens was LeBeouf's big break, and it was a pretty popular show. It followed the lives of various members of the Stevens family, from straight-laced Ren to immature Louis. Despite getting good ratings, the show was canceled after three seasons. The reason? At the time, Disney didn't let any of its shows run for more than 65 episodes. Not even the good ones!
22 Good Luck Charlie
Good Luck Charlie is one of those Disney shows that seemed to end for no apparent reason. Like, we'd understand if a major character had decided to leave, or if ratings were slipping... But this show had everything going for it! Fans loved its cute premise, its slapstick humor, and its often progressive storylines.
One episode even featured a gay couple - a big step for a Disney show!
However, none of these things could save Good Luck Charlie from cancellation in 2013. It seems like Disney just decided it was time to pull the plug on the show.
Not many shows can say they were canceled because one of their stars got arrested. However, PrankStars can count itself a part of this "elite" group! The show was basically a child-friendly version of Punk'd. It was hosted by Hannah Montana star Mitchel Musso and saw various kids meet their celebrity idols in funny set-up situations. It was all going so well... Until Musso's 2011 arrest for driving while impaired. The show was immediately pulled from the air, and PrankStars was later officially canceled.
At the height of the Jonas Brothers' popularity, Disney decided that it was a good idea to give Nick, Joe, and Kevin their own TV show. In theory, it was a great idea - the brothers had legions of fans, and anything starring them was bound to be a hit! Unfortunately, though, Jonas turned out to be too terrible to engage even the most dedicated Jonas Brothers fans. The acting was criticized, the show's premise was weak, and ratings quickly started to decline. The show was cut in 2010 after just two seasons.
19 Kim Possible
Is anyone else still a little bit upset about the fact that Kim Possible got canceled? It's been over a decade since the animated series concluded, and it still feels like it was cut too soon. This was another wildly popular Disney franchise that was canceled simply because the channel decided it was time for it to end. The creators quit while they were ahead and drew Kim Possible to a close when it was still seen as an amazing show. At least we've got the live-action movie to look forward to!
18 Take Two With Phineas and Ferb
On the face of it, Take Two With Phineas and Ferb was a pretty cool concept for a show. These popular animated characters "interviewed" a range of celebrities in a flurry of two-minute-long shows.
The show attracted some big stars, too!
Taylor Swift, Larry King, and Seth Rogen all made appearances during Take Two's brief run. Even they couldn't save the show, though. Disney quietly ended it after just one season. Nobody’s quite sure why to this day! We can only assume that Take Two just didn't take off as spectacularly as Disney had hoped.
17 Hannah Montana
What happens when the lead star of a Disney series wants to "grow up" a bit sooner than producers were hoping? The show gets canceled, of course! That's exactly what happened with the wildly popular series Hannah Montana. Miley Cyrus - the star of the show - admitted in interviews that she got a bit sick of putting across a squeaky-clean, Disney-friendly image. Things started to go awry when she was seen dancing "inappropriately" at the Teen Choice Awards in 2009. Both Disney and Cyrus eventually decided that her time as Hannah Montana should come to an end.
16 Girl Meets World
As a spin-off of the popular sitcom Boy Meets World, the Disney Channel's Girl Meets World had a lot to live up to. For the most part, it succeeded! The show was praised for its mix of comedy and hard-hitting storylines. However, in 2017, Disney canceled the show - much to the devastation of its fans and creators alike. It was rumored that the lead characters were growing too old to be suitable Disney Channel role models. Initially, it looked like Girl Meets World might be picked up by another network. However, these negotiations ultimately went nowhere.
15 Shake It Up
Before Zendaya was taking Hollywood by storm thanks to her role in The Greatest Showman, she was a popular Disney Channel actress. Alongside Bella Thorne, she was the star of Shake It Up from 2010 to 2013. The show chronicled the lives of two best friends as they make a career as back-up dancers. It was incredibly well-received but seemed to fall foul of Disney's policy of canceling shows at the height of their popularity. Shake It Up lasted for just three seasons, losing one of its main cast members - Kenton Duty - along the way.
Does anyone out there actually remember this failed Suite Life of Zack and Cody spin-off? Yep... Disney actually tried to base a show around Arwin the engineer, a much-loved recurring character in the series. They even filmed a pilot episode in 2007 that starred a pre-fame Selena Gomez! Arwin! would have seen the titular character leave his post at the Tipton Hotel and move in with his sister. Gomez would have portrayed Alexa, Arwin's niece. Sadly, the pilot was never picked up, and this show was canceled before it even had a chance to get going!
13 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody
Speaking of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the reason for this show's cancellation has to be unique! Disney decided to end the series to make way for its sequel, The Suite Life on Deck! For some reason, Disney Channel producers decided that the hotel-based setting of the show had become boring and that moving everyone onto a cruise ship would be the right way forward. So, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody was canceled, and the new show premiered pretty soon afterward.
12 Cory In The House
While Arwin! never actually made it to our screens, one Disney Channel spin-off most certainly did! Cory in The House was the follow-up to That's So Raven. It featured Raven's brother Cory, who moved to Washington, D.C. and casually got to hang out in the White House.
Hey, it's a perk when your dad is the head chef!
While Cory in The House was initially pretty popular when it premiered in 2007, its ratings quickly started to decline. Disney eventually gave up on its first spin-off after just two seasons.
11 Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything
Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything had a pretty unique premise among Disney shows! It wasn't a comedy about a tweenage girl who finds fame or a family-based sitcom. Instead, it followed a teenage professional gamer who goes by the nickname Kid Fury! Unfortunately, Gamer's Guide picked up pretty disappointing ratings from the get-go, and things only got worse in its second season. Disney decided to cut its losses and cancel the show - much to the annoyance of its creator, Devin Bunje, who said it was a "business decision, not a creative one". Ouch.
10 Star Wars Rebels
Ever since the first Star Wars movie hit the big screen back in 1977, the franchise has been incredibly popular. It's gained a whole new generation of fans thanks to its new sequel movies, a fact that Disney decided to cash in on. Star Wars Rebels was an animated series that aired on Disney XD until 2018. It wasn't canceled because it lost popularity or ratings - if anything, its fan base was getting larger! However, the plot of the show was quickly catching up with the timeline of the movies, so it was ended to minimize any crossover.
9 Lizzie McGuire
Ah, Lizzie McGuire - the tween drama that cast Hillary Duff into the limelight. We all enjoyed watching Lizzie navigate the trials of school and her home life, with her best pals Miranda and Gordo by her side. And who can forget the iconic Lizzie McGuire movie? Unfortunately, even the immense popularity of this show couldn't save it from Disney's 65-episode curse. It ended after just two seasons on the air after hitting this arbitrary milestone. Seriously, Disney. Why 65? Why not 100 episodes, or, you know, as many as the public wants?!
8 American Dragon: Jake Long
American Dragon: Jake Long had a really cool concept for a Disney show. This animated series chronicled the adventures of the titular Jake, a young boy who just happened to have to power to turn into a dragon.
Like, an actual dragon.
The popularity of the show was evidenced in the fact that its lead characters made an image in another of Disney's shows, Lilo and Stitch. However, American Dragon was canceled after its second season, for reasons that Disney never thought to elaborate on. Was it down to ratings? Did the show's makers simply get bored? We'll never know.
7 Flash Forward
In case you're wondering, no, Disney didn't secretly create ABC's 2009 sci-fi show FlashForward. Its show of the same name was a teen drama that aired back in the 1990s! In fact, it was the first show ever released with the title "Disney Channel Original Series".
Flash Forward followed the school-day adventures of two eighth-graders called Tucker and Rebecca. Its first two seasons were pretty popular, leading to the show being renewed for a third run... Which, bizarrely, was never actually produced. The show was never officially canceled, exactly - it just... Stopped. Weird, huh?
6 Good Morning, Miss Bliss
You might know this late-1980s school drama by another name. Good Morning, Miss Bliss was actually a precursor to the hit teen drama Saved By The Bell! Unfortunately, though, Good Morning was much less successful than its spin-off. It featured some of the characters from Saved By The Bell in their middle-school years - Zack, Lisa, and Screech to be precise! After this show basically bombed in the ratings, Disney swiftly decided to cancel it. However, it was picked up again by NBC, given a bit of a makeover, and retooled as Saved By The Bell!
5 The Famous Jett Jackson
Another great Disney show, another victim of the 65-episode curse. The Famous Jett Jackson was a standout late-90s comedy show that followed the titular Jett, a teenage boy who happens to be a famous actor. He portrays a secret agent on a popular TV show and also tries to keep up a normal teenage life in his North Carolina hometown. The show dealt with some pretty heavy-hitting topics during its three-season run, gaining lots of praise in the process. Its fans were pretty shocked when it was canceled in 2001, and we can see why.
4 Best Friends Whenever
Who doesn't love a good time-travel comedy show? Disney's Best Friends Whenever saw two best friends, Cyd and Shelby, gaining the power to travel through time. The show chronicled their adventures as they traveled to various points in the past and future. While Best Friends Whenever's first season was pretty popular, things got a bit formulaic in season two and the show's ratings began to decline. Ultimately, Disney decided not to renew it for a third season. It seems a shame, really: think of all of the possibilities they had with the time-travel mechanic!
3 Madison High
Madison High is another Disney spin-off show that was canceled before it even made it to the small screen! Following the huge success of the High School Musical franchise, Disney decided to cash in and come up with a related TV series. Madison High would have featured Troy and Gabriella's former drama teacher, Ms. Darbus, presumably inspiring the next generation of jocks and math geeks to star in school productions. Disney actually produced a pilot for the series, but it failed to impress. Madison High wasn't picked up for a full season and was shelved indefinitely.
2 Liv And Maddie
One thing about Disney's Liv and Maddie made it a pretty unique show. Its star Dove Cameron played both of the titular twins! Of course, one twin - Liv - was a girly girl, and one - Maddie - was a tomboy. It wouldn't be a Disney show if there weren't some cliches involved! Liv and Maddie lasted for a lot longer than some of the shows on this list. It was four seasons and 80 episodes in when Disney decided to cancel it. However, low ratings eventually led to its cancelation.
1 Wander Over Yonder
Wander Over Yonder was a seriously underrated animated Disney show. It was created by Craig McCracken, the same guy who gave us The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. The series followed the adventures of Wander, an intergalactic explorer who travels across the galaxy having fun.
It was a smash hit and even won an Emmy Award.
However, Wander Over Yonder only lasted for two seasons. Even though McCracken had a whole third season planned out, it was rejected by Disney high-ups.