As a kid of the Disney Channel era, there was nothing like running home after getting off the bus from school and switching on the TV set. It was even more perfect when we had snacks and our best friend with us, especially when we made it just in time for one of our favorite shows.
Even more exciting was hearing the news that our favorite Disney stars would soon be appearing in a Disney Channel original movie... that's the kind of anticipation we all knew as kids.
Not only did these stars make our childhood great, but they also made us laugh, surprised us, and, at times, gave us some serious feels. No matter which phase of Disney Channel a person was part of, the common thread is always the stars that seemed to transcend time in order to bring a bit of joy to our tiny human lives. Now that we're all adults, we often forget sometimes that they, too, are adults... which is actually the reason for this article!
Not everyone went on to thrive on their fame, but many did, and those who didn't have gone on to create other projects and devote their time to personal passions. It's been a wild and crazy ride, and we're totally here for our favorite Disney star's glow-ups.
20 Brenda Song And An Interesting Acting History
While it's true that Brenda Song is known for her appearance on Disney Channel's The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, she actually held the title of child actress on several other shows, too. It wasn't until she was recognized in this role, however, that Disney paved the way for her work to really take off. She appeared in several other shows and movies on the channel and even had the chance to pose for Seventeen and Teen People.
As an adult, Brenda starred in The Social Network as well as on a variety of Fox dramas. Her glow-up has turned her into a true sitcom star, allowing her to blossom as an adult star, too.
19 Miley Cyrus Does It Best
We simply couldn't make this list without including Miley Cyrus, who is known for being one of the most popular Disney Channel stars thus far. Miley's fame was only kickstarted when she took on the role of Hannah Montana but continued to skyrocket as she got older. Her double life as a singer quickly became her real-life profession and she went on to not only star in several movies but to sell several albums, too.
She made news recently once again with her marriage to long-time beau Liam Hemsworth, and the two seem completely happy and in love. When we talk about a glow-up, it's clear that Miley did it best.
18 Zendaya Is Strong-Willed And Passionate As An Adult
Zendaya has made quite a name for herself and it all started with her role on the Disney Channel. At only 14 years old, she began a solid childhood acting run which then propelled her forward enough to land roles in several major movies—including playing a part in the MCU as Mary Jane. In 2012, she dabbled in the music world too, which led to her first album release before she went full-on into big-picture acting.
That's not all this gorgeous star does, though—she's also a self-proclaimed activist, not shying away from calling herself a feminist. She promotes self-love and equality on her social media platforms, making her a role model to many.
17 Vanessa Hudgens Remains Fairly Low-Key
While she might not be in any big-name movies, Vanessa Hudgens said in a recent interview with The Guardian that those roles just simply aren't her goal. Since filming High School Musical, of which the actress says it 'completely derailed' her from her intended acting goal, Vanessa has opted for indie movie roles instead. She has appeared in several well-known indie films in which she plays alternative characters which are vastly different from her previous teenage role in the popular Disney Channel movie.
Also, while her relationship with Zac Efron didn't last, she has been with fellow actor Austin Butler since 2011 and has remained friends with former co-star Ashley Tisdale.
16 Raven-Symone Has Embraced Everything Life Has To Offer
Raven-Symone has undergone quite the glow-up and now, in 2019, is seeming more like herself than she ever was as a teen star on the Disney Channel. In an interview with InStyle, the star says that now that she's 32, she has definitely 'made it' as far as her work, and we agree! Raven-Symone also said that her goal has always been purely to entertain fans and create content that's truly enjoyable to watch, which is admirable for an actress.
She has since returned to the Disney Channel for a spin-off of the show she originally starred on and has said that for her, the Disney Channel is about 'empowerment' and creating positivity for the current and next generations.
15 Emmy Rossum Has Delved Into Some Other Interests
That's right, the star we all know and love from Shameless has come a long way from her Disney Channel days. Distractify recently wrote an article about the star and how she simply loves being part of the film world. She went on to talk about how wonderful it is to meet new people and develop lasting friendships with people you work with every day and gave a bit of insight into her new professional path.
Emmy will be taking a role behind the camera as well, getting into writing and directing. It's amazing to see that the Disney Channel has been a jumping-off point for so many, including this well-loved actress.
14 Kaley Cuoco Will Always Be In The World Of Comedy
Kaley Cuoco has made one heck of a name for herself and seems to show no fear when it comes to taking on strong, bold roles. Not only was she recognized as playing the role of fashion-forward Bridget on 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, but she then went on to take an even larger role on Big Bang Theory, where she became a fan favorite.
Her fame hasn't stopped there, though, and the star has admitted that she is, and will always be, a comedic actress. With her wild confidence and can-do attitude, it's no wonder that we all still love her (and her amazing glow-up) so much.
13 Hilary Duff Is Stunning And Immensely Talented, As Per Usual
Not enough can be said about how brilliant an actress, and singer/songwriter, Hilary Duff is. Not only did she score a lead role on the Disney Channel as a child, but she even went on to play the lead in Cadet Kelly alongside former Disney star Christy Carlson Romano. It didn't just end there, though—the Lizzie McGuire movie boosted her success, even more, allowing her to continue acting well into adulthood, which she has.
As she got older, she appeared in Cheaper by the Dozen, Gossip Girl, and, once again, played the lead in the popular movie A Cinderella Story. She now has her own eyewear line, has done some modeling, and has a beautiful family of her own, in addition to starring on the hit show Younger.
12 Bella Thorne Is Strange But Has Done Some Things Right
Bella Thorne has had quite the reputation post-Disney days, and some would argue that her personal—and professional—life went somewhat downhill afterward. However, we can't argue the fact that she is one Disney star that underwent a major glow-up, from her orientation to her freedom in self-expression. While her antics might be a bit crazy, she's still swimming in fame simply due to who she is and what she's known for.
Many dislike her, but she is a self-proclaimed activist and seems to take a stand against things she knows are wrong as well as speaking out about her rough childhood... that all has to count for something, right?
11 Demi Lovato Has Struggled And Come Out On Top
Demi Lovato has not had an easy go of things and being in the public spotlight can sometimes make things even harder. Despite all that she's been through, she has come out on top and gone the extra mile to share her survivor story with fans. Not only is she a Disney favorite, but she's also extremely successful as a pop singer, something that seems to keep her going and moving forward.
Her glow-up is not only beautiful on the outside but beautiful on the inside, too. Not many people can say that they've grown in ways other than physical but Demi is one star who we will always rally for.
10 Selena Gomez Is Focusing On Herself First And Foremost
Selena Gomez is no longer the little girl who was casting spells on Wizards of Waverly Place. She's a full-grown adult not with goals and aspirations of her own, most of which include music. While she has appeared in several movies since her breakout role on the Disney Channel, Selena has opted for sticking to singing for the time being.
In recent years, she has struggled with her health, both mentally and physically, which is why we're happy to see that she's focusing on herself right now and admittedly not much else. It's one thing to glow-up on the outside, it's another to glow-up full of confidence and inner beauty.
9 Emily Osment Remains Positive And Bright
Yet another comedic actress who got her start on the Disney Channel, Emily Osment seems to always be full of life and upbeat, something we all want when it comes to our own glow-ups. Despite this, the star briefly struggled with her own mental health before filming the final season of Young and Hungry but has since made a positive turn-around, sharing her message with fans on Twitter.
She seems to be back to her normal, positive self, which is good news because we're sure she has a bright future ahead of her. Any actress who can make fans laugh and brighten their moods is one who has had a spectacular glow-up.
8 Nick Jonas Is Beyond Excited For His Musical Future
The rumors are true... The Jonas Brothers are going back on tour. While this has warmed the hearts of many a fan (in fact, we can still hear most of them fangirling post-announcement), what has Nick Jonas been up to? It's clear that he has also had quite the glow-up and is no longer the Disney Channel star who stole so many hearts with his siblings.
Nick is now married to Priyanka Chopra, but he's not the only one—his similarly famous brothers are all coupled up, including Kevin, who has two children of his own. The singer (and his brothers) are seemingly over the moon about their upcoming tour, proving that success has no limits.
7 Christy Carlson Romano Is Happy Doing Her Own Thing
While Christy Carlson Romano may have dropped off the radar slightly since her Disney Channel days, that doesn't mean that she hasn't had quite the glow-up as an adult. The star is now 34 years old with a family of her own and recently looked back on her Even Stevens role in an interview with Us.
While the actress did say that she would be totally down for a remake with a cameo from her and former co-star, Shia LaBeouf, there's no confirmation from Disney as of yet. Additionally, Christy has a part in the Kim Possible movie (from the same cartoon in which she voiced the lead role) that was released this year.
6 Zac Efron Has Redefined Fame
Some stars are just born for fame and Zac Efron is clearly one of them. While very down to earth in interviews, when he's on-screen, he's seemingly able to take on the role of nearly any part he plays. The most recent challenge to this was his role in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile as none other than Ted Bundy, which was, admittedly, a new part for the star.
In an interview with E!, the actor spoke about the movie with co-star Lilly Collins, saying that they both had faith in its director to do the movie—and all who were affected—justice. It has since received positive reception overall, landing Zac plenty of attention for a job well done. Talk about a (mildly awkward) glow-up!
5 Shia LaBeouf, Maybe Returning From A Hiatus Soon?
Although he's entered somewhat of a hiatus during which he 'quit' being famous via his social media, there's no denying that Shia LaBeouf has still had quite the glow-up. He went from the boy who played alongside Christy Carlson Romano on Even Stevens to taking the lead role in Transformers, a role that gained him recognition and far more fame than he likely bargained for.
Despite his run-in with the law, Shia recently admitted that he is trying to clean up his act and potentially jumpstart his professional life again. It's admirable, to say the least, so perhaps his glow-up isn't quite finished yet.
4 Michelle Trachtenberg Is All About Fashion
Michelle Trachtenberg is fairly low-key when it comes to fame and being in the public eye, which isn't always a bad thing. Her most recent memorable role for most of us was her time spent on Gossip Girl, playing Georgina, a character we all loved to loathe. Nowadays, she's still somewhat in the spotlight when the spotlight calls for it, but not as far as acting goes.
Lately, Michelle's devoted her time to her personal interests, such as fashion and using her passion for it to promote designers or a particular style. Whether or not we'll see big acting days from the star again remains to be seen, but there's no doubt that she's simply stunning.
3 Matt Timmons Is Here For The Glow-Up Updates
Matt Timmons, who most of us know from Disney Channel's The Suite Life On Deck, has undergone some pretty great changes as an adult. He keeps a pretty low profile but recently uploaded photos with Sammi Hanratty, who was also on the show. There's no denying that the two look incredible together, both clearly loving adulthood post-Disney days.
While Matt isn't doing too much in the way of acting right now, it's obvious that he's embraced who he is and is just enjoying life for the time being. Not to mention, it would seem that he's still stealing the hearts of Disney Channel fans as an adult. It's gotta be the hair.
2 Cole Sprouse Has Taken On New And Dynamic Roles
Speaking of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Cole and Dylan Sprouse haven't wasted any time continuing on with their acting. Nowadays, Cole is known for his role as Jughead on Riverdale, playing alongside co-star and current girlfriend Lili Reinhart. The two have made no secret of their relationship and for that, we're thankful—because they're nothing short of perfection.
Cole's social media consists mainly of his photography, including plenty of stunning shots of his girlfriend and endearingly named muse. He also recently took on a role as one of the leads in Five Feet Apart, which received high praise for its emotional and heartwarming story.
1 Dylan Sprouse, In-Love And Script-Writing
Dylan Sprouse never seems to be far behind his brother and while he's not working on projects that are as huge as Cole, he has a path of his own that he's been blazing. He's come a long way from the days of appearing on-screen with his brother in Big Daddy, alongside well-known actor Adam Sandler, and has admitted that he'd rather write than act.
Despite this, he has been in several roles since his childhood days, including one in the movie Dismissed. Aside from this, his time has been spent script-writing and spent with current girlfriend, Barbara Palvin, and the two seem to be just as in love as his twin brother and Lili.
Sources: E!, Us Magazine, The Guardian