Disney+ Banks on Childhood Nostalgia

Mindy Luo, Visual Media Editor

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The addition of Disney+ to the streaming services lineup, which already includes Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon has revived childhood favorite TV shows and movies from the 2000s.

Disney+ features the return of iconic 2000s shows like High School Musical, Wizards of Waverly Place, and The Suite Life on Deck.

“I just re-watched both the old Aladdin movie and the new live-action 1, which is super cool, ’cause it almost feels like I was reliving my childhood for a couple hours,” said sophomore Shan Brinton.

Debuting near the end of 2019, some students noticed that Disney+ took advantage of the rush of nostalgia that typically accompanies the end of a decade. “At the end of 2019, everyone on Instagram was posting photos of what they looked like 10 years ago and these decade collages of all the TV shows they liked from both the 2000s and 2010s,” said sophomore Ashley Xu. “It was really smart for Disney to decide to drop their binge-service right when everyone on the internet was talking about the shows they used to watch.”

Disney has become a massive media conglomerate, controlling the rights to iconic franchises from Marvel and Star Wars to Pixar Animation Studios and Disney Channel. As a result, die-hard fans of these franchises have dutifully subscribed to the service. “My entire family is huge Marvel fans, so we decided to get Disney+ to binge all of it,” said Brinton.

The new service has also enticed audiences with its own Originals. Many students signed up for the free trial option simply to devour the new Star Wars’ Mandalorian or High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, sequel shows that are clearly directed at luring back childhood fans that have now matured into an older audience.

“I watched the Mandalorian just to see Baby Yoda,” said Xu, referencing the internet’s profound obsession with the new Star Wars character.

Yet some are still wary of the growing popularity of streaming services. “I really don’t like how Disney+ is becoming a monopoly since it literally owns everything now. I feel that these iconic films are becoming less special because people have access to so many can just binge them all in a day,” said junior Sebastian Fojut. “The consumption of films and TV shows is really over the top right now which makes it harder to appreciate them.”