Hi, this is TVLine, and you’ve been watching Disney Channel… for 40 years!
Tuesday marks a major milestone anniversary for the most magical network on TV, and we’re celebrating the big 4-0 with a look back at its most iconic characters, both live-action and animated.
One quick disclaimer: Only characters from shows and movies made specifically for Disney Channel were eligible for inclusion. For example, don’t expect to see anyone from a Canadian import like Life With Derek on this list — but also rest assured that Derek and Casey would absolutely top my hypothetical list of Siblings With Far Too Much Chemistry. Seriously, I haven’t seen undeniable heat like theirs since that infamous Folgers commercial starring the world’s flirtiest brother and sister.
And the most important disclaimer of all: This is merely one person’s personal ranking. With such a wide range of show and movie characters to choose from, I wouldn’t expect any two lists to look even remotely similar. And that’s OK! Let’s just have fun with it.
Read on to see which 40 characters I’ve deemed the most iconic, then drop a comment with your own below. How many of my picks would also be on your list, and which others would you add?
Caitlyn Gellar, Camp Rock
Played by: Alyson Stoner
Why she’s iconic: You don’t even need to know her name to know that (“Wow!”) she’s really good at keyboard.
Amy Duncan, Good Luck, Charlie
Played by: Leigh-Allyn Baker
Why she’s iconic: Before you drop a comment asking why I’m giving this spot to a prominent anti-vaxxer, just know that taking an extremely public, extremely dramatic stand against science is the most Amy Duncan thing that Baker could have possibly done. It’s method acting. Trust the process.
Jordan Cahill, Stuck in the Suburbs
Played by: Taran Killam
Why he’s iconic: This one’s more of a feeling than a fact, but I’m certain that we must never, ever forget Killam’s hair — I mean role — as a frustrated pop star in this classic DCOM.
Cyrus Goodman, Andi Mack
Played by: Joshua Rush
Why he’s iconic: The first openly gay series-regular character on a Disney Channel show? Iconíque!
When Ryan from High School Musical heard the news about Cyrus coming out, he probably looked at his wife — to whom I’m sure he is very attracted — and thought, “Good for him.”
Loretta Modern, Pixel Perfect
Played by: Spencer Redford
Why she’s iconic: An A.I. hologram pop star, in the year of our Mouse 2004? Disney Channel was way ahead of its time with this one.
Proto Zoa, Zenon
Played by: Phillip Rhys Chaudhary
Why he’s iconic: Disney Channel has introduced us to countless musical heartthrobs over the years, but few still make our hearts go boom boom like this super nova… guy.
Jett Jackson, The Famous Jett Jackson
Played by: The late Lee Thompson Young
Why he’s iconic: If you even have to ask, please direct your query to Beyoncé. Should she prove unavailable, Kelly and Michelle will be happy to take your call.
Matt McGuire, Lizzie McGuire
Played by: Jake Thomas
Why he’s iconic: Even for a younger brother on Disney Channel, Sam and Jo McGuire’s demon spawn seemed to derive a particularly sick pleasure out of plotting against his big sister. Plus, that spiky hair always made him look like he just got electrocuted, which only added to the terror. One of the network’s most unspeakable villains.
Agatha Cromwell, Halloweentown
Played by: The late Debbie Reynolds
Why she’s iconic: You could yell “queen!” about any number of characters on this list, but only one actually is the former monarch of Halloweentown, and you’re looking at her.
Stan, Dog With a Blog
Voiced by: Steven Full
Why he’s iconic: First of all, does your dog have a blog? Take several seats.
Honestly, the irony of this show was that Stan’s actual blog posts were all pretty mundane. None were even remotely as interesting as the fact that a talking dog was doing the blogging, which he never disclosed to the public. A humble king.
Dr. Heinz Doofenschmirtz, Phineas and Ferb
Voiced by: Dan Povenmire
Why he’s iconic: This mad scientist’s only real goal in life, besides thwarting his platypus arch nemesis (more on him later), is taking over the tri-state area, a mission that’s far too specific and ridiculous not to applaud.
Andy 'Brink' Brinker, Brink
Played by: Erik von Detten
Why he’s iconic: No list of Disney Channel icons would be complete without von Detten, the very definition of a late ’90s babe. Brink couldn’t even get through a simple dinner scene without smoldering, as pictured here.
Captain Jennifer Stone, Cadet Kelly
Played by: Christy Carlson Romano
Why she’s iconic: If you weren’t already a lesbian before experiencing Romano’s no-nonsense disciplinarian, you were afterwards. She can call me “maggot” any day.
Dijonay Jones, The Proud Family
Voiced by: Karen Malina White
Why she’s iconic: Spicier than the mustard after which she is named, Penny’s BFF is the kind of girl who will always tell (and occasionally scream) it like it is, whether you asked for her opinion or not.
Kim Possible, Kim Possible
Voiced by: Christy Carlson Romano
Why she’s iconic: Straight-A cheerleader by day, international crime fighter by later-day and also on weekends, Kim is just really cool. Even in cargo pants.
No enemy is too difficult to defeat, be they a maniacal supervillain or a jealous high school hater — which we all know are just as diabolical, if not more so.
London Tipton, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Suite Life on Deck
Played by: Brenda Song
Why she’s iconic: Only a small percentage of this show’s younger viewers probably realized that their favorite jaw-droppingly shallow, charmingly out of touch heiress was actually a thinly veiled Paris Hilton parody. Satire, on Disney Channel? Yay them!
Alex Russo, Wizards of Waverly Place
Played by: Selena Gomez
Why she’s iconic: A slacker in virtually all aspects of her life, Alex couldn’t even be bothered to pay attention during her magic lessons, yet she still won the family wizard competition and got to keep her powers. That’s some impressive slacking right there.
The recent revelation that Alex was bisexual, even if the writers weren’t able to explicitly write that into the show, only strengthens her icon status.
Mr. Moseby, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Suite Life on Deck
Played by: Phill Lewis
Why he’s iconic: Crossing paths with the Martin twins took countless years off this man’s life, but it also provided viewers with countless years of entertainment, so it all evens out.
And while we know that his first name is Marion (teehee), he’s still an authority figure on both land and sea, so you will call him Mr. Moseby out of respect, damn it!
Mrs. Kipling, Jessie
Played by: “Frank”
Why she’s iconic: Not only does this seven-foot lizard have exquisite taste in cinema (she’s a Twi-hard!), but she’s also post-gender. She let the Ross family call her “Mr. Kipling” for an entire season before she surprised them by hatching a few lizard babies. Oh, and she plays the piano!
Perry the Platypus, Phineas and Ferb
Voiced by: Dee Bradley Baker
Why he’s iconic: I’m still not entirely clear on what a “platypus” is — as far as I’m concerned, it’s a bigger biological mystery than CatDog — but I do know that this particular freak of nature brings evildoers to their knees with merely a chatter. And not everybody has the head shape to pull off that fedora.
Pat, Smart House
Played by: Katey Segal
Why she’s iconic: A technologically advanced “smart house” who becomes obsessed with its new family, teaches itself how to be the perfect mother (appearing in the form of a holographic Segal), then goes fully bananas when said family doesn’t accept it as one of them?
This movie wasn’t a comedy — it was a warning.
Rufus, Kim Possible
Voiced by: Nancy Cartwright
Why he’s iconic: Most animals on Disney Channel are unclothed, but none basked in the sheer bliss of their nudity quite like Ron Stoppable’s pet naked mole rat.
Phineas and Ferb, Phineas and Ferb
Voiced by: Vincent Martella (Phineas) and Thomas Sangster/David Errigo Jr. (Ferb)
Why they’re iconic: These two are pretty much the Jay and Silent Bob of animated children’s shows. And if you ever forget which stepbrother is which, just remember that Ferb is the one whose head is literally shaped like an “F.” For Ferb.
Shellsea, Fish Hooks
Voiced by: Kari Wahlgren
Why she’s iconic: Every word out of this valley girl’s mouth is priceless, which makes sense considering she’s a literal jewelfish. And even if you haven’t had the pleasure of making her acquaintance, you’ve probably at least heard her on TikTok. (“I think you dropped something… my jaw.”)
Suga Mama, The Proud Family
Voiced by: Jo Marie Payton
Why she’s iconic: The sassy, straight-shooting matriarch of the Proud family is both the grandmother you’ve always wanted and the enemy you never want to make. Suga Mama contains multitudes.
Trish De la Rosa, Austin & Ally
Played by: Raini Rodriguez
Why she’s iconic: Sure, Austin had those sick dance moves and Ally had her songwriting, but Trish? She did it all. Literally. This straight-up hustler had a new gig every week, dipping out whenever it didn’t suit her. It’s Trish’s world, we’re all just living in it.
Played by: China Anne McClain
Why she’s iconic: As the daughter of legendary sea witch Ursula, she may be one of the ultimate Disney nepo babies, but Uma has also established her own foothold — er, tentacle-hold — in the villain world. Plus, “What’s My Name” is one of the truest bops in the DCOM library.
Zenon Kar, Zenon
Played by: Kirsten Storms
Why she’s iconic: You have to admit, being the only character on this list who isn’t technically born yet — and won’t be for another 13 years — is pretty iconic behavior.
Bernard 'Beans' Aranguren, Even Stevens
Played by: Steven Anthony Lawrence
Why he’s iconic: Cher. Madonna. Beans. Sometimes one name just says it all.
Louis Stevens, Even Stevens
Played by: Shia LaBeouf
Why he’s iconic: On the surface, Louis was just another prank-loving, Hawaiian shirt-wearing little brother. But unlike the ones we loved to hate, we were always rooting for him to succeed. Louis Stevens deserves the world.
Troy Bolton, High School Musical
Played by: Zac Efron
Why he’s iconic: Efron is arguably Disney Channel’s finest export, the proof being that we were willing to watch him re-learn the exact same lesson in three different films. The “Bet On It” choreography alone is enough to earn Troy a spot on this list.
Sharpay Evans, High School Musical
Played by: Ashley Tisdale
Why she’s iconic: While Troy and Gabriella would love for you to believe that Sharpay is the villain in the High School Musical story, true heads know that the most talented girl at East High is actually the victim, ludicrously sidelined by a pair of unexperienced randos after spending years honing her craft.
Here’s the thing, though: They can steal her parts, and they can even steal her spot at Juilliard, but she still ended up in New York with Austin Butler — so who really got the last laugh?
Lizzie McGuire, Lizzie McGuire
Played by: Hilary Duff
Why she’c iconic: She may be an outfit repeater (unforgivable!), but Lizzie is still the ultimate All-American everygirl of the modern era. From her first bra to her first heartbreak (damn you to hell, paper boy Ronnie!), Lizzie gave us a front-row seat to revel in her every awkward milestone — and revel we did.
The Cheetah Girls, The Cheetah Girls
Played by: Raven-Symoné (Galleria), Adrienne Bailon (Chanel), Kiely Williams (Aquanette) and Sabrina Bryan (Dorinda)
Why they’re iconic: With an endless arsenal of bops and a closet so full of spots that even Cruella De Vil would be like “…OK, that’s enough,” these pop divas took the world by storm. Be honest, had you even heard of Barcelona before the girls’ famous performance of “Strut” in the second movie? I didn’t think so.
Hannah Montana/Miley Stewart, Hannah Montana
Played by: Miley Cyrus
Why she’s iconic: Not since Clark Kent’s glasses has such a simple disguise (literally just a wig!) fooled so many people.
Raven Baxter, That's So Raven and Raven's Home
Played by: Raven-Symoné
Why she’s iconic: A master of physical comedy, this psychic fashionista has been serving A+ tomfoolery for more than two decades on Disney Channel, first as a teen with a penchant for donning insane disguises, then as a divorcée raising two kids, one of whom inherited her psychic curse. I mean gift. … No, I mean curse.