Former Disney Channel Stars: Where Are They Now?
Disney Channel's golden boy starred in movies like Smart House, The Luck of the Irish and A Ring of Endless Light. Though he left the Disney Channel after Endless Light, Merriman's been acting regularly ever since, with a recurring role on Pretty Little Liars and plenty of movies — most recently, 2 Years of Love and The Congressman. He's also off the market: He married wife Kristen McMullen in 2014.
The world really got to know Belle when she starred in aughts-favorite horror flick When A Stranger Calls, but Disney fans first met her in Rip Girls, in which she played a young girl learning to surf in Hawaii. She, of course, went on to star in movies like Push and 10,000 BC. She also dated Joe Jonas and became something of an It girl, known for her style savvy.
Every Disney Channel fan knows Storms — she made neon spandex outfits a must-have as Zenon, and had us singing "Supernova Girl" in the shower. After starring in three Zenon movies, as well as Johnny Tsunami, she moved to conquer another television realm: soap operas. Starting in 2000, she starred on Days of Our Lives for four years, before heading over to General Hospital in 2005. Fun fact: She's been in more than 1,000 of the show's episodes. How's that for career stability?
You may have heard of an actress named Brie Larson, who started her career at just 9 years old, and starred in the 2003 Disney Channel Original Movie Right on Track, alongside 7th Heaven star Beverley Mitchell. Larson has been in tons of movies since then, from 13 Going on 30 to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, all the way to Room, which earned her the 2016 Best Actress Oscar.
KIMBERLY J. BROWN
It's Marnie! The actress starred alongside screen legend Debbie Reynolds in three Halloweentown movies, before her role was taken over by Sara Paxton in the fourth (and final) film. Although she doesn't do much in the way of on-screen acting nowadays, she's still working — on impov! She performs at Chicago's famed Second City, where Tina Fey got her start, and studies improv there, too. And she has an Etsy shop, Craftily Creative, where she sells wall décor — some, Halloweentown-related!
ERIK VON DETTEN
Von Detten stole your heart in Brink. And then you kind of hated him in The Princess Diaries. Either way, von Detten was an integral part of any '00s kid's pop culture experiences. He's stepped back from the Hollywood spotlight in recent years: His last credit is Toy Story 3, in which he reprised his role of the bad kid next door, Sid. (Who knew he played Sid?) Oh, and he's still pretty cute.
From Get a Clue to Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior, Song was a Disney Channel Original Movie staple. Really, an all-around Disney Channel staple, as she also starred in the shows The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Suite Life on Deck and appeared on Phil of the Future. She hasn't slowed down since, scoring roles on shows like New Girl, Scandal, Dads and Pure Genius.
She starred in The Color of Friendship — the only Disney Channel Original Movie to ever win an Emmy — and went on to replace Raven-Symoné in Zenon: The Zequel. But these days, Simmons has completely left her acting career behind, with her last role being on the show Life with Derek, which ended in 2009. Instead, she found a new career: She's now a high school teacher in Ontario.
The kid who made bowling cool in Alley Cats Strike and starred in The Cheetah Girls, Schmid went on to snag roles in movies like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and The Pacifier. He's still acting — his most recent role is in the Afghanistan-set History Channel series Six.
People likely remember Heigl more for her big break on Grey's Anatomy, not the Disney Channel. But before Seattle Grace, Heigl starred in Wish Upon a Star, a story about sisters who switch places, all the way back in 1996. Of course, you know what she's done since: Married husband Josh Kelley, welcomed three kids and landed numerous roles in rom-coms, including Knocked Up and 27 Dresses.
KAY & DANIELLE PANABAKER
The Panabaker sisters rose to Disney Channel Original Movie fame in the later aughts, co-starring in Read It and Weep, and Danielle landing a lead role in Stuck in the Suburbs. While the older Panabaker, Danielle, is still acting (she's currently starring in The Flash TV series), Kay has shied away from the spotlight, with her last credit being in 2012. But her life has come full circle. She retired so she could go to UCLA to study zoology — and now works as a zookeeper for Disney.