Since 1983, the Disney Channel has been the place for kids and families to find friendly entertainment for the whole house to enjoy. From preschool-aged educational programming to tween comedies to family movie night picks, Disney Channel has something for just about every young audience member imaginable. But to enjoy everything this station has to offer, you have to know where to find it first. Let’s talk about what channel DISH Network subscribers need to turn to for Disney Channel programming.
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Disney Channel Guide
|Channel Name||Channel Number on DISH Network|
|Disney Channel (West)||173|
The History of Disney Channel
While it’s not exactly considered a premium channel today, that’s exactly what Disney Channel was when it launched in 1983. At this point in television history, most families had just one TV — if they were lucky enough to have one at all. Because of this, most programming had to be geared toward the entire household. The Walt Disney Company took advantage of this fact and seized the opportunity to bring Disney-branded programming to homes throughout the nation with a new premium cable network called The Disney Channel.
This new and exciting channel from Disney racked up over 600,000 subscribers before the year’s end. It might not sound like much by today’s standards, but that was a big deal at the time. That first year also saw the release of its first made-for-TV movie, Tiger Town. It was the first in a long, ongoing line of Disney Channel Original Movies (also known as DCOMs). By 1985, the network had nearly tripled in size to close to two million subscribers. It was enough for the channel to shift away from the premium sphere and enter into basic cable offerings throughout the early ’90s.
As the ’90s went on and the 2000s arrived, the station had become a full-fledged cable network with ads and everything. This made it far more accessible to the masses. (Not to mention far more popular as a result.) Iconic DCOMs like High School Musical and star-making shows such as Hannah Montana and The Wizards of Waverly Place only further cemented the pop culture impact of Disney’s titular network throughout the 2000s and into the ’10s. Today, it remains a core part of basic cable and satellite packages.
Disney Channel Programming
With the history of the Disney Channel now explained — and the various Disney channels now understood — let’s talk about its typical programming lineup. In an average day on this channel, you might encounter anything from preschool cartoons to multi-cam teen sitcoms to brand-new Disney movies. Here’s what this station’s programming traditionally looks like on a normal day.
In the early morning, Disney Channel switches over to what it likes to call “Disney Junior.” (This is the same as the sister station on channel 168 for DISH subscribers.) This programming block contains educational, entertaining shows for kids between ages 2-7. We’re talking Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Young Jedi Adventures, and other younger-skewing programming.
Once the Disney Junior block transitions back to regularly scheduled programming, there’s a new assortment of original series to choose from. These are better suited for kids aged 7-17. The current live-action slate includes Bunk’d and Raven’s Home. The animated slate includes Big City Greens, The Ghost and Molly McGee, and Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
In recent months, the network has been experimenting with new programming to try and retain its audience in the age of streaming. One of its most successful methods has been the introduction of live sports to the network. These live sporting events — such as this season’s Toy Story-themed NFL game — add a unique kid-friendly spin to keep things lively and entertaining.
We can’t forget those DCOMs, of course. Since the very beginning of the network, this station has provided its audiences with original movies made for television instead of theaters. (The network also airs edited versions of theatrical releases.) Prom Pact and The Slumber Party are some of the latest DCOMs to air on the channel in 2023.