Why Are So Many Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z Nostalgia Titles Still Missing From Disney Plus?

my date with presidents daughter
My Date with the President’s Daughter (1997) is one of the most requested titles

With the surprise addition of Star Wars: Droids (1985) a couple week back, let’s take a casual stroll down memory lane for other potential 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s content that should be arriving on Disney+. 

There is an enormous amount of content being held back by Disney. Why is there such a lack of 1980’s and 1990’s content available to stream? There could be a few reasons to explain what is going on – the obvious of course being that the content from that era was never digitized and Disney doesn’t see the value in doing so.

New Parental Control Settings | Disney+ Star

Next, there is the unfortunate fact that Hulu (Disney’s sister streaming service) serves as the home to many beloved content such as Buffy (1997), 24 (2001), and even Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989) which all contain a TV-14 or less rating. With this being an indicator how content is thought about in the United States, anything TV-14 or less should be able to migrate over based on their child-centric/family friendly logic. Unfortunately, Disney doesn’t operate this way. Internationally it’s a different story with the expansion of Star. As a result, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, and Fox films from the 80s – 00s are all fair game and present in high quantities.

Other content is stuck under pre-existing or contractual obligations. An example of this could be seen with Modern Family (2009) which is currently streaming on Comcast’s Peacock and Hulu. Other examples would be Agents of SHIELD (2013) which is stuck on Netflix until October 2022 and Glee (2009) which is stuck on Netflix until an undetermined date.

Another reason is that some content is not in the “Streamosphere” yet. Streamosphere is our word for content that has not been digitized and passed between streaming services or sold on VOD [Video On Demand] services like Prime Video or Google Play. As we suggested earlier, Disney may not think its worthwhile to pay to remaster, subtitle, or negotiate contracts required to add these titles. In spite of constant requests on social media – it ultimately boils down to what the execs prioritize.

Titles Not in the Streamosphere:

  • Watcher in the Woods (1980)
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
  • Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore (1983)
  • Tiger Tower (1983)
  • Good Morning, Mickey! (1983)
  • Dungeons & Dragons (1983)
  • Disney Family Album (1984)
  • Dumbo’s Circus (1985) 
  • The Blue Yonder (1985)
  • The Wuzzles (1985)
  • The Parent Trap 2 (1986)
  • Little Wizards (1987)
  • Not Quite Human (1987)
  • Splash, Too (1988)
  • The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (1989)
  • The Parent Trap 3 (1989)
  • The Parent Trap 4 (1989)
  • Not Quite Human 2 (1989)
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1990)
  • Little Shop (1991)
  • Eek the Cat (1992)
  • Still Not Quite Human (1992)
  • Biker Mice From Mars (1993)
  • Ernest Green Story (1993)
  • A Far Off Place (1993) 
  • Heidi (1993)
  • Life With Louie (1994)
  • Aladdin: The Animated Series (1994) 
  • Sing Me a Story With Belle (1995)
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1995)
  • Freaky Friday (1995)
  • The Barefoot Executive (1995)
  • Muppets Tonight (1996)
  • Beverly Hills Family Robinson (1997)
  • Pepper Ann (1997) 
  • Bear in the Big Blue House (1997) 
  • Toothless (1997)
  • Tower of Terror (1997)
  • The Love Bug (1997)
  • The Famous Jett Jackson (1998) 
  • Casper Meets Wendy (1998)
  • My Date with the President’s Daughter (1998)
  • PB & J Otter (1998)
  • The Jersey (1999)
  • H-E Double Hockey Sticks (1999)
  • Model Behavior (2000)
  • Gepetto (2000)
  • The Pooch and the Pauper (2000)
  • Mail to the Chief (2000)
  • The Loretta Claiborne Story (2000)
  • The Weekenders (2000) (Actually available on DVD through Disney Movie Club)
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2000)
  • House of Mouse (2001)
  • Princess of Thieves (2001)
  • Legend of Tarzan (2001)
  • Stanley (2001)
  • Lloyd in Space (2002)
  • Teamo Supremo (2002)
  • Jojo’s Circus (2003)
  • Brandy & Mr. Whiskers (2004)
  • W.I.T.C.H. (2004)
  • The Buzz on Maggie (2005)
  • Breakfast with Bear (2005)
  • A.T.O.M. (2005)
  • Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams (2007)
  • As the Bell Rings (2007) (Other countries had their own adaptations of this and they are streaming for them. For example, Disney Plus Latin America)

Titles in Streamosphere Outside USA:

  • Fillmore (2002) (Available in Germany)
  • Dave the Barbarian (2004) (Available on Disney+ Hotstar)
Dave the Barbarian streaming in English in India since launch.

Titles Available on VOD, but Not Disney+:

  • Midnight Madness (1980)
  • The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark (1980)
  • The Devil and Max Devlin (1981)
  • Condorman (1981)
  • The Incredible Hulk (1982)
  • Night Crossing (1982) 
  • Tex (1982)
  • Never Cry Wolf (1983)
  • Trenchcoat (1983)
  • Return to Snowy River (1988)
  • Angels in the Outfield (1994)
  • The Jungle Book (1994) 
  • Jungle Cubs (1997) (Available on Disney+ Hotstar)
  • RocketMan (1997)
  • Under Wraps (1997)
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids TV (1997)
  • Jett Jackson the Movie (2001)
  • Endurance (1998)
  • The Other Me (2000) [Recently pulled from Disney+ globally]
  • The Jennie Project (2001)
  • Ghost of the Abyss (2003)
  • Eloise at the Plaza (2003)
  • Johnny and the Sprites (2005)
  • Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005)
  • Muppet’s Wizard of Oz (2005)
  • Shaggy Dog (2006) [Pulled from Disney+ globally weeks after launch – permanently vaulted?)
  • Yin Yang Yo! (2006)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
  • Enchanted (2007)
  • Bunnytown (2007)
  • Cory in the House (2007) (Rumored to be arriving in 2019 and never came.)
  • Jungle Junction (2009) (Available on Disney+ Hotstar in South East Asia)
  • Aaron Stone (2009) (Available on Disney+ Hotstar in South East Asia)
  • I’m in the Band (2009)
  • Zeke and Luther (2009) (Available on Hulu)

With the recent shift of series to Wednesdays and films on Fridays, will this open the door to introduce more library content or will this become more of a content nightmare? Thus far it’s not looking promising as July is almost completely void of library content and relies mostly on Sharkfest titles.

Many analysts now believe Disney decided the library doesn’t provide enough value and they simply have chosen to not remaster and release older content, instead redirecting that budget to their budget for originals. This flies in the face of what was promoted before launch which was a service with “All your favorites under one roof” and “very soon after launch, almost the entire library will be available,” but isn’t surprising as the service’s strategy and leadership seemed to change every 4 months during the first year. If you’re not pleased with this – politely let them know here by clicking Give Feedback, Suggest a New Feature, Content (Movies/Shows).

What show or film would you hope to see arrive onto Disney+ in the near future?

Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.

Gregory Bertrand is a film and television enthusiast. His degree in Early Childhood Education is from Saint Cloud State University and he’s currently teaching in a school. When he isn’t shaping young minds, he spends his time researching, analyzing, and documenting Walt Disney contractual obligations while streaming a slew of old and original content.