The Disney Channel: See what it was like back when it started in the ’80s

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VIntage young Janet Jackson - Disney Channel (1984)

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When the Disney Channel was first available back in 1983, it was a cable-only subscription service targeted toward kids and families.

It featured shows like Mousercise and Mickey Mouse Club, and also showed many famous Disney movies (except for the ones they were working to actively sell on videocassette).

See some of the programming schedules and find out what you used to be able to watch when you tuned in to the old all-Disney TV station that ran for 16 hours a day.

The Disney Channel. You can look at it in a number of ways. (1983)

You can look at it as the only cable channel with a daily pass to the Disney film library. Where you and your kids can join Dumbo for his first solo flight. Or trawl 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

You can look at it as a front-row seat for the finest in family films from around the world. Or as a welcome source of innovative new programs to teach, delight and, above all, involve both young and old alike.

Programs like EPCOT Magazine, a show where Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center is your point of departure for a view of what’s going on in the world today.

You can also look at it as two-way television. Featuring shows like “You And Me, Kid”, that you and your kid can actually be a part of.

And Mousercise, to get the whole family up and at ’em in the morning. You can even look at it as a magazine. The Disney Channel Magazine. Not just a monthly program guide, but a real magazine, with articles, interviews, special features and a play-along section just for kids.

In short, you can look at The Disney Channel as the only cable service with 16 hours a day of magical, exciting and enriching entertainment for the most important members of your family. All of you.

The Disney Channel: Family entertainment you can trust.

Disney Channel launch (1983)


The new Disney Channel on cable (1983)

To Our Viewers… Welcome to The Disney Channel, a new realm of television entertainment designed to satisfy a deeply-felt need for innovative family programming.

Welcome, too, to The Disney Channel Magazine, an integral part of our service.

Besides providing program information, the Magazine will continue to offer an array of fun features aimed at actively involving every member of The Disney Channel family.

There are personality interviews, a special Children’s section, behind-the-scenes articles and much more.

ALSO SEE: Disney’s movie ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ dazzled audiences for decades

All the unique resources of our organization are being tapped to supply The Disney Channel with widely diversified programs.

The studio itself and WED Enterprises, home of the versatile Disney Imagineers, are major sources of creative talent. Disneyland and Walt Disney World figure prominently in our new productions.

Among the new programs are “Epcot Magazine”, “Epcot America! America!” and segments of “Dream-finders” originate from Epcot Center, within Walt Disney World in Florida.

“New! Animal World”, “Wish Upon a Star”, “Disney Studio Showcase” and “The Scheme of Things” use the whole world as a setting.

Disney Channel Magazine No 1 - April-May 1983

Motion pictures are being drawn from the vast Disney Studio film library. Initial full-length features include “TRON”, “Condorman”, and “The Island at the Top of the World.”

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and all their pals are back in a galaxy of cartoon comedies.

Short subjects are being selected from among 250 Disney educational and nature films. An ongoing cavalcade of film acquisitions is led by the world television premiere of “Brontosaurus.”

With preschool youngsters in mind, we have devoted a substantial block of programming to new shows like “Mousercise”, “Good Morning Mickey!”, “Welcome to Pooh Corner” and “You and Me, Kid”.

The Disney Channel and this Magazine are your guides to a bold new world of televised family entertainment. We hope you enjoy them!


Old Disney Channel programming schedule (1983)

Shows shown include “Good Morning, Mickey!”, “Pooh Corner”, “Disney Studio Showcase”, “Zorro”, “The Secret Life of Plants”, “Davy Crockett”, “Wish Upon a Star”, “New! Animal World”, “Epcot America! America!”, and many more.

Old Disney Channel programming schedule from 1983 (2)

Old Disney Channel programming schedule from 1983 (1)


What was premiering on Disney Channel in May (1984)

New Movie! “Gone are the days” — starring Harvey Korman and Susan Anspach.

“The Mob is after Harry and Phyllis. But Charlie will protect them. Now they’re really in trouble.”

New Series! “DTV” — Now you can see your favorite Disney characters like you’ve never seen them before.

In “DTV”, we’ve matched classic Disney animation with the world’s greatest popular music. The result: music videos to delight the entire family.

What was playing on the Disney Channel in April 1984


Disney’s Channel’s Monthly Magic (1984)

Day-at-a-glance — Your guide to a daily feast of Disney entertainment.

Featuring programs like “Good Morning, Mickey!”, “The Mickey Mouse Club”, “Mousercise”, “Midday Movie Magic”, “Rin-Tin-Tin” and more.

MORE: These vintage Disney book/record combos from the ’70s will take you back

What was playing on the Disney Channel in November 1984

ALSO SEE: Disney’s Old Yeller: The classic movie about the best doggone dog in the west (1958)


“When your family watches the Disney Channel, something magic happens.” – Janet Jackson (1984)

Imagine TV that comes to life right in your own home! Imagine TV that’s fun! And entertaining! And educational! And your whole family wants to watch together.

And that’s just what happens on The Disney Channel, available wherever there’s cable TV.

Janet Jackson for the Disney Channel (1984)

The Disney Channel is pure family entertainment with favorites from the Disney library like Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Tron, Davy Crockett, Captain Nemo, Long John Silver, and, of course, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Plus, there are surprising new, exclusively made for The Disney Channel shows that even adults can’t wait to see!

It’s commercial-free, seven days a week, and just the kind of magic you’d expect from Disney.

If there’s one thing my family and I know, it’s entertainment. And The Disney Channel is the kind of family entertainment you’ll be proud to have in your home.

Call your local cable company and subscribe to the Disney Channel today. And watch something magic happen.

Discover Disney: Put More Magic In Your TV.

(Photo: Janet Jackson with Mickey Mouse and Goofy)


Disney Channel in the 1980s - Janet Jackson (2)

Disney Channel in the 1980s - Janet Jackson (1)


Bring your family together with the Disney Channel. (1985)

The Disney Channel is the one cable service that offers parents wholesome, positive, involving and enriching family entertainment.

Warm memories and movie greats from the Disney film and TV library. Fine family films from around the world. Brand-new programs to delight the heart, involve and enrich the mind.

Your subscription to The Disney Channel means 19 commercial-free hours a day of entertainment for the most important members of your family. All of you.

ALSO SEE: Classic Walt Disney Home Video VHS movies & short collections from the ’80s & ’90s

Vintage Disney Channel (1985)


Bring the magic of Disney home. (1986)

The fun and excitement you’ve shared at the Magic Kingdom can follow you home.

With The Disney Channel, you can have that magical high-quality entertainment 19 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You’ll see The Disney Channel’s original new series, specials, features and mini-series, as well as some of your favorite Disney classic motion pictures, programs and cartoons. Don’t miss it!

ALSO SEE: Escape to Witch Mountain: Disney’s 1975 classic movie with two paranormal orphans & a flying Winnebago

Vintage Disney Channel (1986)


Something wonderful is happening to the American family. (1987)

Families are coming together to watch The Disney Channel.

It brings them together with diverse quality programming: original movies, specials, series, miniseries and Hollywood classics… terrific programming for everyone in the family. Bring Disney Channel magic home to your family.

Vintage Disney Channel (1987)


There’s something for everyone… (1987)

…only on the the Disney Channel!

With programs like “Return to Oz”, “My Little Pony”, “Herbie Rides Again”, “The Watcher in the Woods”, “Rick Nelson: A Brother Remembers”, “Danger Bay”, and more.

Disney Channel shows and movies in late summer 1987


“Our family has its little differences.” (1988)

Every family does.

That’s why there’s one thing so many families agree on. The Disney Channel.

There’s something for everyone on The Disney Channel. Mornings and afternoons are for kids. Evenings, the whole family can enjoy together And after 9PM, when the kids turn in, there’s even Disney Night Time. Movies, specials, series and miniseries adults can enjoy, every night of the week.

The Disney Channel is the best family TV on TV. The one channel every family can turn to, to settle its differences.

Vintage Disney Channel (1988)

SEE THE PARK AT THIS TIME: Disneyland brochure for 1988: More than ever the happiest place

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