What do you get when you mix wizardry with sandwiches? You get Wizards of Waverly Place, the Disney Channel original series that combined magic and family. Fans of the show got to know the Russo family — including former wizard Jerry, played by David DeLuise, and his wife Theresa, who’s a mortal — and witness their family dynamics, especially when it came to their kids. The show went strong for four seasons and became a big success for the network.
If you weren’t a fan back then, there are plenty of reasons why you’d want to watch Wizards of Waverly Place online now. The biggest reason? Actress and singer Selena Gomez played one of the three teenagers in the Russo family. Along with David Henrie, who played Justin, and Jake T. Austin, who played Max, Gomez’s character of Alex was trying hard to become the Family Wizard, as each family only got one. Of course, it wasn’t easy. Like many who delve in magic, the family had to keep their wizardry a secret from their community.
Luckily, Wizards of Waverly Place is streaming on Disney+. If you want to watch the series — either for the first time or based on nostalgia — here’s how to stream Wizards of Waverly Place and the best episodes to watch.
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How to Stream ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ – Exclusively on Disney+
Wizards of Waverly Place is one of the fan-favorite Disney original shows that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream Wizards of Waverly Place and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “Wizards of Waverly”
- 5. Tap on “Wizards of Waverly Place
- 6. Tap the PLAY button
- 7. Enjoy!
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘Wizards of Waverly Place’: Overview
When Was It On TV: October 2007 to January 2012
Creator: Todd J. Greenwald
Starring: Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Maria Canals Barrera, David DeLuise
Synopsis: The Russo family lives above their business — a deli — in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. But, most people who visit probably don’t know that the
kids in the house are currently learning wizardry. All three of them are in the running to become the Family Wizard, which is important, as the two who don’t get the title will go on to become mortals.
Wizards of Waverly Place Plot
The Russo siblings go to Tribeca Preparatory School and try hard to pass as mortals — because if anyone knew the truth, it could get them in trouble. All three of them are currently taking lessons in wizardry, as one will become the Family Wizard. Based on that, their parents — one a wizard, and one a mortal — want to make sure that all three don’t depend that much on magic. But, they still have a portal into the wizarding world, meaning that these lessons are still of utmost importance.
How Many Seasons of ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Are There?
There are four seasons of Wizards of Waverly Place, and 106 episodes total.
Wizards of Waverly Place Season 1
21 Episodes | October 2007 – August 2008
Fred Savage directed the first episode of the series, titled “Crazy 10-Minute Sale”. This season also featured a two-part episode titled “Wizard School,” where Alex and Justin attend a wizard school called Wiz Tech. In the 20th episode, Alex celebrates her Quinceañera, which accidentally causes some tension between Alex and her mom, Theresa, who never got the chance to have her own.
Wizards of Waverly Place Season 2
30 Episodes | September 2008 – August 2009
In season two, Alex falls for a classmate named Dean, and Justin also meets a girl. His potential match, however, turns out to be a werewolf. The family also gets an assignment — to be on the lookout for rogue wizards at a convention called PopCon. In the 15th episode of the season, “Art Teacher,” Alex realizes that her school art teacher is actually a standard teenager who’s been put under a spell. This season also includes a crossover episode with the cast of The Suite Life on Deck.
Wizards of Waverly Place Season 3
28 Episodes | October 2009 – October 2010
During season three, the teens are still fighting for the spot of Family Wizard — but Justin is done with his classes. He’s focused on dating Juliet, a vampire. But, he’s not the only one who falls for someone who isn’t a mortal — Alex also starts a relationship with Mason, who turns out to be a werewolf. There’s also a new character introduced named Stevie, who’s a rebellious teen girl. In later episodes of the season, Stevie is revealed to be a wizard as well. In the final episode of the season, “Wizards Exposed,” The Russo family are found by the government and questioned.
Wizards of Waverly Place Season 4
27 Episodes | November 2010 – January 2012
The final season of Wizards of Waverly Place was highly anticipated, as the prior season ended with a cliffhanger. After Alex comes clean, she and Justin are sent back to level one in the wizard competition, which means that brother Max gains the lead. But by episode 5, Max turns into a girl — named Maxine, and played by actress Bailee Madison. Maxine sticks around for five full episodes. Alex’s best friend Harper is featured quite often — her main goal this season is to get Alex to enjoy life without the use of magic.
The Best Wizards of Waverly Place Episodes
One of the best parts of Wizards of Waverly Place is the fact that the characters grew. Eventually, the Russo children got older and were able to have plenty of plots and stories outside of school and the wizarding world. Here are the best episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place that you can’t miss.
Season 2, Episode 16: “Future Harper”
Much like an episode of The Twilight Zone, the Russo kids learn that someone’s been stealing their life stories and turning them into popular books. The H. J. Darling story, Charmed and Dangerous: The Story of the Lost Wand was initially read by Harper, but Justin was the one to confirm that the author had taken the plot from a real-life Russo event. Once they investigate more, they find out that H.J. Darling is actually Harper from the future. This episode is also notable since it foreshadows the future — at one point, Alex is asked, “Did Mason break up with you yet?” when she hadn’t yet been introduced to Mason’s character.
Season 3, Episode 4: “Three Monsters”
Justin learns that Level 6 monsters are located around Waverly Place. When he investigates, he realizes those monsters are Juliet — his love interest — and her parents. Unfortunately, he realizes that after he already reported them to the Monster Hunter Council.
Season 1, Episode 19: “Alex’s Spring Fling”
Nobody likes getting dumped — especially right before a school event. Alex gets ditched by Riley after hearing that she’s too jealous. To get back at him, she uses a spell to turn a mannequin into a real man (cleverly named “Manny Kin”.) But when Manny actually falls in love with Alex, she needs to find a way out of the disaster she created.
“Wizards of Waverly Place” Cast
The cast of Wizards of Waverly Place helped make the series successful. Here’s what they’re up to now.
Selena Gomez as Alex Russo
Selena Gomez plays Alex. She’s not the best student, and she often uses her magic when she’s not supposed to, but viewers always root for her. Gomez has had a successful career since the show ended — but, she’s also had a few personal struggles. For one, she had to undergo a liver transplant due to having lupus. After taking some time off, she’s rumored to have new music in the works.
David Henrie as Justin Russo
Justin is the oldest of the Russo kids and a very successful wizard. Throughout the series, he’s portrayed as being kind, yet a little naive at times. David Henrie, who plays Justin, is also known for portraying the son in How I Met Your Mother. In 2016, he had a part in the film Warrior Road.
Jake T. Austin as Max Russo
Jake T. Austin played Max, the youngest sibling. While Jake T. Austin moved onto the drama series The Fosters, he noted that he’ll always have a special place in his heart for his Wizards of Waverly Place character. “Playing the character for five years really helped me see things from his perspective,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
Jennifer Stone as Harper Finkle
What’s a Disney sitcom without a best friend? The character of Harper is important, as she’s one of the very few who knows the big Russo family secret. She also started out having a crush on Justin, which helped make the show a little more fun. Jennifer Stone’s most recent work includes the movie Santa Girl, where she plays the lead part of Cassie.
Maria Canals-Barrera as Theresa Russo
Maria Canals-Barrera plays the role of Theresa, the mortal mom of Alex, Justin, and Max. Surprisingly, she’s not a big fan of magic — but is nothing but supportive to her kids. Maria Canals-Barrera has had bit parts in Fuller House and Young & Hungry since Wizards of Waverly Place wrapped up.
David DeLuise as Jerry Russo
David DeLuise plays Jerry Russo, the father of the Russo kids and husband of Theresa. He was born a wizard and was once the Family Wizard growing up, but he gave his powers and title to his brother to marry Theresa. He’s still a wonderful wizarding teacher to his children. David DeLuise is the son of actor Dom DeLuise and has reached equal success with the Pup Star franchise, where he’s credited as playing Steven.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on Wizards of Waverly Place?
Throughout the show’s four seasons, they had plenty of interesting guest stars — from American Idol finalist Justin Guarini to Tiffany Thornton. Here were the most memorable Wizards of Waverly Place guest stars.
Bella Thorne as Nancy Lukey
Just because Max was the youngest doesn’t mean he didn’t have a love interest. Bella Thorne plays Nancy Lukey in the episode “Max’s Secret Girlfriend.” Max kept her a secret from the family, and when the Russo’s were upset about hiding secrets, he took that as an excuse to tell Nancy that he’s a wizard.
Shakira as Uncle Kelbo (as herself)
Celebrity cameos can also be pretty funny. In an episode titled “Dude Looks Like Shakira,” singer Shakira plays herself — well, sort of. With magic, Uncle Kelbo accidentally turned himself into Shakira. In all honesty, there are way worse people to morph into.
Octavia Spencer as Dr. Evilini
Octavia Spencer plays a big part in “Saving Wiz Tech,” and the Wiz Tech episodes in general. She’s both a teacher and an evil wizard who’s out to steal the Russo’s powers.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind Wizards of Waverly Place?
Wizards of Waverly Place had a lot of talent behind the scenes as well from creator Todd J. Greenwald to director Victor Gonzalez. Here are the people who worked the most on the series.
Todd J. Greenwald: Wizards of Waverly Place Creator and Writer
Todd J. Greenwald has had a few television hits on his hands. He also worked with Hannah Montana, California Dreams, and Hang Time over the last few decades, primarily with writing.
Victor Gonzalez: Wizards of Waverly Place Director
Victor Gonzalez directed 40 episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place. His biggest credit prior to was working as a director on George Lopez. He’s since been credited with directing eight episodes of The Neighborhood.
Gigi McCreery: Wizards of Waverly Place Writer and Producer
Gigi McCreery served a few roles — she both wrote and co-produced several episodes of the show. These days, she’s been working as a staff member on shows like Haters Back Off! and School of Rock.
‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
The show was more or less a success for both viewers and the Disney Channel. The Los Angeles Times noted in 2010 that the family dynamics of the show were refreshing. While it focused on Gomez’s character of Alex, each character had a chance to shine. “As created by Todd J. Greenwald, the Russo siblings each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they are presented in a refreshingly democratic manner,” they wrote. “Gomez may be the star, but Henrie’s Justin and Austin’s Max do not serve as foils or comic relief — they all give as good as they get, just like in a real family.”
Where ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Ranks in the Television Pantheon
The show lasted much longer than many other Disney Channel original series. There was also a television movie to help wrap up the Russo family’s story a little better. According to Entertainment Tonight, Selena Gomez and David Henrie talk about the possibilities of a reboot quite often — and based on the show’s popularity and Gomez’s star power it would be a guaranteed success.
‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Trailer
‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Theme Song
The theme song of the show is called “Everything Is Not As It Seems,” and it was written and performed by Selena Gomez.
‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
1. The show went through a few title changes before airing on Disney.
It’s normal for television shows to go through a few changes before settling on a title, but it took a little longer than usual for Disney execs and showrunners to settle on “Wizards of Waverly Place.” Before, the show was known as “The Amazing Hannigans,” “The Amazing O’Malley’s,” and “Disney Wizards” — and, those two titles are linked to this next piece of trivia.
2. Alex’s character was initially named Julia.
It took some time for Disney to settle on “Russo” as being the last name of the Wizards of Waverly Place family. When the writers settled on it (and ditched Hannigan and O’Malley) they realized that “Alex” just sounded a lot better than “Julia.”
3. Joe Jonas was up for the role of Justin.
It’s hard to imagine the show any other way, but having Joe Jonas and Selena Gomez play siblings would have definitely been interesting. Even though he didn’t get the part, he and his brothers found other ways to be linked to Disney — like, their own show.
4. The show was originally going to take place in Ireland.
That might be why names like Hannigan and O’Malley were tossed out. Writers settled on the United States — and New York, specifically — since they figured it’d be more relatable.
5. Some of the spells used on the show were nods to the production staff.
When you have the liberty to create your own spells, you might as well pay tribute to the people who made the whole show possible. One example is the Murrieta Animata spell, which was likely named after writer Peter Murrieta.