The Best Disney Channel Original Movies, Ranked

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re all doing well as we’ve reached our tenth (? I’ve lost track here in SoCal) week of quarantine! And I don’t wanna speculate but it looks like it might be going on for longer! So! I’m in the final weeks of my master’s degree, which means I’ve been writing a lot of papers. And what better thing to have on while working than a Disney Channel Original Movie, or DCOM? 

I was lucky enough to be born during the golden age of DCOMs, when things weren’t on Disney+ yet and fast-forwarding commercials were a thing of the future. So I’d say I’m a bit of a snob. Here is my list of Top ten DCOMS. 

  1. High School Musical 2: The baseball uniforms. The dance numbers. The unreal blueness of Zac Efron’s eyes. The second high school musical movie blew the first one out of the water. Who could forget Troy’s angst-fueled singing with the stunning golf course as a backdrop? And “Gotta Go My Own Way” broke all of our hearts. I’m pretty sure I can still sing every line of “Fabulous,” even though my family doesn’t own their own country club. We were all thirteen-year-olds pretending to be Sharpay Evans, don’t lie. My thanks to the wardrobe people for putting Zac in blue everything.  
  1. The original Halloweentown is something that cannot be paralleled. I might be biased because I don’t like scary Halloween movies, but I think this one is the best because it’s family-friendly. And Debbie Reynolds is a queen. This movie is chock-full of nostalgia and old special effects. Considering when the movie came out, what they were able to achieve was amazing in itself. Halloweentown is the movie that hurtles me straight back to my childhood. Never forget, “being normal is vastly overrated.”  undefined
  1. High School Musical: The movie that started it all. DCOMS before this were great, but High School Musical was iconic. This really put singing tv shows and movies on the map. Plus, it introduced us to Zac Efron! Raise your hand if you wish he was in more musicals. It’s a cult classic, one that has ten-year reunions and spawned video games, books, and inspired theater companies and schools all around the country to put on their own High School Musical. (I wear my own East High Wildcats shirt all the time, I was a drama kid) And of course, the show on Disney+ High School Musical: The Musical, The Series! HSM was also the only DCOM thus far that had its sequel in theaters, people! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go watch it and wait for my karaoke night on New Year’s Eve.
  1. Camp Rock: Honestly, when this came out it was like PEAK Disney channel. The Jonas Brothers were still together. Miley was still Hannah. Everyone on Disney Channel could still sing (sorry, no shade). I think we all wanted to go to a summer camp like this. Unfortunately, no camp that I ever went to had a boy band performing there. Or any boys that were even close to being as cute as the Jonas Brothers. I was wholeheartedly a Joe girl during this phase of Disney Channel. But I will forever be thankful to this movie for giving us the chance to see the Jonas Brothers sing “Play My Music,” “Gotta Find You,” and “This is Me.” BRB while I go watch this and cry about the fact that they’re all married again. 
  1. StarStruck: don’t hate on this one. Chad Dylan Cooper might have had to be dubbed a little bit when singing, but watching him fall in love with Danielle’s Jess is the cutest thing ever. I hadn’t seen it since it premiered like a decade ago, but I watched it again after I moved to LA, and I swear it became even better. Watching a whole celebrity be a tourist with a normal girl? Adorable! And the soundtrack is a BANGER! “Superhero” is such a good song for driving along in your car with the windows down during the summer. Go watch this movie! Listen to the soundtrack on Spotify! You can thank me later. 
  1. Jump In!: this was the movie that made everyone fall in love with Corbin Bleu just a little more than Zac Efron. And who could forget the music video for “Push It to the Limit” that got all of us hot and bothered at age twelve? Really sad Corbin Bleu didn’t have a solid acting career like Zefron. This movie was really just for the girls that grew up having massive double dutch tournaments in elementary school. Still love it for the workout songs and BB Keke Palmer.  undefined
  1. Halloweentown II: Kalabar had a hot son. There, I said it. We were all thinking it. And he’s dating Marnie in real life! We love to see it. I did have to knock it down a few spots because it did have one of the scarier scenes in a DCOM. Watching all the humans become what they were dressed as was horrifying. True terror. That being said, Debbie Reynolds was a badass yet again. AND it was one of the better Halloweentown movies in the saga. Cromwell witches kick ass. 
  1. Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior: We haven’t seen Brenda Song in much after her Disney days, and that is a damn tragedy. She played a ditz for years and she was good at it. This movie showed that girls who wear cute clothes and care about high school dances can still kick ass. And that’s something we definitely needed to see in the early 2000’s. History nerd me was loving all of the cultural lessons that Wendy learned. Not to mention this was during the karate craze, so Disney knew what they were doing with this movie. I wish it was on more! 
  1. The Thirteenth Year: An oldie, but a goodie. Gotta love this movie for flipping the “I’m a mermaid” trope on its head by making a boy turn into a mermaid instead of a girl. I haven’t seen this movie in years, but it’s so engrained in my subconscious at this point I could probably recite it from memory. Don’t worry, I won’t. Does anyone know where that actor went that played the main guy, though? Did he just disappear off into the ocean with his mermaid mom? Kidding. But really though? Does anyone wanna look and report back to me? 
  1. Teen Beach Movie: Before everyone yells at me for putting this movie so far down the list, I’ve only seen it once. I was never really inspired to watch it more than that, but it was a cute movie. The setting was pretty, props to the costume department too! I’ve always been a fan of Ross Lynch (RIP to R5!). Seeing him in leather and aviator sunglasses had me feeling ~some kind of way~ but I don’t think this movie has High School Musical status. And maybe a small part of me put this movie last because I spent a summer working at Justice (Limited Too’s successor), and as a result I had to listen to/watch “Crusin’ for a Brusin’” about 10,000 times. undefined 

For those of you that were wondering why none of the Descendants movies are on this list, I haven’t had the opportunity to watch them yet. But rest assured that I will as soon as I have the time to devote to them! (Even with quarantine, I’ve still got schoolwork)

What are some of your favorite DCOMs? Let me know in the comments! 

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