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! 

Reach for the Sky: What your Favorite Disney Character Says About Your Study Habits

 

Disney characters. There are tons of them. From the classics like Mickey, to the newer characters like Coco and Moana, there’s a Disney character for everyone. Your favorite Disney character says something about you, whether it be your fashion style or your personality. But have you ever thought about what your favorite Disney character might reveal about your study habits? Your favorite might be Mickey, which shows that you like to take charge on group projects, or you might be more of a Dopey, where you have no idea what is going on, but make it through the quarter nonetheless. Take a look at the list below and see what your favorite Disney character says about your study habits:

  1. Mickey Mouse

The first character we’re going to take a look at is the Mouse himself, Mickey Mouse. Mickey is the figurehead of Disney, and as such, is the leader of his friends. Mickey can often be seen as the one that takes charge when there is a problem. Indeed, he often comes up with very ingenious solutions to sticky sitches, whether it be that Peg Leg Pete has captured Minnie or that his fish can’t breathe. If your favorite character is Mickey Mouse, it is most likely that you are someone who always gets your assignments and homework done, no matter what crazy things stand in your way. Just like the mouse, you also tend to be the leader in group projects; but it’s not a bad thing, because everyone loves when you lead.

2. Princess Tiana

If Tiana is your favorite Disney character, I aspire to be you. (Seriously. Teach me your ways). Tiana was a go-getter. She didn’t let anything stand in the way of getting her restaurant-not being a poor single black woman in the 1920’s,  and not being turned into a frog. Her song was “Almost There,” for crying out loud! If your favorite Disney character is Princess Tiana, you’re the type of person that doesn’t let anything get between you and your dreams of graduation (You’re dreaming of a 4.0 GPA). You’ll do the same physics problems over and over until you get them right, every time. You always go to office hours. And Wine Wednesdays (and the resulting hangovers)? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

3. Olaf

Everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf is cheerful and optimistic. He’s wise. (Ahem, Anna, some people are worth melting for.) Although Olaf may seem like he isn’t the smartest, this snowman has a lot of determination. If Olaf is your favorite character, you’re the peacemaker in group projects. You crack jokes to make people laugh, or you dispel the tension by figuring out how to use everyone’s ideas. No matter what, you always somehow reach your goals. Some may say that you can have a one-track mind, and you can be simple-minded, but this can work out in your favor. Keep doing you!

4. Belle

If Belle is your favorite character, you most likely love reading and have an endless thirst for knowledge and adventure. Belle was a wonderfully smart princess (remember how she put Gaston in his place?). She dreamed of adventure far away from her little town, just like you probably dream of adventure far away from your dorm or apartment. You’re probably the kind of student that works tirelessly at her English and history assignments. However, just like Belle, you can be a dreamer, and sometimes you daydream the hours away, leaving you two hours to write an entire essay. However, when inspiration strikes, you can work for hours without a break.

5. Donald Duck

Oh, Donald Duck. Mickey Mouse’s “sidekick,” the original Angry Bird. Chances are if Donald Duck is your favorite character, you can have a bit of a short temper. You get frustrated by something if you don’t get it within the first few tries, and it is doubtful that you attend office hours of your own free will. You don’t like to admit that you ever need help. Most likely, you spend more time on the subjects that come easily to you, and neglect those that are difficult for you to grasp.

6. Woody

How do I say this politely? Woody is a bit of a control freak. Toy Story is essentially him losing it because Buzz shows up and everyone begins listening to him instead. He tends to freak out when things don’t go his way. If Woody is your favorite Disney character, you’re used to taking charge, and you’re used to people listening to you. You can freak out if your study schedule is tampered with. Although you’re always convinced that your way is right, sometimes it is good to see how other people study. You might swear by flashcards, but your friend might use bulleted notes. Take a chance and try something new-you’ll be glad you did.

7. Pooh

I love Winnie the Pooh and his constant optimism. When I’m trying to think, I often quote him: “Think, Pooh bear, think!” If Pooh is your favorite Disney character, chances are you have trouble studying. You may start out with the best intentions, but things always seem to get in your way. Your friend calls you with a problem, your computer decides to break or the WiFi crashes. However, despite all obstacles, you always find yourself, one way or another, back at your desk to study.

8. Dory

We all love Dory. With her constant playfulness, her whale-speaking abilities, and great advice, what isn’t there to love about the little blue fish? Unfortunately, if Dory is your favorite character, you might share some of her flighty tendencies and extreme short-term memory. Studying for finals? You might find yourself studying the same thing over and over. However, if you can convince yourself that O-CHEM is as important as P.Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, you’ve got college in the bag.

9.  Ariel

I’ve always loved Ariel. She’s such a rebel, and gets herself in trouble, but Prince Eric made it worth it (YUM). Just like Ariel, you probably have a rebellious streak, meaning that you sometimes refuse to study. And your fondness for exploring, whether it’s a new place to hike, a beach you haven’t been to yet, or a new Disney food to get, can mean that your study habits can get pushed to the side. Don’t get me wrong; you might sit down thoroughly intending to read the 500 pages due tomorrow, but you haven’t had a chance to eat at the Blue Bayou yet (same, help please)! Not only can your fondness for exploring be a problem, you tend to trust your friends implicitly, even when they’re wrong (So don’t borrow study guides).

10. The Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter is odd. What’s so great about “unbirthdays,” anyway? Everyone has 364 of them a year. But anyways. If the Mad Hatter is your favorite character, you’re very unique (in the nicest way possible). You probably study in such strange and obscure ways that there’s no way you could partake in a study group. You’ll make really complicated study guides and character diagrams for English that make no sense to anyone else. You study at really weird times, like on the way to classes and while doing yoga. No one understands how you do it, but you somehow pull all A’s.

Must-Haves in the Disney Parks

Some must-haves (and have-nots) for a magical Disney vacation!

It’s finally December!! Otherwise known as peak Disneyland and Walt Disney World time for families all over the world. Many of the people visiting will be park veterans, but just as many, if not more, will be first-time visitors. It can be overwhelming: there are so many sites and blogs telling you what you need to pack, eat, ride on, and see. I’ve seen a lot of these lists, but I’m hoping mine is more comprehensive, and most importantly, realistic. I’ve been to Disneyland many times over the Christmas season, and Walt Disney World once during Christmas. The lists that I’ve seen also had one glaring flaw in the sense that they were always very generic. What about the fashionistas? So, my list is made for you in mind, but even if you aren’t a “fashionista,” I guarantee this will be useful for you as well.

Absolute necessities

  • Backpack/purse/fanny pack
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Powder foundation
  • At least $20 cash
  • Lip gloss/ lipstick
  • Jacket or sweater during the cooler months
  • Pants or leggings during the cooler months (Maybe even a change of clothes if you go on a water ride and get soaked, and it will happen. Trust me)
  • Snacks (granola bar, fruit, sandwich, etc)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Phone battery pack
  • Camera: phone camera, video camera, disposable camera; however, I don’t recommend any fancy lenses

Things you can live without but are still really nice to have

  • Aspirin
  • Concealer
  • Hair tie
  • Water bottle (plastic only)
  • Hairbrush if you’re vain like me haha
  • Earplugs-some bring them for small children if they want to see the fireworks, but my brother and I have been going to the parks since we were a few months old and never used them, and we’re fine! But it’s up to you.
  • Hat
  • Minnie mouse ears (or buy them in the park, I won’t judge)

Things you don’t need:

  • Headphones
  • Heels (unless you’re going to a fancy dinner at Club 33, Be Our Guest, or the like, but  I recommend bringing other shoes to change into)
  • Anything even remotely resembling a Nintendo DS or the like- kids shouldn’t be bored with Mickey Mouse running around!
  • An iPad. We all have phones or cameras-don’t be that person holding up an iPad during the parade or fireworks. Everyone hates you. And there’s a chance that it could get stepped on, jostled, dropped, cracked, or water damaged. I’ve shattered more than one phone at Disneyland, and IPads are way more expensive
  • Lastly, a bad attitude. I’m not kidding. You’re at the happiest place on Earth!!