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The Wonderful World of DCOM’s
If you’re a ‘90s kid, you probably remember rushing to sit down in front of the TV as soon as you heard the Disney Channel Original Movie theme song. It was the call to wacky comedy, magical spells, catchy musical numbers, and a whole lot of campy fun.
Beloved for (or despite) their wacky plotlines, DCOM’s also launched the careers of stars like Demi Lovato, Zac Efron, the Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, Hillary Duff and many more from a young age.
And while you may be all grown up now, watching some of these Disney classics can be a deliciously guilty pleasure. Here are a few you may want to see again when you’re feeling nostalgic. Or just need a break from reality. Here are the 22 best Disney Channel original movies.
Halloween Town (1998)
What could make puberty even more complicated? Finding out you’re a witch. 13-year old Marnie unearths her family’s magical heritage when she stumbles into a magical place called Halloween Town.
She meets a host of otherworldly characters and finally has to face an evil demon that’s trying to destroy her newly discovered hometown — time to step up, witch.
A rad inline skater is forced to leave his beloved skating brahs and accept a corporate sponsorship to help his struggling family. Unfortunately, the guys in his new commercial crew are a bunch of jerks.
It’s a classic tale of Meanies vs. the Goodies. And Soul vs. Heartless Capitalism. Of course, the soul wins the day. Yep, this must be a Disney movie.
Johnny Tsunami (1999)
Following up on the extreme sports theme from Brink, this epic Disney Channel Original Movies follows Johnny Tsunami as he transitions from surfing the waves of Hawaii to snowboarding on the powder of Vermont.
Before Shaun White became the face of snowboarding, Johnny Tsunami was standing up for the underdog Urchins and beating the Skies in races.
“The temperature is down, but the surf is up!
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)
Zenon, played by Kirsten Storms, lives in a space station and wears fabulous futuristic clothes. But when she gets in trouble for another one of her crazy antics, she’s grounded on Earth and has to deal with freaky humankind.
From there, it’s a crazy race to get back and save the space station from crashing. More importantly, she doesn’t want to miss her favorite pop group, Microbe, in concert.
Guess things don’t change THAT much in the future.
Smart House (1999)
Ben Cooper (Ryan Merriman) steps up to take care of the house after his mother passes away. In true teenage fashion he enters a contest to win a computer than handles all of his chores and other household duties; obviously.
Ben wins the contest and the Cooper’s install a Smart House. As expected the computer takes on its own personality and life gets a little weird for the Cooper household.
It was hard to believe Smart House could ever happen, but here we are in 2019 with smart devices all over the place; including our houses. Will our SmartHouses take over like Pat?
Alley Cats Strike (2000)
Will bowling ever be cool? Probably not. But for a brief period in 2000, Alley Cats Strike had everyone trying to convert the dreaded 7-10 split.
Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire (2000)
Adam (Matt O’Leary) and Chelsea (Laura Vandervoort) Hanson have a problem. They both have plans for the weekend but are both grounded by their strict, divorced mother (Caroline Rhea). The pair make a plan to try to get their mother out of the house.
Their prayers seem to be answered when the mysterious Dimitri shows up.
Dimitri asks their mother out, and everything seems to be going to plan. That is until they discover that Dimitri is really a vampire. They must then try to save their mother from becoming the vampire’s next victim.
Rip Girls (2000)
Sydney (Camilla Belle) inherits a plantation in Hawaii from her aunt. Sydney had not been to the island since she was a baby following the death of her mother. Her father and stepmother leave their home in Chicago to visit the island.
Once there Sydney is informed that she will inherit the plantation if she remains there for two weeks. Her father is reluctant at first, as he has no farming experience. The family must choose whether to sell the farm that had been in the family for several generations or stay.
Sydney struggles with reconnecting with a past she does not remember. When she befriends Gia (Stacie Hess) Sydney discovers there is more to the island and plantation than she first thought.
Cadet Kelly (2002)
Played by Disney fav Hillary Duff, Kelly is packed off to military school by her bossy stepdad. Where she immediately gets on her commanding officer’s bad side. “You’re on my list, maggot!”
Yes, life sucks for this former fashionista. Until she falls for a dreamy classmate and makes the other cadets march to HER orders in a drill team dance number.
Mission to conquer George Washington Military High? Completed!
Related: The Battle Of The Best Disney Villains
The Cheetah Girls (2003)
Who doesn’t dream of becoming a pop star when they’re a teenager? In this Disney musical, four besties get discovered by a famous record producer while gearing up for their school talent show.
But when Jackal Johnson (um, maybe they should have taken a clue from his name?) tries to commercialize their authentic vibe, the sisterhood begins to crack. Soon they start to wonder if superstardom is worth losing their friendship.
After a lot of fierce singing and dancing, the Cheetahs stay true to themselves and their music.
Yay, girl power!
Stuck In The Suburbs (2004)
If you can’t be a pop star, the next best thing is making friends with one. Brittany and Natasha both have a crush on singer Jordan Cahill (played by Saturday Night’s Taran Killam).
When his cell phone accidentally falls into their hands, they decide to mess with his life and end up causing major havoc for the teen idol. But ultimately, it’s for his own good.
With the help of the girls, he stands up to his controlling record company and gets back to his authentic roots. It’s a pop star makeover complete with a new haircut. Guess the suburbs aren’t so dull after all.
They’re twins. They’re witches. They’re twitches!! Alex and Camryn, who were separated at birth, bump into each other on their 21st birthday.
That’s when they find out they’re witches that come from the magical land of Coventry. As they discover their past and their new powers, they join forces to save Coventry from the dark side.
This is way more exciting than throwing up in a bar when you turn 21.
Kim Possible The Movie: So the Drama (2005)
This animated film was meant as the finale to the popular Kim Possible series before Disney decided to renew the show. Kim battles the evil Dr. Dakken as he hatches a new plot to destroy the city. The crime-fighting teen must also struggle with finding a date for the junior prom.
The film makes a good addition to the Kim Possible series, furthering her relationship with Ron Stoppable. The series would run for two more years before ending in 2007. In 2019 Disney released a live-action Kim Possible movie with Sadie Stanley playing the teenage crime-fighter.
Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2006)
Wendy Wu (Brenda Song) is a typical, popular Asian-American teenager. Her top priority is being crowned Homecoming Queen. However, that all changes when she is visited by a Buddhist monk named Shen.
Shen reveals that Wendy is the reincarnation of a great Chinese woman warrior. Her destiny is to battle the ancient evil spirit of Yang-Lo, a dragon who wants to destroy the world. After some convincing, Wendy begins training for the upcoming battle and connects to her forgotten Chinese roots
High School Musical (2006)
This Disney sensation centers around a popular basketball player and a shy bookworm who bond over a shared love of music.
When they both decide to audition for the school musical, nerds and cool kids alike protest their cross-cultural romance. Will they be brave enough to overcome peer pressure and follow their hearts?
Of course, they will! This is a Disney movie! Not Romeo and Juliet!
Jump In (2007)
Izzy discovers his love of double dutch when Mary, his neighbor and secret crush, asks him to sub in one of her tournaments.
His newfound passion moves him to step out of his dad’s shadow and leave boxing. For jump roping? Yep!
Implausible and highly entertaining, this fav is packed with fun music and impressive double dutch numbers. Who could resist jumping into this movie?
Camp Rock (2008)
The Jonas Brothers, specifically Nick Jonas, and Demi Lovato star in this DCOM that kicked off their real-life friendship.
Mitchie is only allowed to attend the musical Camp Rock because her mom is the cook there. A fact that leaves her struggling to overcome her inferiority complex and break out of her shell.
Meanwhile, Shane is trying to throw off the manufactured image of his record label and make more serious music.
Luckily, destiny brings these two talented kids together so they can unleash their authentic selves. Hello, world. This Is Me!
The Princess Protection Program (2009)
Princess Rosalind (Demi Lovato) is forced into hiding when the evil General Kane tries to take over her country.
That’s how she ends up in Louisiana, where Carter (Selena Gomez) has to teach her about life as a normal girl. It’s rough going at first, but soon Carter and Rosalind join forces and become life-long besties.
If only that were true about Demi and Selena.
Teen Beach (2013)
Teen Beach tells the story of Brady (Ross Lynch) and McKenzie (Maia Michelle) who are surfing near her grandfather’s beach hut. While watching a movie called Wet Side Story, McKenzie reveals that she will be leaving for a boarding school as her dead grandmother wanted. She then suggests breaking up with Brady.
McKenzie goes surfing but is caught by a huge wave. While Brady saves her, they are washed up on the beach. They find themselves transported into the film world of Wet Side Story. The couple finds themselves involved in a struggle between bikers and surfers for control of the beach.
This musical comedy deals with the struggles of relationships and growing up. The film also pays homage to the classic Disney surf musicals that were popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
The Descendants (2015)
What if some of our favorite Disney villains had kids? That is the idea explored in The Descendants. Beauty and the Beast have united all of the fantasy kingdoms together and exiled the villains to the Isle of the Lost where their magic powers are useless.
When Ben, Beauty and Beast’s son, is made a ruler twenty years later, he gives the children of some of these villains a chance to live away from the island. The four children are Jay (Booboo Stewart), Mal (Dove Cameron), Carlos (Cameron Boyce), and Evie (Sofia Carson). Their parents send them on a mission to steal the Fairy Godmother’s wand, which will allow them to escape their prison.
What follows is a coming of age film that shows that children don’t always have to follow in their parents’ footsteps. People can change if they truly wish to. The film spawned several sequels and spin-offs.
The Swap (2016)
Based on the young adult novel of the same name, the Swap takes a modern spin on the body-switch movie. While many of these films involve parents and kids swapping, this film looks at two teenagers who find themselves stuck in the body of the opposite gender.
Jack (Jacob Bertrand) and Ellie (Peyton List) are both having family problems. When they both find themselves at the nurse’s office, they get into an argument over who has it worse; boys or girls. Their argument continues via text, where they both wish they had the other’s life. At that moment, magic lightning strikes, and they find themselves swapped in each other’s body. The two then must race against time to get their lives back.
It was only a matter of time before Disney jumped on the zombie fad. This musical comedy takes a light-hearted look at the idea of a zombie outbreak. It is based on the 2012 TV movie Zombies & Cheerleaders.
When a power plant explosion in the town of Seabrook causes some of the population to turn into brain-eating zombies, the locals contain them to one area of town, Zombie Town. The government then gives the zombies Z-bands, which blocks their craving for human brains.
Years later, students from Zombie town are able to integrate into the local high school. One of the zombies, Zed (Milo Manheim) begins dating Addison (Meg Donnelly) in secret. With the Zombie Patrol and school rivals keeping them apart, this film takes a look at relationships with people from different backgrounds and the acceptance of others.
Disney is always reliable for bringing out everyone’s inner child and these movies are no exception. These DCOM’s will forever be favorites in our book. We hope this list brought back some memories for you too.
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Sherry De Alba
Sherry is a freelance writer who worked as an actor before transitioning to an award-winner career in advertising. During a vacation to Mexico, she fell in love and never left. Sherry (aka Cherita) now spends her time bouncing between the US and Mexico writing, running, cooking, meditating and exploring lots of cool stuff on the other side of the wall.view post