By: Kara S.
Ok, so maybe this isn’t the end-all, be-all list of which Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOM), and maybe it doesn’t even include every DCOM ever made, since, as of the summer of 2016, there are over 100 different movies. But all of the DCOMs are fantastic nonetheless, and there are quite a few unknown ones that are pretty great, so I’ve decided I want to share a few of my favorites with you. So I present to you:
My Top 20 Favorite Disney Channel Movies
First on my list at number 20 is Johnny Tsunami, which came out in 1999. Johnny is a surfer who lives in Hawaii, but his dad’s job moves them to Vermont. Johnny’s friend, Sam, teaches him how to snowboard, but the school he goes to looks down upon snowboarding because they ski. He also forms a crush on a girl at his school, and he teaches her how to snowboard, but she almost gets hurt. Johnny and Sam catch a plane to Hawaii to go back to what’s familiar to Johnny, surfing. They end up coming back to Vermont with Johnny’s grandfather. Johnny makes a bet with the kids at his school, and if he wins, the skiers have to share the slope with the snowboarders.
Number 19 is Stuck in the Suburbs, released in 2004. Brittany live in the suburbs, but is tired of the monotony. A new girl, Natasha, moves to her school from traveling the world and is different, which makes Brittany’s old friends not like her, but Brittany becomes friends with her anyway. A celebrity singer, Jordan, comes to town to film a music video, and Brittany and Natasha go to watch and run into Jordan and his assistant, Eddie. Jordan and Brittany accidentally pick up each other’s phones. They then help Jordan change his image since he doesn’t like how his record label is branding him. Brittany and Natasha get Jordan to host a concert to try to save a landmark in their town.
At number 18 is Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, released in 1999. Zenon lives in a space shuttle, but she gets in trouble with the commander, so her parents punish her by sending her to live on Earth with her aunt. On Earth, she has troubles fitting in, but she ends ups becoming friends with Andrew and Greg. She finds out of an evil businessman's plan to destroy the spaceship, but when she tries to tell the commander, he ignores her. Andrew and Greg help Zenon by creating a antivirus. Zenon and her aunt have to find a way to get on a spaceship to load the antivirus and save the spaceship. Zenon: the Zequel is about Zenon trying to save the spaceship from being put out of commission and Zenon: Z3 is about Zenon trying to save Earth from an angry goddess.
Read It and Weep is number 17 on my list and was released in 2006. Jamie writes in her journal on her laptop about a girl named Is and her life, which is similar to Jamie’s own life. In her English class, she has to write an story, but she accidentally turns in her journal instead of her assignment. Her journal goes on to win a writing contest and becomes published, which make Jamie become famous, but her popularity goes south when her friends and classmates learn that the stories in her journal are based on her real life.
Another fantastic Disney Channel movie is Frenemies, which came out in 2012 and is number 16 on my list. It follows three different loosely-connected stories, all about how important friendships are. Jake and his dog, Murray, are best friends, but Julianne wants to get rid of Murray and get all of Jake’s attention so that he will do their science project. Avalon and Halley are best friends who run a website, Geekly Chic, together, but are put against each other when a major newspaper offers to buy Geekly Chic, but will only keep one girl to work on the staff. Savannah and Emma meet in the mall and look just like each other, so they trade places because they each believe that the other’s life is better, but they become mad at each other after they go on dates with the other girl’s boyfriend.
Number 15 is Girl vs. Monster, released in 2012. Skylar is a fearless girl before her monster, Deimata, is released and she finds out she is a fifth-generation monster hunter. Skylar and her friends, Henry and Sadie, have to now trap her monster along with others and keep her friends and family safe and save the Halloween party.
Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior came out in 2006 and is number 14 on my list. Wendy is running for homecoming queen, but her life becomes crazy when a Buddhist monk, Shen, tells her she is the reincarnation of a powerful female warrior. Shen tells Wendy that has to defeat an evil spirit before it destroys the world, but she doesn’t believe him.
Camp Rock is my 13th favorite DCOM and was released in 2008. Mitchie convinces her parents to let her go to Camp Rock, a summer camp all about music, but her mom has to be the cook so that Mitchie can go and she has to help in the kitchen. Mitchie tries to hide this detail, and she makes friends with the popular girls. She also forms a crush on Shane, who is part of the famous band Connect 3 and is stuck at camp because of his spoiled behavior. Her secret is spilled, and Shane thinks she had been lying to him about everything. Camp Rock 2 is about Camp Rock’s rivalry with the new camp across the lake, Camp Star.
Another awesome DCOM and number 12 is Let It Shine, which came out in 2012. Cyrus is a youth choir director at a church where is dad is the pastor, but he is also secretly a rapper named Truth and a busboy at a club. He and his best friend, Kris, enter a songwriting contest hosted by a childhood friend and famous singer, Roxy. A mixup says that Kris won, but it was actually Cyrus, but the boys keep the act going for Roxy. Roxy and Kris try to become a couple, but he keeps blowing her off, and she feels like she can talk to Cyrus better. Meanwhile, this secret is pulling Kris and Cyrus apart.
Number 11 is Jump In! It was released in 2007 and follows Izzy. He is a younger undefeated boxer who is training to compete in the Golden Gloves competition. His friend, Mary, is on a double Dutch team, but one of their members just quit. Izzy doesn’t think double Dutch is hard, and he shows Mary and her friends his skills, and they try to recruit him for their double Dutch team. He agrees to join, but it has to be kept a secret. Izzy starts to miss boxing practices, and his dad becomes upset with him. Izzy has to decide if he wants to do double Dutch and let down his dad, or boxing and let down his friends.
At number 10 is a popular DCOM, High School Musical, released in 2006. It’s about Gabriella, the smart girl who just moved to East High, and Troy, the star basketball player. They find their way to the school musical, which upsets Sharpay and Ryan, along with their friends, Chad and Taylor, and the basketball coach who is also Troy’s dad.
Another one of my favorites is Radio Rebel, taking the number nine spot. It was released in 2012 and is about Tara, a shy girl who is actually the hidden voice behind a popular radio show. Her radio show gets moved to a real radio station and becomes even bigger, much to the dismay of her principal, who cancels prom unless Radio Rebel reveals her true identity.
Number eight is Lemonade Mouth, released in 2011. Four kids, Olivia, Mo, Charlie, and Stella, receive detentions and serve them together in the music room, where they start playing instruments together. The music teacher urges them to form a band, Lemonade Mouth, together, and they write and play songs about their lives and the experiences they’re going through. The principal is determined to shut down Lemonade Mouth, but they want to perform at a competition hosted by a radio station.
Cloud 9 was released in 2014 and is number seven. It’s about Kayla, a snowboarder and the regional girl’s halfpipe champion. She gets kicked off her team and finds out she isn’t as good as she thought she was. She has to get a job at the dog day care, where Will works, and she convinces him to come back to snowboarding and coach her to be better. She forms a new snowboarding team, which competes against her old team, and she tries out a trick that Will had invented but no one had successfully executed in public.
Released in 2002 and number six on my list is Cadet Kelly. Free-spirited Kelly gets moved from her friends and her artsy school to a military academy where her new stepdad is the commandant. She has troubles conforming to the rules, but she finds a few friends to try to help her get through the school year and get on the show rifle drill team, which counts on her in their regional championships.
Number five, Teen Beach Movie, came out in 2013. Mack and Brady love surfing together, but Mack has to go to boarding school. When she is riding her last wave before she departs, she falls of her surfboard and Brady rides out to save her. When they swim back to shore, they are actually on the set of Brady’s favorite movie, Wet Side Story. There, they meet Lela and Tanner and their motorcycle and surfing gangs respectively, who are rivals and fight over the beach. Mack and Brady end up changing the plot of the movie: Lela and Tanner were supposed to fall in love, but Lela falls in love with Brady and Tanner falls in love with Mack. Mack and Brady have to try to get the movie back on track so that they can get back to present day. In Teen Beach 2, Lela and Tanner come to Mack and Brady’s world, and they have to get back before their movie disappears, but they love the present world.
At number four is Descendants, which came out in 2015. It’s focused around the kids of Disney princesses, princes, and villains. The main characters are Mal, daughter of Maleficent; Ben, son of Belle and the beast; Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen; Audrey, daughter of Sleeping Beauty and Prince Philip; Jay, son of Jafar; Jane, daughter of Fairy Godmother; and Carlos, son of Cruella De Vil. Ben is about to be crowned king of the Auradon, the kingdom his parents created to unite all of the prince and princess’s kingdoms, and his first official proclamation is to give the villain’s kids a second chance and bring them to Auradon from the Isle of the Lost, where all of the villains were banished to. Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos go to Auradon as part of the proclamation, and Maleficent wants them to steal Fairy Godmother’s wand so that they can escape the Isle. While they are there, though, they begin to like being good, so they have to decide if they will steal the wand for their parents or stay in Auradon. Descendants 2 came out in 2017 and followed the same characters,  plus Uma, daughter of Ursula, as the original kids save Auradon from Uma and her pirate crew.
Princess Protection Program takes the number three spot. Released in 2009, it’s about Princess Rosalinda having to flee her country right before she is about to be crowned queen. She stays with Carter and her dad and has to learn how to blend in with regular Americans. Carter starts out being annoyed by her, but slowly likes her and is determined to protect her from returning back to her country.
Another fantastic movie, and my second favorite DCOM, is Starstruck, released in 2010. It’s about Jessica’s family trip to Hollywood, California to visit her grandparents, but it takes an unexpected turn when Jessica’s sister drags her to a party so that she can try to find her celebrity crush, Christopher Wilde. Jessica and Christopher run into each other, but Jessica could not want anything less to do with Christopher, which baffles him. They run into each other a few more times, and he shows her all of his favorite places around Hollywood. They start to like each other, but Christopher wants to shelter Jessica from the celebrity life, and she feels like she is ashamed to be with her. He later shows up at her school dance, trying to get her back.
At the number one slot is Rip Girls, which is hands-down my favorite Disney Channel movie, even though so few people know about it. It was released in 2000, and it’s about a girl, Sydney, who goes to Hawaii with her dad and stepmom to look at her mom’s house and decide if she should keep it or sell it. Along the way, she meets new friends and falls in love with Hawaii and surfing, while learning about her mother.

So, those are my favorites! What are yours?

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