10 best original Disney Channel movies, ranked

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Everyone who grew up in the 90s and 2000s has their favorite Disney Channel movie. Admit it, everyone sang a Camp Rock song or have fond memories of Stuck in the Suburbs. Before the rise of Disney +, Disney Channel was the place to go for original Disney content, including their original films.

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Of course, most of these movies haven’t aged well and look dated by today’s standards; However, these movies were an essential part of every child’s childhood, and with the Disney Channel now a shell of its former glory, let’s count the best Disney Channel movies, all of which can be streamed on Disney +.

Smart home (1999)


Image from the Disney Channel film Smart House

It might sound a little trite now, but in 1999 children’s minds were filled with wonder what it would be like to live in a computerized home. That was the premise behind Smart home, one of the first original Disney Channel films.

Featuring Katey sagal, the film tells the story of the Coopers, who move into a “smart house” that begins to come to life. Nerdy? God, yes, especially by today’s standards; but it’s still a nice little nugget of what made the original Disney Channel movies special.

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Rebel Radio (2012)


Provided by Disney Channel Radio Rebel

For a moment, Rebel radio seemed like a forgotten footnote in the plethora of original Disney Channel films. Then came the meme of Debby ryan sliding her hair hilariously off her face and all of a sudden there was a resurgence of interest in the movie that this clip came from.

Radio Rebel featured Ryan as a geek kid by day and a radio DJ by night. This movie was, believe it or not, based on a book (Shrinking violet), and while the movie doesn’t do the book justice, it wasn’t as bad as people claimed, and it’s somewhat of a cult favorite among Disney Channel devotees.

Camp Rock (2008)


film-camp-rock
Image via Disney Channel

What do you get when you team up with a young rising Disney Channel princess with a bunch of hot boys? You obtain Camp rock, the 2008 film starring Demi Lovato and the Jonah Brothers.

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The plot of the film is stated in the title, as it tells the story of Mitchie (Lovato) who aspires to be a singer at a summer music camp, called Camp Rock. Looking back, Camp Rock had all the usual DCOM teen cheese, but it was one of the biggest TV movies of that year. It was so tall that it also aired on ABC, the second Disney Channel film to have that honor.

Jett Jackson: The Movie (2001)


Cast image of Jett Jackson

Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t remember the Disney Channel show The famous Jett Jackson. It was one of the network’s first shows around the turn of the 21st century, like all Disney Channel hits, it demanded its own DCOM, creatively titled Jett Jackson: the movie.

The film expanded on the series and may have served as the setting for Season 3, but instead, DCOM marked the end of Jett Jackson. Nonetheless, it was a surprisingly good movie, and like most DCOM movies around this time, it didn’t age well, so it’s still worth watching to get that nostalgic trip.


Johnny Tsunami (1999)


Image of Disney Channel actors Johnny Tsunami

Brandon barker is known for two projects: NBC’s One world (which many may not remember) and the first DCOM movie Johnny Tsunami, which many Disney fans know all too well. Johnny Tsunami was one of the network’s first blockbuster movies, and it tells the story of a kid from Hawaii (who loves surfing, obviously) who has to adjust after his family moves to Vermont.

So instead of being a surfer, he turns into a natural snowboarder. Simple premise, it’s true, but the movie was a lot of fun, and its “fish out of water” story is truly one of the best the network has told.

Stuck in the Suburbs (2004)


Image of Disney Channel stuck in the suburbs

Do you know what a pop star’s worst nightmare is? Being stuck in the suburbs without your cell phone. This is part of the premise of Stuck in the suburbs, the Disney Channel film from the early 2000s starring Brenda song (who rode high on her Follow life with Zack and Cody fame) and Danielle Panabaker.

Both feature suburban teenage girls who get their hands on Jordan Cahill (Taran killam) and try to return it to the pop star. This DCOM has the distinction of being the first to be accompanied by a soundtrack, with some of the biggest pop stars of the moment such as Haylie duff and, you guessed it, Jordan Cahill.

Cheetah Girls (2003)


Disney Channel Cast Image Cheetah Girls

Before Musical High School danced in the hearts of pre-teens, there was no bigger DCOM movie than Cheetah girls. Featuring Raven-Symone and Adrienne bailon, The Cheetah Girls had it all: music that kills, dance moves that kill, and a tried and true story that is just about trying to be successful and keep a friendship together.

When it premiered in 2003, it was more than just a Disney movie coming out, it was an event and remains one of Disney’s best-produced original films for the chain.


The Proud Family Movie (2005)


THE PROUD FAMILY_ STRONGER AND MORE PROUD-social

The proud family is one of Disney Channel’s most well-known animated sitcoms, and to wrap up its original airing, the network decided to make a movie, The proud family film, which was just as sassy and daring as its series predecessor.

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Plot-wise, the movie was kind of a mess, mixing up Penny Proud’s upcoming 16th birthday with a scientist who was cloned from a peanut (yes, that was part of the plot). It was a weird plot, yes, but it all ties in at the end and makes a nice family watch today.

Halloween Town (1998)


Disney Channel Halloween Town Cast Image

One of the first Disney films ever made for the channel, Halloween town was the first of four films in the series (a Halloweentown universe if you think about it), some even think it’s a Disney film that deserves a better sequel. Starring Debbie Reynolds, the film tells the story of a group of children who discover a secret portal that will transport anyone to Halloweentown – a place where Halloween takes place 365 days a year.

Of course, in a universe where Halloween never dies (Michael Myers would have loved this place), kids have to fight all kinds of Halloween evils in this world. The plot was a bit too thin to stretch into a series, but the original Halloweentown is, by far, considered one of the best DCOM movies ever made, and for good reason.

Musical High School (2006)


Zach Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical

There was no Disney movie bigger than High School Musical. It can be argued that, without the enormous success of this film, the Disney Channel films would have been forgotten. Instead, this movie, about a high school basketball prodigy and shy transfer student trying his hand at his school’s musical, was the Disney event to end all Disney events.

High School Musical marked some of the biggest names of that day; Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Zac Efron in all his helmet hair glory, you name the actor, they were probably in that movie. High School Musical would become the most successful DCOM film of all time, with 7.7 million viewers when it premiered and spawned two sequels, one of which will hit theaters (Lycée Musical 3: Senior Year), which grossed over $ 250 million at the box office in 2008. Now there are even three seasons of a High School Musical Disney + show.

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