Top 5 Disney Channel Movies

Libby Maier, Critic

Growing up in the early 2000s, Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) were the peak of cinema for most kids ages 6-12. When looking back, I see the obvious simplicity of these classic films and there are a select few that stick out as some of the best DCOMs made to this day. 

1: Descendants (2015)

“Descendants” follows the teenage children of past Disney villains we know and love. The villains featured in this movie are Maleficent, The Evil Queen, Cruella Deville, Jafar and many other villains. In this world, all of the villains have been imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost where they have been trapped for the past 20 years. When Belle and Beast’s son Ben turns 16 and is preparing to take the throne, he creates a program to give the children on the isle a chance at a normal life by bringing them to Auradon, which is where all the Disney protagonists live. This is one of my favorite DCOMs ever, it has an interesting story that keeps you invested throughout the entire movie and leaves you wanting to know more about this world and the kids’ stories. I ranked it as first because it is one of the only DCOMs where I can sit through the entire movie without skipping. 

2: Girl vs. Monster

This is the best Halloween DCOM and I stand by that. “Girl vs. Monster” follows 16-year-old Skylar, a girl who has grown up with no fear. With Skylar unaware that her parents are monster hunters, she goes to cut the power to sneak out for a Halloween party. She accidentally ends up releasing all the monsters that were being held in the basement by her parents. Most importantly, Skylar freed her monster, leaving her to experience fear for the first time. With the help of her friends, Skylar learns how to live with fear and how to not let her fear stop her. This movie just brings me so much joy and 

It is one of my favorite Halloween movies.

3: High School Musical (2006)

The plot of “High School Musical” is basically athletics versus theater. The story follows Troy Bolton, captain of the East High basketball team, as he discovers a new love of music and is torn between the two worlds of theater and basketball. He tries to figure out where he belongs alongside the “new girl” Gabriella Montez. While “High School Musical” can easily be considered the most popular DCOM in existence, it is not necessarily my favorite. I’ve seen this movie millions of times yet I can barely remember the plot or explain what is actually happening in the movie. I ranked it third because it is a good middle-of-the-road movie.

4: Lemonade Mouth (2011)

“Lemonade Mouth” follows five teens in a “Breakfast Club” retelling. The teens were given detention together. They all come from different walks of life with virtually nothing in common but they come to find out that the one thing they do have in common is music. Facing trials and tribulations throughout their personal lives and at school where the administration valued athletics over the arts; these five kids form a band. It is a story that a lot of performing and visual art students can relate to. This movie has a lot of great moments and is one that defined a lot of kids’ childhoods. I ranked “Lemonade Mouth” lower because, while it has arguably the best soundtrack in a DCOM to date, the story can be lacking at some points which took away from the great music and the story the directors were trying to tell.

5: Let It Shine (2013)

“Let It Shine” is about Cyrus, a preacher’s son who loves to write music— more specifically rap music. He has stage fright and so he doesn’t perform the songs he writes until a teen star announces a contest for an amateur artist’s song to be produced by her label. Wanting to follow his dream, Cryus enters and technically wins but since the photo, Cyrus entered was of him with his best friend, the label mistakes Cyrus for his best friend. Instead of fixing that mistake, the two kids lie— a lot. They don’t correct the label’s mistake and lead everyone to believe that Cyrus’s friend has Cyrus’s singing voice and wrote that song. I do enjoy this movie, but it’s honestly pretty forgettable compared to the other movies on this list.