If you’re a child born in the 90’s you remember growing up on the early 2000’s rendition of Disney Chanel’s original movies. Face it, you see those kids jumping midair on the camera roll with the Mickey ears logo in the background, don’t you? And whenever they were announced months in advance you remember the behind the scenes footage they’d show instead of the previews. And a majority of the time, they featured some of your favorite Disney stars that either starred in certain TV shows or frequently guest starred in a variety of shows. When these movies came on they were the absolute highlight of our Friday and Saturday night. Because at 8 years old what else was there to do? Here’s a definitive ranking of some of the best old school Disney Channel original movies.
We all remember watching this series of movies during all of October. In fact, we waited an entire year for it to come back on! Who didn’t want to be a part of this magical family and to be able to cast spells, make potions, and live in that cute little town with all sorts of creatures and chaos? And when Debbie Reynolds passed away earlier this year, our generation wept knowing that “the Grandma from Halloweentown passed away.”
The Thirteenth Year (1999)
We can blame this movie for our belief and evidence that mermaids exist. Mermen, I should say. If you were between the ages of 7-10, 13 seemed like a magical age that was so far away, and so old to be honest. This was the first time we saw Joey from “Full House” playing another character other than the goofy voice impersonating best friend to the Tanners, playing an adoptive father to an abandoned baby he finds on his boat. This movie gave us hope that maybe something magical would happen to one of us the moment we turned 13. Wishful thinking huh?
Smart House (1999)
You’d be lying if you said this movie didn’t make you want to live in this house. Being able to have any meal you want at just a simple request, an alarm clock with any projection on your bedroom walls, and never, ever having to clean your own home. How great would that be? And the moment the house went under lock down and went a little psycho, we were all scared of our life.
Zenon Girl of the 21st Century (1999)
This was the ultimate chick flick for little girls who grew up on Disney channel. Featuring a spunky girl named Zenon who literally wasn’t from this world. She lived in space and made it look like the coolest lifestyle none of us would ever come close to living. When she came back down to Earth to visit her aunt, she was in for a culture shock. Throughout the film, we got some pretty cool catch phrases and a heartthrob who sang that oh so catchy song “Zoom.” Face it, you still wish you could bring back “Zetus lapetus!”
If you didn’t watch Kimberly J. Brown in Halloweentown, then you have to remember her from the 2000 hit “Quints.” She played the super cool big sis who made a vlog way before vlogs were even a thing. When her parents were pregnant with quintuplets, that’s right quintuplets, as in five children at once. They were making history before John and Kate even met. This classic featured the perks of being news media famous for having such a big family and the downfall of being the big sister whose life is flipped upside down because of it.
The Ultimate Christmas Present (2000)
As a kid snow was the greatest gift that winter could give us. Now that we’re adults, it’s the biggest curse we can get. But as a kid, it’s so fun to have school canceled due to snow, be able to go out and go sledding, build snow men, and have snowball fights. That is until the snow gets a little out of hand. That’s exactly what happens to two girls that live in Los Angeles. Of all places to create the setting, they receive a present that allows them to dictate the weather. When the snow proves to be too much, they break the gadget and now Santa has to come and fix it. A young Brenda Song is featured in this classic, pre-Wendy Wu homecoming warrior.
The Luck of the Irish (2001)
The PG version of Leprechaun featured a young and very attractive Ryan Merriman who learns that his family is not only Irish, but they’re leprechauns. In order to keep his family from being controlled by an evil leprechaun, he must battle for a gold charm that will keep him and his family safe and sound. Before society forced us to be politically correct, this movie taught us about different cultures throughout the entire film.
Cadet Kelly (2002)
In the prime of Hillary Duff’s career, she played the super cute and oh so materialistic Kelly Collins. As she’s forced by her step dad to enroll in the George Washington Military School, she has a hard time adjusting due to the rudeness and controlling mannerism of her commanding officer Jennifer Stone. Or should I say the girl that played Ren Stevens in Even Stevens? In order to impress her crush (because all DCOMs have a romantic love interest), she joins the drill team, and along the way becomes friends with Stone.
Get a Clue (2002)
It might take a few of you to remember this one. In between “The Parent Trap” and “Freaky Friday,” a pre-drug addicted Lindsey Lohan starred as Lexy Gold, a 13-year-old living in New York City, who becomes a spy and rescues her English teacher. The plot sounds cheesy, but at 8 years old, it was the coolest film to watch! You got to see all sorts of spy gadgets, undercover tricks, and a very fashionable cast.
Double Teamed (2002)
This biographical film about twins Heidi and Heather Burge featured the story of their overbearing father enrolling them into a specific high school in order to play basketball, get noticed by college scouts, and make their way to the WNBA. Throughout the film, the twin sisters have to overcome their differences and work together to achieve the success they want. Surprisingly the sisters that played in the film weren’t sisters in real life and hardly looked alike. But at 8 years old, just about anything is believable.
The Even Stevens Movie (2003)
The first time Disney Channel decided to make a movie after a TV series, they did so with “The Even Steven’s Movie.” The beloved Stevens family win a trip to a deserted island where they are tricked into appearing on a reality TV show. All along their friends back home are watching and voting them into certain situations. By the end of the film, it’s about survival, and a big prank show that features Joey from Full House. Sounds odd, but wasn’t that how the entirety of the show went about? I’m sure no one wants to think about a pre-pubescent and gross Shia LaBeouf.
Pixel Perfect (2004)
You’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to join an all-girl band and write your own music after “Pixel Perfect” came out. When heartthrob Ricky Ullman creates a holographical image to help his friend, jealous rises when the hologram can sing, dance, and do just about everything better than her. Maybe this movie was a sign of the negative side of technology. Were we warned?
High School Musical (2006)
Possibly one of, if not the most, successful Disney Channel Original Movie of all time. All. Time. With a dynamic cast featuring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, and so much more, we’ve been waiting for the perfect boy to come along on New Year’s Eve. It’s been 11 years. We’re still waiting. The modern day version of “Grease” is based on a high school basketball player who falls for a nerdy girl, and the two of them audition for the high school musical but struggle to keep up with their other obligations. Not only did this movie prove to have created a successful franchise, with two movies, one being on the big screen to follow, it proved that Zac Efron only gets better with age.
Camp Rock (2008)
If you were a girl like me, you waited for almost two years for this movie to come out. You counted down the days until it would premiere, and you knew every line that each of the Jonas Brothers had just based on the previews you saw. When a cocky Shane Gray has to get a reality check and coach aspiring musicians, a young Mitchie Torres gets the chance to follow her dreams and spend the summer at Camp Rock. While she lies her way through her ability to get there, she becomes the voice that Joe, I mean Shane searches for throughout the entire film. This movie was the classic cheesy Disney movie that we so commonly loved, but my goodness weren’t the Jonas Brothers just perfect in it?!
There you have it, folks. A trip down memory lane of a typical Friday or Saturday night during the late 90’s early 2000’s. It’s crazy to think of how old some of these films are, but it seems like not too long ago you were repeating your favorite lines, singing your favorite songs, and idolizing over the perfect cast Disney gave us!