For many, Disney Channel has passed its golden age of quality entertainment. Current shows don’t live up to the memorable stories of “Phil of the Future” and “That’s So Raven.” Similarly, Disney Channel Original Movies are becoming less and less entertaining. “Teen Beach Movie” and “Geek Charming” miss the mark with unrealistic plots and basic characters. Thankfully, the early and late 2000s provided dozens of films that can be relieved in all their glory. For the nostalgic millennials out there, BUZZ compiled a list of their favorite Disney Channel Original Movies.
Zoya Zia — “Kim Possible: A Stitch in Time” (2003)
Growing up, I admired Kim Possible and her ability to simultaneously fight crime and conquer high school. The television series “Kim Possible” was the longest-running animated show on Disney Channel until “Phineas and Ferb.” Since the show was a fan favorite, there were equally appreciated films. The first one, “Kim Possible: A Stitch in Time,” was released in 2003. In the film, villians Dr. Drakken and Shego plot to take down Kim. Tired of losing to a teenage hero, the villains decide to meddle with time and prevent Kim from becoming a crimefighter and meeting her best friend and sidekick Ron Stoppable. We get glimpses of pre-school Kim and future Kim. As much as I want to like Dr. Drakken and Shego for being humorous, the Kim-Ron duo is the best part of the film. They send meaningful messages about the power of friendship and loyalty in the face of evil.
Angela Bonilla — “Cheetah Girls” (2003)
Before “High School Musical,” “The Cheetah Girls” was my favorite musical movies on Disney Channel. I was excited since Raven Symone was on “That’s So Raven” and I used to love 3LW, a trio female group whose members were Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams, and Naturi Naughton. “Cheetah Girls” has songs that you always starting singing, no matter where you are. “Cinderella” is an unforgettable tune. I was so happy to see a Puerto Rican member, Adrienne Bailon, in the group. After the success of the first movie, the sequel came out and the girls went to Spain. Then came the sad moment when Raven Symone had to leave the group. The remaining three members were in the third movie of the Cheetah Girls franchise called “Cheetah Girls: One World.” In this film, they went to India to film a Bollywood movie. The first movie will always be the best. Galleria, Chanel, Dorinda and Aqua got the opportunity to score a deal with a record company, but they stuck together since they’re “Cheetah Sisters.” The movie sent a message about the importance of friendship and family.
Natalie Heineman — “Twitches” (2005)
By the time this movie premiered on Disney Channel in 2005, Tia and Tamera Mowry already felt like a part of my family. “Sister, Sister” was a masterpiece television show that ended a few years earlier, but even then I knew I was seeing the last of these identical twin sisters. The movie “Twitches” taught me about family values. The sisters respected each other and had fun, despite their disagreements- much like me and my own sister. The only thing missing from my own relationship with my sister is the magical powers featured in the movie, but we can still dream.
Krystal Cruz — “The Color Of Friendship” (2000)
I can admit that I am one of those people who complains about what’s on Disney Channel today. The new content makes me shake my head in disappointment because they are nothing like my favorite Disney Channel Original Movie, “The Color of Friendship.” This movie was revolutionary, especially since the target audience was kids. The movie is about Piper Dellums, the daughter of a black congressman in Washington, D.C. Piper’s family houses Mahree Bok, a white South African student, for her semester abroad. Both girls are surprised when they meet each other because neither expected themselves to be of a different race. The movie explores the difficulties that come with racial intolerance and narrates the growing friendship between two girls from completely different backgrounds but with similar hearts. Usually Disney Channel is known for their musicals and comedies, but “The Color of Friendship” was so much more than that. This movie that taught me at such a young age that the color of our skin should not divide us or be a barrier to love and friendship.
Xyclali Nuñez — “High School Musical” (2006)
I always get excited whenever Disney Channel has a “High School Musical” marathon. The movie franchise made sleepovers and school talent shows memorable as we sang along and learned the choreography to our favorite songs from the movie. The characters, Troy Bolton, Gabriella Montez, Sharpay Evans and the rest of the cast, made high school seem fun and scary at the same time. Although high school is not a musical, the film highlighted some experiences teenagers go through. It taught us the valuable lesson to be ourselves even if we are being judged or pressured to be someone else.
Jacqueline Martinez — Camp Rock (2008)
I’ve been a fan of the Jonas Brothers from day one, swooning over them throughout my teenage years, so you can only imagine my excitement when my favorite brothers premiered in a Disney Channel Original Movie. Joe Jonas starred as Shane, an instructor who returned to the camp to discover himself and find some new inspiration. He meets Demi Lovato’s character Mitchie who is working on confronting her fears about stepping into the spotlight and the two have a connection. The movie addresses the struggles that Mitchie faces since she is only attending the camp because her mother is catering it, but regardless of her background, she still works hard and becomes the girl with the “voice” that Shane is looking for. Initially I watched this solely for the Jo-Bro’s but the lesson in the film is also worthwhile.
Emma Whalen — Johnny Tsunami (1999)
Not just any Disney Channel original movie gets a sequel and a three-quel. Johnny Tsunami joins the ranks of other Disney Channel greats like “Halloweentown,” “High School Musical” and “The Cheetah Girls” as a movie that was so good the first time around, that Disney writers were inspired to stretch the plot into two more films. The first film, and my personal favorite, follows young surfer prodigy, Johnny Kapahaala, as his totally radical, surfer-dude life gets turned upside down when his family moves to Vermont. Johnny immediately sticks out at his fancy new prep school because obviously he’s not a total square. Instead of succumbing to the pressure to conform in his new school of uptight (gasp) skiers, Johnny takes it upon himself to befriend some “public school” kids who keep it real on their snowboards. Of course Johnny is an absolute baller on the slopes from day one and even uses his snowboarding skills to win over the heart of his ski-bunny bae, Emily. Johnny endures hardship, peer pressure, prep school tom-foolery and learning a new sport all with a down-to-earth, Hawaii attitude. I for one, find it inspiring.