Zenon

A Trip Down Memory Lane – Hollywood Life


Most millennials have a special place in their hearts for Disney Channel Original Movies. Before Netflix and streaming services, we had DCOMs. Take look back at some of the best Disney Channel Original Movies.

Tuning in for the latest Disney Channel Original Movie has been a rite of passage for many kids over the years. Disney Channel kicked things off with their first DCOM in 1997. The network is still going strong 24 years later.

After years and years of waiting for reruns or trying to get your hands on a DVD, every single Disney Channel Original Movie is available to watch now on Disney+. There have been so many incredible DCOMs over the years. It’s hard to pick just one! If you’re feeling throwback vibes, HollywoodLife has a list of DCOMs you’ll totally remember and want to watch again.

Raven-Symone and Kirsten Storms in ‘Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.’ (Everett Collection)

Under Wraps

The one that started it all. Under Wraps will forever go down in history as the very first Disney Channel Original Movie. The movie follows three teenagers and an Egyptian mummy who suddenly comes alive after thousands of years. The teens race against time to try and reunite the mummy with his lover from 4,500 years ago. Under Wraps aired October 25, 1997. The movie, which has a runtime of 95 minutes, was directed by Greg Beeman and written by Don Rhymer. Under Wraps stars Adam Wylie, Mario Yedidia, Clara Bryant, and Bill Fagerbakke. Fun fact: Bill went on to voice Patrick Star!

Brink! 

Brink! is still one of those DCOMs that is still totally rad over 20 years later. The DCOM centers around Andy “Brink” Brinker, a teenage inline skater who joins a group of sponsored aggressive inline skaters to earn money for his family. Brink! stars everyone’s childhood crush, Erik von Detten, as well as Sam Horrigan and Christina Vidal. The 99-minute long DCOM was directed by Greg Beeman and written by Jeff Schechter.

Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century

Zoom, zoom, zoom! Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century got us all so psyched for the new millennium. The Disney Channel Original Movie premiered on Jan. 23, 1999. Kirsten Storms stars as the one and only Zenon, who gets into trouble while living out her life on her space station home, only to wind up getting sent down to Earth as punishment. Zenon manages to save the day in the end, despite the odds. The movie, which has a running time of 97 minutes, is based on the book of the same name by Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen. Zenon was directed by Kenneth Johnson and written by Stu Krieger. Raven-Symone and Gregory Smith also star in the film. Zenon became the first DCOM to get a sequel. Zenon: The Zequel was released in 2001, followed by Zenon: Z3 in 2004.

The Thirteenth Year

The Thirteenth Year took everyone’s obsession with mermaids to new heights. The DCOM premiered May 15, 1999. The movie follows a teen who begins to grow fins and scales on his 13th birthday. He eventually discovers that his birth mother is a mermaid. The movie stars Chez Starbuck, Justin Jon Ross, Courtnee Draper, and Dave Coulier. The Thirteenth Year has a runtime of 95 minutes. Duwayne Dunham directed and Jenny Arata, Robert L. Baird, and Kelly Senecal served as writers.

Smart House

Ryan Merriman
Ryan Merriman in ‘Smart House.’ (Everett Collection)

Smart House remains one of the DCOM classics. The Disney Channel Original Movie first premiered on June 26, 1999. The film follows Ben, a teenager who wins a fully-automated dream house in a competition. His family moves in and things begin spiraling out of control when the house’s virtual assistant named PAT becomes overbearing. Smart House stars DCOM vet Ryan Merriman along with Kevin Kilner, Katie Volding, and Katey Sagal. The 82-minute long movie was directed by LeVar Burton and written by William R. Hudson and Stu Krieger.

Johnny Tsunami

Johnny Tsunami is about a young surfer from Hawaii who must adapt in a major way when his father moves the family to Vermont. Brandon Baker stars as Johnny Kapahala. Kirsten Storms, Yuji Okumoto, and Mary Page Keller also appear in the 88-minute long film. The movie, which premiered July 24, 1999, was directed by Steve Boyum and written by Ann Knapp and Douglas Sloan. A sequel, Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board, was released in 2007.

Halloweentown

Halloweentown
‘Halloweentown’ first premiered in 1998. (Everett Collection)

Halloweentown is one of the most iconic Disney Channel Original Movies of all-time and a total classic. Halloweentown cast a spell on us when it premiered on Oct. 17, 1998. The movie centers around Marnie Piper, who discovers she’s a witch just like her grandmother. Marnie and her siblings sneak off to Halloweentown and soon realize they have to save Halloweentown from evil forces. Halloweentown stars Kimberly J. Brown, Judith Hoag, Joey Zimmerman, Emily Roeske, and the great Debbie Reynolds. The movie was directed by Duwayne Dunham, with a story by Paul Bernbaum. Halloweentown was so popular that it spawned three sequels!

Rip Girls

Camilla Belle stars as a teenage girl named Sydney who moves with her dad and stepmom to an island in Hawaii. While Sydney is in Hawaii, she makes new friends and learns the truth about her mother. Rip Girls premiered April 22, 2000, and ran for 87 minutes. The movie was directed by Joyce Chopra and written by Jeanne Rosenberg.

The Color of Friendship

The Color of Friendship
‘The Color of Friendship’ premiered in 2000. (Everett Collection)

The Color of Friendship was one of the most important Disney Channel Original Movies to be released. The film, which premiered on Feb. 5, 2000, is based on actual events and tackles issues like racism, racial stereotypes, and more. The Color of Friendship explores the friendship between two girls, Mahree and Piper. Mahree is a White exchange student from apartheid South Africa, while Piper is a Black American girl. The movie stars Lindsey Haun and Shadia Simmons. The film was written by Paris Qualles and directed by Kevin Hooks.

Quints

Quints stars DCOM princess Kimberly J. Brown as Jamie Grover, the older sister to a set of quints. The movie, which has a runtime of 83 minutes, also stars Daniel Roebuck, Elizabeth Morehead, Shadia Simmons, and Jake Epstein. Quints premiered on Aug. 18, 2000, and was directed by Matthew Weisman. Matthew also wrote the film, along with Gregory K. Pincus.

The Ultimate Christmas Present

The Ultimate Christmas Present is one of the most beloved holiday DCOMs. The film stars Halle Hirsh and Brenda Song as two best friends who get their hands on a weather machine from Santa Claus. They only want a snow day, but the machine breaks, and things begin to spiral out of control. The movie premiered on Dec. 1, 2000, as part of Disney Channel’s holiday lineup. The Ultimate Christmas Present has a runtime of 80 minutes. The DCOM was written by Hallie Einhord and Michael Hitchcock. Greg Beeman directed the DCOM.

Motocrossed

Motocrossed premiered February 16, 2001, and is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The film follows a girl named Andrea Carson who loves motocross, even though her father doesn’t think it’s a sport meant for girls. When Andrea’s twin brother, Andrew, dislocates his knee before a big race, Andrea secretly races in Andrew’s place. Motocrossed stars Alana Austin as Andrea Carson. Riley Smith and Mary-Margaret Humes also have key roles in the DCOM, which has a runtime of 92 minutes. The film was directed by Steve Boyum and written by Ann Austen and Douglas Sloan.

The Luck of the Irish 

The Luck of the Irish is another Disney Channel Original Movie that’s included in the DCOM renaissance. The movie premiered on March 9, 2001, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Ryan Merriman stars as a teenage basketball player Kyle Johnson, who depends on a gold charm for good luck. He has to get that gold charm back to prevent his family from being controlled by an evil leprechaun who stole it. The film also stars Alexis Lopez, Timothy Omundson, and Henry Gibson. The Luck of the Irish has a runtime of 86 minutes. Paul Hoen directed the DCOM, while Andrew Price wrote the script.

Cadet Kelly

Hilary Duff
Hilary Duff in ‘Cadet Kelly.’ (Everett Collection)

Cadet Kelly is one of the DCOM classics. Hilary Duff stars as Kelly Collins, a free-spirited teenager who finds herself at military school when her mom marries the Commandant of the school. The beloved Disney Channel Original Movie also stars Christy Carlson Romano, Gary Cole, Shawn Ashmore, and Andrea Lewis. Cadet Kelly has a runtime of 94 minutes. The movie was directed by Larry Shaw and written by Gail Parent and Michael Walsh.

Double Teamed

Double Teamed premiered on Jan. 18, 2002, and was inspired by the life stories of pro basketball players, Heather and Heidi Burge, who are also identical twins. The DCOM follows the two sisters, played by Poppi Monroe and Annie McElwain, as they become world-famous basketball players. Double Teamed was directed by Duwayne Dunham and written by Douglas Penn and John Wierick. The movie is one of the longer DCOMS, with a runtime of 105 minutes.

Tru Confessions

Tru Confessions is based on the Janet Tashjian book of the same name. The 81-minute long DCOM first aired on April 5, 2002. The movie centers around Tru Walker (Clara Bryant), who wants to be a filmmaker. She decides to make her twin brother Eddie (Shia LaBeouf), who has a developmental disability, the subject of a documentary for a film contest she enters. Paul Hoen directed the DCOM, and Stu Krieger served as the writer.

The Even Stevens Movie

The Even Stevens Movie is based on the hit Disney Channel series and serves as the show’s series finale. The movie premiered on June 13, 2003, with the whole cast back. The Stevens family (and Beans) go on the adventure of a lifetime while vacationing on the fictional island of Mandelino. Shia LaBeouf, Christy Carlson Romano, Donna Pescow, Tom Virtue, Nick Spano, and Steven Anthony Lawrence star in The Even Stevens Movie. The movie, which runs for 93 minutes, was directed by Sean McNamara and penned by Dennis Rinsler and Marc Warren.

The Cheetah Girls

The Cheetah Girls
‘The Cheetah Girls’ premiered in 2003. (Everett Collection)

The Cheetah Girls changed the DCOM musical game when it premiered on Aug. 15, 2003. The movie is based on the book series of the same name by Deborah Gregory. The Cheetah Girls follows four teens who want to become the next big thing in music. The Cheetah Girls stars Raven-Symone, Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams, and Sabrina Bryan. The DCOM was directed by Oz Scott and written by Alison Taylor. The Cheetah Girls was so popular that two sequels were released in 2006 and 2008.

Pixel Perfect

Pixel Perfect first aired on Jan. 16, 2004. In the film, Roscoe (Raviv Ullman) uses a holograph to create a pop star, Loretta, for his friend’s band. Drama soon ensues for Roscoe and his friends. The movie, which has a runtime of 85 minutes, also stars Leah Pipes and Spencer Redford. Pixel Perfect was directed by Mark A.Z. Dippé, with the story by Alan Sacks and Neal Shusterman.

Tiger Cruise

Tiger Cruise premiered on Aug. 6, 2004. The film revolves around a naval carrier with civilians on board that’s ordered into combat mode in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks. Hayden Panettiere and Bill Pullman star in Tiger Cruise. The DCOM was directed by Duwayne Dunham and written by Anna Sandor and Bruce Graham. The movie has a runtime of 88 minutes.

Twitches

Twitches premiered on Oct. 14, 2005. The movie, which has a runtime of 86 minutes, stars the ultimate sister duo, Tia and Tamera Mowry. They play two teen witches who meet on their 21st birthday after being separated at birth. They have to band together and use their powers to save the world in which they were born. Twitches is based on the popular book series. The DCOM was directed by Stuart Gillard and written by Melissa Gould and Dan Berendsen. A sequel, Twitches Too, premiered on Oct. 12, 2007.

Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior

Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior follows the adventures of Wendy Wu, played by Brenda Song. Wendy is a typical California teenager who learns that she is the reincarnation of a legendary female warrior destined to protect the world. The movie, which is 90 minutes long, premiered on June 16, 2006. John Laing directed the DCOM, and Vince Cheung, Ben Montanio, Lydia Look, and Mark Seabrooks served as writers.

High School Musical

Zac efron
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in ‘High School Musical.’ (Everett Collection)

High School Musical became a pop culture phenomenon when it premiered on Jan. 20, 2006. The film, which has a runtime of 98 minutes, centers around basketball star Troy Bolton and transfer student Gabrielle Montez, who try out for the lead parts in their high school musical. The DCOM made instant stars out of Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, and Lucas Grabeel. A sequel premiered in 2007. The third and final film in the trilogy was released theatrically in 2008. High School Musical was directed by Hocus Pocus director Kenny Ortega and written by Peter Barsocchini.

Camp Rock

Camp Rock is one of the most popular DCOMs of all-time. Nearly 9 million viewers watched when Camp Rock premiered on June 20, 2008. The movie, which runs for 99 minutes, centers around Mitchie, an aspiring singer who goes to a summer music camp and finds friends, enemies, and her voice. Camp Rock stars Demi Lovato, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas, Kevin Jonas, and Meaghan Martin. The TV musical was directed by Matthew Diamond and written by Karin Gist, Regina Hicks, Julie Brown, and Paul Brown. A sequel, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, was released in 2010.

Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

The Russos got their own DCOM in the midst of Wizards of Waverly Place’s run on Disney Channel. Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie premiered on Aug. 28, 2009. The film, which has a runtime of 98 minutes, follows the Russo family as they take a vacation in the Caribbean. The full Wizards cast stars in the movie, including Selena Gomez, David Henrie, and Jake T. Austin. The movie was directed by Lev L. Spiro and written by Dan Berendsen. The DCOM was watched by over 11 million viewers when it premiered.

Princess Protection Program

Disney queens Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez teamed up for Princess Protection Program, which premiered on June 26, 2009. The movie, which is 89 minutes long, follows a princess, played by Lovato, who goes into hiding in Louisiana and crosses paths with Carter, played by Gomez. The movie was directed by Allison Liddi-Brown and written by Annie DeYoung from a story by DeYoung and David Morgasen.

Avalon High

Avalon High premiered on Nov. 12, 2010. The DCOM, which is 90 minutes long, is based on Meg Cabot’s 2005 book of the same name and follows a teenage girl who moves to a new high school and gets involved in the reincarnation of King Arthur. The movie stars Britt Robertson, Gregg Sulkin, Joey Pollari, and Devon Graye. Avalon High was directed by Stuart Gillard and written by Julie Sherman Wolfe and Amy Talkington.

Lemonade Mouth

Lemonade Mouth premiered on April 15, 2011. The hit DCOM centers around five high school students who form a music group and prepare to compete against a popular rock band. Lemonade Mouth stars Bridgit Mendler, Adam Hicks, Hayley Kiyoko, Naomi Scott, and Blake Michael. The movie, which runs for 106 minutes, is based on the book of the same name by Mark Peter Hughes. Lemonade Mouth was directed by Patricia Riggen and written by April Blair.

Radio Rebel

Radio Rebel premiered on Feb. 17, 2012. The movie, which is 85 minutes long, follows a shy teenager, played by Debby Ryan, who is secretly the popular and confident DJ known as Radio Rebel. Radio Rebel also stars Merritt Patterson, Adam DiMarco, Sarena Palmer, and more. The film is based on the book Shrinking Violet. Radio Rebel was directed by Peter Howitt and written by Erik Patterson and Jessica Scott.

Teen Beach Movie

Teen Beach Movie was the only Disney Channel Original Movie of 2013, and it premiered on July 19, 2013. The movie centers around Brady and McKenzie, who find themselves swept up in a beach movie musical in the 1960s. Teen Beach Movie, which is 95 minutes long, stars Ross Lynch, Maia Mitchell, Garrett Clayton, and Grace Phipps. The movie was directed by Jeffrey Hornaday, and the story was penned by Vince Marcello and Mark Landry. A sequel premiered in 2015.

Descendants

Descendants
The first ‘Descendants’ movie premiered in 2015. (Everett Collection)

Rotten to the core! Descendants made quite a splash when it premiered on July 31, 2015. The DCOM became a global phenomenon. The first movie follows the children of iconic Disney villains — Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay — who head off to Auradon for prep school after being welcomed by the teenage son of Belle and the Beast. Descendants stars Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, and Mitchell Hope. The movie, which has a runtime of 112 minutes, was directed by Kenny Ortega and written by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott. Descendants spawned two sequels that premiered in 2017 and 2019. The soundtracks for all three films are incredible.

Adventures in Babysitting

Adventures in Babysitting made history as the 100th Disney Channel Original Movie. The film, which premiered on June 24, 2016, is a remake of the 1987 movie and stars Sabrina Carpenter and Sofia Carson. Adventures in Babysitting follows two rival babysitters who team up to hunt down one of their kids who accidentally runs away. The 93-minute long DCOM was directed by John Schultz and written by Tiffany Paulsen.

Zombies

Zombies was an instant hit when it premiered on Feb. 16, 2018. The DCOM, based on Zombies & Cheerleaders by David Light and Joseph Raso, follows zombie football player Zed and human cheerleader Addison who meet and fall in love. Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly star as Zed and Addison. Zombies has a killer soundtrack that will get you up on your feet. The first Zombies movie, which is 94 minutes long, was directed by Paul Hoen and written by David Light and Joseph Raso. A sequel, Zombies 2, premiered on Feb. 14, 2020.

Kim Possible

Sadie Stanley
Sadie Stanley and Sean Giambrone in the live-action ‘Kim Possible.’ (Everett Collection)

Call me, beep me! Kim Possible, one of Disney Channel’s most beloved animated series, lives on! A live-action adaptation of the hit series premiered on Feb. 15, 2019. This time around, Sadie Stanley stars as the titular character, with Sean Giambrone as Ron Stoppable. Christy Carlson Romano, the original voice of Kim Possible, has a small role in the live-action movie. Kim Possible was written by series co-creators Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle, along with Josh Cagan. The DCOM, which is 86 minutes long, was directed by Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky.

Upside-Down Magic

Upside-Down Magic is Disney Channel’s latest DCOM. The movie, based on the hit fantasy book series, premiered on July 31, 2020. Upside-Down Magic stars Izabela Rose as Nory Boxwood and Siena Agudong as Reina Carvajal. The movie chronicles their adventures at Sage Academy for Magical Studies. The DCOM, which has a runtime of 96 minutes, was directed by Joe Nussman and written by Nick Pustay and Josh Cagan.



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