I have no shame in saying I love the Disney Channel. Back in the day, having it was a luxury, since it wasn’t part of the regular cable lineup. Finally, it became part of the regular cable package sometime around 2001, and because this one time unattainble network was at my fingertips whenever I pleased, I became obsessed. Also, I got into it at a fairly older age, which explains why I dressed up as the Miranda to my friend’s Lizzie for Halloween like, freshman year of high school.
Anyways, as many of you know, Disney Channel Original Movies (or DCOMs, as the cool kids call them), hit the height of their popularity around the early 2000s. Hit after hit after hit, these gems would be a good reason to stay in on a Friday night. Or if you were me, I had no social life so I justified spending time with Hilary Duff instead. Here are some of my favorite DCOMs, that were totally my jam. Spoiler: There is no Zenon, Halloweentown, or Brink! on this list. You’ve been warned.
Ed note: I had Tia and Tamera’s Seventeen Again on this list, but upon my research found out it was not a DCOM but in fact first aired on SHOWTIME. Boy has their programming changed.
Wish Upon a Star
This movie was made in 1996, but I obviously saw in when they re-aired it in the 2000s. Starring a young Katherine Heigl and Danielle Harris, this was a Freaky Friday-esque movie where two sisters magically swap bodies because of a wish they made on a star. Hilarity ensues. For the longest time my only reference to Katherine Heigl was this movie. Right when Grey’s was becoming popular, I was always like, ‘that’s the girl from Wish Upon a Star!’ I was the coolest.
The Color of Friendship
Friendship is colorblind, y’all! This movie was based on actual events about a girl is from a wealthy (white) family in an apartheid South Africa, and goes to Washington D.C. as an exchange student. She slowly but surely forges an unlikely friendship with her host sister (who is black) and they learn about the real color of friendship.
One of my faves, this is seriously one of Shia LeBeouf’s greatest roles. No, really. He plays a mentally challenged kid, and his twin sister, who is the only one he really trusts and confides in, makes him the focus of a documentary film she’s making. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.
Gotta Kick it Up!
SI SE PUEDE!!! Before there was Bring it On, there was Gotta Kick it Up. Before Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, there was a young America Ferrera. A fun and inspiration movie about young Latina girls who aspire to win their dance team championship. Literally like Bring it On but with Spanish.
Hilary Duff goes to military school and proceeds to learn how to do color guard stuff with rifles. Also starring Even Stevens’ Wren and an Ashmore brother.
Get a Clue
A young and innocent Lindsay Lohan (RIP) plays a Harriet the Spy type girl who attempts to solve the mystery of one of her missing teachers. Also, Alfalfa is in the movie, and it was initially jarring to see him all grown up, since the last time I saw him it was on my personal VHS copy of Little Rascals. But Bug Hall grew up like the rest of us and is now randomly BFF with David Henrie from Wizards. I know too much.
Princess Protection Program
I ship Delena, IDEC. Demi plays a privileged princess of some random ass country and has to hide out in the States with tomboy Selena in rural Louisiana. I remember thinking the casting was weird, bc obvi Selena would be the princess, but I guess it worked out. They just need to be BFFs for life.