Round Table: Our Favorite Disney Channel Original Movies

 

The word association with “Disney” most often lands you with one of two phrases: either princesses or Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs). Everyone at Her Campus Geneseo agrees that DCOMs were the pinnacle of our childhood and “tween” ages, and we wanted to pay homage to them during our Disney Week!

 

Margaux Carmel

I have two DCOMs that unlock core memories for me. This list would be woefully incomplete if I didn’t mention the High School Musical series (which for ease I’m counting as a single entity). I grew up with that series and remember dreaming of being Kelsey (the piano girl). As a baby music theater nerd, I loved seeing musicals and singing portrayed as something cool. The second DCOM that I love more than life is Lemonade Mouth. I didn’t watch it as a kid, but I watched it for the first time about a year ago on Disney+ and it flung me back to the 2010s. Not to mention that Hayley Kiyoko, the queen herself, was cast as Stella Yamada and that really shook me to see her before she blossomed into the lesbian goddess of an artist that she is today.

 

Lily Connerton

I am probably in the minority here, but despite being born in the early 2000s, I remain relatively unfamiliar with DCOMs. I grew up without cable T.V., so the ones I know of (High School Musical, Teen Beach Movie, etc.) I was introduced to at slumber parties and playdates. Regardless, I still managed to fall in love with the High School Musical movies, and I distinctly remember downloading the song “Fabulous” onto my MP3 player and belting it out on repeat. Sorry, but Sharpay is just too iconic to miss out on.

 

Dara Scolnick

I absolutely love DCOMs. High School Musical is my favorite series of movies. I had a birthday party with the theme High School Musical. We had balloons with the cast on it. We played hot potato with a High School Musical pillow. I wore a High School Musical shirt and pants that said Wildcats. My friends and I had a big premiere party for the second film. I also sang “Fabulous” with my best friend in a talent show, so I definitely was a pretty big fan of the movies. I also loved the Camp Rock series. Demi Lovato is so talented, and the Jonas Brothers have always been a favorite of mine. "This is Me” was one of my favorite songs on my iPod. 

 

Abby Wendler

High School Musical is the ultimate Disney Channel Original Movie. It has the first iconic gay romance in Disney Channel history. “I Don’t Dance” is one of the most romantic songs in the three movie series between Chad and Ryan. When Chad tells Ryan through the song that he “doesn’t dance” he uses dancing as a metaphor for falling in love with Ryan. The scene after “I Don’t Dance” where Ryan and Chad are in each other's clothes confirms their relationship as valid and the top ship of the 2nd movie.

 

Nicole Callahan

While I appreciate the cultural importance of High School Musical, and I am aware we spent a decent amount of time visiting Halloween in our chapter a few weeks ago, I have to stand up for the supremacy of the Halloweentown trilogy (yes I am excluding the fourth one). I watch those films every Halloween and they are so iconic that even the cringey elements bring me raw unadulterated joy. They embrace the weird and offer a heavy-handed message about bigotry and discrimination that is only enjoyable because it is so bizzarely rendered. If I had to pick a non-Halloween centric DCOM, I definitely love the mini-genre of “films where puberty made me magic” like The Thirteenth Year or Luck of the Irish. I also truly love Smart House and I think it truly predicted our current predicament with products like Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Did Disney Channel’s Smart House influence my political opinions, making me staunchly anti-surveillance from a young age? Yes, probably. Definitely. 

 

Julia Clancy 

While a giant part of my personality is loving everything Disney, I was never a giant fan of DCOMs. I love all of the princess movies, and am a big fan of the TV shows, but for some reason I never really sought out any Disney Original Movies. For the purpose of the round-table, I’m probably going to say that my favorite DCOM is Twitches. I’ve always had quite a knack for supernatural themes, and Twitches hits it right on the head. I think I love Twitches so much because imagine having all of those cool super powers, even looking back at it now I’m extremely jealous of Tia and Tamera. 

 

Rebecca Williamson

I grew up loving all things Disney. DCOMs were huge part of my childhood. Honestly, I still love Disney! I'd much rather put on any Disney movie than anything else. As for my favorite DCOM, one man has created some of my favorites. Anything Kenny Ortega had his amazing mind and heart in makes my list. From the High School Musical and Descendants series to The Cheetah Girls 2, Ortega has left a huge mark on Disney and subsequently me. Also, does Newsies count as a DCOM? Probably not, but that’s another great one. Aside from the legendary Ortega films, I loved Starstruck and Lemonade Mouth. While I tended to love DCOMS for the music (once a theater kid, always a theater kid), I love the plot and characters of all of them too. DCOMS will never be overrated.

 

Emily Tsoi

My favorite DCOM is by far High School Musical. The day after it aired I practically begged my parents for the DVD so I could watch it countless times. I brought that DVD with me everywhere and I had all the merch; it was a good time. Camp Rock would probably be my second favorite. It’s a shame the sequel was a flop. My favorite underrated DCOM though would probably be Cow Belles. It’s quite empowering to women as the two sisters try to save their father’s dairy while learning what the more important things are in life aside from materialistic things.

 

Madison Centeno

My favorite DCOM is definitely Hannah Montana: The Movie. I have such a love-hate relationship with this movie. The show itself was probably the best Disney Channel show ever. I kept up with every single episode every week, so naturally I had to watch the movie as soon as it came out. That movie both fulfilled all my Hannah Montana dreams and completely broke my heart at the same time. I loved the entire thing, especially every single musical number. My favorite scene in the whole movie has to be when she sings “Butterfly Fly Away” with her father in the gazebo. Her voice sounds so amazing there and the scene as a whole just seems so sincere. The only reason I have the hate part in my reltionship with this movie is because it basically ended Hannah Montana entirely and my little 8 year old heart. Besides that, the movie and the show were my childhood and I could never forget them. 

 

Nina Fichera

High School Musical 2 and Teen Beach Movie are tied in my book. I didn’t exactly grow up on either of them, but I’ve watched them both many, many times. The thing with me and movies, too, is that I don’t watch them more than twice unless I really like them. I think one of my favorite parts of both is the music, of course, along with the characters. The plot development in both is just- *chef’s kiss* ... Now I want to watch High School Musical 2 again …

 

Megan Miller

I grew up honestly watching more Disney TV shows as opposed to movies but two that stick out to me the most are Lemonade Mouth and Starstruck. Lemonade Mouth is amazing in so many aspects from the amazing soundtrack to the companionship of the band. Starstruck, on the other hand, had a fire soundtrack as well as a strong woman character who can leave a man when he messes up big time. Both movies are exactly what I look for in a film, good music, hectic plotlines and a nice reunion of the couple and band at the end. 

 

 

It appears that many of our writers love the High School Musical series. Do you agree? If not, what's your favorite DCOM?