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I Rewatched Some of My Childhood Favorite Disney Channel Original Movies

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

So, I was a little bored recently and I thought, you know what, why not rewatch a few of the movies I loved as a kid? Some of the ones that I was obsessed with as a kid include Lemonade Mouth, Teen Beach Movie, StarStruck, Frenemies, and Geek Charming. This whole idea kind of started when I rewatched StarStruck the other day, and then I wanted to go back and see how well these movies held up from my older self’s opinion. 


So, StarStruck is a story about a girl, Jessica, who gets pulled into pop star sensation, Christopher Wilde’s, world. They soon fall for each other and they navigate their relationship with one another. I think the first thing that needs to be said about StarStruck is that the music was kind of really good. Maybe I’m alone in that feeling, but I honestly really loved the soundtrack for this movie, my favorite song being StarStruck. I thought it was still a cute story and I always love the female empowerment of a girl not being in love with a man just because he’s famous. She held her same morals throughout the movie and wanted to be respected as a person despite the fact that she was “just an ordinary girl” to him.

Apart from that, the storyline that Jessica has with her sister is kind of sad. Her sister treats her horribly throughout the movie, making fun of her with her friend and being embarrassed to be seen with her. The thing that annoyed me the most with that was at the end of the movie when Jessica says, “You know you’re actually a really good sister. In your own way.” Excuse me, what? Her sister made no effort to apologize for how she acted and was still embarrassed to be seen with her at the dance. I suppose the creators of the movie just wanted to have the characters reconcile with one another to send a good message to kids who watched it, but I feel like they could’ve at least made an effort to have her sister apologize in some way. The acting was definitely sub-par in this movie, but that’s kind of expected with a Disney Channel movie. Overall, it wasn’t one of the worst movies out there. I’m not sure if I would go so far as to say it was one of Disney Channel’s best movies though. 

geek charming

After StarStruck I decided to watch Geek Charming starring none other than Sarah Hyland as Dylan and Matt Prokop as Josh. Dylan is a popular girl who wants to win Blossom Queen, while Josh is a geek who wants to win the film festival. Josh enlists the help of Dylan to star in his documentary about popularity. Over the course of filming it, however, they soon realize they have more in common than they thought and start to fall for one another. I found this story to be a really cute love story where the popular person falls for the geek, but it does go against those stereotypes by having the popular person be a girl.

I think this story did give some insight into the female experience. Dylan struggles with keeping up with beauty standards and finding her way in the world. She has a complete character developmental turnaround throughout the course of the movie which is really nice to see. She figures out that popularity isn’t everything and true friendship is more important. I do think that this movie was a step up from StarStruck. The story is much more developed and character arcs are more slow-paced, in a good way. I think that Dylan was definitely a mean character in the beginning, but she seriously changed throughout the movie. Josh on the other hand didn’t have much of a character arc. He pretty much stayed the same throughout the movie, just had a makeover halfway through. Overall, I think it was a really sweet story and one of the better Disney Channel Originals.


For the third movie, I watched Frenemies. This movie told three different stories of friends who *almost* became “frenemies”. The first story starred Nick Robinson and his dog best friend. Basically, the gist of this one is: Jake (Robinson) teams up with the popular girl for their science project. Murray, Jake’s dog, can sense that she is only using Jake for his knowledge. Murray upsets Jake by accidentally destroying his award from NASA, and Jake shoos him out of the house. Eventually, they make up, and Jake realizes that the girl was just using him.

The second story is about two friends, Zendaya and Bella Thorne, who have a webzine together. A big publishing company wants to buy their company but only hire one of them as the editor. The friends compete with each other for the job and almost become… frenemies! The duo soon realizes that they work well together and shouldn’t have to give up their friendship for the job. They don’t sell their webzine and continue working with each other.

The final story is about two girls who look exactly alike and decide to switch places for a week to see how the other one lives. It’s basically The Parent Trap except they’re not related. They sort of mess up each others’ lives but in a good way. So, the movie as a whole is sort of interesting. I thought the idea of “frenemies” was fun, but it wasn’t even really super prevalent in some of the stories. The theme was nice though: friendship is more important than anything. I thought it was funny too, how Zendaya and Bella Thornes’s characters were just kind of there the whole time throughout the movie and no one knew who they even were. It was an overall okay movie. The acting was alright but nothing super serious or intense happened in the movie— which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it makes the movie a little less entertaining at times. 

lemonade mouth

I saved the best for last— Lemonade Mouth and Teen Beach Movie — these are some of the best of the best tv movies that Disney has produced. I was literally obsessed with Lemonade Mouth as a kid. I even have a video of me jumping up and down on my bed and dancing around my room singing to “Determinate” by the Lemonade Mouth cast. I absolutely adored the music and the story and the characters. It was truly just an all-around amazing film. The movie deals with some more serious topics but still in a way that is understandable for kids. Sure, it’s a little cheesy at times, but I honestly think it is a really spectacular movie. The actors all did an amazing job in the movie and told the story in a gripping and enjoyable way. Bridgit Mendler, Hayley Kiyoko, Blake Michael, Naomi Scott, and Adam Hicks were great in this movie. Hayley Kiyoko was an icon for girls who liked girls anywhere in this movie. It was a really amazing movie and an influential one for my generation.

teen beach movie

Teen Beach Movie was another of Disney’s best tv movies. It’s a sort of satire about Grease and other 50s-style movies like it. Ross Lynch and Maia Mitchell are both great in their respective roles. It’s a very funny movie because it makes fun of those 50s tropes so much in a good way. The music is catchy and the actors do a good job in their performances. I think it is a really good story. It was definitely a unique one. I was not a big fan of the random evil villain guy in the movie though. I think it would’ve been better if he wasn’t there and they really stuck with the present-teens-stuck-in-the-past-with-50s-teens idea that they had; this idea was the best part of the movie in my opinion. Overall, it’s a good movie with a lot of really great music and dancing. I think Teen Beach Movie’s music is probably the most memorable of any Disney tv movie. Both of these movies were great and are some of the most prevalent Disney Channel movies from my childhood.

So, after watching all of these movies over again, my perspective changed slightly on some of them. For example, I think I remember Frenemies and StarStruck being a lot better than they actually are. Geek Charming, on the other hand, was as good or better than I remembered. Lemonade Mouth and Teen Beach Movie are as great as I remember them to be. It was interesting to go back and revisit some of the movies that influenced me as a child watching Disney Channel on my living room floor. I think you should consider doing this too. It can bring back a lot of fun memories from your childhood and see what younger you thought was peak cinema. Maybe you don’t agree with your younger self anymore, but you can really pinpoint some of the ways that you have changed since being a kid. So, go visit Disney+ and see what you can find on there that little you would have dropped everything to see as it aired on tv. 

Sophie Sanders is a writer for the Her Campus at University of Kansas chapter. She has been a part of Her Campus KU since August of 2022. Sophie focuses on entertainment when writing for Her Campus KU. She enjoys writing about current films, TV shows and books. Sophie was awarded the Writing Member of the Month by the HCKU writing executives in February. Sophie is a sophomore at the University of Kansas and is double majoring in Film & Media Studies with an emphasis in Production and English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Apart from Her Campus, Sophie is involved in the Film Department at KU. She works as an office assistant in the front office and she is involved with KU film clubs. Sophie enjoys reading, writing creatively, and watching movies in her free time. Some of her favorite books include Six of Crows, Normal People, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. She is a huge fan of the Scream movie franchise. Her favorite Scream is Scream VI. She also loves La La Land and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Sophie enjoys Yoga and board games. Sophie is passionate about issues pertaining to women and lgbtq+ people as well.