The Best DCOMs to Watch on Disney+

Disney launched its streaming service, Disney+, on Nov. 12, and it did not disappoint. After stealing my sister’s password, I explored the streaming service’s many offerings, ranging from nostalgic Disney Channel TV shows to Marvel superhero movies. Finally, I stumbled upon the Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) category and reminisced over my favorite childhood films. 

Although I wish I could watch all 103 DCOMs, I have selected some of my favorites that I recommend you see if you have a Disney+ subscription (or if you can “borrow” someone’s login).

High School Musical

This one was a no brainer. East High even has the same mascot as Northwestern (Go Wildcats!). One of the most beloved DCOMs, High School Musical follows Troy and Gabriella as they break the “status quo” of their high school. Although Troy loves basketball and Gabriella is devoted to her studies, they both decide to try out for their school’s annual musical. While it is not normal to break into song in the middle of school, High School Musical features some of the best music of any DCOM. (“Breaking Free” is still a bop!) This DCOM spawned two sequels and launched some of our favorite Disney actors into stardom, including Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale. 

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Camp Rock

Two words. Jonas Brothers. What more could you possibly want from a DCOM? Camp Rock follows Mitchie, played by Demi Lovato, as she attends a prestigious music summer camp. However, to afford the camp, Mitchie has to work in the kitchen, which she tries to hide from other campers. When boy band Connect Three (aka the Jo Bros!) visits the camp, lead singer Shane Gray (Joe Jonas) overhears Mitchie singing and tries to find the girl behind the voice. Like High School MusicalCamp Rock teaches us to not hide who we truly are and also has a fantastic soundtrack, including “Play My Music” and “This Is Me.”

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Stuck in the Suburbs

Stuck in the Suburbs captures the fangirl behavior many of us engaged in when we were younger. Teenager Brittany is bored of her suburban life and befriends the new girl Natasha. The two friends go to watch pop singer Jordan Cahill’s music video shoot. After bumping into Jordan and his team at the shoot, Brittany accidentally switches phones with Jordan. Brittany and Natasha decide to mess with Jordan and realize his team is limiting his artistic freedom. Featuring Danielle Panabaker, Disney royalty Brenda Song and former SNL star Taran Killam, Stuck in the Suburbs has delightful characters, humor, and an exciting plot. It is definitely amusing to see the hilarious shenanigans the two teenage girls pull off.

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The Cheetah Girls

A classic DCOM, The Cheetah Girls highlights the friendship of four female leads from various backgrounds. The foursome form a girl group and try to become the first freshmen to win the talent show at their Manhattan performing arts high school. They are discovered by producer Jackal Johnson, who tries to launch them into superstardom but sacrifices their artistic integrity. This film encourages diversity and sisterhood, while also featuring amazing songs. I listen to “Cheetah Sisters” and “Cinderella” on my throwback playlist, and they still get stuck in my head. disney channel GIF

Halloweentown

Even if it’s not Halloween, it’s always a great time to watch Halloweentown. 13-year-old Marnie is not allowed to celebrate Halloween due to her mother’s orders, which Marnie does not understand. Her grandmother, Aggie, shows up for her annual Halloween visit and recruits Marnie’s help to fight evil in Halloweentown. Marnie discovers she is a witch and she must begin training before her 13th birthday or else she’ll lose her powers. After watching this movie as a child, I wished I had magical powers. While this never came true, I still love watching Halloweentown, no matter what time of the year it is.

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Smart House

Although it was released in 1999, Smart House feels like a Disney version of a Black Mirror episode. The movie follows a 13-year-old boy named Ben after his mother passes away. He tries to take care of his household and ends up winning an automated dream house named PAT (Personal Applied Technology). When his father begins dating the computer’s programmer, Ben tries to reprogram PAT to serve as a maternal figure so that his father won’t want to remarry. However, PAT gets out of control. This dystopian film may have scared me when I was younger, but now I appreciate its message about technology. The young actors and plot are charming, making this an entertaining DCOM to this day.

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Gifs courtesy of Giphy