Why wait for the Disney Channel or Freeform to play Disney Channel Original Movies when you can just watch some of the best DCOMs on Netflix?
After all, who has the time, energy, or patience to sit around and wait for these channels to play DCOMs late at night or as part of special celebratory marathons? Those of us who grew up with these movies (aka the movies’ target demographic) are becoming adults. We have jobs now. Responsibilities. We can’t just tune in whenever Disney-affiliated channels randomly decide to screen these things. That’s just unreasonable.
Thank goodness for Netflix.
Sure, Netflix only has the more recent DCOMs. I’m talking mainly High School Musical-present (although there are a few that came out a little bit before that). But still, something is definitely better than nothing. Plus, while a lot of the “classics” (the DCOMs from the 1990s as well as those from the early 2000s) are pretty awesome, there have actually been some solid movies in the years since Zac Efron danced with a basketball.
So, if you have a few hours to kill or are jonesing for a DCOM (but don’t want to deal with tracking one down), check out these popcorn-worthy Disney Channel Original Movies on Netflix and put that $10 a month to good use!
‘High School Musical’ (2006)
As if there was any doubt that High School Musical would make this list. It’s one of the most influential and pivotal DCOMs of all time, ranking up there with Brink, Zenon, and Smart House. It’s the classic tale of boy meets girl, only with a few more basketballs and jazz squares than usual. Honestly, I can’t believe it took this long to realize that this movie was available on Netflix just because of how famous it is. Today, it’s one of the first movies to pop into the general public’s mind when the words “Disney Channel Original Movie” are uttered.
‘Camp Rock’ (2008)
Second only to High School Musical in terms of catchy-ness of songs, Camp Rock is a super fun romp. Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers (namely Joe Jonas) have such a great chemistry and make what should be a super campy movie (pun totally intended) actually pretty heart-felt. While the musical sequences are definitely the best part (so much so that I find myself singing the songs every once in a blue moon), Nick and Kevin Jonas’ comic relief schtick is pretty great. If you haven’t seen Camp Rock before, you should definitely look it up on Netflix. (If you’ve already seen it, I trust that you’re well ahead of me already.)
‘Cadet Kelly’ (2002)
If I’m remembering correctly, this was one of Hillary Duff’s first roles outside of Lizzie McGuire (not counting her stint on that slightly strange Casper sequel). Lizzie McGuire is a great character, but there is something so refreshing about her character in Cadet Kelly. She plays a different kind of every-girl. Less klutzy and more materialistic. Though she’s fun to watch by herself, the best parts of the movie are where she pairs up with Christy Carlson-Romano’s uptight commanding officer character. Their routine is just so mesmerizing to watch. Almost as mesmerizing as pretty-boy Shawn Ashmore in a military uniform.
‘The Cheetah Girls’ (2003)
“Cheetah Girls, cheetah sistas!” For months after The Cheetah Girls first came out, that phrase was everywhere. Everyone was singing it. I, for one, am not ashamed to admit that I couldn’t stop singing it. I’m so happy that The Cheetah Girls is now on Netflix so that I can watch this movie on repeat. It’s great for when I’m needing some girl power and self-confidence vibes, not to mention hip and monochromatic fashion sense. The fact that this movie is now available at the click of a button is amazing.
I’m a sucker for the “star goes on the run and gets stuck in the burbs with a normal girl” trope. (I mean, I used to watch the Dream Street indie movie, The Biggest Fan, on repeat.) This movie has a relatively simple premise and is pretty predictable, but it’s so sweet and funny. The two leads have a great on-screen chemistry, which makes the movie so entertaining to watch. Odds are that you probably didn’t watch this DCOM when it first premiered (because it’s one of the later ones), but it’s not too late to catch it on Netflix!
‘Princess Protection Program’ (2009)
Baby-Selena Gomez and baby-Demi Lovato playing besties? It’s just as fun as it sounds. Though the premise is a little silly (a sort of witness protection program exclusively for princesses), this movie has quite a bit of heart. It’s fun to watch these two entertainers and think about who they’ve become in the time since the movie first aired. Even if you don’t think you’d like a movie about a princess in hiding, I’d suggest you give this one a try. (It shouldn’t skew your Netflix recommendations too much.)
‘Jump In!’ (2007)
Corbin Bleu (of High School Musical fame, of course) plays a boxer that’s also interested in… the world of competitive double Dutch? It’s like HSM all over again, this time with boxing gloves and jump ropes! And yet, it’s something completely different. It’s so interesting to see something like double Dutch in a movie that’s used as something more than a way for a group of little girls to pass the time. It’s built up as something that requires skill and speed (both of which Corbin Bleu happens to have, thanks to boxing). Definitely add this one to your Netflix queue.
‘Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie’ (2009)
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie honestly feels like a few episodes of the show jammed together and with better quality special effects, but in the best way possible. It has all of the charm and humor of the show, but with more emotional stakes and moments. One of the biggest surprises in this movie is when it introduces a relatively large wrench into the premise of the show (the fact that there can only be one full wizard in each family) while not actually being the show itself. Even if you’ve never seen the show (or this movie), Selena Gomez makes it worth watching on Netflix.
‘Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior’ (2006)
For its premiere, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior had over 5.7 million viewers, making it one of the most-watched DCOMs in DCOM history. That, coupled with the fact that this has one of the highest ratings for any of the DCOMs on Netflix, is reason alone to add the movie to your Netflix queue. It’s a fun adventure featuring a strong female character (that has the inner spirit of a warrior, no less) and an interesting mythology. Plus, it stars Brenda Song who is one of the greatest stars to ever appear on the Disney Channel. Ever. What’s not to like?
‘Lemonade Mouth’ (2011)
Five high school students meet in detention and form a band. It’s kind of like The Breakfast Club in that way, but with more rock and roll. And lemonade. These kids form a band and stand up for what they believe in, including expressing your true self. Lemonade Mouth is a fun DCOM that often gets overlooked (even though it’s among some of the higher-rated installments in the DCOM library). Now that it’s on Netflix, it’s easier than ever to give it a try and see how it stacks up. Between the colorful characters and the catchy tunes, you won’t be able to resist this DCOM.
‘High School Musical 2’ (2007)
Okay, so High School Musical 2 isn’t the best movie in the world. It’s kind of ridiculous (more so than the original, if that’s possible), but it’s still a lot of fun. Well, that and it has quite a few catchy songs that make you want to get up and dance. (…Or is that just me?) If it wasn’t for HSM 2, we never would have experienced the amazingness that is Zac Efron jumping and leaping around a golf course singing “Bet On It.” Now, with Netflix, you can watch this gem of a movie as often as you want.
Need more DCOM nostalgia in your life? Check out our countdowns of the best DCOMs by decade!
- The 10 best Disney Channel Original Movies from the ’90s
- The top 15 Disney Channel Original Movies from the early 2000s
- The top 10 Disney Channel Original Movies from 2006 to today
Which of these DCOMs will you watch on Netflix first?