We first counted down the best Disney Channel Original movies from the ’90s, and then ranked the ones from the early 2000s. Now it’s time to wrap up our countdown series with the top 10 DCOMs from 2006 to today.
As we explained in our early 2000s countdown, High School Musical was a game-changer. It changed not only the way Disney Channel Original Movies were made, but also how they were advertised and commodified. The post-HSM DCOMs also prominently featured Disney Channel stars, something that only a few of the previous DCOMs did.
If you take a look at this list of the highest-rated DCOMs, you’ll notice that the large majority (read: all except two, one being High School Musical) were released in 2006 or after. That’s no coincidence.
While they may not be as memorable or as “classic” as earlier DCOMs, later Disney Channel Original Movies don’t get nearly as much credit from casual audiences as they’re due. (But we predict that’s all about to change thanks to the fact every single Disney Channel Original Movie ever made is now streaming on Disney+!)
Take one last trip down nostalgia lane with us and check out the top 10 Disney Channel Original Movies from 2006 and beyond.
10. ‘Cow Belles’ (2006)
This Disney Channel Original Movie was the first in the post-HSM era. While it wasn’t nearly as successful commercially as its predecessor, it was memorable thanks to its two stars, Aly and AJ Michalka. Even though this movie was like the Disney Channel’s take on The Simple Life (that awful reality TV show with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie), we found it to be really relatable and humorous. We especially liked the scene where they trip and spill blueberry syrup all over themselves.
9. ‘Minutemen’ (2008)
There was just something so endearing about this movie, we couldn’t help but watch it whenever it was on. And now that it’s on Disney+? Well, we’ll definitely be recommending it for many movie nights to come. The idea of traveling through time to fix mistakes is really interesting, especially in a high school setting. Plus, the characters in this movie were so down to earth that it was impossible not to root for them.
8. ‘Hatching Pete’ (2009)
This is the second movie on our list that has starred Jason Dolley. While the premise is a little dull compared to other DCOMs, we like Jason Dolley as the soft-hearted introvert who’s just waiting to break out of his shell (pun completely intended). Out of all of the Disney Channel stars in 2009, we think that Mitchel Musso was definitely the best choice of actor to play opposite of Jason Dolley. The two of them had a really great chemistry that we wish we could have seen more of, whether it was in another movie or on a Disney Channel show.
7. ‘Lemonade Mouth’ (2011)
While “Lemonade Mouth” is a strange name for a band, let alone a full-length movie, it just fits so well. We love the message that this movie conveys about being confident in yourself. This Disney Channel Original Movie took on the issue of high school drama and social class in a different manner than and really made its own mark. We even remember seeing quite a few pieces of merchandise in stores and such. Way to go, Lemonade Mouth!
6. ‘Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior’ (2006)
Brenda Song is the bomb. She was totally the reigning queen of the Disney Channel back in the day. It was really great to see her in the role of a strong female after witnessing her play London Tipton, the airhead with good intentions, on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. All of the action sequences were very well done and really showed another side to Brenda’s acting talent and commitment. She was just plain awesome as Wendy Wu.
5. ‘The Cheetah Girls 2’ (2006)
This is the first and only sequel that you will find on any of our countdown lists. While we liked a lot of the Disney Channel Original Movie sequels that have come out over the years, The Cheetah Girls 2 is one of the only ones that was practically as good as the original. We loved that the movie was set in Spain and had a really great Latina vibe to it. Plus, it was more of a musical than the first movie, which was really fun.
4. ‘Geek Charming’ (2011)
Geek Charming is the most recent Disney Channel Original Movie on our list. Though it’s completely predictable, we find this DCOM to be really charming (yes, that pun was intended too). Watching Dylan and Josh grow as people was really fascinating and it made their coming together at the end that much more rewarding. One of our favorite scenes has to be the one in which Dylan watches Josh’s documentary, simply because of the way she reacts to it.
3. ‘Princess Protection Program’ (2009)
Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato starring in a movie together was just pure gold from the start. The two had such a great chemistry and really sold the idea of Demi being an out-of-the-loop princess. Because the overall quality of this movie was so high, we honestly could have seen it as a movie with a theatrical run instead of just being a DCOM. We just wish Selena could have played a role other than “The Tomboy” because we’ve seen her in that role way too often. Other than that, we totally loved this one and can’t wait to watch it again via Disney+.
2. ‘Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie’ (2009)
We seriously love this DCOM almost as much as the show itself. A half hour with the Russo family just isn’t enough, especially after seeing this movie. The tropical setting and the intense competition at the end of the film are just two of the aspects of this movie that we thoroughly enjoyed. We don’t know about you, but we also liked how Alex’s actions had real consequences and her problems weren’t solved through a series of funny mishaps. This movie made us love the show even more (and we didn’t think that was possible!).
1. ‘Camp Rock’ (2008)
Excuse our cheesiness, but Camp Rock ROCKS. There are so many things to love about this movie, like the star-studded cast, the fun dance numbers, and the super catchy tunes. Demi Lovato’s character was someone we could get behind and really relate to. Plus, her on-screen chemistry with Joe Jonas made it impossible to look away from our screens for more than a few seconds. We’ll be the first to admit that we still play songs from the soundtrack every once in a while and we’ll be streaming this on Disney+ on a regular basis. This movie was definitely one of the best DCOMs that has ever been created.
BONUS: ‘Descendants’ (2015)
This fun romp came out a few years after we originally put this list out, and we wanted to make sure it got the mention it deserves! Descendants, like High School Musical almost transcends the Disney Channel Original Movie “genre” in how well it’s put together and the glossy-ness of its visual. Though it’s cheesy, this musical is incredibly entertaining and charming. It’s more than worthy of being granted multiple sequels.
We can’t wait to watch this particular title over and over again on Disney+.
Which post-2006 Disney Channel Original Movie is your favorite?
Looking for more DCOM love? Check these out:
- The 10 best Disney Channel Original Movies from the ’90s
- The top 15 Disney Channel Original Movies from the early 2000s