We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Disney Channel Original Movies are the BOMB. Since we have already counted down the top DCOMs from the 1990s, it’s now time to indulge our nostalgia one more time and rank the top DCOMs from the early 2000s.
The early 2000s were a fantastic time for DCOMs. They were so popular and so well-received by audiences that the Disney Channel released at least six movies a year from 2000 to 2006. Because more than double the amount of Disney Channel Original Movies were released each year in the 2000s in comparison to the 1990s, we decided to expand our countdown to the top 15 best DCOMs. We hope you don’t mind!
Also, since we’re being nostalgic, we’re only including DCOMs from 2000 to (SPOILER ALERT) High School Musical. High School Musical was such a turning point for Disney Channel Original Movies, so it’s hard to compare the pre-HSM DCOMs with the post-HSM ones because they’re so different.
Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy our list of the top 15 Disney Channel Original Movies from the early 2000s.
15. ‘Pixel Perfect’ (2004)
In the same vein as Zenon and Smart House, this movie was all about cool technology and its potential ramifications. We really loved its message about how being completely perfect isn’t better than having flaws. More than anything though, we have to admit that we thoroughly enjoyed having Raviv “Ricky” Ullman on our TV screens for a full 85 minutes (more with commercials).
14. ‘Stepsister From Planet Weird’ (2000)
This movie was definitely one of a kind. It’s interesting that the alien characters had such strange characteristics, rather than just being traditional aliens. But that’s what we loved about them. They were endearing and comical at the same time. Plus, who could ever forget the way the stepsister Ariel stated “I fear the wind”?
13. ‘Miracle in Lane 2’ (2000)
Ask a group of people to list a few Disney Channel Original Movies from the 2000s they enjoyed most and, chances are, quite a few will mention Miracle in Lane 2. Frankie Muniz was absolutely perfect as Justin Yoder. Muniz made us really feel for Justin and share in his joy of winning the soapbox derby. While we enjoy the funny DCOMs, we can’t help but love the more serious and meaningful ones like this one.
12. ‘Alley Cats Strike’ (2000)
The Alley Cats truly made bowling cool. Even though we liked the movie’s message about being yourself and not worrying about what makes you look cool (even though bowling totally WAS cool), we have to say that our absolute favorite part of the movie was the end. The way that Delia made that 7-10 split will be permanently etched in our minds. Seriously though. Who hasn’t tried her technique at a bowling alley in the same situation?
11. ‘Jett Jackson: The Movie’ (2001)
We were so excited when one of our favorite Disney Channel shows was given its very own movie. The fact that the movie made Silverstone and Jett Jackson separate characters was really interesting. It was really funny to see a cool spy like Silverstone try to hack it in Jett Jackson’s life. We would really love it if Lee Thompson Young would reprise his role as Jett Jackson at some point. It could happen, right?
10. ‘The Phantom of the Megaplex’ (2000)
The thought of a haunted movie theater was just so cool. We loved how the phantom would theme his pranks according to what movie he was disrupting. For example, he blew the audience out of their seats with giant fans during a movie called Cyclone Summer. Also, who could forget Mickey Rooney’s strange, yet lovable, character named “Movie Mason”? This movie definitely wouldn’t have been the same without him.
9. ‘Get a Clue’ (2002)
We can’t be the only ones who still occasionally get this movie’s theme song stuck in our head 11 years later. It was just so catchy (and Radio Disney seriously played it all the time). The movie was pretty great too. It was a well-written mystery that kept us guessing until the very end. Seriously though. How is it possible that everyone ended up at the hotel on that day and at that specific time? That was nuts.
8. ‘Double Teamed’ (2002)
Even those of us who weren’t huge basketball fans thoroughly enjoyed this Disney Channel Original Movie. The competitive sister dynamic was really interesting to watch unfold on screen, especially since the movie was based on the lives of two actual WNBA players. We loved how we could relate to Heather and Heidi’s lives and how excited we were when their team won the championship. It’s too bad that the movie was actually released on VHS but is now out of print. We want to watch it again.
7. ‘Cadet Kelly’ (2002)
Hilary Duff’s character Kelly Collins was such a free spirit. Her clothes, her style, her attitude… Everything about her screamed awesome. Even her taste in guys. But we really enjoyed watching her evolution into a responsible young woman. The way she saved her dad when he fell down the cliff was really impressive. Almost as impressive as the drill routine she performs with Cadet Captain Jennifer Stone (played by the elusive Christy Carlson Romano).
6. ‘Motocrossed’ (2001)
After watching this Disney Channel Original Movie, it was almost impossible not to want to enter a motocross race. For most of us, it was the first time that we had ever seen the sport, so to watch a girl beat out all of the guys was pretty awesome. While we were doing research for this countdown, we found out that this movie was loosely based off of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Now that we think about it, it does have quite a few similarities with the most obvious being the girl impersonating her brother. It’s almost like a predecessor to She’s the Man!
5. ‘The Cheetah Girls’ (2003)
“Cheetah Girls, cheetah sisters!” How fabulous were these girls? Their complementary outfits, their dance moves, their catchy tunes… We loved it all. Even though the plot was pretty predictable (with the “lead” singer/”founder” of the group going completely diva on the rest of the girls), we still loved every moment. We’re not ashamed to admit that we still rock out to the soundtrack every once in a while, complete with a few dance moves. In 2003, who didn’t want to be a Cheetah Girl?
4. ‘Rip Girls’ (2000)
Because this movie came out about 13 years ago, we completely forgot that Camilla Belle starred in it! We really liked how the plot developed in this story, with the audience learned about Sydney’s mother and her history along with Sydney herself. However, the scenery in this movie alone was enough to make us not want to look away from the TV screen. The lush landscape and all of the shots of the ocean were enough to fool us into believing that this was really filmed in Hawaii instead of in Australia.
3. ‘The Luck of the Irish’ (2001)
To this day, if we don’t watch this Disney Channel Original Movie on or near St. Patrick’s Day, we get really bummed. This is yet another one of Ryan Merriman’s gems. He’s fantastic as a boy who is slowly turning into a leprechaun. Not only can he pull off the red hair, but we also liked his little spurts of an Irish accent (even if they were totally laughable). We especially love how Kyle’s grandfather owns a successful potato chip factory. This movie is too good.
2. ‘The Color of Friendship’ (2000)
Out of all of the DCOMs ever made, this one was the deepest and the most meaningful. As kids, we hadn’t yet really encountered racism or segregation in a way that made it feel real to us. History books sure didn’t do that. It was really interesting to see how flawed Piper and Mahree’s assumptions about each other and each other’s lives were. Looking back on it, we wish we would have appreciated it more when it first came out.
1. ‘High School Musical’ (2006)
High School Musical was truly the start of something new (pun totally intended) when it comes to Disney Channel Original Movies. It totally changed the way that DCOMs were made and advertised. For instance, it started the DCOM merchandise trend and launched the careers of many stars, like Zac Efron. For all of the ways that this movie revolutionized DCOMs and media in general (and for how much it impacted our lives when it first came out), High School Musical more than deserves the top spot on our countdown.
So, there you have it. Those are our picks for the top 15 Disney Channel Original Movies of the early 2000s. To see which DCOMs didn’t quite make the cut or to just indulge your nostalgia a little bit longer, here’s that list of DCOMs by year that we had included in the ’90s countdown.