A definitive ranking of the best Disney Channel Original Movies
Camp Rock 2 is far superior to the first movie
Disney Channel Original Movies made my childhood. I can sing every word of Nick Jonas’ Introducing Me, and managing to learn the Hoedown Throwdown dance in one day is probably still one of my greatest achievements. If you were blessed enough to have Disney Channel on your TV as a kid, you’ll likely be as opinionated as I am about which Disney Channel original movie is the best.
Looking back, I have to admit that a lot of them are a bit shit. However, the songs are still absolute bangers, with some of them leading to to the weirdest crossovers. Remember when Joe McElderry released Miley Cyrus’ The Climb as his X Factor winner’s single?
Some of these films are still as relevant as they were in the 2000s, with both Debby Ryan’s Radio Rebel hair tuck and smirk and Demi Lovato’s “she’s really good!” going viral on TikTok earlier this year.
They’re all varying degrees of cringe and predictable, but every film is just so nostalgic. Here’s my definitive list of the best Disney Channel Original Movies.
13. Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas!
Honestly, I forgot Good Luck Charlie had a movie. The only thing I really remember is that the family are separated at Christmas, with Amy and Teddy stranded and trying to get to the rest of the Duncans, who are staying with Amy’s parents in Palm Springs.
As with all Disney films there are some very odd moments, such as when Amy and Teddy decide to be buskers, and their performance of We Wish You a Merry Christmas gets a far better reception than it deserves. When they’re reunited at the end of the film, the Duncans reveal they’re having yet another baby, which is just so unnecessary. The movie isn’t awful, it’s just not very memorable.
12. 16 Wishes
Was it just me who found this film really disturbing? The fairy godmother is so creepy. However, I do love the y2k vibes, and the opening scene where she wakes up in her funky room with a pore strip on her nose is iconic. It’s very classic American teen stereotype, which you either love or hate.
11. The Suite Life Movie
Also lowkey scary. Zack and Cody volunteer for a project that will study the bond they have, and end up in a creepy camp with hundreds of twins. The other pairs, brainwashed, form an army to capture Zack and Cody. It all just seemed like a bit of a random concept and didn’t do the TV show, which is iconic, justice.
10. Radio Rebel
Radio Rebel was just bizarre. I’m literally ranking it tenth because of the classic Debby Ryan pose and the phrase “I’m Radio Rebel” that everyone stands up and announces, which I still quote far too often.
9. Teen Beach Movie
Teen Beach Movie (and its sequel) were actually banging movies. If I’m honest, I found the storylines less exciting and the spectacle of it far more enjoyable. The flash mobs were sick and the various 60s surfer versus biker costumes were amazing. The songs were also a highlight – I still know all the words to Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’ and Can’t Stop Singing, and I’m proud of that.
8. Lemonade Mouth
Lemonade Mouth has really good vibes. Determinate is a banger and I like what the film promotes: self-expression, individuality, new friendships, teamwork (and lemonade). Hayley Kiyoko as Stella is an icon.
7. Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie
Considering how much I love Wizards of Waverly Place itself, I was sceptical that I’d enjoy the movie. However, it’s just so good. Teen angst is such a common theme in Disney storylines and this film showcases that perfectly, with Alex accidentally casting a spell that causes her parents to have never met. The three siblings then have to go on a journey in order to reverse the spell.
The film sums up what Wizards is really about: magic, family, friendships and drama. Special mention goes to the street magician guy and Giselle, a woman who’s been turned into a bird. So very random but they add so much to the film.
Ok so the plot is very cliché, with a pop star falling in love with the only girl who isn’t obsessed with him. However, Starstruck’s songs are banging. Hero and Something about the Sunshine are genuinely really good and I refuse to be told otherwise.
5. Princess Protection Program
The coming together of Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato in this is just so nostalgic. The ‘royalty meets reality’ thing is fun and I love seeing Rosie’s appearance and mannerisms change as she becomes an American high school girl. Watching this as a young kid in the UK, I found the typical US teen vibe all very exciting.
4. High School Musical 2
This is undeniably the best film of the High School Musical trilogy. The movie is set during summer vacation, and Sharpay tries to pursue Troy. The summer vibes are immaculate and the songs are iconic. It opens on a high note with What Time Is It, and the cinematography of Sharpay’s Fabulous just cannot be beaten.
3. Camp Rock
I actually love the first Camp Rock. This is Me is a timeless song and I’ve perfected the weird knees touching pose that Demi does whilst singing it. Unsurprisingly, the plot is predictable: Demi Lovato as Mitchie gets to go to a super expensive music camp because her mum is doing the catering for it. She’s ashamed of this and thus hides it from her camp mates, until she inevitably gets caught out.
The Demi Lovato/Joe Jonas combo makes the film, and Shane singing Gotta Find You to Mitchie by the lake is a glorious scene. I of course have to mention the “She’s really good!” TikTok sound that comes from this movie, which is another highlight.
2. Hannah Montana The Movie
It’s not even that good, it’s just so iconic. After prioritising celebrity life over her real one, Miley is made to go back to Tennessee to reconnect with her family instead of attending an award show as Hannah as she was supposed to. Honestly, I can’t really tell you what happens during the movie, but spoiler: Miley reveals the secret of her double identity at the end. Seven year old me left the cinema devastated that the whole world now knew Miley’s secret, when I’d been convinced it was just the two of us in on it.
The songs are by far my favourite element of the film. The Climb is sensational, and Taylor Swift even makes an appearance with Crazier.
1. Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam
Honestly, incredible. Mitchie returns for another summer at Camp Rock, only to find rival Camp Star open across the lake. The movie leads up to a televised competition between the two camps, which adds a bit of excitement that I’d argue isn’t there in the first film.
The soundtrack is insane, with Nick Jonas’ Introducing Me and Demi and Joe’s Wouldn’t Change a Thing being some of my favourites. Can’t Back Down has some banging choreography. The film has got drama, love, friendship and fun, as well as amazing songs and dances. What more could you possibly want from a Disney Channel original movie?