For anyone social-distancing who is looking for a way to pass the time, Disney+ definitely has you covered. The streaming platform offers plenty of childhood favorites — and has everything you need to host the perfect Disney Channel Original Movie 24-hour marathon at home. There’s no limit to the wacky worlds a DCOM can transport you to, from performing at a major concert with the Cheetah Girls to learning magic with the witches of Halloweentown. In a time when people across the United States are being encouraged to practice self-isolation due to the coronavirus outbreak, there’s no better time to explore these films on Disney+.
So, where to start? For anyone who grew up watching DCOMs, old favorites can be particularly nostalgic. Revisiting a classic DCOM can blast anyone back to early aughts. If any Disney+ subscriber somehow hasn’t seen any of these classic TV movies, be warned that they can be quite a trip for the uninitiated — many involve magic. But there’s no time like the present to live the childhood you never had, especially given the need for all to be inside. No matter how familiar with these films you might be, there’s a little something for everyone on this Disney Channel Original Movie journey.
1. Smart House (1999)
Stuck in the house? Things could be worse. For example, you could be high school science whiz Ben Cooper, who tried to stop his dad from dating by going online to win a computerized smart house, only to have the house go haywire, turning it into a maternal nightmare that traps the whole family.
It’s the perfect movie to kick off your 24-hour marathon in the age of coronavirus — just make sure you’re stocked up with snacks so you aren’t tempted to ask your empty, not-so-smart house to bring you some.
2. Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)
After spending time at home with Smart House, there’s only one place to go: outer space. Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century is yet another DCOM from the 90s that predicted what our contemporary lives might be like. It follows Zenon Kar, a tween who lives on an intergalactic space station. After getting in trouble with the ship’s commander, her parents banish her to Earth, where she must stop an evil plan to undermine her parents home.
One bonus for watching Zenon is that “Zoom”, a track from the movie, has truly never been more relevant in the video-chat era. Put this movie on and throw a dance party for yourself at home.
3. High School Musical (2006)
Did “Zoom” get you in the mood to dance? One of the all-time Disney Original Movie classics, High School Musical, is ready and available on Disney+. We are all in this together. Well, not physically, but wouldn’t it be nice to have Troy Bolton himself, Zac Efron, keep you company in quarantine — at least for a few hours?
4. Camp Rock (2008)
After watching High School Musical, there’s really only one DCOM to watch next: Camp Rock, which helped catapult stars Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers into major Disney Channel stars, and beyond. Also, it’s useful to look at Joe Jonas’ bangs in Camp Rock as inspiration for your quarantine hair. He probably wasn’t allowed to get a haircut in camp either.
5. Cheetah Girls (2003)
Keep singing! The Cheetah Girls, a group of New York City teens who meet during talent show rehearsal, go on to become superstars – as well as best friends. Fame will challenge their friendship in unexpected ways, but ultimately, these four are cheetah girls, cheetah sisters forever.
6. Cadet Kelly (2002)
Now that you’re feeling the girl power, turn your attention to Cadet Kelly, one of the most underrated Hilary Duff performances of the early 2000s. The movie follows Duff as Kelly, who’s thrown out of her element when she’s forced to attend George Washington Military School. Then, Kelly joins the drill team, does some pretty entertaining choreography, and begins to find her place.
7. Read it and Weep (2007)
If you’re a big fan of Netflix’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, then Read It And Weep is a perfect addition to your DCOM marathon. A shy high schooler named Jamie Bartlett’s private diary is published and becomes a bestseller after she accidentally turns it in as a homework assignment.
8. Cow Belles (2006)
Disney has always had a special talent for putting characters in uncomfortable situations, and Cow Belles is another great example of a fish-out-of water premise. Aly and AJ Michalka starred in this film as two spoiled sisters who are forced to go work for the family dairy business. As if that wasn’t hard enough, they then have to become super sleuths to solve a mystery after someone robs the dairy business. So many layers, so little time.
9. Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook Off (2003)
And now for a genre of DCOM informally titled: “Dad, my hobby is not sports.” In Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off, Eddie Ogden’s baseball coach father pushes him to pursue a career as a major-league athlete. But Eddie’s true passion is cooking, and by winning a major culinary competition, he hopes his father will become more supportive. Bobby Flay also makes a delightful cameo.
10. Johnny Tsunami (1999)
Not every Disney movie about sports had a protagonist with a hidden passion. In Johnny Tsunami, a teen surfer from Hawaii named Johnny Kapahala struggles to acclimate to cold-weather sports when his family relocates to Vermont. But then he discovers a new hobby — snowboarding. Will he be able to defeat his nemesis, stuck-up skier Brett? Or will the two become unexpected pals?
11. Go Figure (2005)
Inspired by Johnny’s snowboard training? Next up is Go Figure, the story of an aspiring figure skater Katelin Kingsford, who must join a hockey team to pay for tuition at a local boarding school. It’s not easy balancing hockey practice, figure skating training, and schoolwork. Will Katelin be able to manage her schedule and compete? For anyone missing any and all outside activities, this is definitely a go-to watch.
12. Hocus Pocus (1993)
Now it’s pretty far into the 24-hour marathon, which means it’s the witching hour. Pretend it’s Halloween and put on Hocus Pocus. Even though the film got a theatrical release, it later made a cable television home among the other DCOMs. And now’s the perfect time to experience the true horror of Hocus Pocus, which is discovering that, like many of its counterparts, the film’s plot is a metaphor for puberty.
13. Twitches (2005)
In keeping with the magic theme, follow-up Hocus Pocus with Twitches. Tia and Tamera Mowry play twin witches, Alex Fielding and Camryn Barnes, who were separated at birth and reunite on their 21st Birthday. Then, the newly-united twins must use their powers to save their kingdom from evil forces.
14. Halloweentown (1999)
Finally, wrap up your magical night with Halloweentown. Fight sleep by watching Marnie enter Halloweentown, the only place where supernatural beings can be themselves. Naturally magical hijinks ensue. It’s delightful, and relatively short, making it the perfect movie to send you off to sleep and officially bring your 24-hour Disney Channel Original Movie marathon to an end.