12 Disney Channel Original Movies Turning 20 In 2020, Ranked According To Rotten Tomatoes


“Let’s watch a Disney Channel movie,” but not just any Disney Channel movie, a Zoog Disney movie. Zoog Disney was the network’s cool new look in the late 90s and early 2000s. It was made with a cool digitized background and had animated creatures called Zoogs.

One of the best parts of twenty-year-old Disney Channel was its movies. In the year 2000, the channel premiered twelve original films known as DCOMs (Disney Channel Original Movies). That’s a movie a month! Some were more exciting than others, and chances are, you forgot at least a couple of them. Check them out on Disney+, and then see how they rank on Rotten Tomatoes.

12 Up, Up, and Away: No Rating

This lesser known film has not been rated by critics or audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. Airing on January 22, 2000, Up, Up and Away was the first DCOM of that year. The Marshalls are a superhero family, like live-action Incredibles. The main character is 14-year-old Scott, who is just waiting to get his powers. The good guys must stop the bad computer villains, the Earth Protectors, who deceive a school to try to take over the world with their software. A highlight is the acting of Sherman Helmsley (from The Jeffersons) as the grandfather.

11 Stepsister from Planet Weird: 38%

Disney Channel kept Courtnee Draper pretty busy at the turn of the century. In addition to her show The Jersey and her DCOM classic The Thirteenth Year, Draper played Megan in Stepsister from Planet Weird. Megan’s mom is about to marry an alien in human form. The alien’s daughter is also an alien (hence the movie’s title).

Alien dad, Cosmo Cola, is super weird and picks Megan up by the waist when they first meet, while alien stepsister Ariel is 14, just like Megan. Neither girl is looking forward to becoming family, so they set out to stop their parents’ wedding.

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10 Miracle in Lane 2: 44%

Frankie Muniz didn’t appear on Disney Channel all that much, but before he guest-starred on Lizzie McGuire, he had his own DCOM, Miracle in Lane 2. Muniz’s character is Justin Yoder, a young man who has hydrocephalus and spina bifida. There is more religious imagery in this film than in many of Disney’s. Justin says to the race car driver playing God in his dreams, “I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I think when you made me, you messed up.” Justin wants people to know him as a person, not as a guy in a wheelchair. Muniz is convincing and heartfelt in this role, and it’s good for kids to see the challenges his character goes through. With help from his parents and his brother Seth (played by So Weird’s Patrick Levis), Justin sets out to drive to victory in a soap box derby. The film is based on a true story.

9 The Other Me: 44%

You’ve gotta love a good Lawrence brothers movie. In The Other Me, Andy flies solo as Will Browning and then doubles as Twoie, the clone Will inadvertently creates. Will thinks he is taking the easy way out by letting the clone do all his work, but Twoie proves to be more well-liked at school than Will. Lynne Heffley wrote a review ahead of the film for the Los Angeles Times and accurately called it “a family movie that’s effervescent, good-natured and fun to watch.”

8 The Ultimate Christmas Present: 49%

Allie Thompson (played by Hallee Hirsch) is a misbehaving middle schooler who would rather have fun than do her homework. She and her best friend Samantha (Brenda Song) get their hands on a weather-controlling piece of technology, whose rightful owner is Santa Claus.

Allie suddenly has the power to make it snow in Los Angeles, thereby getting herself and her friends out of school. Things go awry when it snows so much that her dad might not get home for Christmas.

7 Ready to Run: 50%

If you’re going to watch Ready to Run, an interest in horses will help. Corrie Ortiz has lost her father in a horse-racing accident, but she still wants to race more than anything. Her mother is understandably resistant to this throughout much of the film. Corrie also shares her father’s gift of understanding horses when they talk. It’s a somewhat forgotten DCOM, but it fits the canon nicely.

6 Quints: 50%

Jamie Grover has too much attention from her parents, that is, until her mom has quintuplets. In the blink of an eye, Jamie’s life is turned upside down. The babies arrive and get quite a bit of press. Jamie tries to have a good attitude and help her parents out, but she grows tired of never being noticed anymore, especially when it comes to her artwork. Kimberly J. Brown is a genuine delight in this role as she breaks the fourth wall, leans on her two best friends, and plays with five adorable babies. Don Knotts also happens to be the governor.

5 Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire: 51%

This is the ideal film for anyone who wants to see Charles Shaughnessy as a vampire, or anyone who wants to see Caroline Rhea date said vampire. Disney Channel got some mileage out of this one for its yearly Halloween blocks, but it’s not the first DCOM many people would mention.

4 Alley Cats Strike: 51%

Featuring a young Kaley Cuoco and the talented Kyle Schmid, Alley Cats Strike is not one to miss. It celebrates a unique group of kids who love bowling for the fun of it. When their whole town is at stake, the teenagers must bowl competitively to secure the Mighty Apple trophy. It’s a great tale of making unlikely friends and growing as a community.

3 Phantom of the Megaplex: 57%

Pete Riley is the teenage manager of a movie theater. Everyone is gearing up for a big movie premiere, including Pete’s brother and sister, but things start to go bump in the night.

The film’s title is an obvious nod to The Phantom of the Opera, and it was an exciting watch for an elementary school kid in 2000. The phantom turns out to be a disgruntled employee, but who knows what could have happened? The film also includes Mickey Rooney as “Movie Mason.”

2 Rip Girls: 69%

Camilla Belle is 13-year-old Sydney Miller in Rip Girls. This one falls into the Disney trope of the young daughter with the deceased mother, but the connection Sydney makes with her mother’s past in Hawaii is a great story. Sydney is there with her stepmom and father because she has inherited some land, but she gains so much more from the trip along the way.

1 The Color of Friendship: 76%

Based on the real experiences of the Dellums family, The Color of Friendship is one of the most important films in Disney’s history. It receives the highest audience score for good reason. In the 1970s, Congressman Ron Dellums and his family in Washington, D.C. house an exchange student from South Africa named Mahree Bok. Mahree is White, and the Dellums family is Black. It’s slow going between Mahree and the Dellums child closest to her age, Piper. But when the two young ladies start to break down walls, they become the best of friends. Mahree learns some powerful lessons about human unity and equality when she has to watch her country go through Apartheid from afar. The movie not only tells important truths; it is engaging and well-written, too.

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About The Author

Allison McClain Merrill (431 Articles Published)

Allison McClain Merrill is an independent scholar and writer. She studies nostalgic programming through the decades but is equally fascinated by what is happening in television today. Educated in the fields of music, English, and religion, Allison loves to connect the dots that create the art we watch. When she’s not writing about film and television, Allison is making music, teaching exercise classes, or spending time with friends and family.

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