Disney Channel Original Movies: Have They Changed?

Being a kid in the 90s and watching disney channel at least 50% of the time, I also grew up loving disney channel original movies. So obviously, I started to binge watch as many dcoms as I could when I noticed they were on demand. Here’s a list of the top 6 Disney Channel Original Movies worth mentioning:

    • Zenon (1999) (6.4 rating) —> A young girl takes on the task of saving her home and community in outer space with the help of her friends and family. 
    • The Color of Friendship (2000) (7.4 rating) —> This dcom discusses the impacts of environment, race  and culture on relationships and how a child’s sense of morality and friendship is not confined by where you come from or the color of your skin. 
    • Motocrossed (2001) (6.8 rating) —> This movie focuses on female strength and that a girl/woman can succeeding in anything they put their minds to, especially with the strength and support of friends and family. 
    • Tru Confessions (2002) (7.8 rating) —> This dcom highlights something much more important than a child with disabilities. Tru Confessions shows what the support of family really means and that disabilities don’t define you. To Tru and her parents, her brother Eddie is a brother, a son, and a friend first and foremost. 
    • Jumping Ship (2001) (6.3 rating) —> This movie shows how three individuals, despite their differences, can work together to survive and create strong friendships with one another. Although this movie contains a lower rating, this was my favorite dcom growing up as a kid.
    • Double Teamed (2002) (6.2 rating)—> This movie shows the value of teamwork and sisterhood, and sportsmanship. It also highlights that everyone is an individual and everyone is different, even twins.

Imagine, for those who grew up with these movies, watching disney channel original movies for the first time as adults. Our admiration and loyalty for some of these disney films probably wouldn’t be as strong. 

As a kid, these movies were pure entertainment. But the life lessons buried within these movies also helped to inform us. It provided us kids with strong examples of morality in family and friendship. 

This brings into question whether disney channel original movies were better 20 years ago compared to today, which seem cheap or cheesy to me now. Somehow, dcoms today seem to pale in comparison; that they are not the same level of quality as dcoms of the late 90s/early 2000s. However, could this just be because as adults, we view these kids movies differently now; rather than our innocent, undeveloped child brain would. 

According to IMDB the majority of dcoms, both new and old, contain ratings ranging between a 5.5 and a 7.5; this would be deemed on the lower side of average. But again, this system of rating by adults goes back to the same concept. Watching these movies as adults takes on a completely different perspective of Disney Channel Original Movies compared to the child adoration of these movies. Watching dcoms at a young age impacts both the kid watching these films; as well as a nostalgic adult remembering the young fondness for Disney Channel Original Movies. 

Lauren Peterson