While the Disney Channel debuted in 1983, it took a bit for them to get into original movies. For a time, there were "Disney Channel Premieres," which usually were films made by other companies that simply debuted on the Disney Channel. That included some fun favorites to get attention and could range in anything from drama to musicals.
In 1998, as part of a bigger makeover for the network, the Disney Channel Original Films truly came to be. Since then, there have been over a hundred such films, which are still happening today. Notably is how several of them can boast some future famous faces and, in a few cases, launch some major stars of today.
It's tricky to narrow it down to the best of the best, as some are better known for impact than quality (Descendants). Yet some Disney Channel movies still dominate. From their great acting to their story and more, here are the 15 best Disney Channel Original Movies ranked, as a reminder of how this network could provide gems that still entertain kids of all ages.
15. Wendy Wu Homecoming Warrior
After years in supporting roles on Disney Channel TV shows and movies, Brenda Song finally got the leading role she deserved in this quirky action comedy. She plays the title character of a high schooler more interested in fashion and the big dance than anything else. So she's not happy when a monk shows up to tell her she's the reincarnation of a Chinese warrior who has to fight an emerging evil.
There's some good comedy and great action scenes, yet the film has a surprising heart focusing on Chinese-American culture as Wendy clashes with her traditional parents. Come for the wild action but stay for the good characters that make this a great film.