Where would kids be without Disney Channel original movies to grow up with? As '90s kids can attest, the DCOMs that define your childhood never really leave you. Those heartwarming, message-filled movies taught you about teamwork, finding your inner strength, and embracing the things that make you different. They also featured casts full of kids who had the same kinds of problems and worries that you had — despite their adventures being way more exciting.
DCOMs are special because they put kids and their problems front and center. Sure, they're usually gentle in nature, and full of silliness, but that's exactly what you needed to go along with all of those life lessons the writers slipped in Halloweentown, Cheetah Girls, and the rest of the DCOMs that made your childhood so much more fun.
Not every DCOM stayed with you. In fact, you've probably forgotten more of the Disney favorites than you remember, but you can bet that the ones that you do remember still fill you with nostalgia to this day. Those tried and true classics helped you through your awkward tween years, and you still stop and watch them when they come on the Disney Channel to this day. Prepare for a Zenon-style blast from the past, because these are the DCOMs that defined your childhood, '90s kids.
1. The Cheetah Girls
Galleria, Chanel, Dorinda, and Aqua form the girl band that you always wanted to be a part of. Together the teens figured out to balance their goals with the normal demands of high school while also putting their friendship first. It was beautiful, and you know you still sing "Step Up" in your car with the windows down when you need an old school girl power moment.
Whether Halloween is your favorite holiday or you just march to the beat of your own strange drum, Marnie is probably still your life hero. The young witch fully embraced her love for all things weird, and she made you see that it was totally OK for you to do the same thing.
3. Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century
"Zetus lapetus!" Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century gave you a cool catchphrase and taught you how to navigate the awkwardness of moving to a new school with positivity and sass.
If you didn't know gender was a construct before you watched Motocrossed, you probably realized it after Andi challenged all of her dad's antiquated notions about "girl things." Seeing her assume her brother's identity in order to pursue her love of racing was heartbreaking, but it was empowering too.
5. Tru Confessions
As one of the more serious DCOMs, Tru Confessions probably made you sob every single time you watched it, but it also taught you about empathy and how special the bond between siblings can be.
6. Cadet Kelly
Hilary Duff's Kelly loves all things pink, is a little bit boy crazy, and totally underestimated by everyone. That makes the movie's ending where she proves everyone wrong all the more satisfying, because it was the affirmation you needed to realize that you could love "girly" things while still being strong, competent, and a leader.
7. Gotta Kick It Up!
Gotta Kick It Up! is full of positive messages about female friendships, representation, and following your heart, but it gets extra love for being that movie that introduced you to the amazing America Ferrera.
8. The Luck Of The Irish
The Luck of the Irish is definitely one of the stranger DCOMs, but the movie served up one of your most enduring crushes in the form of Ryan Merriman's Kyle.
9. Read It And Weep
Having your diary accidentally turned into a bestseller is both an exhilarating and terrifying thought, and seeing it play out in Read It and Weep definitely illustrates that truth. But the movie's biggest selling point is the way it portrays the struggles of fitting in at school, and the importance of having a space to process your private thoughts.
Admit it, sometimes it felt like the Mowry twins were your childhood, and you are probably more than OK with that.
11. High School Musical
If you came of age in the early '00s, then there was probably a good year where you devoted your life to High School Musical. The music, the dancing, the Zac Efron of it all — it was more than a movie, it was a way of life.
No matter how old you get, these DCOMs will always take you right back to your childhood.