23 Things You Never Knew About Disney Channel's Original Movies

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Disney Channel Original Movie Fun Facts

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical

Disney Channel/Everett Collection

Before you spend Memorial Day weekend binging on every single Disney Channel Original Movie ever created (yes, all of them – from Don’t Look Under the Bed to The Cheetah Girls), refresh your DCOM memory with these fun facts.

1. Zac Efron didn’t sing in the original High School Musical.
Back in 2006, you may have thought you fallen in love with Efron’s vocals in “Breaking Free” and “Start of Something New”, but it turns out, it wasn’t actually Efron you were falling for. Another Cinderella Story star Drew Seeley actually provided Troy’s vocals for the first film (and he wrote the song “Getcha Head In the Game”). But don’t worry, it wasn’t all a lie. Efron went on to sing in High School Musical 2.

2. Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was a book first.
Three years before our hearts went zoom zoom, author Marilyn Sadler published a children’s book called Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, which would serve as the inspiration for the Disney Channel original movie.


3. Kristen Stewart was in The Thirteenth Year
Twilight was barely a twinkle in Stephenie Meyer’s eye when Stewart had a teeny-tiny role in the movie that made us all hope to wake up as mer-people on our 13th birthdays.

4. Diane Keaton was the star of the first-ever DCOM.
Yes, that Diane Keaton. She starred in Northern Lights, a film about a woman who moves to a small town after getting custody of her nephew when her brother dies. Most people don’t even remember this movie and inaccurately label Under Wraps as the first DCOM.

5. Lee Thompson Young did the vast majority of his stunts in The Famous Jett Jackson Movie
It was the role that launched Young’s impressive (but sadly, cut short when he died in 2013) career, and for good reason. He did 90 percent of his own stunts in the The Famous Jett Jackson Movie, a spin-off of the hit Disney Channel show The Famous Jett Jackson.

6. Ryan Merriman, multi-time DCOM star (A Ring of Endless Light, Luck of the Irish, and Smart House), went on to snag a role in Pretty Little Liars.
He played Ian Thomas, a student at Rosewood High School who dated Spencer’s sister, Melissa.

7. Jump In! was originally supposed to be called Double Dutch.
And Raven Symoné was supposed to play Keke Palmer’s part.

8. Hilary Duff was made an “honorary Cadet Sergeant” at the military school where Cadet Kelly was filmed.
No word on whether or not they emulated a few of her moves for their own drill team.


9. Read It and Weep was based on a book.
It’s called How My Private, Personal Journal Became A Bestseller and the author, Julia DeVillers, made a cameo in the movie in one of the scenes in the pizza parlor.

10. Motocrossed is partially based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
In the loose adaptation, Andrea is Viola, Andrew is Sebastian, Dean is Duke and Faryn is Olivia.

11. “Two Worlds Collide”, the song from Princess Protection Program, was written by Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez.
The two also starred in the film, and Demi performed the song.

12. You can visit Halloweentown.
Okay, it’s not actually Halloweentown, but St. Helens, Oregon, which served as the set of the original Halloweentown, fully embraces the film with an annual “Spirit of Halloweentown” event where fans can explore the town as they recreate elements from the film – like that giant Jack-O-Lantern in the town square!


13. Tia and Tamera Mowry ended up switching their roles in Twitches.
It’s a twin thing.

14. Every single scene in The Cheetah Girls 2 was shot in Spain.
Even the ones that are supposed to take place in N.Y.C.

15. Camp Rock was filmed at the same camp as the movie Meatballs.
It’s Camp White Pine in Haliburton in Ontario, Canada.


16. When she signed on for Motocrossed, star Alana Austin thought she’d be wearing a wig for her scenes as a “boy.”
Actually, she had to cut her hair – an order she complied with.

17. Double Teamed is based on two real-life sisters.
Both ended up playing for the University of Virginia, and, eventually, the WNBA – Heather Burge for the Sacramento Monarchs and Heidi Burge for the Los Angeles Sparks and Washington Mystics (though never at the same time as the movie makes it seem.)

18. Johnny Tsunami is actually Johnny the teenager’s grandfather.
Despite what your memory may tell you, Johnny Tsunami is Johnny Kapahala’s grandpa, a “surfing legend” (and that’s how he got that awesome nickname.)

19. Kelsi, the songwriter in High School Musical, was also in Return to Halloweentown.
The actress, Olesya Rulin, played the pink troll!

20. The original Marnie, Kimberly J. Brown, however, wasn’t.
Brown was replaced by Sara Paxton due to scheduling conflicts.

21. Gotta Kick It Up! was only America Ferrera’s second acting credit, ever.
Her first was the film Real Women Have Curves.


22. The star of Stepsister from Planet Weird now does voiceovers for video games.
You may have heard her in “Disney Infinity” or “Final Fantasy Type-0”

23. Shameless‘ Emmy Rossum is in Genius.
She plays Clare Addison, said genius’s love interest.

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