Just because a movie aired on Disney Channel all throughout your childhood doesn't instantly classify it as a Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM). Some films, all pre-1997, were originally under the umbrella title of Disney Channel Premiere Films before the company changed it to DCOM.
But some movies we remember watching on Disney Channel weren't originally created to debut on the channel itself. They either debuted on related channels, like ABC, or had theatrical releases. To be fair, Disney is Disney, and we love 'em all, but still. Let's talk about this. And FYI, the 100th DCOM is happening later this year, so get excited.
The sister version of Freaky Friday was one of the final movies to air under the Disney Channel Premiere Films moniker. It's also one of the most common movies to be mistaken for a DCOM, because it just feels like it should be. Also, can we take a moment and talk about how dope Katherine Heigl was in this?
A personal favorite of mine, the Will Friedle and Elisabeth Harnois date movie originally aired on ABC for The Wonderful World of Disney. Oh, and Friedle said he'd consider doing a sequel if it had "a great story." Fingers crossed someone makes this happen!
The timeless tale of a group of paperboys out for revenge against bullies was a Disney Channel Premiere Film, not a Disney Channel Original Movie.
The OG Seventeen Again (sorry, Zac Efron), a movie about the Mowry siblings's grandparents turning back into teenagers, was originally made for and aired on Showtime, NOT Disney Channel. (I also feel like it's my duty to inform you this gem is on Netflix instant right now.)
Remember when Will Friedle and Matthew Lawrence did a movie about Satan, demons, and Hell? If you don't, trust me, it was fantastic. And like My Date with the President's Daughter, this movie originally aired on ABC as part of The Wonderful World of Disney.
Kirstie Alley's portrayal of a dentist in Limbo who's forced to be the Tooth Fairy before she'll be admitted into Heaven is definitely one for the books. Except, it's not included in the Book of DCOMs. It first aired on ABC as part of The Wonderful World of Disney. (Are you noticing a pattern here?)
Steve Van Wormer and the late Paul Walker played surfer bros-turned-Yellowstone park rangers. This movie actually premiered in theaters, so it's definitely not a DCOM.
The movie that made you fall in love with Shane McDermott and introduced you to a then-unknown Jack Black wearing inline skates first premiered in theaters and is a product of Warner Bros Pictures.
Like Wish Upon a Star and The Paper Brigade, this awesome (but sadly, forgotten) film was a Disney Channel Premiere Film. It first aired on Super RTL, a German TV network that partners with Disney.
The movie about the POTUS's bratty son (Brock Pierce) and his Secret Service agent (Sinbad) debuted in theaters, not on Disney Channel.
One of several '90s movies that scared TF out of you as a kid (hi, Don't Look Under the Bed), Tower of Terror was based on the Walt Disney theme park ride and originally aired on ABC for — you guessed it — The Wonderful World of Disney.
Sorry, High School Musical fans, but the third installment in the popular Disney franchise is technically not a DCOM. Why? Because it debuted in theaters (on my birthday, might I add).