Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) are a staple in most of our childhoods. These made for tv movies, blended fantasy with teenage dramatics all while being as cheesy as possible.
High School Musical for example launched careers like no other Disney channel film has before. Read on to see where the cast of High School Musical and your other favorite DCOMs are today.
I think we can confidently say High School Musical wouldn’t have had the success it did without teenage heartthrob Zac Efron as Troy Bolton. That shaggy haircut was all the rage with teenage girls back in 2006.
Efron’s wanted to leave the past behind though and graduated on to bigger and better roles such as Neighbors, Baywatch, and is even going to be in an upcoming movie about serial killer Ted Bundy.
Vanessa Hudgens played the girl next door, Gabriella, when she landed her breakout role in High School Musical. She had the looks, the pipes, and the total package for Disney to market.
That went downhill quick after photos leaked and she stepped away to help change her image and pursue more grownup roles. She slowly made her way back into Hollywood and even hosted the 2023 Acadamy Awards Red Carpet.
Playing Sharpay Evans in High School Musical was not Ashley Tisdale’s breakout role. She was starring simultaneously on The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody. The show even made a parody of her character.
Since the end of her reign on Disney, Tisdale has stepped away from acting and focused more on music.
Lucas as Ryan Evans was easily the most underrated character of the show. I mean, he had the talent and stood up to his evil sister when he needed to.
After the High School Musical series ended, he went on to find more fan appreciation as a young Lex Luther in Smallville, and as Toby Kennish in the ABC family drama Switched at Birth. In his spare time, he produces short films.
Corbin’s first leading role was in a film alongside a young Kristin Stewart called Catch That Kid. Kristen went on to star in Twilight, while Corbin took the more wholesome route and starred as Chad Danforth in High School Musical.
Corbin has tried acting in numerous other roles but none found him the same success as when he was with Disney. He did make it as runner-up for the seventeenth season of Dancing With The Stars.
Monique Coleman was basically an industry vet when she took on the role of Taylor McKessie a.k.a. Gabriella’s best friend and voice of reason.
Monique has landed small roles on shows like Bones, Here We Go Again, and We Are Family, but has largely stepped away from the spotlight. Now, she loves her work as a motivational speaker because “it’s Taylor f***** McKessie coming to tell you that you can do it.”
The shy piano player and composer from High School Musical doesn’t look so shy in real life. Olesya Rulin played Kelsi Nielsen in all three films but still had to work at Nordstrom to pay the bills.
She had a major glo-up and went on to star as Abby on the show Greek. In her spare time, you can catch her hanging out with former HSM star and real-life bestie, Monique Coleman.
There are two types of people in this world. People who know Hayden Panettiere as the little girl from Remember the Titans, and people who know her as the military brat in the DCOM Tiger Cruise.
Hayden has always seemed to star is more serious, dramatic roles, so it’s no surprise she’s found her niche on TV dramas. She starred on Heroes and just finished her run on the musical drama Nashville.
Of course, Lindsay Lohan would have a few DCOMs under her belt. Although she made her film debut in 1998 with The Parent Trap, she continued working with Disney for straight-to-TV movies. DCOMs like Life-Size and Get A Clue were easily some of her best work.
As we all know, she went on to greatness when she starred in Mean Girls, then quickly spiraled downhill.
For many of the stars on this list, you almost forget they got their start in a DCOM. With Demi Lovato, it’s the exact opposite. Demi has had to carry the weight of being a troubled Disney star since her breakout role in Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2.
The DCOMs landed her a contract with Hollywood Record and turned her into the powerhouse singer she is today, but it’s come with a price filled with drug addiction and mental illness.
Another member of Disney Channel fame, Hilary Duff, wouldn’t just stop at starring on her own Disney show. Alongside playing funny teen Lizzie McGuire, she starred in the DCOM based on the show, The Lizzie McGuire Movie. If you’re a true DCOM fan then you also know she played a military school cadet in Cadet Kelly.
Nowadays she’s busy being a mom. She played a character on TV land’s Younger, and now stars in How I Met Your Father.
Christy Carlson Romano
Another Disney channel veteran, Christy Carlson Romano was basically the headlining name when it came to DCOMs. Christy was already riding high off her success as Ren in Even Stevens. She also went on to star in Cadet Kelly and voice the lead character in Kim Possible.
After her time on Disney came to a close, she took her acting and voice to Broadway where she played Belle in Beauty and the Beast.
Considering how dead-pan and sarcastic Kat Dennings is, I’m surprised Disney even let her on their network. Things must have been must different when she was younger. Kat starred in the DCOM The Scream Team as a teenager trying to free her grandfather’s spirit from an evil ghost.
Of course, now we know her better from her roles in the Thor franchise and the CBS sitcom, 2 Broke Girls.