Disney has been putting out musical movies in theaters and on Disney Channel for years. And while we talk about High School Musical, Descendants, and The Cheetah Girls a lot, I don’t hear about the other movie musicals much. So I decided to rank them.
I only included movies classified as “musicals,” so films with a few musical numbers (Starstruck and Pixel Perfect) or focused more on dance like Zapped won’t be on here. Some other honorable mentions that had great musical numbers were Spin and Girl vs. Monster. Here’s how Disney Channel’s movie musicals rank up without further ado.
18. ‘Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure’
This is a disgrace to Sharpay Evans and the High School Musical franchise. Throughout the three films prior to this, Sharpay grew a lot from spoiled brat to confident young woman. And yeah, she had an obsessive crush on Troy for most of that, but she did have a lot of character development.
But this movie destroyed that. It made Sharpay seem less confident in herself, and she acted like a pushover sometimes. I did enjoy her relationship with Peyton (played by Austin Butler). That said, she didn’t have good banter with others as we saw in the first three movies.
Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure followed Sharpay to New York a few months after graduation. Life isn’t what she expected, but she tries to make the best of it. And despite her dog being more of a star than her, she’s determined to be in a Broadway musical.
17. ‘Teen Beach 2’
I wish this hadn’t been made. Teen Beach 2 took a perfectly wrapped-up film and unraveled it. And I get that the original was popular, but sometimes sequels are better left on the drawing board. I enjoyed some of the songs, but I would have preferred not ruining Mack’s character the way they did.
Teen Beach 2 sees Mack and Brady starting the school year just after the first movie’s events. Mack has reverted to her goodie-two-shoes personality from the beginning of the first movie, while Brady is a pretty big slacker at school. But then Lela and Tanner find their way out of their film.
What ensues is too weird to explain, and the rest of the cast from Wet Side Story also make their way into the real world. The songs were iffy, except three pretty good ones. The costuming was amazing, but the story just kept going in so many different directions, and it got too busy.
16. ‘Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam’
I will say Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam had some fantastic songs, but the story wasn’t that good. And I let it slide for too long before rewatching it last year. I couldn’t stand they used the miscommunication trope. And why did they end it the way they did? I thought there was going to be a third movie.
The Final Jam focused on Mitchie as she tries to help Camp Rock win a competition against a neighboring music camp. Tess reverts back to her old self from the beginning of the first movie. Honestly, I just felt stressed the entire film on Mitchie’s behalf.
15. ‘Zombies 2’
This sequel was okay, but I could live without it. The addition of werewolves just felt off to me, but I get why they did it. And I’m not saying the cast isn’t great (because they’re awesome), but the movie just wasn’t it. That said, I will tune in for the third movie.
Zombies 2 has werewolves coming to school after their magic moonstones stop working. They focus on Addison, who has pure white hair like the “Great Alpha” the werewolves are destined to follow. It causes some problems, but it sets up the third movie to find out what Addison really is.
Unlike its sequel, I did enjoy this movie, more specifically its songs. I didn’t know Meg Donnelly could sing, but this movie showed she has excellent singing and acting skills. And I think that’s the main reason I enjoyed it. But other than that, Zombies was missing something, and I can’t put my finger on it.
Zombies follows Addison and Zed, a cheerleader and zombie who are drawn together when he starts going to her school. They try to work together to get their town to see that zombies and humans can live in harmony with one another. It’s just not as easy as they thought it would be.
13. ‘The Cheetah Girls: One World’
When The Cheetah Girls lost Raven, they lost me. I won’t get into why she left, so let’s talk about the movie. I liked the wardrobe, hair, and makeup because it was good. But the story felt lopsided for some reason, and I think that’s because they were missing a key element to the band.
The Cheetah Girls: One World follows Chanel, Dorinda, and Aqua as they star in a Bollywood movie. But when they get there, they discover only one of them can be cast. This causes a rift between the friends, but they end up making up–and none of them actually star in the movie.
I absolutely adore this franchise, but this movie was definitely the worst out of all of them. And it’s not even that bad; it’s just not great. The costuming department did okay, but you can tell they hadn’t quite found their beat yet. And while the story was lacking a bit, I loved the songs.
Descendants follows the children of fairytale characters like Maleficent and Belle. Four villain kids, usually called VKs, are taken to Auradon, the kingdom ruling over all “good” fairytale characters and their families. There, they do what their parents want but also come to bond with their new peers.
11. ‘Teen Beach Movie’
Unlike its sequel, Teen Beach Movie had an interesting plot and some great songs. It perfectly balanced 50s style with modern touches and added songs I could see translating well to the stage. But despite all that, it just doesn’t have that “thing” that makes the higher-ranked movies amazing.
In Teen Beach Movie, Mack and Brady find themselves trapped in Wet Side Story, a beach-themed West Side Story. The two find themselves intertwined in the love interest’s stories and have to use them to find their way back home before becoming part of the movie forever.
10. ‘High School Musical 2’
We’ve finally gotten to the first High School Musical movie on the list. And it might shock some people, but the second movie is not that great. It had some good songs, one very viral song in particular (“Bet On It”). But I would skip this if I could only watch two movies out of the trilogy.
High School Musical 2 takes place the summer after the first movie. Much to Sharpay’s dismay, the central students find themselves working at Lava Springs Country Club. Throughout the summer, Sharpay comes between Troy and Gabriella, but it all works out in the end for them.
This movie was chockful of iconic songs still popping up here and there on TikTok. One of the more common ones to use is “Bet On It”, but “Fabulous” is popular, too. Honestly, the only song I haven’t seen on social media is “Humuhumunukunukuapua’a”, which was from a deleted scene.
Want to see more of our rankings? Check out our ranking of Marvel shows first.
9. ‘Let It Shine’
I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much about this movie. But what I do remember is the story was good, and I liked at least two of the songs. But other than that, it’s a pretty average movie compared to the higher-ranked musicals. It was just missing something.
Let It Shine follows Cyrus, Kris, and Roxie in a love triangle caused by a rap competition mix-up. Cyrus submits rap music under a pseudonym to hide his hobby from his father. But Kris is given credit, taking advantage of his friend’s talent. It’s a good premise; it just wasn’t amazing.
8. ‘Descendants 3’
This is my favorite Descendants movie, but I will say the plot doesn’t live up to Descendants 2 (which I’ll get to later). I personally loved the costuming, hair, and makeup, but I see why some don’t. But overall, it’s a great story and wraps up the trilogy nicely.
We finally find out who Mal’s dad is in this movie, and her powers make so much sense now. Descendants 3 follows Mal and her friends trying to defeat Audrey after putting Auradon under a curse. We also bring back some of my favorites – Uma and Harry – from the second movie.
The story had some parts of it that were slow, but the songs were fantastic. You can tell it was more Broadway-esque than the last two, but I think that’s what I liked about it. Dove Cameron’s solo “My Once Upon a Time” is my favorite, but “Queen of Mean” is just incredible.
7. ‘Lemonade Mouth’
You can’t tell me this movie isn’t fantastic. Yes, there was a little bit of overacting and some weird storylines here and there. But overall, the movie was great, and I’m glad more people have been loving it recently because it’s on Disney+.
Five students meet in detention one day. While cleaning, they find out they make a great band, and then they decide to compete against a rival band at school. In the end, despite not winning, they make it big.
In addition to the great story, the band’s songs were bangers. I didn’t care much for the rival band’s music, but “Determinate” and “She’s So Gone” are still on many of my playlists. And we can’t forget about “Turn Up The Music,” which got the band together in the first place.
6. ‘Descendants 2’
I remember waiting for so long for the sequel to Descendants. And when the trailer finally came out, I lost my mind. The costuming stepped it up, not one, but three notches. And the story and songs followed suit and had me hooked. And while it’s not my favorite Descendants movie, it is objectively the best.
Descendants 2 is what needed to happen after the first movie. It introduced us to more VKs and took them farther from “Disney” songs to more pop tunes. And China Anne McClain stole the show as Uma, especially with her introduction number, “What’s My Name”.
Mal has been trying to live as the “perfect” girl for Ben, but it’s getting too hard to hide her villain side. She escapes to the Isle of the Lost, but Ben gets kidnapped when her friends come to get her. After saving him, Uma makes one last appearance before disappearing into the ocean.
5. ‘Camp Rock’
I love this movie with all my heart, but it just doesn’t live up to the rest of the rankings above it. Camp Rock made me want to go to a musical summer camp despite not being a good musician at all. It also gave me and my friends our go-to karaoke songs.
Camp Rock follows Mitchie and her fellow campers. To hide her mother’s identity and befriend the popular girls, Mitchie lies about who she is. The truth comes out when Tess, it-girl of camp, rats her out. But all is forgiven in the end when Tess reveals she framed Mitchie for stealing.
4. ‘High School Musical 3: Senior Year’
The third High School Musical movie might not technically be a Disney Channel Original Movie because it was released in theaters. Still, I’m counting it because it’s part of a DCOM series. And I have to say, we don’t talk about it enough. The story was great, and so were the songs and costumes.
It’s Troy, Gabriella, and all their friends’ senior year. And Ms. Darbus has wrangled them all into one last musical called “Senior Year”. Gabriella is accepted early into Stanford, and Troy struggles to decide his future. We also met some new students that would follow in the seniors’ footsteps.
3. ‘High School Musical’
To be honest, I liked High School Musical more than the top two on this list, but I will concede the story was a little lacking sometimes. That said, the songs still slap, and I will gladly listen to them on a long car ride. And if it weren’t for this movie, we wouldn’t have gotten the rest of the films and show.
High School Musical follows Gabriella and Troy as they struggle to have a relationship despite high school cliques trying to keep them apart. They sneak around to audition for the spring musical. The movie will always have a place in our hearts as the start of a favorite franchise of many.
2. ‘The Cheetah Girls’
I know The Cheetah Girls is one of the best Disney Channel movies ever, but there’s still one better. However, this movie made it to number two because of the nostalgia, story, and songs. The Cheetah Girls took the world by storm after this movie premiered.
The Cheetah Girls tells the story of best friends Galleria, Dorinda, Aqua, and Chanel trying to win the talent show despite freshmen never winning before. They’re picked up by a record label when their audition goes well. But life in the spotlight isn’t what they were expecting.
The Best: ‘The Cheetah Girls 2’
While the first movie is iconic, The Cheetah Girls 2 had better songs and a more heart-wrenching story. When I’m watching a Disney movie or a musical, I want a story that will make me cry. And this movie did it. Even watching it years later, I still tear up.
The Cheetah Girls 2 takes the girl band to Barcelona to participate in a music festival. While there, they meet guitar player Angel, dancer Joaquin, and singer Marisol. The group starts to pull apart from each other because of other interests. They come back together in the end and put on a fantastic show.
Even to this day, I could listen to this soundtrack and not skip a single song. My favorite is “A La Nanita Nana”. The Cheetah Girl’s songs were also fantastic, from “Amigas Cheetahs” to “The Party’s Just Begun.” And we got plenty of Raven solos, too, which is always a plus.