Yesterday, I was kindly invited to the media launch of the brand new Disney Junior channel for Mummy & Daddy bloggers at Hatched. Well, of course I was outnumbered in terms of gender ratio but that isn't the point. :P
The point is that the existing Playhouse Disney channel on Starhub 311 will be undergoing a total revamp come July 11 and the changes are not mere cosmetic ones.
For one, Disney Junior is a brand new channel which replaces the current channel and it is bent on extending its reach to older kids aged from 6 to 7, in addition to its targeted 2-5 age group.
That certainly sounds promising because right now, Ash is a perfect example of a typical 6 year old who is caught in 'no-man's land' between Playhouse Disney & the older Disney channel. He deems the cartoons from Playhouse Disney to be too childish, but somehow the programming on Disney channel doesn't quite fit him. Yet.
In fact, the only show on Disney channel that he absolutely loves is Phineas & Ferb. Which I happen to find it very hilarious to watch too! Heh.
So it was great to hear from Ms. Nancy Kanter, the Senior VP of Original Programming and GM of Disney Junior Worldwide, that there will be a greater emphasis on storytelling elements to engage the new target audience, while retaining all the current learning formula that has worked so well for Playhouse Disney.
Besides the usual loved fare of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, there are also other exciting new shows that have been developed or are currently in production that will join the channel's line-up.
And the first of the new shows to debut will be the swashbuckling Jake & the Never Land Pirates.
Jake is a music-filled interactive treasure hunt that follows a crew of kid pirates on their Never Land adventures as they work to outwit 2 infamous characters - Captain Hook & Smee - from Disney's classic "Peter Pan".
I showed an episode of the cartoon to Ash & Ayd last night and they loved it. Now I am hoping they wouldn't come to Singapore malls at the end of the year during Christmas because that would mean I would have to queue up for them. Aw, coconuts.
We were also treated to a preview list of upcoming shows that are coming to Disney Junior in 2012 and beyond, and mark my words... if you have a daughter or a couple of them, good luck to you. And yes, good luck to me as well.
First up - Doc McStuffins. It's about six-year-old Dottie “Doc” McStuffins who communicates with and heals stuffed animals and toys out of her backyard clinic. Think a children version of Doctor Dolittle.The series, with an emphasis on healthy living, will highlight the importance of taking care of oneself and others.
And Minnie is going to get her very own show! Minnie's Bow-Toons takes place in Minnie's Bow-tique Hotel and follows the comedic happenings as some familiar guests, including the Hippo from Fantasia, check in. On any given day, Minnie acts as hostess, party planner, chef, fashion consultant, riding instructor or tour guide, with Daisy taking on the role of a very chatty front desk clerk.
Then a cartoon series that will surely enthrall all princess wannabes - Sofia the First.
It's set in the storybook world of the classic Disney Princesses and introduces Sofia, a little girl with a commoner's background until her mom marries the King and suddenly she is royalty. Sofia is whisked off to the castle, where she learns what it means to be a real princess, discovering empowering lessons about kindness, forgiveness, generosity, courage and self-respect.
With the help of the three familiar fairies in charge of the Royal Training Academy — Flora, Fauna and Merryweather of Disney's classic Sleeping Beauty — Sofia learns that looking like a princess isn't all that hard, but behaving like one must come from the heart.
I can already see Ale being a fan of the show. :P
As for myself (!), I'm looking forward to this new 7D animated series.
It's a new spin on the beloved tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, reimagining it in a comic and contemporary storybook world. The new music-filled stories introduce the whimsical world of Jollywood, where the kind-hearted Queen Delightful calls upon the 7D — Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Doc — for assistance. Sounds wicked.
Also, the first animated western for pre-schoolers, Oki's Oasis, is slated to join the Disney family... along with other new shows to complete the line-up.
So there you have it - a totally new channel to replace the existing Playhouse Disney one. And from the initial look of it, it certainly offers the same stuff, and even more.