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BellaOnline's Children's TV Editor

Disney Junior Has Arrived!

Playhouse Disney, Disney channel’s programming block for preschoolers, has officially changed it’s branding as of February 14, 2011. The new brand, Disney Junior is, thus far, making a big splash.

While many parents and children alike enjoyed the programming on Playhouse Disney, concerns were raised over the brand’s perceived educational offerings. The Playhouse Disney brand made parents think of fun and games- not educational programming- and was running up against stiff competition from Nick Jr., whose tagline “Like Preschool on TV” made it very clear what their goals were.

Although Playhouse Disney had many shows that had a high educational content as well as fun (like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Handy Manny), the “playhouse” name led many to think that their focus was fun- hence the change in branding.

With the new brand came the debut of a new show- Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Most of the old programming still airs- a testament to their educational strength. If you’ve ever watched their programming, you already know that their shows taught preschoolers a variety of skills such as critical thinking, sorting, matching, counting, colors, and shapes. Nevertheless, the new brand, “Disney Junior”, does lend a certain formality and “down to business” air to the channel. I will admit that while I had no problem with the previous brand, it didn’t really sound like it had a clear purpose. Disney Junior sounds just a bit more focused, in my opinion.

Disney Junior will eventually become its own channel, taking over SOAPNet sometime in 2012. Until then, it airs on Disney Channel from 4am to 2pm weekdays and from 4am to 9am on weekends.

Here is a list of shows you can expect to see on Disney Junior:

Disney Original Series

Jake and the Neverland Pirates
Doc McStuffins
Tinga Tinga Tales
Babar and the Adventures of Badou

From Playhouse Disney

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Handy Manny
Imagination Movers
Jungle Junction
Little Einsteins
Special Agent Oso
Charlie and Lola
Timmy Time

101 Dalmatians: The Series also airs on the channel. There are also many animated short series that air between shows, and vary according to the time between series episodes, such as Handy Manny’s School for Tools.

What do you think? Was the brand change necessary, or was Playhouse Disney doing just fine? What about the new shows? Check back soon for a synopsis of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and share your thoughts!

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