Playhouse Disney

Playhouse Disney is a former brand for a slate of programming blocks and international cable and satellite television channels that were owned by the Disney Channels Worldwide unit of The Walt Disney Company's Disney–ABC Television Group. It originated in the United States as a morning program block on the Disney Channel. Its programming was targeted at children ages 2–6, featuring a mix of live-action and animated series.

Playhouse Disney
Playhouse Disney.svg
Playhouse Disney logo from 2002–2011
NetworkDisney Channel
LaunchedApril 6, 1997 (as Disney Channel Preschool Block) February 1, 1999 (as Playhouse Disney)
ClosedFebruary 13, 2011
(later became Disney Junior)
Country of originUnited States
OwnerDisney Channels Worldwide
(The Walt Disney Company)
HeadquartersBurbank, California, United States
Formerly known asDisney Channel Preschool Block (1997-99)
Sister networkDisney Channel
Disney XD
Format720p (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Original language(s)English

The Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel was rebranded as the Disney Junior block on Disney Channel on February 14, 2011. The remaining channels and blocks using the Playhouse Disney brand outside the US relaunched under the Disney Junior brand over the next two years, concluding with the rebranding of the Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel Russia on September 1, 2013.


Prior to Playhouse Disney's launch, Disney Channel had aired a lineup of preschool-targeted programs (which were mixed alongside animated series aimed at older children) during the morning hours since its debut in April 1983. On April 6, 1997, Disney Channel underwent a relaunch that signified the beginning of its full conversion into a commercial-free basic cable channel, and its morning program block now utilized a similar graphics package for its promotions as that used for the channel's afternoon children's programs. After Disney Channel's preschool block premiered three new original series in 1998 (PB&J Otter, Rolie Polie Olie, and Out of the Box), the block rebranded as Playhouse Disney on February 1, 1999.

One of the Playhouse Disney block's most popular series was Bear in the Big Blue House, an educational live-action series from Jim Henson Productions that debuted in October 1997, focusing on the adventures of Bear (performed by Noel MacNeal); the series was named by TV Guide as one of the "top 10 new shows for kids" that year.[1] For the first three years of its run, the Playhouse Disney block originally aired each weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and weekends from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Following each program, which usually ran 23 minutes (most of which, with the exception of movies, aired without promotional interruption), the remainder of the time period was filled by either short segments and music videos (the latter of which were originally aired under the banner "Feet Beat") or an episode of an acquired short series.

On April 16, 2001, Playhouse Disney introduced a new on-air graphics package produced by motion graphics company Beehive;[2] actress Allyce Beasley began serving as the U.S. block's promo announcer at this time, a capacity she would hold until March 30, 2007. Radio Disney cross-promoted the block by rebranding its "Mickey and Minnie's Tune Time" block as "Playhouse Disney", and in 2002, the TV block's "Feet Beat" interstitials were renamed "B.B.'s Music Time" to promote the Radio Disney block. On June 25, 2001, Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group (now Disney-ABC Television Group) announced plans to launch Playhouse Disney Channel, a companion digital cable and satellite channel that would have served the same target audience as the Disney Channel block;[3][4] plans for the network were later scrapped, although Disney-ABC International Television would launch dedicated Playhouse Disney Channels & Blocks in international markets (including Canada, Afro-Eurasia and Latin America) between 2002 and 2007. The Walt Disney Company acquired the broadcast rights to The Wiggles as part of their purchase of the Fox Family Channel in 2001; The Wiggles moved to Playhouse Disney in June 2002 and became one of the block's most watched shows during its run.

Like Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney was a commercial-free service, but it did show short "promotional spots" (structured as short-form segments for Disney products targeted at the block's demographics) along with – beginning in 2002 – underwriter sponsorships (with companies such as McDonald's[5]) within breaks between programs[6] (preschool-targeted programs that aired between 3:00 and 7:00 a.m. Central Time outside of the Playhouse Disney banner, included the promotional shorts for Disney entertainment products that were seen during Disney Channel's afternoon and nighttime schedule). On October 7, 2002, Playhouse Disney changed its logo to reflect Disney Channel's on-air rebranding. As part of the block's effort to phase out its older interstitial material, it introduced a mascot in September named Clay (voiced by Debi Derryberry), an anthropomorphic clay figure who often used the catchphrases "It's true!" and "Are you with me?".

On March 31, 2007, Clay was replaced by two anthropomorphic monkey puppets as the block's hosts, Ooh and Aah (who served as the main characters for one of the short series featured on the Playhouse Disney lineup, Ooh, Aah & You). Beginning in 2007, Disney Channel began truncating the weekday block to four hours (from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time) during the summer months, in order to air episodes of Disney Channel original series during the late morning and early afternoon hours; however, the weekend schedule continued to air as a seven-hour block. By this point, the Playhouse Disney block had expanded to air from 4:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on weekdays, and 4:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time on weekends, each running a different schedule.

Disney Junior

On May 26, 2010, Disney-ABC Television Group announced the launch of Disney Junior, a relaunching of Playhouse Disney that would serve as the brand for the Disney Channel block and a new standalone digital cable and satellite channel in the United States, as well as the new brand for the existing Playhouse Disney-branded cable channels and program blocks outside the US.[7][8] The Playhouse Disney block ended its 14-year run on February 13, 2011, with the last program to air being an episode of the short series Handy Manny's School for Tools at 1:55 p.m. Eastern Time.

The Disney Junior block debuted on February 14, 2011,[9] with Little Einsteins as its first program.[10][11][12][failed verification] Several former Playhouse Disney series were carried over to the relaunched block including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Special Agent Oso, Imagination Movers, Handy Manny, and Little Einsteins. With the relaunch of the block, the block's mascots Ooh and Aah were retired and several of its older programs were entirely discontinued (however, Ooh and Aah & You was later briefly available on the Disney Junior website as a part of the Fan Favorites week of July 18, 2011 and was also later carried on the Disney Junior cable channel).

The 24-hour Disney Junior cable channel debuted on March 23, 2012 with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode "Mickey's Big Surprise" as its first program, mainly featuring a mix of original series and programs held over from the Playhouse Disney library (which largely aired as part of the channel's overnight schedule until mid-2014).[8][13] Disney Junior took over the channel space held by the Disney-owned soap opera-focused channel Soapnet, largely due to that channel's existing subscriber reach (being carried in 75 million households with pay television). An automated Soapnet feed remained in operation for providers that did not yet reach agreements to carry the Disney Junior channel or providers that were required to continue carrying Soapnet in addition to Disney Junior[14][15] until Soapnet fully ceased operations on December 31, 2013.[16]


The following list below pertains to programs aired on the U.S. block on Disney Channel.

Former programming

Original programming

Acquired programming


On September 28, 1999, the Playhouse Disney brand was extended internationally with the launch of a self-branded block on Disney Channel in the United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland. On September 29, 2000, Disney Television International expanded the block with the launch of a channel in the country alongside the launch of Toon Disney and Disney Channel +1 on the Sky Digital platform.[17] On April 4, 2009, Egmont Group launched a companion Playhouse Disney magazine in the United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland that focused on the channel's four most popular shows: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, My Friends Tigger & Pooh, Handy Manny and Little Einsteins. Each issue included "to do" pages and suggested activities for parents and children based on an educational theme. The Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel UK & Republic of Ireland was eventually disposed of in July 2004 after reducing hours of programming.[18] The Playhouse Disney channel available there, however, continued to air until it was replaced by Disney Junior on May 7, 2011. [19]

On November 30, 2007, Astral Media launched a Canadian version of Playhouse Disney Channel under a brand licensing agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group; the channel operated as a multiplex channel of Family Channel, which had long maintained a programming distribution agreement with Disney Channel for the domestic rights to the U.S. channel's series until January 2016. A Canadian-French version of Playhouse Disney was launched on July 5, 2010, also by Astral Media. The English & Canadian-French channels were both replaced by Disney Junior on May 6, 2011.[20]

List of international channels and blocks

Market Type Formerly Launch date Replaced by Replaced date
  United Kingdom[21] Channel Block on Disney Channel September 29, 2000 Disney Junior May 7, 2011[19]
+1 timeshift channel N/A November 3, 2007[22] Disney Junior +1
Block on ABC1 N/A Summer 2006[23] N/A September 26, 2007[24]
  United States Block on Disney Channel N/A February 1, 1999[4] Disney Junior February 14, 2011[25]
  Spain Channel N/A 2001 Disney Junior June 2011[21]
Middle East & North Africa Block[26] N/A 2010 Disney Junior 2011
Asia Block[26] N/A June 1, 2004 Disney Junior July 11, 2011[27]
  Australia Block on Seven Network N/A 2003[28] N/A N/A
Block on Disney Channel[29] N/A N/A N/A N/A
Channel N/A December 2005[29] Disney Junior May 29, 2011[30]
  France[21] Channel N/A November 2, 2002 Disney Junior 2011
HD simulcast channel N/A 2009 Disney Junior 2011
Block[26] N/A N/A N/A N/A
  Hong Kong Channel N/A April 2, 2004[31] Disney Junior July 11, 2011[32]
  Singapore Channel N/A 2004[33] Disney Junior July 11, 2011[27]
  Indonesia Channel N/A 2004[33] Disney Junior July 11, 2011[27]
  Germany Channel N/A November 10, 2004[34] Disney Junior July 14, 2011[21]
  Thailand Channel N/A January 2005[35] Junior July 11, 2011[27]
  Cambodia Channel N/A June 20, 2005[36]
  Vietnam Channel N/A 2005[37]
  Philippines Channel Block December 2005[38]
  South Korea Channel N/A May 2006[39] Disney Junior July 11, 2011[27]
  India Block on Disney Channel N/A 2006[40] Disney Junior block 2011
  Argentina Block on an Artear channel N/A 2007[41] N/A N/A
(operated by Astral Media)[42]
Channel N/A November 30, 2007[20] Disney Junior[43] May 6, 2011
French language channel
(Playhouse Disney Télé)
N/A July 5, 2010[44] Disney Junior N/A
Latin America Channel (three feeds) N/A June 1, 2008[45] Disney Junior April 1, 2011[46]
Central and Eastern Europe Channel Jetix Play 2010[citation needed] Disney Junior UK N/A
  Poland Channel September 1, 2010[47] Disney Junior 2010[21]
  Czech Republic
Block[48] 2010 Disney Junior UK N/A
  Italy[21][49] Channel N/A 2005 Disney Junior 2011
+1 timeshift channel N/A 2009 Disney Junior +1 2011
Channel N/A May 3, 2010 [50] Disney Junior September 10, 2011[51]
Block on Disney Channel N/A


  • "Where Learning is Powered by Imagination" (February 1, 1999 – October 6, 2002)
  • "Imagine and Learn" (October 7, 2002 – February 13, 2011)

See also

  • Nick Jr. – a preschool-targeted digital cable and satellite network that originated as a program block on Nickelodeon from 1988 to 2009
  • Universal Kids – a digital cable and satellite network featuring preschool-oriented programs mainly sourced from the PBS library as well as original series; formerly Sprout
  • Disney Junior – a channel that is based on Playhouse Disney and has been airing since 2011 as a television block on Disney Channel and a channel since 2012


  1. ^ Kidscreen Staff (April 1, 1998). "A Salute to Disney Channel: Disney Channel time line". Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  2. ^ Opens and Logos, Post Magazine, June 1, 2002.
  3. ^ Play nice now; Walt Disney Co. plans to introduce Playhouse Disney Channel, Broadcasting & Cable (via HighBeam Research), June 25, 2001.
  4. ^ a b Beatty, Sally (June 21, 2001). "Disney Plans to Launch New Cable Network, Aiming Programming at Preschool Audience". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  5. ^ Oei, Lily (January 7, 2004). "Nick's Noggin nabs sponsors". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  6. ^ "Playhouse Disney schedule". Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  7. ^ PreSchool Programs Replace SOAPnet, The New York Times, May 27, 2010.
  8. ^ a b SOAPnet Will Go Dark to Make Way for Disney Junior Archived 2010-05-27 at the Wayback Machine, Entertainment Weekly, May 26, 2010.
  9. ^ Grosz, Christy (September 26, 2011). "Disney Junior acing frosh year". Variety. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  10. ^ Levine, Stuart (June 24, 2010). ""Doc McStuffins" Set for Disney". Variety. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  11. ^ "Disney Junior to Debut In February 2011 on Disney Channel" (Press release). Disney Junior. November 5, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2019 – via TV by the Numbers.[dead link]
  12. ^ Fernandez, Sofia M. (November 4, 2010). "Disney Junior Shifts Focus Away From Educational Programming". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  13. ^ Disney Junior to Replace SOAPnet in 2012, Deadline Hollywood, May 26, 2010.
  14. ^ Schneider, Michael (January 9, 2012). "Disney Junior to replace Soapnet in March". TV Guide. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  15. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne. "Show Tracker: What You're WatchingDisney Junior 24/7 channel launches Friday, Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  16. ^ James, Meg (November 9, 2013). "Disney's SOAPnet channel headed for the drain". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  17. ^ "Disney launches new channels". Brand Republic. Haymarket Media Group Ltd. MediaWeek. September 13, 2000. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved July 21, 2014. Alt URL
  18. ^ "Egmont launches new Playhouse Disney magazine". MediaWeek. April 8, 2009. Archived from the original on July 21, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Disney Junior sets U.K. launch". Variety. London. January 27, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  20. ^ a b "Astral Media dominates Canada". Variety. December 7, 2007. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  21. ^ a b c d e f "TV Channel: Disney Junior". MAVISE Database. European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  22. ^ West, Dave (Oct 26, 2007). "Playhouse Disney gets staggercast". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  23. ^ Stewart, Lianne (April 1, 2006). "New kid on the U.K. Freeview block". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  24. ^ "ABC News Now to launch in the UK". Digital Spy. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  25. ^ "Disney Junior to launch on Valentine's Day". Variety. January 11, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  26. ^ a b c Boehm, Erich (April 15, 2002). "Mouse picks up kidvid series, movies". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  27. ^ a b c d e "Magical, musical stories on all-new Disney Junior". June 30, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  28. ^ Waller, Ed (October 9, 2002). "Blocks and packages for Buena Vista Asia-Pacific". C21 Media. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  29. ^ a b "Playhouse Disney channel on Foxtel". Variety. September 22, 2005. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  30. ^ Bulbeck, Pip (April 1, 2011). "Walt Disney Rebranding Preschool Channel as Disney Junior in Australia and New Zealand". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  31. ^ "Disney, Playhouse Hit Hong Kong". Multichannel. NewBay Media, LLC. March 3, 2004. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  32. ^ Chung, Barry (July 10, 2011). "A brand new home for Mickey and Co". South China Morning Post. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  33. ^ a b Esposito, Maria (June 8, 2004). "Korean debut for Disney Playhouse". C21 Media. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  34. ^ "Ready, willing 'n' cable". Variety. October 24, 2004. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  35. ^ Whiteman, Bobbie (January 25, 2005). "Disney, Playhouse bow in Thailand". Variety. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  36. ^ Ball, Ryan (June 20, 2005). "Disney Channels Swim to Cambodia". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  37. ^ "Mickey follows Ho Chi Minh trail". C21 Media. February 1, 2007. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  38. ^ Osborne, Magz (December 14, 2005). "Mouse opens Philippine Playhouse". Variety. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  39. ^ "Walt Disney Television Launches Playhouse Disney Channel". The Manila Times. May 13, 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  40. ^ "Disney Junior to find biz model in digital India". November 21, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  41. ^ Newbery, Charles (April 25, 2007). "'High School' remake for Argentina". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  42. ^ Vlessing, Etan (July 25, 2014). "DHX Media approved for Family Channel takeover". KidScreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  43. ^ "Disney Junior Launches May 6 with new Programs and a Nod to Classic Disney Characters and Magic" (Press release). TORONTO: Astral Media. CNW Telbec. March 3, 2011. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  44. ^ "Astral launches French-language Playhouse Disney Channel with Bell TV" (Press release). TORONTO: Bell TV. May 31, 2010. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  45. ^ Ibarra, Sergio (April 2008). "Playhouse Disney Launches in Latin America". TV Week. Crain Communications Inc. Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  46. ^ Sola, Bertha (April 1, 2011). "Disney Junior where the magic begins". Chronicle Today (in Spanish). Retrieved August 15, 2014. Google translation.
  47. ^ "Playhouse Disney startuje w Polsce od UPC". (in Polish). Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  48. ^ Disney Channel Czech - Promo: Playhouse Afternoon Schedule. YouTube. 27 August 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  49. ^ "Channel listing: Playhouse Disney". MAVISE. European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  50. ^ Robert Briel (23 April 2010). "UPC launches Playhouse Disney". Broadband TV News.
  51. ^ Jarco Kriek (18 August 2011). "Disney Junior neemt plaats Playhouse Disney in" (in Dutch). Totaal TV.
  1. ^ Although being produced by Dorling Kindersley, the show was produced in association with The Disney Channel
  2. ^ Although branded as original, the series was produced, distributed and copyrighted through The Jim Henson Company during the time when it was in production. In January 2004, The Walt Disney Company acquired this show and The Muppets from The Jim Henson Company, putting it under their control and copyright.
  3. ^ Although being produced and owned by Nelvana, Disney distributed this show in the United States.
  4. ^ Although branded as an Original show, Disney did not produce or distribute this series, and was acquired from Spellbound Entertainment.
  5. ^ Although branded as an Original show, Disney did not produce or distribute this series, and was acquired from BBC Worldwide.
  6. ^ Nelvana series only.
  7. ^ The Walt Disney Company owned the show's producer DIC Entertainment during the 1990s, but is still treated as an acquired show on this list due to the way DIC was placed under separate control from other Disney subsidiaries.

External links