On March 23, 2012, Disney Channel will launch Disney Junior, a 24 hour network dedicated to programming aimed at the pre-school market. The network will feature current favorites as well as classics from when the Disney Junior programming block was known as Playhouse Disney and even all new series. To celebrate the new channel, Disney Consumer Products and Disney Channel teamed up earlier this week to present ‘Disney Junior’s Got Super Stars’ at the 109th Annual International Toy Fair in New York City. The event, which previewed the new season of shows along with upcoming toys based on the franchises, welcomed ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates’ stars David Arquette (voice of Skully) and Sharon Osbourne (voice of upcoming character Mama Hook) to the stage along with other surprise guests.
Presented in the form of a talent show, Disney Consumer Product’s Jim Babcock played host and introduced Osbourne and Arquette as panel judges, along with DCP’s J.D. Edwards who played specialty judge for the respective upcoming lines (and by sheer coincidence, every toy is a hit).
Here are just a few of the highlights from the presentation:
The classic Disney toons were first at bat with an exclusive sneak peek at an upcoming Mickey Mouse Clubhouse special in which the gang takes to the farm. Fisher-Price will be releasing a line of toys based on the animated special as they have for previous episodes. Mickey also took center stage with another new interactive toy from Fisher-Price, the Master Moves Mickey (or M3), which will be available in August. After a brief video promo of M3, we were joined by the real Mickey Mouse who entertained the attending crowd with a live dance performance.
In honor of the short-form series, ‘Minnie’s Bow Toons’ in which Mickey’s gal pal Minnie owns and operates the Bow-tique, Minnie also took the stage with a dance number, but requested a partner. After a comedic preamble, Minnie managed to ‘coax’ former ‘Dancing with the Stars’ contestant Arquette into performing a quickstep with her.
Next up was a sneak peek at ‘Doc McStuffins,’ the first all-new series that will premiere on the Disney Junior channel. Via video, Doc conversed with Arquette and Osbourne before introducing the catchy opening titles with theme song for the series, which was written by Michelle Lewis and Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley and recorded by ‘A.N.T. Farm’ star China Anne McClaine.
The series focuses on six year old Doc McStuffins (Kiara Muhammad) who is able to communicate with stuffed animals and toys with her magical stethoscope. Doc’s Mom (Kiara Muhammad) is a people doctor and helps Doc with her diagnoses while Dad (Gary Anthony Williams) is a chef who whips up healthy snacks for Doc and little brother Donny (Jaden Betts). With additional aide from hippo receptionist/nurse Hallie (Loretta Devine), best stuffed-friend forever Lambie (Lara Jill Miller), overly proud (and overly stuffed) dragon Stuffy (Robbie Rist), hypochondriac snowman Chilly (Jess Harnell) and fish squeak toy Squeakers, the Doc helps dish out just the proper dosage of cuddles and advice while teaching toys and viewers alike that visiting the doctor for check-ups isn’t something to be afraid of. Each episode will feature an original song such as ‘Be Good to Your Tummy’ and ‘Get Your Sleep On’ in addition to staples such as ‘The Check-Up Song’ and ‘I Feel Better.’ Whether her patient is a jack-in-the-box with a bad case of ‘can’tpop-it is,’ an inflatable toy that springs a leak, loose stitching or low batteries, they can all count on Doc to help them out and record her findings in ‘The Big Book of Boo Boos.’
Just Play is the master licensee for the series and will be rolling out a line of plush toys of Doc, Lambie, Stuffy and Chilly as well as interactive toys such as the ‘Time for Your Check Up’ Doc Doll with Lambie which allows Doc to use her stethoscope to perform a check-up on Lambie. Lambie will speak as she gets her check-up and kids will even feel and hear her heart beat. Doc too will speak when her stethoscope is pressed against her tummy. Other toys include figure play sets based on specific episodes, a doctor’s bag complete with Doc’s glitterific tools and a large scale check-up center with Lambie.
The final portion of the program was devoted to the exceptionally popular ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates.’ The audience was offered a sneak peek at the primetime special ‘Peter Pan Returns,’ which aired later that evening and will be available to own on Disney DVD in April. It was also announced that in the fall, a full-length movie will air in which a ship race between Jake’s ship, Bucky, and Captain Hook’s ship, the Jolly Roger.
There will be a full-line of toys for ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates’ from companies such as Fisher-Price and Just Play available in June (plush are now available on DisneyStore.com). Wonder Forge is also producing a board game called ‘Who Shook Hook?’ which puts a whole new spin on a classic game. In the board game, Hook is sleeping in a hammock, surrounded by stolen treasures. Players must take turns, attempting to ‘fish’ out the treasures without disturbing Hook’s nap. Some of the game’s spaces require players to use specific tools to remove the objects and not all the tools work well with all the objects, so it requires thinking and memory to figure out and remember which tool to use for which object so Hook doesn’t get woken up.
At the conclusion of the main event, Osbourne was presented with a one-of-a-kind Mama Hook doll created especially for her by Fisher-Price and Arquette was presented with a giant Skully plush from Just Play (Arquette later said it would be donated to charity). The event then moved on to a showroom in which the toys were previewed, but not before being hijacked by Sharky and Bones, the Pirate Band, who offered up a live performance of ‘Rattle Your Bones.’
In the showroom area, displays were set up for Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Minnie’s Bow-tique, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and M3. Attendees and invited children were also treated to meet and greets with Mickey, Minnie and Jake. The Pirate Band also made an appearance to check out the new line of toys as did Jake himself as well as David Arquette who worked hard to convince the children he was in fact the voice of Skully.
Below is our full gallery of images from the event as well as video of both the Jake and the Never Land toy area and the Doc McStuffins toys and brief demonstration.