Thursday, 1 October 2009

It's Disney...But Not as We Know It.

Once again, due to my membership of the wonderful British Mummy Bloggers (, myself and a few others had an opportunity to preview a new Disney show for 2-5 year olds.

Called "Jungle Junction" it's a computer generated show with animals,
who for some strange reason no longer have legs but wheels, and who are designed to teach your pre-schooler about manners, road safety and other Edu-lite topics using road signs. (no? me neither).

I received a preview DVD on Monday, and stuck it on in the playroom for Chrissy to have a look at.

The theme tune came on and she did her usual "dance about cos it's music" funky two year old moves. Hmm, I thought, maybe she'll have this as a new favourite instead of the now tiresome In the Night Garden.

Or maybe not.

She practically waited until she had watched no more than 2 minutes of the show, and walked out in two year old disgust.

I could honestly see why. (Yes, for my research I had to sit through the rest on my own).

Disney evokes a certain image, a certain class, or it does in my view.
You expect a cartoon to be head and shoulders above the CBeebies TV shows, and expect it to be enjoyable for the whole family to watch.

I grew up on Disney classics, this being in the days before dedicated, near on 24 hour kids TV, and I remember the joy of rainy days watching Sleeping Beauty, Jungle Book and all the others. Then as you got older you watched live action Disney like Freaky Friday (which I will still happily watch now).

To be honest, when I saw Jungle Junction, I was saddened.

If it hadn't have had the big Disney logo on the DVD, I would never have guessed it came from them. I would've probably thought it was a new show for Milkshake, where I think a lot of the shows are CBeebies rejects (sorry to insult anyone who prefers it).

I don't have Playhouse Disney as a channel, so the only time I've sen shows from the new Disney Stable has been early mornings on TMF, like "Dora the Explorer" or "Go Diego, Go".

I thought the colours were vivid, and that was OK, but the voices were less than endearing, and the whole thing smacked of a cheap copy of Toy Story.

I also thought the tie in between the sign posts teaching little lessons and the animals on wheels had been hastily thought up and was very gimmicky.

I also thought it was slightly "in-yer-face" for my two year old. This is the girl who will happily watch Waybuloo and all the others, but screams and cries when Big and Small come on, purely, I feel, because of Lenny Henry's high pitched shoutiness in it.

So all in all, its not something I can see Chrissy wanting to watch, and neither is it something I would want to be forced to watch with her.

Its a shame, as on the research visit, the website that will accompany the programme has some great ideas for motivating little ones-or at least it did once we had our educated expert mum's say.

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