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Hollywood Studios Blog

Apr
29

Disney Junior - Live On Stage! Rehab: fab or flop?

I love how the Studios is all about the live shows. I think it's great, and, for me, it's one of the things that separates this park from all the others. However, am I the only one who thinks that some updating could be done? Let's take Playhouse Disney - Live On Stage!, for example...
 
I was so excited to hear that Playhouse Disney - Live On Stage! was undergoing a renovation this year to accomodate the new Disney Junior. Yes, the show gets updated every few years to reflect the most popular shows on Playhouse Disney's line-up, but, I thought this time, it may be a total revamp of the show, because of the network name change.
 
For those of you who didn't get to see the most recent Playhouse Disney - Live On Stage! edition: the main story is Mickey and the gang trying to plan a surprise party for Minnie. Tasks get delegated to Donald, Daisy and Goofy, who each have trouble coming up with ways to complete them. To assist them, the characters listen to mini stories from Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, and My Friends Tigger and Pooh for ideas. The characters are then able to complete their tasks to prepare for the party and the party is a success! Minnie is delighted and fun is had by all. The format is such that the puppets are elevated on stage and the audience is sitting on the floor.

(Photo from www.laughingplace.com)

I think the story line is very cute and I found it inventive that they were able to incorporate three popular shows into the main story and Playhouse Disney's flagship show: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. So, why did I want a new show so badly? Well, for starters, Playhouse Disney is very big at my house. Being huge Disney fans, if our kids are going to watch TV, it's going to be a Disney show and so you can often find Playhouse Disney on at my house. Because of this, my family and I know every show, every character, every theme song. So, the prospect of seeing these things "live on stage" is very exciting! The first time we went to see the show after we had our daughter, we were a bit disappointed. While our favorite characters and songs were featured, we were underwhelmed with the puppets. Even sitting halfway back from the stage, only half of their bodies are visible above the stage (and that's from an adults perspective). I suspect a child would barely be able to see the puppets' heads (see pictures directly below).

(Photo by Boyce Duprey)

  

(Photos from www.laughingplace.com)

While I wouldn't imagine that they would change the format from puppetry to live life-size characters (I wish!), I was hoping that the puppets would have been remade into bigger versions. 
 
While I haven't had the pleasure of seeing the new Disney Junior - Live On Stage! show, I've read about it and watched the entire show on YouTube. I was disappointed to see that the only thing that was changed (besides the name), was the My Friends Tigger and Pooh story. As this show is no longer on TV, they replaced it with Disney Junior's newest show, Jake and the Never Land Pirates. So, instead of Daisy getting her inspiration on how to hang the birthday sign for Minnie from the Super Sleuths rescuing Roo's kite from the tree, she now gets her idea from Jake and company getting their treasure chest back from Hook. Be sure to look for falling "Gold dubloons" during this story now, instead of leaves from the tree in which Roo's kite was caught.
 
The main story line of Donald, Daisy, and Goofy needing assistance in completing their jobs to get ready for Minnie's surprise party, was untouched. The human "character" in the story has the exact same part with the same name (Casey). Surely with all of Disney's resources, they could have kept the theme of incorporating three of Disney Junior's main shows into their signature Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but changed the main story line. This would be a welcome change for repeat guests to the Studios. I was especially expecting this change due to the new "Disney Junior" and it's supposed appeal to a bit older audience. I was particularly disappointed to see that the puppets in the existing stories were still the same short, half-bodied versions of the characters.
 
The one highlight of the renovated show? The introduction of the kids to the newest show, Jake and the Never Land Pirates. It really is a cute show, and they've done a good job incorporating this new story into the existing storyline. I also have to say, I was impressed with the Hook puppet! He stands at a much better height than the older puppets, and the audience is actually able to see his feet! I'm hoping this means we can await good changes for this show ahead! ;-)
 

(Photos by www.laughingplace.com)
  

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