Disney Junior (formerly Playhouse Disney) is an American pay television network that is owned by the Walt Disney Company through Disney Channels Worldwide. Aimed mainly at children ages two to seven, its programming consists of original first-run television series, theatrically-released and home media-exclusive movies and select other third-party programming.
Until January 2017, Disney Junior also lent its name to a morning and early afternoon program block seen on sister network Disney Channel, branded as "Disney Junior on Disney Channel", airing weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (6:00 to 10:00 a.m. during the summer months and designated school break periods) and weekends from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. The morning block was later renamed to "Mickey Mornings" in June 2020, now hosted by Mickey Mouse with segments starring him playing in between programs.
As of January 2017, the channel is available to 74.0 million households in the U.S.
Disney Junior's development began on May 26, 2010 when Disney-ABC Television Group announced the launch of Disney Junior (originally "Disney Kids" before being reworked) as a relaunching of Playhouse Disney that would serve as the brand for the Disney Chanel block & a new digital cable & satellite television channel in the US, as well as the brand for the blocks & channels bearing the Playhouse Disney brand outside the US.
Disney Junior first launched as a programming block on Valentine's Day, 2011, (February 14) replacing the Playhouse Disney block. On the day before the launch, Playhouse Disney's Ooh and Aah mascots and its programs (such as My Friends Tigger and Pooh and Captain Carlos) were retired completely during the process of the transition from Playhouse Disney to Disney Junior. The first program that aired on its first day was Jake and the Never Land Pirates. In its first week since its debut, Disney Junior delivered Disney Channel’s best ratings ever in the daypart among Kids 2-5(474,000/2.8 rating).
Cable and satellite channel
The brand new channel was originally set to debut in January 2012, but on July 28, 2011, soap opera-focused websites listed the launch date as moving from January to a more non-specific date in late-spring 2012, and later in 2011, to February 2012. Soapnet's definite closing date (March 23, 2012) was announced by Disney-ABC on January 9, 2012. However, like the transitions from Nick GAS to TeenNick and Fox Reality to Nat Geo Wild, an automated version of Soapnet's program schedule will continue on some cable and satellite services, as deals for Disney Junior are finalized.
The channel is expected its original TV Series (Jake and the Never Land Pirates, 3rd & Bird, etc.), shows from the Playhouse Disney library (that are currently airing on the block) (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, etc.), a programming block titled The Magical World of Disney Junior (which broadcasts movies) and short-form series in its lineup. On June 17, 2011, it was confirmed that the Disney Junior channel would include previously discontinued Playhouse Disney series, in reruns, in its lineup when the channel launches. Five such Playhouse Disney series was confirmed on January 9, 2012: Stanley, JoJo's Circus, Rolie Polie Olie, The Koala Brothers, and Higglytown Heroes.
It also provides video on demand, a high-definition version (Disney Junior HD) and a Spanish language SAP audio track.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Chuggington, Imagination Movers, Jungle Junction, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, Special Agent Oso, and Timmy Time, all popular Playhouse Disney series, were moved to the block and continue to broadcast.
Disney Junior broadcasts from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm ET/PT (6:00 am to 10:30 am ET/PT during the summer months and designated school break periods) on weekdays, and from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET/PT on weekends, each running a different schedule. They feature 24-minute standard length shows, interspersed with short 3-5 minute shorts and music videos. Amongst these shorts are A Poem Is..., The Bite-Sized Adventures of Sam Sandwich, Choo Choo Soul, Small Potatoes, and several others. Like Disney Channel, Disney Junior is a commercial-free service, but it does short "promotional spots", which runs every so often, such as often seen on PBS. Between 4:00 and 6:00, when Disney Channel animated programs air under the regular Disney Channel branding, there are commercials for Disney properties as there are for other Disney Channel programs. Although Disney Junior does not air standard ads, it utilizes underwriter sponsorship by companies such as ABCmouse.com and Huggies, for its programs.
Former shows on the former Playhouse Disney block, as well as previous Disney shows based on pre-existing franchises, will air reruns by popular demand on the Disney Junior channel in its launch on March 23, 2012, replacing Soapnet.
Disney Junior HD
Disney Junior HD is the high definition simulcast version of the channel that broadcasts a moderate amount of Disney Junior's programming in 720p HD. It began broadcasting on March 23, 2012. Many cable providers carry the HD simulcast feed, along with DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, and Verizon FIOS. Currently, Dish Network doesn't carry Disney Junior HD, but does carry other Disney-owned HD channels.
HD versions of Disney Junior have also launched in Canada, Asia, France, and the Netherlands. Currently, Disney Junior HD appears to be a block on the HD feed version on Disney Channel.
Disney Junior On Demand
Disney Junior On Demand is the video-on-demand service, which offers select episodes of Disney Junior's original series. It is available to most digital cable and IPTV providers.
Watch Disney Junior
In June 2012, Disney introduced a new set of apps for Apple devices for three youth-oriented Disney channels (Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Junior) - similar to their ESPN service. The service is also available online via select providers such as Comcast.
- Melanie Minichino (2011-present)
- In Latin America, Disney Junior and Disney Junior on Disney Channel launched on April 1, 2011.
- In the Middle East, Disney Junior launched on May 5, 2011.
- In Canada, Disney Junior English and French launched on May 6, 2011, which replaced Playhouse Disney (Canada).
- In the UK & Ireland, Disney Junior launched on May 7, 2011, which replaced Playhouse Disney (UK & Ireland).
- In Italy, Disney Junior launched on May 14, 2011.
- In France, Disney Junior launched on May 28, 2011.
- In Australia & New Zealand, Disney Junior launched on May 29, 2011 which replaced Playhouse Disney (Australia and New Zealand).
- In Brazil, Disney Junior launched on April 9, 2011 and May 31, 2011.
- In Portugal, Disney Junior launched on June 1, 2011.
- In Turkey, Disney Junior launched on June 1, 2011.
- In South Africa, Disney Junior launched on June 1, 2011.
- In Hungary, Disney Junior launched on June 1, 2011.
- In Poland, Disney Junior launched on June 1, 2011.
- In Czech Republic, Disney Junior launched on June 1, 2011.
- In Romania, Disney Junior launched on June 1, 2011. The channel replaced both Playhouse Disney block and Jetix Play.
- In Bulgaria, Disney Junior launched on June 1, 2011.
- In Greece, Disney Junior launched on June 1, 2011.
- In India, Disney Junior launched on July 4, 2011.
- In Austria and Germany Disney Junior launched on July 14, 2011.
- In Japan, Disney Junior launched on July 3, 2011.
- In Asia, Disney Junior launched on July 11, 2011 which replaced Playhouse Disney Asia.
- In Southeast Asia, Disney Junior launched on July 11, 2011.
- In Taiwan, Disney Junior launched in September 1, 2011 as a block on Disney Channel.
- In Israel, Disney Junior launched on July 18, 2011.
- In Scandinavia/Nordic, Disney Junior launched on September 10, 2011 and replaced Playhouse Disney Scandinavia.
- In China, Disney Junior (迪斯尼兒童, Dísīní Értóng) launched on February 6, 2013.
- In South Korea, Disney Junior launched on July 11, 2011 as a channel and as a block on Disney Channel.
- In Zimbabwe, Disney Junior launched on April 29, 2013.
- In Hong Kong, Disney Junior launched on July 11, 2011 as a channel and as a block on Disney Channel.
- In the Philippines, Disney Junior launched on July 11, 2011 as a channel and as a block on TV5.
- In Vietnam, Disney Junior launched on July 11, 2011 as a channel and as a block on Disney Channel.
- In Belgium, Disney Junior launched on September 1, 2011.
- In Netherlands, Disney Junior launched on September 10, 2011.
- In Russia, Disney Junior launched on September 1, 2013. (Being the last to switch).
- In Malaysia, Disney Junior launched on July 11, 2011 as a channel and as a block on RTM TV2.
All versions of Disney Junior serve as the real replacement of Playhouse Disney.