Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's a Small World After All!

It feels a little strange to be saying this (I am, after all, a nineteen-year-old college student), but Disney Junior has been killing it recently.

I grew up absolutely loving Playhouse Disney (the predecessor to what is now Disney Junior); when my family's acquired satellite television, I nearly threw a party because it meant that I had unlimited access to Out of the Box, Rolie Polie Olie, and Stanley... well, until my parents told me to go play outside! Naturally, as I got older, I grew apart from the beloved programming of my childhood, looking fondly upon PB & J Otter while I moved on to more sophisticated entertainment (read: Lizzie McGuire and That's So Raven). In recent years, my attention has been called back to Disney's television for tots, largely due to the momentum the Disney Junior channel has gained with shows like Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Sophia the First. Both series have proven popular with preschoolers and grown-up kids alike, and the transcendent popularity of these two shows has gotten me all the more excited to see what lies ahead for the Disney Junior brand.

Well, princes and princesses, I've seen it, and it looks really good.

 via YouTube

I'll let you just take that in for a moment. You alright? Okay, good (I worry, y'know?)

Yesterday, Disney released this teaser for It's a Small World: the Animated Series. To some, the simple fact that such a show is being made is enough to break out a cold sweat, and rightfully so; It's a Small World is a classic attraction with a rich history that could easily be cheapened by poor execution. Timelessness is a fragile thing, easily broken when trends and marketing overshadow the true spirit of the original entity. Heck, it wouldn't be the first time Disney's "upgrading" wouldn't have gone off as the hardcore fans hoped it would.

Still, despite all of that, I think that It's a Small World is going to be a really, honest-to-goodness good show. Why? I'm glad you asked (You did ask, right?)! For starters, I just adore all things Small World and couldn't be more thrilled with all the attention it's been getting recently. Between the lovely picture books and the new Animator's Collection dolls, love for the attraction (as well as Mary Blair's signature style) is the highest it's been in years! Speaking of Mary Blair, quite a bit of her artwork is evoked in this little clip! That, in itself, is even more encouraging; in a world that is becoming increasingly more dominated by CGI and three-dimensional characters, it is so refreshing to see homage paid to the styles of years gone by (especially when those styles are as brilliant as Ms. Blair's).

However, the one piece of the puzzle that puts my anxious mind at ease is the fact that the catchy ditty which scores the trailer was written by none other than the legendary Richard Sherman. Somehow, just knowing that quells any doubt and gives me belief in how special this project is going to be. The same bright, bouncing spirit that drives the original theme song of the park attraction is present in "On Our Merry Way"... and, yes, you'll probably have this one stuck in your head for a few hours days as well!

Currently, Disney is offering up the very vague premiere date of "later this month", but I'll be sure to let you all know as soon as more news is delivered! If you'd like to read more about the teaser and its signature tune, check out this post on Disney's official Insider blog!

Are you as excited as I am for this show? I don't get into Disney Junior as much as some others my age, but you can bet your buttons that I'll be plopped down in front of my T.V. for the first episode!

- Becca :)

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