Each week through the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary, we will be taking a look back at various parades, entertainment, and nighttime spectaculars throughout the history of the resort. Walt Disney World has seen so many different things come and go throughout its 50 year history. So, let’s take a look back at what people remember dearly or forgot quickly.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios or MGM Studios has a long history of different shows and entertainment. Today, we are looking at something for the little ones. Since 1999, the park has been home to a show thats featured favorites from Playhouse Disney or Disney Junior. That all started win one big bear in a big blue house.

Bear in the Big Blue House – Live on Stage opened in June 1999 taking the home of the former Soundstage Restaurant in the Animation Courtyard area. Guests sat on the floor for this show but the kids often didn’t mind. The show didn’t run long ending in August 2001 but spawned another show to follow. Bear the main character of the show starts the show with a greeting to the audience. These are not screens or animatronics either but rather full size character puppets just like they used on TV as part of Henson Studios. Bear’s friends Tutter, Pip and Pop and Ojo were also big parts of the show. Bear made way for a broader Playhouse Disney show soon after.

“Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!” did not get rid of Bear. The crew from that first stage show come along for the ride but added more character favorites from other Playhouse Disney television shows. This show first opened in September 2001, closing or rather being rebranded in 2011. Playhouse Disney first included characters Bear in the Big Blue House, Rolie Polie Olie, Stanley, and The Book of Pooh. The show never really had a big storyline but rather was an interaction of kids in the audience and their favorite characters.

In 2005, Rolie Polie Olie said his goodbyes and we got JoJo’s Circus. The show ran like that until 2008 when a familiar face took over. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, and My Friends Tigger & Pooh were now the stars of the show. Disney rebranded Playhouse Disney to Disney Junior in 2011 which led to a name change in the parks as well. Disney Junior – Live on Stage was now here. This also brought Jake and the Never Land Pirates on board replacing Tigger and Pooh. The changes continued in 2013 when Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins replaced Handy Manny and Little Einsteins.

This show is one that has evolved and changed greatly over time as kids programming has come and gone. In December 2018, it changed again. Disney Junior Dance Party! featuring Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Vamparina, Doc McStuffins, and The Lion Guard debuted. This change was a bit more significant. puppeteers were no more and it was now a dance party. Instead of a more formal show it was all about dancing with your favorite Disney Junior characters on stage and on screen. Disney California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios Park all have similar offerings as well.

The show ran multiple times a day and the current dance party format does as well. The earlier versions of the show ran around the 22-23 minute mark. Today, Disney Junior Dance Party is a 25 minute party with your favorite Disney Junior characters. When the next hit Disney Junior show comes along you’ll be sure to see it as part of this venue.


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