Disney Channel said it would host a 10-week mall tour of
its "Playhouse Disney" characters starting in late March.
Aimed at Disney Channel's youngest viewers and their
parents, the tour will include live action characters from Bear in the Big Blue House,
as well as other early daytime shows.
"Live entertainment gives us a chance to stay in touch
with our viewers," Disney Channel vice president of marketing Adam Sanderson said.
A similar tour last year proved so popular with children
that in October, executives from Disney World brought a live Bear show to MGM
Studios in Orlando, Fla., where it now attracts about 20,000 visitors each week.
Now that Bear has found a home in Orlando, it gives
Disney Channel an opportunity to use the venue for promotional activities, including
sweepstakes or affiliate customer-awards programs.
The Playhouse Disney tour includes a 15-minute show held
several times per day over a three-day weekend in each of the 10 cities. The show includes
storytelling, puppets and music.
"On a Friday morning, the malls are littered with moms
and strollers," Sanderson said. Disney Channel is building a stroller corral --
similar to the ones used at Disney theme parks -- for the event, which is expected to draw
several-thousand fans for each 15-minute show.
In between the main events, Disney Channel will also host
smaller-scale activities such as craft projects.
And Disney Channel will sponsor book drives in conjunction
with each stop along the tour. Disney affiliates in each city will select a local
organization for the donations.
"Every mom has stacks of books that kids have either
got tired of or grown out of," Sanderson said.
Besides Bear, Disney Channel's Rolie Polie Olie,
Out of the Box and PB&J Otter are featured in the tour.
Disney Channel will promote the tour with print ads in
local newspapers and parents' magazines, as well as radio promotions, affiliate
cross-channel spots, online ads and tie-ins with Disney Stores in related malls.
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