The Disney Afternoon Gang!
Disney Channel has probably been the highlight of my childhood. Everything fron Adventures in Wonderland
to Hannah Montana
has crossed my path. On that small note, I can safely say that the channel has changed A LOT
since its premiere as a premium channel in the 80's. While I still continue to watch it today, I can't help but feel that the channel has lost its "magic", as many Disney fans would say. One of the most memorable after-school lineups has ever shows was The Disney Afternoon
, or TDA for short.
Two of the earliest Disney Afternoon shows: Adventures of the Gummi bears and DuckTales
The lineup first premiered on September 10, 1990 and ran until Spring 1999 (according to Wikipedia.org). Out of those nine, elementary-school filled years, the most memorable shows I remember watching aired from 1990-1995. The shows included:
-Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears
-Chip 'N' Dale Rescue Rangers
-Disney's The Little Mermaid
-101 Dalmatians: The Series
-Hercules: The Animated Series
-Timon and Pumbaa
As a kid, I loved watching these shows and grew to love the characters even more. I even went as Jasmine and Ariel (two of my beloved TDA heroines) for Halloween two years in a row! I still have those costumes in a storage bin somewhere... And yes, I have to admit, TDA did interfer with my schoolwork at one point in time. I couldn't tell you how many homework assignments I missed because I planted my behind in front of the television to watch Goofy do something so totally..well, goofy. My excuse for not turning in my math worksheet? You guessed it. "Timon and Pumbaa was on! It was the one where they met Speedy the Snail!"
Okay, maybe I never used that excuse, but I was very tempted to use it.
Bringing you a Disney afternoon...
A year after the lineup premiered on Disney Channel, the stars came to life at Disney Afternoon Live at Disneyland Park. Befroe Toontown came into play, the walkway between Storybook Land Canal Boats and Fantasyland Theatre was called Duckburg, USA (many DuckTales fans know what this place was), and many characters such as Chip 'N' Dale, Gadget, Baloo, King Louie, Kit Cloudkicker, Scrooge McDuck, and many more called this place home. I remember my parents taking me to the park and letting me hug Chip and Dale every chance I got that day. It was kind of hard for them to keep up with me since I was ripping and running Toontown all day long. If I remember correctly, there was a stage show at the Fantasyland Theatre (formerly Videopolis Stage) called "Plane Crazy" in which memorable TDA villans Don Karnage (Talespin) and Fat Cat (Chip 'N' Dale Rescue Rangers) stole the X-22 Spy Plane, and it was up to the TDA heroes to get it back! Though I never experienced the stage show, I still remember hearing loads about it from family members who had visited the park that summer.
As the years passed by, and as I ventured onto junior high, the lineup was coming to a close, but my love for these cartoons sure weren't.
Toon Disney, circa 1998. My, how time flies.
In 1998, these shows had found a seemingly permanent home at Toon Disney, the new channel that was devoted to Disney-related animation and movies. I was a happy elementary school girl all over again (but, then again, I still was..kinda sorta...). By 2001, I noticed something. Many of these shows were dropping like flies to make way for new Disney shows that were piling in ratings such as "Kim Possible" and "Dave the Barbarian". Heck, even Power Rangers managed to sneak onto there. Pretty soon, the channel became centered around the block "Jetix", which you can now find playing every day on the channel. I couldn't believe it. Last time I checked, the channel was devoted to animated programming, not live-action and anime programs.
Had Toon Disney lost sight of what the channel was all about? More importantly, were the shows I and millions of other kids grew up with going to be locked in the Disney vault forever? Not a chance. Turns out most of the shows were and still are being released onto DVD. I haven't picked up any of the shows on DVD yet, so I can't give a fair review on whether they're worth buying. I think the next planned release is Adventures of the Gummi Bears. Most of the collections have gained fair to good reviews among fans. So, all in all, I'm happy to say that I'm able to keep my Disney childhood memories alive. I'm also glad to see that despite many of the shows are now not in syndication anymore, and that I may still find "Timon and Pumba"' on Disney Channel or Toon Disney nowadays, I'm just glad that I took advantage of what Disney Channel had to offer back in the 90's, something I can't do much of now in 2006.