Disney Junior is an American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by the Disney Channels Worldwide unit of the Disney–ABC Television Group, itself a unit of the Disney Media Networks division of Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, all owned by The Walt Disney Company. Aimed mainly at children 8 years and under, its programming consists of original first-run television series, theatrically-released and made-for-DVD 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.[1] A Spanish-language block airs on Univision under the name Planeta U.

As of January 2016, the channel is available to 74.0 million households in America.[2]



The Walt Disney Company first attempted to launch a 24-hour cable channel for preschoolers in the United States,[3] when the company announced plans to launch the Playhouse Disney Channel, a television offshoot of Disney Channel's daytime programming block Playhouse Disney, which debuted on the channel on May 8, 1997 (airing during the morning hours seven days a week, with the Monday through Friday blocks lasting until the early afternoon). Plans for the United States network were ultimately shelved, however dedicated Playhouse Disney Channels were launched in other countries internationally.[4]

The development of Disney Junior began on May 26, 2010, when Disney-ABC Television Group announced the launch of the channel as a digital cable and satellite service, which would compete with other cable channels targeted primarily at preschool-aged children such as Nick Jr., Qubo and PBS Kids Sprout; in addition, the Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel would also be renamed under the Disney Junior banner, prior to the launch of the channel of the same name. The announcement also called for the 22 existing programming blocks and cable channels outside of the United States bearing the Playhouse Disney name being rebranded as Disney Junior.[5]

The flagship cable channel in the United States intended to replace Soapnet, a Disney-owned cable channel featuring daytime soap operas seen on the major broadcast networks (including sister network ABC) and reruns of former primetime drama series, due to the continued decline in popularity and quantity of soap operas on broadcast television, along the growth of video on demand services (including the online streaming availability for soap operas) and digital video recorders that negated the need for a linear channel devoted to the genre.[4]


Disney Junior first launched as a programming block on the Disney Channel on Valentine's Day, 2011. With the discontinuance of Playhouse Disney the day prior, the block's mascots Ooh and Aah ended their four-year run and several older programs were entirely discontinued.[6]

The Disney Junior channel was originally slated to debut in January 2012, but on July 28, 2011, the Disney-ABC Television Group pushed back the launch date from January to an unspecified date in late spring 2012,[7] then setting the channel's launch date to February. On January 9, 2012, Disney-ABC Television Group announced that Soapnet's shutdown date for most providers was scheduled for March 22, 2012. Disney Junior's 24-hour cable channel counterpart officially launched the following day on March 23,[8] at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode "Mickey's Big Surprise" as the first program to air on the channel.[citation needed] Programming featured on the channel's initial lineup included Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and freshman original series Doc McStuffins; the channel also launched a new short-form series A Poem Is... as well as the weekend movie block, the Magical World of Disney Junior.[6]

Though it in effect took over the channel space held by Soapnet, an automated feed of that channel continued to exist for providers that had not yet reached agreements to carry Disney Junior (similar to other automated channel feeds that continued to operate during the transitions of Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids to The N (now TeenNick) and Fox Reality Channel to Nat Geo Wild), or held out so as to not lose subscribers due to the immediate loss of that network. These included some providers such as Cox Communications, Cablevision, DirecTV, Verizon FiOS and Time Warner Cable, which continued to carry Soapnet while having added the Disney Junior channel onto their channel lineups in turn.[8][9] Soapnet's operations continued sixteen months later than had been originally planned, until the network officially shut down on December 31, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.[10]

Television carriage

Since its launch, Disney Junior became initially available to subscribers of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS;[11] Other providers would sign carriage agreements to run the network following its launch:

  • On March 26, 2012, Cox Communications announced that it would carry Disney Junior, as part of the provider's "Variety Pak" package.
  • On April 3, 2012, Disney–ABC Television Group announced that it had reached a distribution agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative to carry Disney Junior, which was expected to be carried on more than 950 independent cable companies in the 90 days following the agreement.[12]
  • Cable One added the network to the digital tier of its systems around May 26, 2012.
  • On June 21, 2012, RCN began carrying the network on its systems.
  • On July 13, 2012, DirecTV announced that the Disney Junior network would be added to its lineup the following day on the 14th, a Saturday.[13] Industry observers questioned both the unexpected announcement and untraditional weekend launch of the network as being timed to a nine-day carriage dispute between DirecTV and Viacom and the loss of Nick Jr. four days previously as a result of the dispute.[14]
  • On December 31, 2012, Charter Communications came to terms with Disney–ABC Television Group on a new wide-ranging multiple year carriage agreement for ABC, all of the U.S.-based Disney Channels Worldwide and ESPN networks and ABC Family, which included the addition of Disney Junior to Charter systems throughout the first quarter of 2013.[15]
  • On January 15, 2013, AT&T U-verse also reached a deal with The Walt Disney Company on a new wide-ranging multi-year agreement to carry the Disney–ABC Television Group family of networks and ESPN, which included the addition of Disney Junior.[16]
  • Dish Network, the last major television provider to have not signed a carriage deal for Disney Junior, added the channel on April 10, 2014; after a long period of acrimony and a six-month extension of their past carriage agreement with The Walt Disney Company for a few select networks (some of which were not available in HD, partly as a result of a 2011 dispute with the company), Dish and Disney came to full terms on carrying all of Disney-ABC's networks in both standard and high definition on March 3, 2014 with the resolution of legal issues involving Dish's Hopper DVR system, which also included streaming rights for the networks as part of Dish's IPTV streaming service Sling TV.[17]


Programming on the Disney Junior channel includes original series (such as Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Goldie & Bear, and The Lion Guard), shows formerly seen on the now-defunct Playhouse Disney block (such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Little Einsteins), plus re-runs of former original shows (such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Sheriff Callie's Wild West) - including some that also air on the companion Disney Channel morning block and short-form series, as well as reruns of some older animated series that had previously been seen on sister network ABC, CBS (made prior to 1996) and programs from Disney Channel and Toon Disney, which are aired by the channel by popular demand (especially during the overnight graveyard slot).


Disney Junior Night Light

Disney Junior Night Light is the Disney Junior channel's overnight programming block, running daily from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. The block, which debuted on September 4, 2012 and is sponsored by Babble (under a similar underwriter sponsorship agreement as that regularly used by Disney Channel and Disney Junior, which both operate as commercial-free services), consists of short-form programs intended for co-viewing among parents and their children. Features seen as part of the block include Picture This (which presents sketches of Disney characters being drawn), Sesh Tales (a segment featuring costumed finger puppets with twists on traditional fairy tales) and That's Fresh (a segment featuring cooking tips aimed at parents, presented by celebrity chef Helen Cavallo). Additional series under development at the block's launch included a photography series, a series that follows parents through the day their new baby comes home after being born, and a show about stay-at-home dads.[18] The block has been discontinued since 2017.[19]

Related services

Service Description
Disney Junior HD[20][21] Disney Junior HD is a high definition simulcast of the Disney Junior channel that broadcasts in the 720p resolution format (the recommended HD format for the Disney-ABC Television Group's broadcast and cable properties). Most providers began carrying it upon Disney Junior's launch in most areas, and use a downscaled version to provide their standard definition feeds. DirecTV began carrying Disney Junior's HD feed on August 15, 2012.[22]
Disney Junior On Demand Disney Junior On Demand is the cable channel's video-on-demand service, offering select episodes of Disney Junior's original series. It is available to most digital cable and IPTV providers that carry the network.
Disney Junior App Formerly known as "WATCH Disney Junior" until a June 2016 rebranding, the mobile app and digital media player viewing apps for Disney Junior offer live and on-demand streaming of Disney Junior content online. These apps require users to authenticate with a login from a participating television service provider for access to live video or the newest episodes of a series, though a limited selection of free episodes also are available without a login. The app closed on February 15, 2018.
DisneyNOW On September 28, 2017, the Disney Channel app was relaunched as DisneyNOW, which combines the apps of Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD and Radio Disney into one universal app featuring access to all four services. The Disney Junior app was discontinued on February 15, 2018.[23]

List of international Disney Junior channels

Market Name Type Formerly Launch date
UK[24] Junior Channel Playhouse May 7, 2011[25]
Junior +1 Channel, time shift Playhouse +1
USA[26] Junior Block on Disney Playhouse February 14, 2011
Junior Channel Soapnet March 23, 2012
France[24] Junior Channel Playhouse 2011
Junior Channel, HD Playhouse 2011
Germany Junior Channel Playhouse 2011[24]
Hungary Junior Block on Disney Channel (DC) Playhouse 2011
Junior Channel Jr. Block on DC 2015
Romania Junior As a block on DC Playhouse June 1, 2011
Junior As a channel As a block on DC March 1, 2012
Latin America Junior Channel (3 feeds) Playhouse April 1, 2011[27]
Junior Channel N/A December 1, 2015[28]
Australia Junior Channel Playhouse May 29, 2011 [29]
New Zealand Junior Channel Playhouse
Middle East & North Africa Junior Channel Playhouse 2011
Spain Junior Channel Playhouse June 2011[24]
Junior Block on Disney Playhouse June 2011[24]
South Africa Junior Channel Playhouse June 1, 2011[30]
Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium) Junior Channel Playhouse Disney September 2011
Junior Block on Disney Playhouse Disney op Disney Channel September 2011
Asia Junior Block Playhouse[31] July 11, 2011[32]
Singapore Channel Playhouse[33]
Indonesia Channel Playhouse[33]
Korea Channel Playhouse[33]
Thailand Channel Playhouse[34]
Cambodia Channel Playhouse[35]
Vietnam Channel Playhouse[36]
Philippines Channel Playhouse [37]
Hong Kong Junior Channel Playhouse July 11, 2011[38]
Israel Junior Channel TBA July 18, 2011 (yes)[39]
November 27, 2013 (HOT)[40]
Poland Junior[24] Channel Playhouse 2011
Portugal[41] Junior Block on Disney Channel (DC) June 1, 2011
Junior Channel Disney Cinemagic November 1, 2012
India Junior Channel, block on Disney (1.45 Hr.) Playhouse 2011
Italy[24][42] Disney Junior Channel Playhouse 2011
Junior +1 Channel, time shift Playhouse +1 2011
Taiwan Junior Channel New channel December 1, 2013
Russia Узнавайка (Uznavayka) Block on Disney Channel (Russia) 2010


Market Name Type Formerly Launch date Discontinued date Replaced by

Canada operated by
DHX Media

Junior Channel Playhouse May 6, 2011[43] September 18, 2015[44] Family Jr.
Junior Channel, French Playhouse Disney Télé Télémagino


  1. ^ As of January 2017, Disney Channel continues to air a morning and early afternoon block of Disney Junior content, but has dropped its "Disney Junior on Disney Channel" on-air branding in favor of airing all programming under the "Disney Channel" moniker.
  2. ^ "Cable Network Coverage Area Household Universe Estimates: January 2016". 
  3. ^ Play nice now; Walt Disney Co. plans to introduce Playhouse Disney Channel, Broadcasting & Cable (via HighBeam Research), June 25, 2001.Retrieved on December 21, 2016
  4. ^ a b SOAPnet Will Go Dark to Make Way for Disney Junior Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., Entertainment Weekly, May 26, 2010
  5. ^ Disney/ABC Television Group Announces Disney Junior, a New 24-Hour Channel for Preschoolers and Their Families, The Futon Critic, May 26, 2010
  6. ^ a b Dickson, Jeremy (January 10, 2012). "Disney Junior launches in March, Marvel gets block on XD". Kids Screen. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ Soapnet to stay on the air longer into the New Year!, Michael Fairman On-Air On-Soaps, July 28, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Schneider, Michael (January 9, 2012). "Disney Junior to replace Soapnet in March". TV Guide. Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  9. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne. "Show Tracker: What You're WatchingDisney Junior 24/7 channel launches Friday." Los Angeles Times Blog 22 March 2012. Web. 19 April 2012.
  10. ^ James, Meg (November 9, 2013). "Disney's SOAPnet channel headed for the drain". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  11. ^ Disney Junior Launches on Friday; SOAPnet to Continue on Some Carriers, Hollywood Reporter, March 22, 2012.
  12. ^ "NCTC to distribute Disney Junior". kidscreen.com. 
  13. ^ Disney Junior will Launch Saturday, July 14 to Millions of DIRECTV Customers Nationwide Archived July 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Liebermann, David (July 13, 2012). "A Challenge To Viacom? DirecTV Adds Disney Junior To Programming Lineup". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ "The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications Announce New Distribution Agreement". The Futon Critic. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Farrell, Mike (January 15, 2013). "Disney Strikes U-Verse Carriage Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  17. ^ Liebermann, David (3 March 2014). "Dish And Disney Finalize Output Deal That Ends Their Ad-Hopper Dispute". Deadline.com. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Dickson, Jeremy (August 29, 2012). "First look: DJ Tales to bow on Disney Junior Night Light". Kidscreen. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  19. ^ ""Disney Junior US TV ScheduleTWC Central"". Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Disney Announces Disney Junior, a 24-hr channel for Preschoolers & families". Laughing Place. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  21. ^ Frost, John (May 27, 2010). "Disney Junior to replace Soapnet in Cable Lineup". The Disney Blog. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  22. ^ "On August 15 four exciting channels will be available in eye-popping HD!". DirecTV. August 15, 2012. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  23. ^ Steinberg, Brian (28 February 2017). "As 'Kids' Upfront' Kicks Off, Disney Woos Madison Avenue – Variety". Variety. Retrieved 28 September 2017. 
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  26. ^ "Disney Junior to launch on Valentine's Day". Variety. January 11, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  27. ^ Sola, Bertha (April 1, 2011). "Disney Junior where the magic begins". Chronicle Today (in Spanish). Retrieved August 15, 2014.  Google translation.
  28. ^ "It's #HereForReal Canada! Corus Entertainment Launches Disney Channel in 10 Million Households" (Press release). Toronto: Corus Entertainment. September 1, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2015. 
  29. ^ Bulbeck, Pip (April 1, 2011). "Walt Disney Rebranding Preschool Channel as Disney Junior in Australia and New Zealand". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Disney Junior launches in SA". Channel24. 24.com. June 1, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  31. ^ Boehm, Erich (April 15, 2002). "Mouse picks up kidvid series, movies". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Magical, musical stories on all-new Disney Junior". philstar.com. June 30, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b c Esposito, Maria (June 8, 2004). "Korean debut for Disney Playhouse". C21 Media. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  34. ^ Whiteman, Bobbie (January 25, 2005). "Disney, Playhouse bow in Thailand". Variety. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  35. ^ Ball, Ryan (June 20, 2005). "Disney Channels Swim to Cambodia". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 2, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Mickey follows Ho Chi Minh trail". C21 Media. February 1, 2007. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  37. ^ Osborne, Magz (December 14, 2005). "Mouse opens Philippine Playhouse". Variety. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  38. ^ Chung, Barry (July 10, 2011). "A brand new home for Mickey and Co". South China Morning Post. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  39. ^ http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4096373,00.html
  40. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 3, 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-27. 
  41. ^ Pedro Santos, Joaquim (October 6, 2012). "Disney Junior chega a Portugal em novembro". Espalha Factos. Retrieved May 12, 2015. 
  42. ^ "Channel listing: Playhouse Disney". MAVISE. European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved July 20, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Disney Junior Launches May 6 with new Programs and a Nod to Classic Disney Characters and Magic" (Press release). TORONTO: Astral Media. CNW Telbec. March 3, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  44. ^ David Friend (April 16, 2015). "Corus gains Canadian rights to Disney Channel content". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail Inc. Canadian Press. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 

External links