Disney Launches Preschool Online Service

Think maybe your preschool-aged child isn’t spending enough time with the computer? Is perhaps falling behind his or her peers in technology savvy? Or maybe you’re worried Johnny’s mousing skills just aren’t up to snuff for a four year-old?

Never fear, Disney’s got the solution for you! Disney Online today launched a new “broadband subscription product” dubbed Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online. For $49.95 a year (a free trial is available) Disney lets kids interact with their favorite Disney Channel characters in a “safe, ad-free” environment filled with fun and engaging activities, puzzles, and games which entertain preschoolers while developing important “kindergarten readiness skills.”

“Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online allows children to learn through a fun setting where they get to interact with their favorite characters, in a dynamic environment that regularly offers new activities,” said Ken Goldstein, executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online. “The increase in broadband use in the home has allowed us to offer an experience that combines rich graphics, video content and character voices to capture kids’ imaginations and deliver personalized learning that grows with each individual child.”

Disney says the Preschool Time Online activities help develop number and letter recognition, identification of colors and shapes, and introduces themes such as “bravery” or “sharing” throughout sequences of activities. New content will be added every two weeks, and a special parents’ area enables adults to manage profiles for multiple children, as well as track their child’s activity over time. Activities feature characters from Disney series including JoJo’s Circus,Higglytown Heroes,Stanley, plus the company’s Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse franchises. The entire service is “hosted” by the character Bear from Disney Channel’s Bear in the Big Blue House.

(Still trying to figure out how this qualifies as “ad-free?” Me too.)

Disney has been expanding its online offerings, reflecting a vision of an “online theme park” with different activities and attractions aimed at differing age and interest groups, including Toontown Online, what the company claims is the first 3D massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) aimed at kids and families.

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