Yester California Adventure at Yesterland

Playhouse Disney –
Live on Stage!


Do the “Bear Cha Cha Cha”

When you visit the Hollywood Pictures Backlot at Yester California Adventure, your family might want to see famous television celebrities. If it’s 2003 and your children are between two and six years old, Bear, Olie, and Stanley are just about the biggest celebrities imaginable. So head over to Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!


Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage sign

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

“Imagine and Learn” sign at Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage

At the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, Hollywood Boulevard is a street of façades echoing the Golden Age of Hollywood. The signs here make no effort to capture that era—but children aged two-to-six don’t care.

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Billboard atop the building

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Streamline Moderne home of Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Convenient parking

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2005

Outside queue

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Video monitors along the queue line

If you don’t know who these characters are, watch the monitors in the queue to be introduced to them. Or rely on a press release as a cheat sheet:

“Playhouse Disney” features Disney-quality entertainment that delights and encourages kids to learn through fun, imaginative and creative play:

“Rolie Polie Olie” — This Emmy award-winning series chronicles the touching and sometimes hilarious world of Olie, a six-year-old robot boy who lives with his family in a magical, all-robot world.

“Stanley” — The newest original series on the “Playhouse Disney” block, Stanley takes guests into the life of a very curious little boy with a passion for facts, who searches the animal world for clues about how things work.

Jim Henson’s “Bear in the Big Blue House” — Bear, the seven-foot-tall, warm, friendly and understanding host invites the audience into his Big Blue House every day to play, learn, sing and dance with his friends in this Emmy- and Parents Choice Award-winning television series.

The line is moving. It’s time to go inside.

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Theater and the Big Blue House

There are no theater seats. Grab a spot on the carpeted floor. It holds 550 people. If sitting on the floor among hundreds of young children and their parents is not your idea of a good time, there are a few benches against the back wall.

Once the show starts, many in the audience will be on their feet anyway.

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Bear and Jamie

It’s not just a fun-filled musical revue; it’s also an interactive experience. Bear, Olie, Stanley and a bunch of their Playhouse Disney friends invite children to sing and dance with them in their new stage show. Where else can you do the “Bear Cha Cha Cha” in public?

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Bear and puppet friends

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Rolie Polie Olie

Jamie, the show’s human host—who could be a man or woman depending on which performance you attend—reads from a giant storybook, with chapters featuring characters from various Playhouse Disney shows, each teaching the importance of friendship.

Pooh, Eeyore, and Piglet are in the show too.

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Luna and Bear

After more than 20 minutes, the show ends with Luna, the giant moon, leading a group sing-along of “The Goodbye Song.”

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Stanley

When the show is over, head next door. Perhaps Stanley or one of the other characters will be signing autographs outside the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired bathrooms.

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

At night

It’s late. The shows are over for today. Look up into the nighttime sky. You might see Luna up there.


Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! premiered at Disney’s California Adventure (now Disney California Adventure) on April 11, 2003, using the space that had been the short-lived ABC Soap Opera Bistro from February 2001 to November 2002.

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Transformation from ABC Soap Opera Bistro

Modeled after the successful Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! at Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Park in Florida, the California edition simultaneously addressed two of the new park’s early problems: too many restaurants and too little to do for families with young children.

The revue initially highlighted three popular series from the Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney pre-schooler programming block: Jim Henson’s Bear in the Big Blue House (1997–2006), and Rolie Polie Olie (1998–2007), and Stanley (2001–2008).

As the Disney Channel updated its pre-school-age programming, new editions of the show featured newer programs, such as JoJo’s Circus and and My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

The final performance of Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! at Disney California Adventure was Sunday, January 23, 2010. At that time, the show featured characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, and Little Einsteins.

But it would soon be back under a new name.

Playhouse Disney Live on Stage at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Now Disney Junior – Live on Stage!

The Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney block was rebranded as Disney Junior on February 14, 2011. On March 24, 2011, the show at Disney California Adventure officially reopened from a refurbishment as Disney Junior – Live on Stage!, joined by characters from the then-new hit TV show, Jake and the Never Land Pirates

Even guests who were not interested in the show benefited from the change: The new exterior signs were more appropriate to the period of the boulevard than the garish Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! and “Imagine and Learn” signs.

The 2014 version of Disney Junior – Live on Stage! features Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.

Just as there are always new pre-schoolers, there are always new TV shows for them from Disney.


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Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore took thousands of photos of DCA under construction and during its early years for his now-defunct website, DCA Central.

Allen Huffman has provided hundreds of photos to Yesterland from his DisneyFans.com website.

© 2014 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Attraction-specific copyrights and trademarks:
Bear in the Big Blue House: TM & © 2003 The Jim Henson Company
Rolie Polie Olie characters: © Nelvana in Trust
Stanley character: © Disney

Updated April 25, 2014.