Disney Junior is a great channel for young children. It is widely available from streaming services so you don’t need a cable contract to enjoy it. Below we describe all your options.
In a hurry? Disney Junior is available from a number of live TV streaming services. These are our top picks:
- Hulu + Live TV: Gives you all the base Disney channels in addition to Disney+.
- Sling TV: Disney comes with the base Orange plan. Add Disney Junior and more with the Kids Extra add-on. Save 50% on your first month of Sling TV.
- FuboTV: Comes with a bunch of kids channels as part of its 110+ channel plan. FuboTV allows you to try out its service free for 7 days.
Table Of Contents
Formerly known as “Playhouse Disney,” Disney Junior is The Disney Channel for preschoolers from ages 2 to 7. If you’re a parent of someone in that age range, you likely already know all about Doc McStuffins and are familiar with the phrase “Meeska, mooska, Mickey Mouse!”
Read on to find out how your little ones can watch The Chicken Squad — and your cable bill can cluck off.
What Is Disney Junior
Like its Nickelodeon counterpart, Nick Jr, Disney Junior started out as a daytime programming block on The Disney Channel. TDC had had preschool shows in the morning since it launched in 1983.
But in 1999 they added three new series PB&J Otter, Rolley Polie Olie, and Out of the Box. And they rebranded the whole thing “Playhouse Disney.” Other popular shows from the Playhouse Disney era were Bear in the Big Blue House, The Wiggles, and Handy Manny’s School for Tools.
Plans to launch a Playhouse Disney channel were underway as early as 2001. And a few did debut in other countries. After 14 years, the block was rebranded again as Disney Junior. But US preschoolers wouldn’t get their own Disney Junior channel until 2012.
Inaugural series included Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, the brand new Doc McStuffins, and A Poem Is.
The channel remains a mix of current original animated series (TOTS, Puppy Dog Pals), old Playhouse Disney shows (Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso), and reruns of now-ended Disney Junior shows (Sofia the First, Little Einsteins).
Some notable shows, old and new, from Disney Junior are:
- Doc McStuffins: A girl with a magic stethoscope that can bring toys to life sets up a clinic to treat them, exploring all kinds of wellness and hygiene topics. Features some songs that are constants (“Time for Your Checkup!”), but most are specific to the issue of that episode (going to sleep, brushing your teeth, drinking enough water, washing hands, etc).
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Join Mickey Mouse and the gang as they team up to overcome various challenges using a new set of Mouseketools each episode. Expect your kids to be randomly calling “Oh, Toodles!” after watching. Also, don’t be surprised to find yourself humming the catchy closing theme “Hot Dog!” by They Might Be Giants.
- Mickey Mouse Funhouse: The follow-up to Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures, Mickey Mouse and the Sensational Six (Mickey and friends Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto) join up with Funny, a shape-shifting anthropomorphic playhouse, which can teleport them to various lands to go on assorted quests.
- Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures: Originally titled Mickey and the Roadster Racers, this successor to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse features the Sensational Six racing around the local Hot Dog Hills and other race courses around the world.
- Puppy Dog Pals: Follow the adventures of Bingo and Rolly, two pug puppies who use their owner-inventor Bob’s crazy inventions to go on fun missions around the world while he’s at work.
- Spidey and his Amazing Friends: Spider-Man for preschoolers. Friends and fellow spider-themed crime-fighters Peter Parker (aka Spidey), Gwen Stacy (aka Ghost-Spider), and Miles Morales (aka Spin) battle Rhino, the Green Goblin, Doc Ock, and other Spider-Villains while learning life lessons about working together, patience, and creative problem-solving.
- TOTS: Freddy (a flamingo delivery bird-in-training) and his penguin navigator Pip learn to deliver baby animals to their families for the eponymous Tiny Ones Transport Service (T.O.T.S.).
Disney’s media empire is vast, with a further reach than you may realize. In addition to Disney Junior, The Disney Channel, and the tween-centered Disney XD, it also owns ABC and Freeform (originally The Family Channel).
It also has a fifty-fifty partnership with the National Geographic channels. More family-friendly educational content can be found on Discovery Family.
There are also several stations that focus on ages up to three: Disney’s multilingual Baby TV, Duck TV, and the on-demand PlayKids. Other networks for the 3 to 7 group include Nick Jr, Hopster, Kids Street, and PBS Kids. Kids of all ages enjoy the animation of Cartoon Network, Boomerang, NickToons, and Kartoon Channel.
Stream Disney Junior
The great news for prospective cord-cutters with little Disney Junior fans is that it comes on almost every streaming live TV service, and one of them even includes Disney+ in its subscription price.
- Hulu + Live TV: Disney owns (most of) Hulu, so you get Disney Junior, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Freeform, and the Nat Geo channels. And you get Nickelodeon and Nick Jr, Cartoon Network, and Boomerang too. But the real score is that Disney+ and ESPN+ are both included in the $69.99/mo subscription, along with Hulu’s library of on-demand entertainment, and unlimited cloud DVR (9 month storage). (Hulu + Live TV review)
- Sling TV: This modular-styled service is the exception. Neither of its $35/mo base packages have Disney Junior. Sling Orange has The Disney Channel, Freeform, and ESPN, but you have to spring for the Kids Extra for Disney Junior (you also get Disney XD, Boomerang, Duck TV, and more). Currently, save 50% on your first month of Sling TV. It’s not that bad, though, since Extras are only $6 additional per month. The real downside is that Sling Orange only lets you stream on one screen at a time. (Sling TV review)
- FuboTV: Fubo’s got the sports, but it’s also a lot more, including Disney Junior and the other two Disneys, Freeform, Nat Geo, and Nick/Nick Jr, plus about a hundred other channels for $69.99/mo. This also includes 1,000 hours of cloud DVR storage and streaming on up to 10 devices at one. (FuboTV review)
- DIRECTV STREAM: The former AT&T TV is another one that has all three Disney channels in its base Entertainment Package for $69.99/mo. Plus it has Freeform, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and more. For some reason, you have to get the next tier up (Choice, $89.99/mo) to get Nick Jr too. All plans come with unlimited cloud DVR on online signup and streaming on up to 20 devices. (DIRECTV STREAM review)
- Vidgo: Has tons of family-friendly and kid-focused channels in its lineup. It’s got Disney Junior and Nick Jr, as well as Disney Channel, Disney XD, Freeform, Nickelodeon, Kids Street, Nat Geo, and more in its Plus plan for $59.95/mo. (Vidgo review)
- YouTube TV: Includes all the Disney channels, including Disney Junior, for $64.99/mo. Overall offers a service similar to Hulu + Live TV — worse in some ways and better in others.
If your kids prefer their entertainment on-demand (and what kid doesn’t?), you could check out these always-available alternatives:
- Hulu: Not as much Disney Junior as you might expect, since Hulu is owned by Disney. But it does currently have five seasons of Doc McStuffins, one season of the Spanish version Doctora Juguetes, two seasons of the 2015 Miles of Tomorrowland, and English and Spanish versions of Pikwik Pack. Hulu by itself starts at $6.99/mo (with ads), or $12.99 without, and is included with Hulu + Live TV automatically.
- YouTube: Disney Junior’s YouTube channel is mostly clips and music videos but does have at least a handful of full episodes of Alice’s Wonderland Bakery, Mira Royal Detective, Spidey and his Amazing Friends, and more, as well as 30-60 minute compilations of kids’ songs and nursery rhymes. Best of all, it’s free.
- Purchase Movies/Seasons Online: You can buy movies or seasons of series from a variety of online stores, such as Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies, Vudu, YouTube, and the Apple iTunes Store.
- Disney Now App: Finally, you can also watch Disney Junior shows on the Disney Now website and app, but you’ll need to log in with a TV provider account.
Streaming Devices to Watch Disney Junior
The streaming services provide apps for the most popular devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android mobile
- Apple TV
- iOS (iPhone,iPad)
- Web browsers.
All the services support Android TV-powered devices with the odd exception of DIRECTV STREAM. Similarly, all support Samsung smart TVs except Vidgo.
There are other devices supported. Check out our streaming reviews for complete details.
So if you have a Junior Mouseketeer in the house, you don’t have to overpay for the (Play)House of Mouse. Just sign up for one of the streaming services above and you can say TTFN to your cable bill — minus the FN.
For the complete Disney experience, we recommend Hulu + Live TV.
What’s the difference between Nick Jr and Disney Junior?
Disney is a bit less education-oriented. The company felt that Nickelodeon was over-contorting itself to shoehorn more fact-based educational content into its shows, such as shapes, colors, ABCs, and counting. With more resources to teach those kindergarten prep skills available on mobile devices, toys, and computers, Disney deliberately chose to put more emphasis on storytelling, with lessons on sharing or listening well organically embedded in the plots, but fun and engaging stories taking priority.
With more of a focus on the story, Disney shows are more likely to have an actual villain (often a bumbling, less scary version of a classic Disney villain, like Jake and the Never Land Pirates‘ Captain Hook and Smee), as opposed to Nick Jr’s “Let’s solve this puzzle/mystery/adventure together!” motif.