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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Is “The Wonderful World of Disney” Still Wonderful?

by Beth Keating
May 21, 2020

When I was a small child, Sunday nights meant curling up in front of the television for the next offering in The Wonderful World of Disney. To a child growing up without cable and perhaps less than a dozen antennae channels to choose from, it was high theatre indeed. When The Muppet Show came on in the Sunday night time slot years later… well, it was nothing short of amazing. (Incidentally, Disney just announced that Muppets Now will debut on Disney+ July 31st.)

It may not be on Sunday nights anymore, but this week, Disney launched a Wednesday night version of The Wonderful World of Disney. The name of the show has had a number of different incarnations over the decades, but the current iteration is called The Wonderful World of Disney Movie Night, and will air for at least the next three weeks. Moana kicked off the series last night. Thor: The Dark World will air May 27, followed by Up on June 3 and Big Hero 6 on June 10.  All movies air from 8-10 pm (EDT).

So, was the evening worth it? Is Disney’s movie night still wonderful? The answer is: it depends. For those of us who have access to Disney+, it is just as easy to watch the movie commercial free, and on our own timetables, on the streaming service. There wasn’t much magic added to the evening watching it on regular broadcast television, interrupted every 10 minutes by the requisite commercial break.

However, for those of you who exist in the Twitter-verse, there was some added value in that Lin-Manuel Miranda (who served as songwriter for Moana) and Auli’i Cravalho (the voice of Moana) hosted a watch party on Twitter with special guests and behind-the-scenes stories about the creation of the movie. Viewers could follow the stars’ tweets as they responded to the movie unfolding on TV, and there were more than a few interesting tidbits to glean from the creators.

Disney hasn’t yet announced whether there will be additional surprises in store for the next few Wednesday nights. Knowing Disney, it’s safe to assume that there will be, in order to draw viewers’ attention to the programming. 

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

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