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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on DVD:Mickey Saves Santa and Other Mouseketales • Mickey's Great Clubhouse Hunt • Mickey's Treat
Mickey's Storybook Surprises • Mickey's Big Splash • Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland • Choo-Choo Express

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Storybook Surprises DVD Review

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Show & DVD Details

Executive Producer: Bobs Gannaway / Directors: Sherie Pollack, Rob LaDuca, Victor Cook / Writers: Ashley Mendoza, Jeff Borkin / Producer/Story Editor/Story: Leslie Valdes / Line Producer: Bradley Bowen

Voice Cast: Wayne Allwine (Mickey Mouse), Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), Bill Farmer (Goofy, Pluto), Tress MacNeille (Daisy Duck), Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse), Jim Cummings (Pete), April Winchell (Clarabelle Cow), Dee Bradley Baker (Baby Bear), Corey Burton (Chip 'n Dale, Professor Ludwig von Drake)

Running Time: 96 Minutes (4 episodes) / Not Rated (TV-Y equivalent)
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned; Extra Subtitled
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008 / Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Three Episodes Originally Aired June 10, 2006 - November 25, 2006; One Unaired
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5); White Keepcase

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By Kelvin Cedeno

The Walt Disney Company had been struggling with the usage of their "Fab Five" cartoon characters ("Spectacular Six" when the oft-excluded Daisy is brought in). These assorted personalities had become so iconic that newer generations were more familiar with them as merchandising symbols than as film stars.
The challenge of keeping them fresh arose when the tried-and-true format of preceding theatrical features with animated shorts all but vanished. "Mickey Mouse Works" and "House of Mouse" both attempted to rectify this by giving the gang new animated shorts for television viewers, but both series became more popular with established Disney fans than with the general public.

This changed in 2006 with the Playhouse Disney series "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse", only the second time the Six were presented via CGI outside of theme park attractions and video games (the first being 2004's Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas). In retrospect, it seems curious that the company didn't try a preschool show with such beloved characters before. In the several years Playhouse Disney had been a daily part of Disney Channel's programming lineup, the only prior show to utilize pre-existing properties was "The Book of Pooh". As it turns out, the goal to make Mickey and the gang identifiable for a new generation worked perhaps better than even Disney expected.

Unfortunately for Donald the Frog Prince, Princess Daisy has no desire to plant her bill on any sort of amphibian. Clarabelle Cow croons to Mickey, Donald, and Goofy where to find the harp that can awakening Minnie from her slumber. Apparently the reliable true love's kiss is too racy for preschool programming.

"Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" follows the now-common show format popularized by "Blue's Clues" and "Dora the Explorer" in which on-screen characters consistently break the fourth wall. Audience members are asked questions designed to teach them anything from shapes to numbers
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and are congratulated no matter what's been answered. While such a format can lead more cynical viewers to unintentional amusement, there's no denying its effectiveness.

The most relieving thing about the series is how true it is to the essence of the characters. "Mickey Mouse Works" and "House of Mouse" tended to inject modern sensibilities into the personalities and stories in an effort to appeal to more viewers. While this actually worked at times, "Clubhouse" feels more pure and timeless. It even uses the 1940s catchphrase "hot dog" and features the unexpected inclusion of Clarabelle Cow. Some might find this ironic considering the new animation medium employed, but this, too, works surprisingly well. The long-held designs are accurately replicated in CG and are far more aesthetically pleasing than what was done in Twice Upon a Christmas.

Perhaps the only problem the series has is a lack of any true concern. While this isn't an issue when the conflict of the day is a simple one, it becomes more glaring when the story raises the stakes (such as the "Sleeping Minnie" episode included on this disc). The characters react appropriately worried about a predicament, but then suddenly drop it and become cheerful again when addressing the audience. While it's understandable that the producers don't wish to pressure children for answers or give them anxiety attacks, a little more consistency and threat would help lend some weight to the proceedings.

This is really just a minor quibble, however. "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" manages to be a surprisingly strong children's show. In fact, the educational angle is the only aspect that makes it for preschoolers; the presentation and dialogue avoid being trite or pandering. Mickey's Storybook Surprises is the fourth DVD compilation for the series, featuring three previously-aired episodes and one never before seen. Each episode runs 24 minutes and 4 seconds long.

Mickey and the gang cheerfully go to visit a sick Goofy even with seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their way. Clarabelle Cow and Daisy don't seem terribly worried about the prospect of Minnie not waking up for 100 years. Perhaps this will enable them with better merchandising capabilities.

1. "Minnie's Mystery" (Not yet aired)
Minnie discovers several of her cupcakes have gone missing. As she and Mickey try to figure out who took them, they find that other people's belongings have been taken as well.

2. "Donald the Frog Prince" (Originally aired June 10, 2006)
Donald is transformed into a frog via one of Ludwig von Drake's inventions.
Only a kiss from Daisy can break the spell, but she's trapped within a tall tower by Pete.

3. "Minnie Red Riding Hood" (Originally aired November 18, 2006)
When Goofy catches a cold, Minnie concocts some of her signature soup to help him recover. Unfortunately, Pete is out to thwart their plans as he wants the soup for himself.

4. "Sleeping Minnie" (Originally aired November 25, 2006)
Minnie is put into an enchanted sleep after picking a special rose. Mickey journeys to locate the magic harp whose sound can awaken the victim.


"Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" is presented in its original broadcast ratio of 1.33:1. Overall, the transfers are quite good, but one problem mars three of the four episodes: interlacing. There's a slight ghosting effect prevalent, especially during rapid movement. Bizarrely, the new episode featured on this disc, "Minnie's Mystery", doesn't show this problem at all. Considering that episode features noticeably improved animation, it's possible the ghosting effect is a result of the CGI rather than the DVD transfer. There are no other complaints, though, as colors are bold without too much blooming or saturation, and the image is clean thanks to the digital medium. All four episodes contain Dolby 2.0 stereo tracks that are as solid as one could expect given the limitations. Even though the audio is front-heavy, dialogue is crisp, while the music and effects boost as much as life as can be asked.

Picking one of these four items will result in its (awkward and forced) inclusion into the story of "Sleeping Minnie." The main menu features the same design as other Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVDs, but is customized with Daisy's tower and a beanstalk from an episode not found on this disc.


The sole bonus feature included on this disc is the set-top game "Tales from Toodles". This is essentially a DVD version of Mad Libs. Viewers are given a selection of four items to choose from at the start of the game. Once they've chosen, another four are presented. This process is repeated several times before the tale in question, "Sleeping Minnie", is told.

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Throughout the story, the items the player picks become vital in the storyline. This leads to some mild amusement, but the constraints of having to choose from a small (and understandably safe) selection prevent it from becoming as hilarious as a real Mad Libs game. It's also disappointing that the exact same selections and storyline are presented each time the game is played.

The animated menu features the same basic design as previous "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" DVDs, but with some customization. Mickey looks around in front of the clubhouse as Goofy zooms in and out on a kite, and Donald in frog form hops about. All other menus are static and silent, featuring shots of the cast. Each episode is divided into four chapter stops and can be played consecutively or individually via the Episode Selection menu.

FastPlay starts the disc off with previews for Sleeping Beauty: Platinum Edition, "My Friends Tigger and Pooh": Hundred Acre Wood Haunt, Tigger and Pooh and a Musical, Too, "Little Einsteins": The Christmas Wish and Disney Movie Rewards. All of these can be found in the Sneak Peeks menu along with previews for "Handy Manny" on Disney Channel, 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, and The Secret of the Magic Gourd.

The disc comes housed in a white Amaray case containing a booklet advertising upcoming Playhouse Disney DVDs. A code for Disney Movie Rewards is also included, and the featured episodes are listed on the back cover rather than on an insert.

Minnie is rather surprised to find several cupcakes missing. Can you count how many are missing? Pete borrows a method from Little Red Riding Hood's wolf (or Mulan) and shows off his new ensemble.


Gentle and earnest, "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" is a decent way to formally introduce children to Disney's Spectacular Six if classic shorts don't do the job first. It restrains itself from falling into a hip and jaded mindset and instead goes back to basics with these characters. Purists may balk at the use of CGI, but it's done tastefully. This is the type of children's programming that adults will enjoy thanks to a tactful presentation and lack of banality.

The DVD presentation has some odd interlacing issues which may stem from the animation quality itself, but it's not severe enough to cause a major distraction. Audio is no better or worse than what is usually heard for a 2.0 television track, and the lone set-top game isn't that memorable. Those with children who are big fans of the show are recommended to pick this up, especially with the incentive of a never-before-seen episode. More casual fans, as well as established Disney fans curious about the series, are recommended to check out a Disney Channel airing first.

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Related Reviews:
My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Hundred Acre Wood Haunt • It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Remastered Deluxe Edition)
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Daytona Jones and the Pearl of Wisdom
Little Einsteins: Flight of the Instrument Fairies • Handy Manny: Manny's Pet Roundup • A Very Playhouse Disney Holiday

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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on DVD:Mickey Saves Santa and Other Mouseketales • Mickey's Great Clubhouse Hunt • Mickey's Treat
Mickey's Storybook Surprises • Mickey's Big Splash • Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland • Choo-Choo Express

UltimateDisney.com | DVD Reviews | DVDizzy.com: Complete DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Disney DVDs | Search This Site

Reviewed September 6, 2008.