|Launched||April 18, 1998|
|Closed||February 13, 2009|
|Owned by||Disney-ABC Television Group
(The Walt Disney Company)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)
|Broadcast area||United States|
|Headquarters||Burbank, California, U.S.|
|Replaced by||Disney XD|
|Sister channel(s)||Disney Channel, ABC|
Toon Disney was an American digital cable and satellite television channel that was owned by the Disney-ABC Television Group subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. A spinoff of Disney Channel, the channel mostly aired children's animated series and some live action programming. Its format had similarities to those of Discovery Kids, Cartoon Network, and Nicktoons. The channel's target audience was children ages 2–12, and children ages 7–14 during its nighttime block called Jetix. Toon Disney shut down on February 13, 2009, after a nearly 11-year existence, and was replaced by Disney XD, which has carried some programs previously seen on Toon Disney.
Coinciding with Disney Channel's 15th anniversary, Toon Disney launched on April 18, 1998 at 2 p.m. ET as a spin-off of the Disney Channel. The very first program ever broadcast on Toon Disney was the famous Mickey Mouse segment from Fantasia titled "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". Originally, the channel's programming consisted of older Disney animated series, including those shown on the prior Disney-distributed syndication package The Disney Afternoon. Toon Disney also showed some other cartoons, most of which were produced by DiC Entertainment (a company that was owned by The Walt Disney Company at the time the network launched; DiC has since been absorbed into Cookie Jar Group). For the channel's first year on air, a block of programs seen on Toon Disney would air on Monday-Saturday evenings on Disney Channel as a "sneak preview" of the channel for interested subscribers (during the summer of 1999, this block aired only on Sunday evenings). The channel originally operated as a commercial-free service, in the same vein as sister network Disney Channel (which itself remains unsupported by traditional advertising, other than underwriter sponsorships); this continued until September 2, 2002, when Toon Disney became an ad-supported channel. This was when the network reached "critical mass" reaching a base of over 15 million subscribers.
On September 2, 2002, Toon Disney gained a variety of new programming (such as The Weekenders and Lloyd in Space) expanding the vast collection of Disney animated content. Many programs from sister network ABC's One Saturday Morning/ABC Kids block joined the schedule, mostly without coming at the expense of other programs. Around that time, Toon Disney began using an updated bumper and station ID package, along with a revised logo.
On February 2, 2004, the channel debuted a new action-themed nighttime block called Jetix. This eventually led to an outcry from Toon Disney viewers beginning nearly a year later, especially as Jetix expanded into a 13-17 hour block, taking over more than half of Toon Disney's original time schedule. That year, many of older programs vanished from the Toon Disney schedule with the addition of Jetix and Disney Channel's animated programs. The Jetix block was shared with sister network ABC Family with its "Action Block" lineup rebranding under the Jetix name around the same time, the ABC Family Jetix block was eventually discontinued on August 31, 2006. Starting in 2006, the schedule appeared to be fully automated, airing only a mere 25 shows on the network, excluding Jetix. By 2008, Jetix had comprised about 85% of Toon Disney's program schedule. Like most other Disney-owned cable channels, Toon Disney launched a high definition simulcast feed in 2008, though the majority of the network's content was still standard definition.
On August 6, 2008, Disney-ABC Television Group announced that Toon Disney would be replaced by Disney XD, which is aimed at males 7 to 14 years of age, in early 2009. Two months and five days shy of its eleventh year on air, Toon Disney (and Jetix) shut down on February 13, 2009, with Disney XD launching over Toon Disney's former channel space the following day. The final program broadcast on the channel was The Incredible Hulk, as part of the Jetix block. Disney XD carried on many of the programs previously broadcast by Toon Disney; many international versions of the channel continued to broadcast well after the U.S. version had ceased operations, until 2011, when the remaining overseas iterations of Toon Disney were replaced by regional versions of Disney XD or in some European countries, Disney Cinemagic.
Live action programming
Like Cartoon Network, although the majority of Toon Disney's programming were animated in nature, live-action programming had become a part of the network during its final years. Live children were featured in bumpers aired from 1998 to 2002, and fan-made animations done in live-action were aired in these bumpers. The Jetix block aired the show Power Rangers. Toon Disney has also aired Muppet movies, including Muppets from Space, one Muppet movie that Disney does not own.
During the network's existence, Toon Disney aired live-action Disney Channel Original Movies Jett Jackson: The Movie and Up, Up, and Away, both of which had minimal exposure on Disney Channel around the time they were both broadcast on Toon Disney. The theatrical films Max Keeble's Big Move, Snow Dogs, and Herbie: Fully Loaded also aired toward the network's closure. Toon Disney contained more than 10 short segments including those in a video/slideshow format. The short series Check This Kid Out aired randomly during the commercial breaks between July 7, 2008 and February 13, 2009. On September 7, 2008, one of Disney's only live-action short films Frankenweenie aired on Toon Disney. The Suite Life of Zack & Cody began airing on the network in late 2008, as well as the original movie Minutemen in 2009, but this was likely part of the transition to Disney XD as the announcement had already been made.
Toon Disney frequently aired groups of series in blocks; over the course of Toon Disney's broadcast history, it had several programming blocks that featured at least two of their shows.
- 12 Days Of Christmas (1998–2008) – Aired around Christmas, showing Christmas-themed programming.
- Magical World Of Toons (1998–2003) – Four-hour nightly block that aired from Sunday to Thursday, consisting of three-hour marathons of certain shows like 101 Dalmatians, TaleSpin, Timon & Pumbaa, Toon Disney Doodles, Bonkers, Goof Troop, Quack Pack, Darkwing Duck, Aladdin, Doug, Pepper Ann, Teacher's Pet, Teamo Supremo, Sabrina: The Animated Series, Lloyd in Space, Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action!, House of Mouse, and The Weekenders. It was replaced by The Power Pack in 2003.
- Sonic Hog-A-Thon (2000) A 13 hour block airing Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Marathon for Groundhog Day.
- Screaming Meanies (1998–2003) – Aired around Halloween and showed Halloween-themed episodes of shows.
- Toon Disney Friday Night Movie (1998–2001) – Featured movies airing every Friday and aired as part of The Magical World of Toons.
- Pumbaa Bowl (1999-2009) – All-day marathon of Timon & Pumbaa that aired on Super Bowl Sunday each year.
- Chillin' With The Villains (2000–2004) – Two-hour marathon of a certain show presented on Sunday afternoons, focusing on a certain villain from the featured series, such as Fat Cat (from Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers), Negaduck (from Darkwing Duck) and Magica DeSpell (from DuckTales)
- The Princess Power Hour (2000–2007) – One-hour block featuring episodes of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. The block ended up airing only on weekend afternoons, and was replaced by The Great Toon Weekend Getaway.
- Toons In The House (2000–2002) – Four-hour weekday-afternoon block similar to The Disney Afternoon.
- Double Feature Movie Show (2001–2004) – Featured back-to-back movies that aired every Friday and repeated on Saturday.
- @Toon (2001–2004) – Before each first commercial break for most of the shows, the block featured some viewer submissions and game high scores from the official website.
- Hangin' With The Heroes (2001–2004) – Aired on weekends, later on weekdays,and featured Aladdin, Gargoyles, and Hercules – The Animated Series.
- Night of 1000 Toons (2002) – All-night marathon of Disney's House of Mouse.
- The New For You Show! (2003–2004) – Featured new episodes of Lloyd in Space, House of Mouse, 101 Dalmatians TV Series, Ferngully TV Series, Mouk, New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, The Weekenders, Teamo Supremo, and Fillmore! every Friday and Saturday night.
- After Class Laughs And After Class Laugh Track (2004–2006) – Two-hour block of "The Most Funny Shows" on Toon Disney, such as Lilo & Stitch: The Series, American Dragon: Jake Long, Disney's Recess, and Kim Possible. It was later replaced by Mega Jam.
- The Big Movie Show (2004–2009) – Daily showing of films, usually animated Disney films, but rarely movies produced by another studio. It was often the subject of theme weeks, which usually heralded in the initial Toon Disney broadcast of a given film.
- Jetix (2004–2009) – Fourteen-hour block on weekdays and a seventeen hour block on weekends. It featured action shows, some of which were originally on Fox before Disney bought its children's shows. This block was what Fox Kids eventually became in 2004; during its first two years on ABC Family, it was called ABC Family Action Block. Originally the network's nightly block, it eventually took up more than half of the network's schedule.
- Weekday Bonus Stacks And Superstar Bonus Stacks (2004–2006) – Three two-hour marathons of three different shows. Everyday there were three shows different from the previous day, though many of these programs were already airing in other time slots. In September 2005, it was renamed Superstar Bonus Stacks, this time airing seven different shows for an hour each and on a more regular schedule. It went back to Bonus Stacks that October before being replaced by Play it Again, Jam!
- Play It Again Jam! (2006–2007) – Replaced Bonus Stacks and featured three episodes of a given show in a row. Its name is a pun to the phrase, "Play it again, Sam!". It was replaced by Mega Jam.
- The Great Toon Weekend Getaway (2007–2008) – Five-hour weekend block featuring shows based on Disney movies, such as The Legend of Tarzan, Hercules, Aladdin, Timon & Pumbaa, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, The Little Mermaid, Lilo & Stitch, and The Emperor's New School.
- Super Stacked Weekdays (2007–2009) – Consisted of a mini-marathon each weekday. On Friday, a show that wasn't aired often was broadcast. It started as Mega Movie Jam, later Mega Jam, then Toon Disney Treasure Cove, before its final renaming of Super Stacked Weekdays to coincide with Super Stacked Weekends.
- Super Stacks and Super Stacked Weekends (2007–2009) – Three-hour weekend marathon of two random programs, one Saturday, and one Sunday.
- Toon Disney Wild Card Stack (2007–2009) – Showed classic Disney cartoon series multiple times.
- Summer Quest for 1000 Prizes (2008)
- The Brother Hood (2008–2009) – One-hour block which aired two times a day. It showed The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and Phineas and Ferb. The block still airs on Disney XD, but bumpers aren't used for it.
- Home for All Your Favorite Disney Characters (1998–2001)
- Built from the best toons. (2001–2009)
- Classic TV & Movie Hits
- "Stay Toon-ed For Ads On Disney Spinoff Channel". All Business. February 25, 2000. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- "DirecTV to Add Disney, ESPN HD Services". MulitChannel News. March 13, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- "Toon Disney available in HD". DirecTV. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- Disney to Target Boys With Rebranded Cable Channel, Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2008
- "Disney XD Unwraps on Friday the 13th (Archive)". MultiChannel News. January 7, 2009. Retrieved 2013-12-02.