Newest Review: ... Not only do you get the quality entertainment for kids but it is also fun for teenagers who want to reminisce and watch all their old... more
Member Name: shroud
Date: 25/08/08, updated on 25/08/08 (317 review reads)
Advantages: age appropriate programming for children 6-12, great family films without commercials
Disadvantages: subscription only
Between the ages of 6 and 12 can be a bit tricky when it comes to TV viewing habits. Children who loved CBeebies outgrow the programming, and the follow on children's channels may contain shows above their own physical and mental maturity level, despite the marketing ploys to make parents and kids think otherwise. Luckily, there is Disney Cinemagic, a Disney branded channel that bridges this gap with TV shows and family films, aimed squarely at children past the Playhouse Disney stage, but not yet truly old enough to properly appreciate the young teen programming of the regular Disney Channel programming.
As the name suggests, the films are all Disney cinema (and a few direct to video) releases of the past, and many of the series are also based upon the hit films, though not all. A quick glance at film offerings reveal Lilo and Stitch, Dumbo, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, and Lady and the Tramp 2 having aired recently or appearing in the upcoming schedule. My daughter particularly enjoys the Lilo and Stitch animated TV series, and Recess is also a firm favoruite of her and her brother (it's about kids at a primary school and their adventures and escapades on the playground).Other fun shows for tweens include the girly animated spy feature, Kim Possible, 101 Dalmations the series, Tarzan the animated series, and my five year old son's personally adored Lloyd in Space. From time to time they also offer specials, such as the current "The Making of Wall-E."
With the series shown aimed firmly at the 6-12 age demogrpahic, there is very little to worry about here for parents. Humour is typical Disney clean, with the storylines not having any age inappopriate behaviours. Your child will not be enticed to smear her 6 year old self with coloured eye shadow or lip gloss to look like a pop star, nor will she learn to obsess quite yet if that cute boy over there is going to ask her out or give her a kiss. Likewise, kids will not obsess over the latest trendy shoes in these shows, or the latest cool hair style, with cool on the playground being firmly in the "look what I can do on the play equipment" variety with the extra cool points going to those who have secret super spy identities as they use radical gadgets and tackle Disneyfied villains. I have to say I appreciate this, because as a parent of both teens and tweens, I can tell you kids grow up rather fast anyway and its hard enough as it is to keep them where they need to be.
I am not a fan of little girls wearing makeup and children wearing clothes that are mini grown up duds. I like children to enjoy their childhood, just as I did, before all the marketing hype and TV bombardment brainwashed so many. This is not to say that other children do not take notice that my daughter, while 7, is not into all the mini teen stuff, and I think it is rather telling that after a couple weeks of getting to know her, that girls in the tween bracket find their way to my house to watch these shows, play baby dolls and My Little Pony, and start dressing rather like her in more traditional children's wear. Our house is the most popular one in the neighbourhood, it feels like, as the kids are always over here. I think its because growing up is full of enough pressure, and they like having the permission to not do that quite so fast, hard on the heels of the Cbeebies days. While parents can do a lot about this, while choosing their children's books, toys, games, and what not, its nice to see a channel aimed at reinforcing these childhood values while having a lot of fun.
The films make this extra great value, with two different offerings a day. This is great, because you can record them like we do on the Sky+ and watch them together as a special treat, and the mix of recent Disney offerings with vintage Disney films makes for a wide range of great Disney films to catch. many of these air exclusively on Cinemagic and are not offered on any other film channel, either, and while many are available on DVD, why use up a rental when you can watch it as part of your already paid for package? The films are uncut and the prints cleaned up too, so you get the entire film without bits missing. Even better, they don't interrupt the films with advertisements either, so its plain viewing bliss.
This is a subscription channel, and we get this as part of our package from Sky, as it comes with Sky Movies 1 and 2, as well as being available as a stand alone add on with Sky, Tiscali, and Virgin. You get the channel as itself and a +1, so if you find you have just missed the start of something you wanted to watch or record on the "normal" Cinemagic, you can catch it again in an hour on the +1. The channel also boasts a web presence, where you can look up the current viewing schedule, as well a rundown on this month's films they will be showing, and also play a couple of games on offer, though not as many of these as say on the Playhouse Disney site. All in all, it represents excellent value, and provides a wealth of programming my younger children adore without being preschooly. They find the characters easy to relate to, and no undue social pressure are brought to bear that they aren't yet mature enough to handle, so I'm happy too.
Summary: Great for the entire family, but THE place for 6-12's
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