The House of Mouse is decking its content halls with a variety of new holiday-themed programming that will launch this December on Disney Channel and Disney+.
First up, the channel has lined up three hour-long live-action specials. Disney Holiday Magic Quest, in which host Raven-Symoné guides celebrities through a series of challenges and obstacles inside Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, will premiere on December 4. Two days later, Disney will bow Challenge Accepted! Disney Channel’s Epic Holiday Showdown (pictured), which revolves around Santa and Mrs. Clause enlisting the help of Disney Channel actors to save the holidays from Ebenezer Scrooge. Completing the trio, holiday-themed sketch comedy Disney Channel Holiday House Party, featuring kidfluencers pulling off different gags and jokes, is set to air on December 11.
These specials fit into Disney’s non-fiction strategy—which Dan Silver, Disney+’s VP of original unscripted content, previously told Kidscreen leans on aspirational and inspirational series—and offer competition hooks to better draw in co-viewing audiences. Disney Holiday Magic Quest also provides viewers with a peek at the iconic theme park, which is apropos since Disney World has seen its traffic dwindle as a result of the pandemic, and Disneyland remains shuttered.
Disney Channel has also begun production on original movie Christmas Again, a comedy about an 11-year-old girl who finds herself reliving Christmas day after day as she struggles to learn the true meaning of the season and accept her newly blended family. No premiere date for the film has been set yet.
The slew of linear programs have been announced at a time when Disney is reorganizing its operations to prioritize streaming. This shift means that all original Disney content will eventually be funneled onto one of the conglom’s VOD platforms, as well as falling under the leadership of Gary Marsh, who was recently promoted to a new role as president and CCO of Disney Branded Television.
In streaming news, Disney+ has lined up a new Christmas movie called Godmothered to debut exclusively on December 4. The comedy stars an inexperienced fairy godmother-in-training (Jillian Bell) who sets out on a mission to prove the need for fairy godmothers after learning that her profession is facing extinction. It’s directed by Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones’s Baby) and produced by Justin Springer (Dumbo). Diane Sabatini (Lady and the Tramp), Tom Pollock (Ghostbusters: Afterlife), Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) and Amie Karp (Ghostbusters: Afterlife) will serve as executive producers.