Parents know how hard it is to avoid the Disney conglomerate as it seemingly aims to invade every aspect of our kids’ lives. Movies, TV, and now Pixar has returned to McDonald’s Happy Meal toys: It’s hard to avoid those mouse ears even if your kids wanted to (and they don’t).
So we greet this latest Disney venture with some guarded trepidation, even though it appears to have the best (marketing) intentions: CNBC and other outlets report today that Disney is launching a new “digital brand” called Disney Eats (we feel like there should be an exclamation point in there somewhere). The effort will involve an “online channel and editorial site features culinary shows and products aimed at families,” with an emphasis on parents and kids cooking together.
Disney Eats online shows will include Kitchen Little, featuring kids working with celebrity chefs, and Tiny Kitchen, with chefs creating small replicas of Disney food. Unsurprisingly, the brand will extend into other products like Disney-themed kitchen utensils, bakeware, and cookbooks. Disney claims that the brand “will uphold the same health standards that the company previously imposed on advertisers” (the company made sure that all food products advertised on its networks fit specific nutritional standards, starting in 2012). But judging from the above promo video, things look pretty sugary. And the dozen or so videos already posted on the Disney Eats YouTube channel are pretty pancake/cupcake heavy (but in the shape of Ursula! Or Dory!)
We think it’s great if these Disney Eats efforts help get kids more involved in cooking and creating their own food, which hopefully will get them excited about expanding their taste palettes. But just a heads-up, Disney: We don’t need any help getting our kids to eat cupcakes, even ones with mouse ears. Can you get them to eat broccoli?