Disney Junior has a massive hit on it’s hands with DOC McSTUFFINS, and let me emphasize the word MASSIVE. If the ratings and recent explosion of licensed merchandise weren’t enough to solidify that in the minds of everyone (kids or not), the scene at Chicago’s Navy Pier yesterday is the living, breathing testament to just how big this show has become. There, thousands of families gathered, waiting for hours in 90-degree+ heat, to let their children take a cruise through Doc McStuffins’ Doc Mobile – a custom Airstream Trailer, pulled by a matching truck and decked-out like Doc’s “office” with check-up stations and fun activities for all.
As the series about a six-year-old girl that fixes-up her ailing toys and stuffed animals as a “Doc” while emulating her mother (Dr. McStuffins) preps for the launch of it’s second season (starting September 6), excitement has officially reached the fever pitch… And for good reason: DOC McSTUFFINS carries a great message, and has become an inspiration for kids – girls and boys alike – of all backgrounds and ethnic heritage. At Navy Pier, kids got a brief overview that there’s “So Much You Can Do… to Take Care of You!” And as I said, there were thousands that turned-out…
From this point in the line, we heard rumblings of a three-hour wait, which fortunately we were able to bypass (yes, being “The Rock Father” has it’s privileges, believe it or not), heading right for the “VIP/Media Check-in.” We got right in and little Addie (and toddler Finley) entered “Doc’s Stretch & Flex” – a place that encourages kids to get active and move their bodies. The crew from Radio Disney was on-hand to supply some tunes while the hosts did a little bit of jumping and dancing to really get things going. But it was hot, so movement was in moderation. From there, it was time to give some toys a check-up…
The on-hand Doctors from the Artemis Medical Society were fantastic – visibly enthused to be there, talking to kids and answering questions. The way that DOC McSTUFFINS is breaking down the barrier of “fright” between kids and doctors is impressive – Addie is actually excited to go for her checkups, and that’s a great thing… this coming from a 36-year-old man who still procrastinates when it comes to his own health, largely due to a childhood of miserable experiences with Doctors… something that’s been totally flipped for my kids, and many others for this generation. These little ones are getting invested in their own well-being from an early age, and that running theme of “So Much You Can Do… to Take Care of You!” was emphasized at each station, and carried home in a little medical kit containing valuable information for kids and their grownups, complete with a water bottle and growth chart.
But how about the actual Doc Mobile?
Doc’s Mobile Clinic is a fun… a lot like playing Doctor at one of the local Children’s Museums. There’s different stations set up inside, and the decor features plenty of familiar characters that the kids all love. Outside the trailer were hydration stations for water play…
At the end, the entire visit was capped-off with a picture, which was printed right away, and also immediately available for social sharing…
The Doc Mobile event is certainly cute and fun, but I think that the success of the show combined with the limited dates for this initial tour run takes some of the enjoyment out of things, especially for those that had to wait in line during that intense heat. Even though no one was being rushed or encouraged to move along, when you’re inside the confines of the Doc Mobile’s white picket fences, it’s hard not to look back at that line and sorta scoot the kids through and onto the next station so that others can get in as well. I can equate it to waiting for a roller coaster at an amusement park… two hours of wait for five minutes of fun, and therein lies the caveat. It also should be noted that Doc McStuffins herself was not at the Chicago date (nor was she ever promised to be), as Doc will only be appearing at “Select Dates” along the tour. While that was not even questioned by my little ones (we didn’t even tell Addie where we were going until we were in the car), I did hear some disappointment expressed by a few parents in the crowd that Doc wasn’t there. In the future, I hope that Disney will make arrangements for the Doc to be at all dates, and perhaps extend the tour to some locations that are easier to get to, and boast smaller crowds. A mall tour would be perfect for this.
Future Confirmed Tour Dates:
Saturday, August 31 & Sunday, September 1
San Antonio, Texas 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Festival PEOPLE EN ESPAÑOL – Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
Friday, September 6
Fort Worth Museum of Science
Tuesday, September 10
New Orleans, Louisiana
Saturday, September 14
Centennial Olympic Park
Tuesday, September 17
Thursday, September 26
Los Angeles, California
Saturday, September 28
Phoenix, Arizona 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Arizona Coalition For Tomorrow Kids Health Fair – Salvation Army Community Center
For more on the Doc McStuffins Doc Mobile Tour, check out the official site at Disney Junior.
And as our stop at Navy Pier was the second in a long, three-event day… this is how Addie wound up:
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