While most programming on Disney Channel is aimed squarely at younger generations, there are a few exceptions that can easily be enjoyed by viewers of all ages. Most notably, the network's Mickey Mouse series offers fun, energetic and gorgeous shorts that share the same imaginative whimsy of Mickey's classic 'toons. The upcoming episode "Year of the Dog" not only honors the Chinese New Year, but it also features Mickey whistling a very special version of the iconic tune from Steamboat Willie. Check it out!
Part of what makes these Mickey Mouse shorts so fantastic is that most episodes follow a specific theme that allows the creative team to draw inspirations from any number of different sources. In the case of "Year of the Dog," various elements of Chinese culture are explored, from food prep to parade decorations to the social custom of gifting oranges. But in the clip above, one's attention is arguably most drawn to the music, which is quite intentional, since this episode's soundtrack was created using more than 20 different traditional Chinese instruments.Throughout, the dizi flute is used to represent Mickey, while the ehru violin is used for Pluto.
And there's one particular musical moment that got us the most excited. As Mickey is bringing dishes out to the table, he's whistling the "Steamboat Bill" song from Steamboat Willie, which was the very first Mickey Mouse animated short to be released, and was the first Disney cartoon with synchronized sound. It isn't that often that Disney allows this tune (or any Steamboat Willie references) to enter into modern projects, but it was a great decision to throw it in here, since the crew was able to use all those Chinese instruments to give the melody a much different and more vibrant flair. Fingers crossed that a standalone version was recorded for downloading purposes.
Set to debut on February 10, Mickey Mouse's "Year of the Dog" episode will see Mickey's Lunar New Year feast getting completely deterred by some kind of strange creature that really loves dumplings. (The dumpling affection isn't what earns the "strange" distinction.) One could easily assume that description is talking about Pluto, since it takes the dog zero time to devour just about every dish that Mickey has brought out. I mean, this is an animal that doesn't mind eating its own tail. (This is such a silly gag.)
The short will also provide several visual references to not only Chinese culture, but to the physical location itself. Viewers will also be able to spot the Shanghai World Financial Center show up at some point.
The "Year of the Dog" episode of Mickey Mouse will air on Disney Channel on Saturday, February 10, at 8:25 a.m. ET. It will also go live on the DisneyNOW app that same day, for anyone who isn't particularly gung ho about getting up that early. And to see when other new and returning shows are hitting the small screen soon, head to our midseason premiere schedule.