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Monday, August 26 2013 12:59

Summer Fun: Visiting the Doc McStuffins Doc Mobile at Chicago's Navy Pier...

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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.

Doc Mobile TourAs 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...

The line for the Doc Mobile

Doc MobileFrom 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...

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Lomogram 2013-08-26 10-31-3The 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.

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But how about the actual Doc Mobile?

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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...

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At the end, the entire visit was capped-off with a picture, which was printed right away, and also immediately available for social sharing...

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docflyerThe 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 
Dallas/Fort-Worth, Texas
Fort Worth Museum of Science

Tuesday, September 10
New Orleans, Louisiana
Audubon Zoo

Saturday, September 14 
Atlanta, Georgia
Centennial Olympic Park

Tuesday, September 17 
Washington D.C.
*Location TBD

Thursday, September 26 
Los Angeles, California
The Grove

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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James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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