How to Create a Kid-friendly ‘Hollywood’-style Premiere, Disney’s ‘Bluey’ Way

“We thought about the guest experience from a family perspective, so what are some things that, as a parent, you would need or like to have that would make the experience go really smoothly?”

–Emma Quan, Director-Events, Disney Branded Television

Beloved family animation series “Bluey” episodes are about seven minutes long, so when Disney Branded Television released season three’s 28-minute special on Disney+ called “The Sign”—about the energetic Blue Heeler puppy character’s home going up for sale and a family wedding—the brand hosted an event worthy of a Hollywood premiere. Held in two parts at The Walt Disney Studios Lot in Burbank, CA, on April 13, the event featured more than 500 celebrities, influencers, press and Disney executives and their kids.

But its reach went far beyond the walls of the lot. Ultimately, the experience garnered more than 4.3 million social impressions, helping to generate excitement for “The Sign,” which was the biggest “Bluey” episode premiere ever, with 10.4 million views globally on Disney+ after a week of streaming.

“It feels very personal to people because the stories are so relatable, heartfelt, smart and funny. Trying to capture that feeling into an event was probably one of our biggest creative challenges,” says Emma Quan, director-events at Disney Branded Television. “At the end of the day, this was a fun Saturday afternoon for a family to enjoy, and then the cherry on top was that it was about their favorite show.”

How do you create a family-friendly, yet VIP, experience? Let’s go inside.

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Involve hosts that know the most.

The experience kicked off with a red-carpet moment and a 30-foot step-and-repeat of the “Heeler House” in the series. Once inside the theater for the episode’s advance screening, attendees were treated to popcorn and participated in pre-show trivia hosted by kids’ content creator Aaron Bertram to earn special “Bluey” prizes. Twin sister-influencer djs Amira & Kayla kept the energy up with “dance mode” breaks, and characters Bluey and Bingo made a surprise appearance. In addition, Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, delivered a special message from “Bluey” creator Joe Brumm.


Immerse them, of course.

Following the screening, attendees enjoyed an immersive, family-friendly “Bluey”-themed party. Stage 7 on the studio lot was completely transformed into the ultimate “Bluey” experience with builds replicating key rooms and recognizable features from inside and outside the Heeler house. The room’s centerpiece was a 16-foot-tall replica of the iconic Heeler family tree, featuring colorful lanterns, a bench and blooming red flowers.

Around the space, 200 feet of custom printed and designed flats portrayed various rooms and scenes with character imagery and household props for photo ops. Cool-toned blue lighting created an outdoor, backyard feel in the enclosed venue that came alive during “dance mode” moments on the dance floor, pumped up once again by DJs Amira & Kayla, while surrounded by blue fog-filled bubbles.

“It’s funny because when I was looking at the feeds on social media afterward, a lot of people kind of coined it as Bluey-chella,” Quan says. “It was the same weekend as Coachella weekend one, but inside the space, kids were dancing and playing games.”

Disney Branded TV_Bluey Premiere_2024_the tree

The footprint included a 16-foot-tall replica of the Heeler’s family tree.


Load up on the swag.

Several interactive game stations invited kids to play “Pass the Parcel,” “Keepy Uppy” and the “Bluey” claw machine. By the end of hundreds of rounds of games, the brand distributing more than 3,000 officially licensed “Bluey” prizes and gifts, such as plush backpacks, blankets and toys. Attendees also had the opportunity to play in Bluey and Bingo’s dress-up bin to become a Grannie (IYKYK), take part in the “Fairy Finder” scavenger hunt and meet Bluey and Bingo.


Create a crowd-pleaser menu.

The event offered kid-friendly, “Bluey”-inspired food offerings, such as pizza, pavlova, Bluey’s favorite fruit cups and Shadowlands cupcakes. But the event’s caterer, Bon Appétit at Disney Studios, conducted research and created food presentations that the adults in the room could appreciate.

The team went through a “Bluey” deep dive, getting the series cookbook and watching fan-favorite episodes to pull out recognizable foods. The buffet tables were decorated with “Bluey” gnome cutouts and signage like “Bluey’s Crispy Feast” for the fried cod and chicken tenders, and “Golden Crown Takeaway” with Chinese food options. Sprinkled in were Mickey-shaped ice cream sandwiches and ice cream bars from Disneyland to tie the party to the Disney setting.

“This seems very minor, but we were debating about carpet color, and just knowing that we were doing an event with kids present who are eating food—some of which was ice cream covered in chocolate—I’m really glad we picked a navy carpet because it stayed preserved throughout the entire event,” Quan says.


Don’t forget the essentials.

And speaking of deliberate choices: “We wanted to give the show a Hollywood premiere experience since it’s one of our beloved, top-performing titles on the Disney+ platform,” Quan says. “We thought about the guest experience from a family perspective, so what are some things that, as a parent, you would need or like to have that would make the experience go really smoothly?”

The team designated stroller parking areas, provided booster seats to ensure kids had a good view of the theater screen and filled the afterparty soundstage with child-size furniture, like small chairs, tents, slides and mushroom stools and tables. Talk about no bad seat in the house. Agency: Mirrored Media.


Take a Spin Through the Premiere:

Photo credit: Disney Branded Television/Mirrored Media

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