Disney Schools Bring Mickey Into Chinese Classrooms
Disney English centers teach Chinese kids new words—and new Disney characters
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2009 9:44 AM CDT
People visit an ice park featuring Disney characters in Harbin, China.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Mickey Mouse and his cohorts are moving into China’s huge English-teaching market, reports the Wall Street Journal. Disney English centers teach kids as young as 2 the basics of the language with the help of Disney character-themed lessons and “magic tokens” that can be swapped for Disney merchandise often unavailable in the rest of China.

The company—which plans to roll out Disney English worldwide if the China program succeeds—says the centers are about learning, not marketing. The lessons, however, introduce Disney characters and shows that have yet to make it past Beijing’s tight restrictions on foreign media, and Disney is tight-lipped on whether the centers are actually turning a profit.