Every year on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey and the gang get the opportunity to see Santa Claus. This year, Mickey gets to meet the big guy as a part of a double-episode, "full-length adventure," Choo-Choo Express.
It doesn't start off with Santa though, it starts off with the ever-wacky Professor Von Drake heading off to Mistletoe Mountain to make snow that doesn't melt. Oddly enough, the Professor is successful, but he does need help getting the new "easy-freezy" snow back to the Clubhouse. And that is where the aforementioned Choo-Choo Express comes in – Mickey and the gang have to take the train up to the mountain to get the Professor and his snow back.
It all starts off as a classic episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – an off-beat problem is presented at the opening, Mickey and friends grab Toodles and some Mouskatools, and they proceed step-by-step until their goal is accomplished. At that point, normally, they sing the "Hot Dog," do the "Hot Dog Dance" and go on their merry way.
Instead of that happening here, once the snow is back at the clubhouse, the gang heads out again on the Choo-Choo Express to pick up some friends for a snow party. Again, Toodles shows up, more Mouskatools are received, and the gang goes about accomplishing their goal, and only then do they do the "Hot Dog."
Though Mickey and his friends aren't universally liked, they do seem to find their way awfully quickly into the hearts of children. Geared for preschoolers – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse airs as a part of Disney Channel's Playhouse Disney lineup – the show is full of bright colors, great animation, and characters children either know and love or will soon know and with this as an introduction, love. Adults will notice quite easily that Choo-Choo Express is simply two episodes put together, but the intended audience will remain blissfully unaware. Instead, at least with the preschooler I watched, it was just special that they used a second set of Mouskatools. The show does make some attempts to be educational, in this case teaching about things like telling time on analog clocks and different shapes. The show doesn't linger on these moments, but they are present.
The DVD release of Choo-Choo Express contains an extra episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (only available in 1.33 format, not optimized for widescreen televisions as the main feature is) as well. Entitled "Mickey's Big Job," it features Mickey and company helping out Willy the Giant when Willy goes off to see his mother for the day. The bonus episode can be watched either regularly or in "Interactive Adventure Mode" which stops the episode occasionally to ask questions of the viewer.
There is something wonderfully special about Christmas, and something equally fantastic about Mickey Mouse. When the two get put together, even if Santa and Mrs. Claus only make a brief appearance, it ends up thrilling many a youngster. This DVD, which also features a new song by They Might Be Giants (they wrote the theme song and the "Hot Dog" as well), is sure to delight the Mouse's youngest fans.