Recess: School’s Out (2001)

For an animated feature with School’s Out in the title, it’s no surprise that summer camp would factor into it, but since the feature length version of Disney’s cartoon series Recess (1997-2001) is ultimately about saving recess it’s one playground troublermaker’s decision to not go to summer camp that ultimately ends up saving the day.

While his friends are all off at different kinds of camps for the summer, T.J. discovers something fishy going on at the school and ends up blackmailing his sister to go on a road trip to talk his friends into helping him stop an evil plot to end school recess.

But when T.J. shows up announced at the different camps his friends are attending – military camp, space camp, performing arts camp, baseball camp and WWE-style wrestling camp – his friends are reluctant to believe his story so he must convince them that he’s not just making up a story because he’s bored back at home with no friends around.

Once he succeeds the camp scenes are limited as the action shifts entirely to the school and their efforts to save recess. But the message is a familiar one for summer camp purveyors: it takes more than just classroom knowledge and testing skills to teach and for young people to learn valuable life lessons.


Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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