'Much Bigger Than Barney'

The Wiggles, an Australian pop band for kids 5 and under, makes its U.S. performance debut at Disneyland this week.

The group's four members--singer-songwriters Jeff Fatt, Anthony Field, Greg Page and Murray Cook--and such pals as Dorothy the Dinosaur and Wags the Dog will play twice daily today through Thursday in the Fantasyland Theatre. The troupe formed in 1991, tours extensively in Australia and has performed in New Zealand and Hong Kong. The group has released seven recordings, with an eighth due in October, and made its feature film debut last year in Australia with "The Wiggles Movie." The Fox Family Channel is airing Wiggles clips in the U.S. weekdays from noon to 12:30 as part of "Mister Moose." There's even Wiggle room on the Internet--the group's Web site address is http://www.thewiggles.com.

The Disney Channel in Australia will tape parts of the Disneyland concerts for use in a Wiggles special, said Christopher Fruean, communication manager for Walt Disney Attractions in Asia Pacific. Fruean said he knows of no immediate plans to bring the Wiggles to the U.S. Disney Channel, although they are carried on other Disney Channels in several foreign markets.

"In Australia, you could go to the middle of nowhere and they've heard of the Wiggles," Fruean said. "They're much bigger than Barney."

* The Wiggles perform in the Fantasyland Theatre at Disneyland, 1313 Harbor Blvd., Anaheim. 12:30 and 2 p.m. today through Thursday. Park admission: $28 for children 3 to 11, $36 for seniors (60 and over), $38 general admission. (714) 781-4560.

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