"My kids don't watch television yet," Hannigan tells PEOPLE.

By peoplestaff225
Updated December 02, 2020 11:55 PM

Alyson Hannigan has always been drawn to animation, but it was her Buffy the Vampire Slayer director, Joss Whedon, who put the connection best.

“I think Joss put it perfectly when he said, ‘I feel like if we opened you up, a cartoon would just pop out,’ ” Hannigan tells PEOPLE. “I think that’s the most fitting description of me.”

Now the former How I Met Your Mother star is meeting her ‘toon destiny with a guest-voice role on Disney Channel’s Sofia the First in a new episode premiering Dec. 12 at 9 a.m.

Hannigan plays Winter, a gentle faun who yearns for a special ability — only to realize she was special all along. (Awwwwww.)

Alyson Hannigan Sofia the First

Rick Rowell/Disney Junior

So what do Hannigan’s two daughters with husband Alexis Denisof think of their mom’s latest role?

Although her girls are Sofia fans from books, “my kids don’t watch television yet,” Hannigan says of Satyana Marie, 5½, and Keeva Jane, 2½.

“It’s probably getting to the point where we’ll introduce it to Sati now,” says Hannigan, 40. “We were waiting for her to start begging us. She’ll ask occasionally, but until recently she didn’t know we had a television so it was a non-issue.”

She adds, “I think she was convinced for a long time that the only thing on television was either news or sports because when you go to restaurants that’s what they’re playing.”

Alyson Hannigan

Courtesy Disney Junior

When Hannigan saw the fuzzy, horned Winter onscreen for the first time, “I’m like, ‘Ah, I really want her to see this!’ ”

The episode also includes a nod to that other famous Disney franchise with a wintery theme.

With a no-TV or movies policy, “The Frozen thing was hard” to avoid, especially when it comes to her older daughter, admits Hannigan. “But we gave her all the books, so she’s obsessed. And she knows the soundtrack back and forth.”

On a recent plane ride, Satyana finally got to see the film — on mute.

“We let her watch it without the sound,” says Hannigan. “We figured if she’s just going to lean over and watch it on someone else’s screen, we can just put it on the screen in front of her. So she says she’s seen Frozen. Pretty much!”

Alyson Hannigan Sofia the First

Courtesy Disney Junior

— Michelle Tauber