Aside from its classic in-house films, Disney probably owns at least a few other entertainment properties you care about, among them Pixar and Marvel. Disney+, the company’s dedicated, delivers the vast majority of the content it owns in attractive interfaces with competitive features such as 4K streaming, offline downloads, and personalized recommendations. Disney+ will only grow stronger as its original content offerings expand, and—if its ongoing content announcements are any indication—that’s exactly how it plans to take on Netflix and HBO Max.
What Can You Watch on Disney+?
Disney has been a major media player for a long time, and lately, its rate of growth has really shot up. The company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox added a substantial number of shows and movies to Disney’s arsenal, though Hulu has many of the shows intended for older audiences. This means that you’ll need both services to watch everything that was part of that network. Still,, which is impressive.
On the TV side, Disney+’s library comprises a combination of existing shows and upcoming originals. Some classic Disney shows on the platform include Even Stevens, Gravity Falls, Kim Possible, Lizzie Maguire, Phineas and Ferb, That’s So Raven, and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. The Simpsons is also available, but other animations such as Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, Futurama, and King of the Hill are on Hulu.
Disney+ also offers originals such as Encore!, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Marvel’s Hero Project, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, The Mandalorian, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, and WandaVision. Of these, The Mandalorian (because of) and WandaVision are the most prominent shows.
Disney+ announced that it would launch over a hundred new titles per year (mostly in existing franchises), which is a staggering amount of new content. Still, we would like Disney to move further outside the bounds of its existing content stable. Amazon, Netflix, and even Apple TV+, despite its somewhat disappointing launch titles, all attempt to tell new, compelling stories. Netflix’s Stranger Things,‘s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Apple TV+’s For All Mankind are among the many examples of stellar, completely original show concepts. We also don’t like the staggered schedule of originals. Paramount+ and Apple TV+ employ a similar strategy; this forces consumers to maintain a subscription for the duration of a show’s release cycle.
The Disney+ movie library does not surpass those of, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in terms of volume, but if you or your kids are fans of Disney classics, Pixar animations, Star Wars films, or Marvel movies, Disney+ is the way to go. Disney’s library of movies is more consistently high-quality than most other video streaming services. Notably, Soul, skipped theaters in the US and debuted directly on the platform, as did Luca. Unlike Cruella Black Widow , which launched on the platform the same day as in theaters, Pixar films don’t require you to pay for Premier Access (a one-time fee for early streaming access on top of your subscription rate that’s typically between $30 and $34.99). If you’re willing to wait a few months, though, Premier Access films (as well as theatrical-only releases such as The Eternals) eventually come to the service at no extra charge.
HBO Max released many films on its streaming platform on the same day as the theatrical debut during 2021 (and for free). Although that service will switch back to theatrical releases in 2022, it will reduce the exclusivity window for theaters.
A few of the popular, live-action movies on Disney+ include Avatar, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Miracle on 34th Street, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Remember the Titans, The Sandlot, and The Sound of Music. Classic Disney animations include Aladdin, Bambi, Fantasia, Frozen, Frozen II, Lilo & Stitch, Moana, Mulan, Oliver and Company, Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Tangled, The Emperor’s New Groove, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Zootopia. Among the Pixar movies on the service are Brave, Cars, Finding Nemo, Inside Out, Monsters Inc., Ratatouille, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2, Toy Story, and WALL-E.
Star Wars films include Star Wars: Episodes I through VII, as well as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Marvel films Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: End Game, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Iron Man, and Thor: The Dark World are also available.
Expect more content to move over to Disney+ as other services’ streaming rights expire. Note that, in addition to taking content away from other services,.
Cinephiles should check out our roundup of the. Our top picks, including and , have larger, more diverse, and curated libraries of films to enjoy.
How Much Does Disney+ Cost?
Disney+ now costs $7.99 per month, but you can get a discount if you opt for its $79.99-per-year annual plan. Previously, Disney+ charged $6.99 per month and $69.99 per year.. Sick of the service? Follow our instructions on .
Disney also offers a plan that bundles Hulu’s ad-supported tier, ESPN+, and Disney+ for $13.99 per month (up from $12.99 per month) and an $19.99-per-month option (up from $18.99 per month) that bundles the ad-free version of Hulu with those other two services. As a whole, that package is a good value, and with Hulu it brings much needed adult content to diversify your streaming library. In international regions, Hulu’s mature content actually exists inside Disney+ under the Star brand. However, otheroffer more live sports than ESPN+.
Disney+ is one of the cheaper streaming services, but Apple TV+ ($4.99 per month), Acorn TV ($5.99 per month), and Hulu’s ad-supported tier ($5.99 per month) undercut it. Paramount+’s plan with ads is also $5.99 per month. Netflix and Prime Video are more expensive at $8.99 per month, whilecosts $14.99 per month ($9.99 per month with ads). Every dollar counts in terms of cutting down on your monthly subscriptions, especially if you also subscribe to one of the more expensive .
You don’t need to pay for your entertainment if you use a. Our top pick, , features an excellent selection of popular movies and shows.
Disney+ is available onand mobile phones; , such as the Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku; as well as gaming consoles such as and . You can also watch Disney+ via a desktop web browser.
Disney+’s web interface uses dark background colors, light text, and consistent elements, which gives it a clean, organized look. You navigate the app via a series of menu items at the top of the screen: Home, Search, Watchlist, Originals, Movies, and Series. Profile details and account settings are accessible via an icon in the upper right-hand corner. Here, you can set autoplay preferences, change your profile photo (options include Disney characters and animal photos from National Geographic), and update your subscription details. Notably, you can opt for the Disney+ bundle with ESPN+ and Hulu’s ad-supported tier in this area, too. Despite issues at launch with infinite loading screens and navigate lag, Disney+’s web interface now works reliably.
The Home tab highlights featured content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Horizontally scrolling lists of other content populate the rest of the page including Recommended for You, Trending, Out of the Vault, Ultra HD and HDR, and Shorts. The Search section features several more collections including Disney Through the Decades, Disney Channel Original Movie, Marvel Animation, and Princesses. The search feature is notable in that you can use titles, genres, and characters in your queries. The Originals, Movies, and Series sections show all the entries in those respective categories. You can sort the latter two sections by name, genre, and by those that support the UHD and HDR standards.
When you see something you want to watch, just click on a title to view its details. Here, you can find a description, run-time, and MPAA rating. Disney+ also shows suggestions for related content, any video extras (such as trailers or deleted scenes), and an expanded details section with a longer description and cast information. You click the plus button next to a title to add it to your watchlist (which syncs across platforms). Disney+ is missing any sort of feedback system, such as user-written reviews (offers this) or star-based ratings. Given Disney+’s stated focus on recommendations, this exclusion is odd.
Disney+’s playback screen is standard with 10-second rewind and fast-forward buttons and built-in caption settings. On some shows, Disney+ does offer a Skip Intro button, which we appreciate. It also pops up the next episode in a season after the current one ends, instead of making you go back to the episode list to start the next one. We tried streaming The Incredibles via Disney+’s website over a home Ethernet connection (200MBPS download) and did not encounter any stutters or lags.
Disney+ On Mobile
We signed up for the Disney+ service on a Google Pixel 3 running Android 10 without issue. Note that you need to verify your account in the app’s settings by entering a one-time password Disney sends to your email. The mobile app looks sleek with a dark theme and colorful content previews; it is very consistent with the web interface.
You navigate the app via icons at the bottom of the screen: Home, Search, Downloads, and Profile. The Originals, Movies, Series tabs from the web live in the Search section. The Downloads section shows an unsortable list of all the titles you downloaded for offline viewing. Downloading content is easy; just tap the down arrow icon on an entry’s detail page (it’s right next to the plus icon for adding it to your watchlist). Oddly, you need to go to the profile tab in the app to access your watchlist; it should be its own icon.
The Profile area has a few settings specific to the mobile app too, such as the option to restrict streaming to Wi-Fi connections and to set the quality of downloads. We wish Disney specified the resolution of these downloads, instead of using the vague High, Medium, and Low descriptors. You can also view a graphic that shows your available device storage and opt to download content to any external storage device here.
We tried watching the first episode of The Mandalorian via the Disney+ app over a home Wi-Fi connection and had no problems with the video or audio streaming quality. Downloading movies and TV shows worked as advertised, too.
Accessibility and Extra Features
Disney+ offers a good range of accessibility options. For instance, the service supports closed captions and audio descriptions on most titles. Prime Video and Netflix also support audio descriptions for some original titles. Apple owns all the content on Apple TV+, so it can ensure that all the content on the service supports this feature as well.
Disney says that its interface works with text-to-speech tools (excluding on the PlayStation 4), is high-contrast for readability, and supports alternative navigation methods, including using a keyboard. You can set audio and subtitle preferences directly from the playback screen on the mobile app and the web.offers similar closed captioning settings. Additional subtitle style settings are available on the web.
Each Disney+ account supports up to seven customizable user profiles, four simultaneous streams, and 10 total connected devices. That’s a best-in-class offering and great for large households and families. For comparison, Apple TV+ offers six different user profiles and Netflix allows five. Amazon Prime Video andallow only three simultaneous streams. beats Disney+ with its support for five simultaneous streams. Disney+ also offers GroupWatch co-viewing, where seven viewers can watch simultaneously across devices and share reactions for , similar to Hidive or Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party).
Disney+’s parental controls are lackluster. For each profile, you can only specify whether it is a Kids Profile (limited to G, TV-Y, TV-Y7/Y7-FV, TV-G); there’s no way to set custom restrictions based on content ratings. Disney+ now lets you create an Exit Question for kids’ profiles to prevent them from just switching accounts and lock the ability to create a new profile behind a PIN. Both are improvements over Disney+’s initial capabilities. Other video streaming services, such as Apple TV+, HBO Max,, and Netflix also have excellent parental control features.
Disney+ supports offline downloads—a now-standard feature it shares with Netflix, Amazon Prime,, HBO Max, and others. Hulu added this capability for subscribers to its premium plan but imposes lots of other restrictions on how long you get to keep a download. Disney+, on the other hand, says that no such download limitations exist for its own content, other than needing to connect to the internet at least once every 30 days. Disney+ does not specify what limitations apply to the content it does not own completely. Downloads are large; a 22-minute episode of The Simpsons in high quality took up nearly 1GB of space. The download completed in just a few minutes though.
You can stream some shows in Ultra HD 4K (with support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision) for those platforms that support it as well as in HD HDR on supported mobile devices. Some content supports the Dolby Atmos standard, too. Select Disney+ content is even available in “” quality, bringing the fidelity of the large-format film theater resolution to displays that support it. Check an entry’s detail page for the standards it supports. Apple TV+, Prime Video, and Netflix also support all these standards, though Apple TV+ has the best track record thus far in terms of the percentage of shows supporting them.
Disney+ and VPNs
A, or VPN is a good way to protect your internet traffic from your ISP and anyone else lurking on your network. However, since a VPN can also spoof your location, many video streaming services prevent you from using one, in order to enforce geographic restrictions on content. Disney says in its help sections that while it will distribute most content globally, there might be some limited restrictions.
We tried to stream Disney+ from my phone and my desktop, both of which were connected to a US-basedserver, but Disney+ blocked us from watching anything. We couldn’t even log in to the service on the web.
Disney+ Continues to Grow
Disney+ is a formidable video streaming competitor (), since it leverages Disney’s vast catalog of entertainment content and promises new originals in popular franchises. We also appreciate its family-friendly features (four simultaneous streams and seven user profiles), sleek interfaces, ad-free experience, and offline download capabilities. However, for the service to earn a higher rating, more of Disney+’s originals need to succeed and the cost of Premier Access needs to decrease. Netflix remains our Editors’ Choice pick for on-demand video streaming for its excellent interface, features, and originals. Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV are our picks for the best live TV services, respectively, for their value and channel lineup. Peacock is our Editors’ Choice pick for free streaming.