Disney is the latest company to wade into the film and TV streaming game with Disney+ – or Disney Plus if you prefer – a new streaming service that will let you watch all of the Mouse House’s best and brightest in one place.
Launching later this year with movies ranging from cartoon classics and Pixar’s finest through to Star Wars and Marvel – not to mention a bevy of exclusive new TV shows – Disney+ looks set to seriously shake up streaming. Here’s what you need to know.
When is Disney+ launching?
Disney Plus is set to debut in the US, Canada and the Netherlands tomorrow, on 12 November 2019, with Australia and New Zealand launching a week later, and other major markets to follow within the first two years. Here are the exact times the service will go live in various time zones:
- 3am PT
- 5am CT
- 6am ET
- 11am GMT
After much stalling from Disney, the UK finally has a confirmed release date for Disney Plus: 31 March 2020. Germany, France, Italy, Spain will also gain access on this date as well.
Variety also confirmed that Latin America will get the service in Q1 2021, and in the meantime Disney have struck a deal with Amazon Prime to give the rights to lots of popular Disney titles for one year to countries in this region, including Avengers: Endgame.
The streaming service will include a selection of classic Disney content as well as the first of its new exclusives, including live action Star Wars show The Mandalorian.
It may not have officially launched yet, but you can already pre-order a subscription so that you have an account ready to go the moment The Mandalorian drops.
How much will it cost?
The initial pricing of the service is set to undercut major rival Netflix – which makes sense, given that Disney+ offers a more specific, focussed selection of content. With that in mind it will cost $6.99 per month (around £5.50) in the US, with the option of saving a little by paying $69.99 per year – which works out $5.83 each month. This base cost also gives access to 4K content and four streams for each account, which is a blow to Netflix as they only offer the same package on their most expensive subscription, priced at $15.99 per month.
There’s an even better deal planned if you don’t mind spending a little more. Disney will also bundle in Hulu with ads and ESPN+ into one single package for just $12.99 per month. Since Disney+ is normally $6.99, ESPN+ is $4.99, and Hulu is $5.99 on its ad-supported plan, that’s a minimum saving of $5 each month. Don’t expect this bundle to launch in every market though, as Hulu and ESPN aren’t widely available outside the US.
With Netflix’s standard plan now $10.99 per month, and its cheapest still $8.99, Disney’s pricing seriously undercuts the streaming giant – which should help it both lure Netflix subscribers into switching, and tempt others into picking up the Disney service on top of their existing streaming subscriptions.
For the other four markets that have been announced, Disney+ will cost $8.99 (Canadian) per month, and $89.99 for the year. In the Netherlands, the price will be €6.99 per month, and €69.99 per year. For Australia, the service will cost $8.99 (Australian) per month, and $89.99 per year. Finally, in New Zealand the monthly cost will be $9.99 (New Zealand) per month and $99.99 per year.
As of yet, pricing for the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain haven’t yet been announced, but we’ll update this article as soon as they are confirmed.
If you’re looking to save some money, then we’ve also rounded up the best Disney Plus discounts so far, so that you can make the most of the Disney streaming service for less.
How to watch Disney+ from the UK
It is of course a shame to be four months behind the States, especially with The Mandalorian available from the November launch date. Fortunately, UK fans should still be able to use a VPN to watch the Disney streaming service.
VPNs allow you to browse the internet anonymously, blocking your IP address. This means that you can appear as if you’re browsing from another country, allowing you to bypass any geo-blocking. We personally recommend trying out NordVPN first, but you can also try out ExpressVPN as another option.
In theory you should be able to simply choose a VPN from the USA, open the sign up page and get cracking, but there’s one complication: you need US, Canadian or Dutch payment info to create an account in the first place. In our guide to watching Disney+ from the UK we run through a few workarounds that we hope will work, but until the service launches in full we won’t know for sure what’s possible.
If all you want from Disney+ is the classic Disney content, then the UK is one of the few markets that already has a Disney streaming service: DisneyLife, which costs just £4.99 per month. However, it doesn’t feature the latest Star Wars and Marvel movies, and is unlikely to include the new Disney+ exclusives. We’re expecting the company to fold DisneyLife into the new global Disney+ brand, but we’re not sure when that might happen.
Which devices does Disney+ work on?
Whatever you’re looking to watch Disney Plus on – be it through a computer, smartphone, or tablet – you should be able to make it work.
Disney have confirmed you’ll be able to watch Disney+ on Roku, Chromecasts, Fire TV, laptops, smart TVs, iPads, Android, iPhone and game consoles – even including the Nintendo Switch, though this one won’t be available at launch.
All the devices !!!!! #disneyplus pic.twitter.com/srdnc4D18z
— What’s On Disney Plus (@disneyplusnews)
April 11, 2019
Up to four users will be able to watch simultaneously, and on at least some versions of the app you’ll be able to download content to watch offline.
What classic movies and shows will be on Disney+?
Loads. Loads and loads and loads and loads.
First up, Disney has confirmed that the service will launch with “around 500 films from the Disney library,” as well as “around 7,000 episodes of Disney TV.” Those will include the 13-film ‘Signature Collection’ of cartoons including Bambi, The Lion King, and The Jungle Book, along with 18 Pixar films.
Every Star Wars movie so far will appear (though The Last Jedi and Solo won’t be available until after launch), along with films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with both Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame making their streaming service debuts exclusively on the platform. Both will be available on Disney+ from launch.
Thanks to Disney’s merger with Fox there will also be a variety of Fox movies and shows – including the exclusive streaming rights to the entirety of The Simpsons.
One thing you shouldn’t expect to see: anything R-rated. While Disney’s never made much itself, its subsidiaries have, as has Fox. None of that will make its way onto Disney+ though, so you won’t see Alien rubbing shoulders with Bambi any time soon. Instead expect those films to appear on Hulu, which Disney has a financial stake in.
Just over a month before the launch, Disney Plus tweeted the monster of all threads that detailed the biggest classic titles that will be available on the streaming platform, including Bambi, Treasure Island, Big Hero 6 and more. Read the full list over on the Disney Plus Twitter page.
What are the new exclusives?
Arguably more exciting than all those old movies and shows are all the new things being made just for Disney+, including new shows set in the main Marvel and Star Wars Universes. Here’s some of the biggest new titles confirmed for the streaming platform so far:
- The Mandalorian, 12 November 2019 – The first live action Star Wars series from producer Jon Favreau (director of Iron Man and the new Lion King remake) will be available on the day of the Disney+ launch. It’ll star Pedro Pascal as the titular Mandalorian bounty hunter, alongside the likes of Nick Nolte, Werner Herzog, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, and Giancarlo Esposito.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars final season, February 2020 – This popular animated series will debut its seventh and final season on Disney+.
- Untitled Rogue One Series, Date TBC – This prequel will star Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk as their characters from the recent film, exploring their adventures as a spy duo.
- Untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series, Date TBC – Hello there! This massively anticipated spin-off will have Ewan McGregor reprise his role as Obi-Wan. The show will take place around the same time that Solo: A Star Wars Story is set.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Fall 2020 – The first MCU original series to kick off will star Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. It will follow the duo’s adventures post Avengers: Endgame, and also feature Emily VanCamp and Wyatt Russell, who will portray Sharon Carter and John Walker respectively.
- Loki, Spring 2021 – Another series following the events of Endgame, Loki will explore the life of the god of mischief/brother of Thor. Karen Herron will be directing, and Michael Waldron will serve as the head writer.
- WandaVision, Spring 2021 – Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) play two supers who are seeking to live a suburban lifestyle, but not everything is as it appears.
- What If…?, Spring 2021 – Taking a step away from the live action, this animated anthology series will explore alternative universes for each of the MCU films. For example, one of the storylines will tell the story of what would happen if Peggy Carter got the Super Soldier serum as opposed to Steve Rogers in Captain America.
- Hawkeye, Fall 2021 – Jeremy Renner will be coming back in his original Avenger role, and he will be joined by the Marvel Comics character Kate Bishop, who will likely become his successor. Variety has reported that Hailee Steinfeld is in line for the role.
- Ms. Marvel, Date TBC – The first muslim superhero Kamala Kahn will enter the MCU in her own series, exploring her origin story.
- She-Hulk, Date TBC – Attorney Jennifer Walters (and cousin of Bruce Banner) will look to balance her own gamma radiation powers with her legal career.
- Moon Knight, Date TBC – The final MCU show in the lineup will follow Marc Spector, yet another billionaire superhero. But if the series follows the comics, we expect his story will be slightly darker than the likes of Tony Stark.
- Forky Asks a Question, 12 November 2019 – The bizarre cutlery implement from Toy Story 4 will explore life’s greatest questions in a short animated series. Voice actor Tony Hale will be reprising his role as the title character.
- Monsters at Work, 2020 – The Monsters Inc. duo Mike and Sully (Billy Crystal and John Goodman) will return in this new series exploring their lives after the plot of the first film.
Disney Channel series
- High School Musical: The Musical: Series, 12 November 2019 – No, the name isn’t a typo. This new series will follow a group of High School students who are putting on a musical of… High School Musical. We’re all in this together, indeed.
- Lizzie McGuire, Date TBC – Years after the original series, Hilary Duff will return to her roots as a 30 year old Lizzie, living in New York City and trying to navigate through her career and personal life.
Other Disney+ originals and documentaries
- The World According To Jeff Goldblum, 12 November 2019 – Think of ‘An Idiot Abroad’, but instead of Karl Pilkington travelling the world and sharing his thoughts and opinions, its Jeff Goldblum. Yep, we’re sold too.
- Encore!, 12 November 2019 – Kristen Bell will executively produce this show which brings together former cast mates of real high school musical shows to recreate their productions.
- The Imagineering Story, 12 November 2019 – If you’re a big fan of the Disney theme parks, then this documentary series is a must, following the story and achievements of Walt Disney and the staff who brought the Disney brand to life for travellers around the world.
- Marvel’s Hero Project, 12 November 2019 – Instead of comic book superheroes, this documentary will shine a light on some of the real-life young heroes who are making a difference in their communities.
- One Day at Disney, 3 December 2019 – Although these will be short episodes, this series will contain 52 of them, showcasing the creative forces who work for Disney.
- Muppets Now, 2020 – This unscripted series will feature all your favourite muppets, naturally lead by Kermit and Miss Piggy, alongside a number of celebrity guests.
- Marvel’s 616, 2020 – This documentary series will expand on the untold stories of Marvel, including the plots, characters and the creators behind the comic universe.
- Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2 – Frozen 2 is already a hugely anticipated release, and this documentary will delve into how the creative team came together to create this epic musical sequel.
- Be Our Chef, 2020 – You’ve heard of Bake Off and MasterChef, but this Disney cooking show has its own spin. Families from different cultures will compete against one another (in the setting of Disney World, naturally) in a series of themed challenges, Disney style.
- Earth to Ned, 2020 – This puppet talk show from the Jim Henson Company will see real celebrities interviewed by alien puppets in a twist on the talk show formula that’s nothing if not novel.
Disney will also be remaking a few classic 20th Century Fox franchises with the aim to launch them on the streaming service. Home Alone, Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cheaper By the Dozen all in line for “reimaginations” for the platform according to Disney CEO Bog Iger.