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- Disney Plus launched in November 2019 and has amassed more than 130 million subscribers.
- Subscriptions cost $8/month or $80/year, and you can bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+ for $14/month.
- The service has lots of classic Disney programs for kids, and its new original shows add value for adults.
Disney Plus launched in November 2019 to great fanfare. An aggressive marketing campaign and the popularity of “The Mandalorian” helped propel the service to a successful debut. And now, roughly two and a half years after its rollout, the service boasts over 130 million subscribers.
Disney is still working to catch up to
‘s 221.64 million global subscribers, but Disney Plus has been able to carve out a position as one of the world’s most popular
Disney Plus has expanded its selection of exclusive content since launch too, adding Marvel shows like “Loki” and “WandaVision,” and “Star Wars” series like “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “The Book of Boba Fett.” The service also features original musicals, like a filmed version of “Hamilton,” and concerts from artists like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Billie Eilish.
With more original shows and several new features now available, we decided to take a fresh look at how Disney Plus stacks up against the streaming competition in 2022.
Disney Plus review: Competitive pricing and bundles offer great value
Disney Plus costs $8 a month or $80 per year, which makes it one of the most affordable streaming services on the market. The standard subscription is ad-free and includes support for up to seven profiles and unlimited downloads. A cheaper ad-supported plan will roll out in late 2022, but an exact price and launch date are still unknown.
Unlike Netflix, Disney Plus doesn’t charge extra for
and high dynamic range (HDR) streaming, so all subscribers can get the best quality for the same price. Though the service initially offered a free seven-day trial, this promotion is no longer available.
There’s also an option to buy a bundled package with Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+ for $14 a month. Individually,
and ESPN+ both start at $7 a month each. Subscribing to the bundle, rather than signing up for each service separately, saves you about $8 a month.
If you don’t have other streaming services, the Hulu and ESPN+ bundle adds a ton of value with the discounted price. Hulu’s large library of movies and shows is a nice complement to the family-friendly Disney Plus catalog, and ESPN+ provides access to live sports, including UFC fights and select baseball games.
Disney Plus opens up the studio’s complete vault of movies and shows
Disney Plus’ greatest strength comes from Disney’s iconic catalog of movies and shows, including dozens of classic animated films that were previously locked away in the “Disney Vault.” In addition, the studio’s newest releases, like “Encanto,” all get added to the service after they play in theaters.
In the past decade, Disney has acquired the rights to Marvel, “Star Wars,” “The Simpsons,” and 20th Century Fox, and the core of Disney Plus is built on nostalgia for these iconic franchises. Subscribers can watch virtually any movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) or the “Star Wars” series.
The streaming service has also done an impressive job cataloging dozens of original Disney cartoons and TV shows, from the 1960s “Spider-Man” cartoon that’s spawned dozens of memes, to all 65 episodes of “Lizzie McGuire.”
Netflix still has more originals, but Disney’s exclusive franchises are a big selling point
Like its competitors, Disney Plus offers exclusive original content. Marvel and “Star Wars” shows like “The Mandalorian,” “WandaVision,” and “Loki” were the most watched streaming programs in the US during their debut seasons.
Unlike Netflix, Disney Plus gives its new original series a weekly release schedule rather than launching the entire season on the same day. Personally, I’ve found myself spending more time watching original shows on Disney Plus than classic content, and this weekly approach to releases makes shows like “The Mandalorian” feel like appointment viewing for fans.
Disney Plus is also home to a number of exclusive movies, like Pixar’s “Turning Red” and “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers.” Members can also stream a handful of musical specials, including Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” Beyoncé’s “Black is King,” Taylor Swift’s “Folklore,” and The Beatles’ “Get Back” documentary.
, and even Amazon Prime Video still offer a wider range of original shows for adults with varying taste, but the mass appeal of Disney Plus’ lineup is hard to ignore. If you’re a fan of the studio’s big franchises, the regular flow of “Star Wars” and Marvel exclusives makes the service worth the price of admission alone.
There’s plenty to watch for families, but Disney Plus only has a small selection geared toward adults
Unfortunately, Disney Plus’ greatest weakness might be its focus on family-friendly content. As of writing, the service still excludes R-rated movies in the US. This means that popular R-rated films that Disney owns, like “Deadpool” and “Logan,” are left off the streaming service entirely, despite their Marvel ties.
There have been some recent developments in this regard, however. In March 2022, Disney Plus added several Netflix-produced Marvel series like “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” that feature explicit violence and sexual content. To coincide with this addition, the service updated its parental controls. This could signal that Disney is open to adding more mature programs from its catalog in the future.
It should also be noted that Disney Plus does offer some R-rated movies in regions outside of North America. In the US, most of these offerings are included on Hulu instead.
As it stands, the PG-13 approach doesn’t prevent Disney Plus shows like “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” from depicting mature themes, but it does limit the overall catalog for adult viewers.
The Disney Plus app is available on many devices
You’ll need to sign up for a Disney Plus account before you’re able to browse the Disney Plus catalog online or with the Disney Plus app.
Once your account is activated, you can watch Disney Plus via the official website or by downloading the app on your smart TV, streaming player, or mobile device. The app is available on Apple and Android devices, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox,
, Amazon Fire, and most smart TV brands.
You can create profiles for up to seven different viewers with a single account, and each profile can create their own personal watchlist that carries over between devices. However, only four devices can stream using the same account at once, which is the same number as Netflix’s Premium plan.
Adults can create kid profiles to restrict PG and PG-13 content for children as well. An update in March 2022 also added support for PIN codes to lock profiles, so parents can now better prevent kids from accessing adult content.
The Disney Plus interface is simple and easy to navigate
The Disney Plus interface is relatively standard fare for a streaming service. The landing page lacks the busy animated thumbnails and flashy trailers that Netflix showcases on its homepage, but a carousel displays new and popular content at the top. Disney’s main franchises are also pre-sorted into simple categories, like “Marvel,” “Pixar,” and “Star Wars.”
Disney Plus does suffer from some small navigation issues that can become ongoing problems depending on your viewing habits. For example, choosing a show or movie from the “Continue watching” tab will always leave you where you left off, with no option to “Play from beginning.”
It’s not a huge deal, but what if, for example, you fell asleep at the end of a movie, or your roommate watched the episode before you? Now you run the risk of spoiling yourself while you try to rewind to the beginning.
Disney Plus offers a standard set of accessibility features; there are closed captions on nearly every title with the option to adjust subtitle size. Viewing Disney Plus in a supported browser will also give you access to audio descriptions to help you navigate the homepage and
can be used in place of a keyboard.
Disney Plus has premium performance and features for cheap
In terms of streaming quality, Disney Plus is on par with Netflix at a fraction of the cost. By offering 4K resolution support, HDR color and contrast with Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos audio capabilities with every subscription, Disney Plus is doing its best to guarantee that members can maximize their home theater.
A handful of Marvel movies even offer support for IMAX’s expanded aspect ratio, which fills more of the screen with action during select scenes.
Disney Plus also allows you to download movies and shows for offline viewing on up to 10 devices, making it ideal for trips and family vacations. A GroupWatch feature is supported as well, enabling multiple viewers with Disney Plus accounts to sync up and stream shows together online.
The bottom line
The service’s low price and iconic catalog make Disney Plus a solid investment for any movie watcher, even if the platform is clearly built to appeal the most to families with children.
The consistent release of new Marvel and “Star Wars” shows, like “Moon Knight” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” make Disney Plus more appealing to fans of these huge franchises, but adult viewers who want more variety in their media diet may want to consider options like HBO Max, Netflix, and Prime Video first.
We also highly recommend the Hulu and ESPN+ bundle to viewers who want Disney Plus but also crave more variety. This package provides the perfect complement to Disney Plus with more mature programs, network shows, and sports.
Pros: Affordable, timeless library of Disney classics, robust kids catalog for families, exclusive “Star Wars” and Marvel titles, 4K and HDR streaming included
Cons: No R-rated films, fewer new library additions compared to competing services, original programming is still behind Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime Video