In September 2017, Disney announced plans to create its own streaming video service to challenge Netflix, Hulu, and similar high-end streamers. Just over a year later, that service was given a name, Disney+, and we got our first look at the service in all its Disney-fied glory, as well as news of a price point of $7 per month and a launch date of November 12, 2019. As of September 23, 2019, you can pre-order your Disney+ subscription.
Disney+ is intended to compete with industry leader Netflix and the various other direct-to-consumer streaming video platforms currently available and in development. It won’t have as many movies or television shows as Netflix and its ilk, but Disney hopes to draw customers in with lots of high-profile exclusive content and nearly every movie in Disney’s expansive library, including a number of previously hard-to-find animated features and live-action Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe spinoffs.
Here’s everything we know about Disney+ so far.
At launch, Disney+ will host hundreds of Disney-related movies and television series. Classic animated features like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio will be there, as will modern-day Disney Channel fare like Descendants, vintage live-action features including The Parent Trap and Old Yeller, forgotten oddities like the made-for-TV Fuzzbucket, a huge collection of ’90s Marvel cartoons, almost every Star Wars flick, Captain Marvel, and much, much more. It’s a lot, so be sure to check out the complete list — or, if you have time, check out the three-plus-hour video Disney put together, which previews pretty much everything it will offer at launch.
After launch, expect more to follow. Almost every single movie in the Disney catalog will eventually be available on Disney+, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger, including all of the animated films previously locked away in the Disney “vault”. The one exception is Disney’s Song of the South, which Disney has buried since the ’80s due to its racially insensitive content (a racist scene from the animated Dumbo will be removed for Disney+, too).
Newer Disney movies like Frozen 2, Toy Story 4, Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, and the live-action remake of The Lion King will appear on Disney+ some time after their theatrical and home-video releases. For example, the record-busting conclusion to Marvel’s Infinity Saga, Avengers: Endgame, won’t be available on Disney+ at launch, but it will be there by December 11, according to Disney’s financial reports.
Naturally, Disney+ will also be home to original series, including a number of Star Wars projects. The first-ever live-action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian, which follows the adventures of an outer-space gunslinger shortly after the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, will debut on Disney+ at launch. A trailer for the series, which was created by Iron Man director Jon Favreau, recently dropped and has some major The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly vibes. The first season of The Mandalorian will be eight episodes long, and a second season is already in preproduction.
An action show focusing on Obi-Wan Kenobi is also in the works, with Ewan McGregor confirmed to reprise the role he played in the three Star Wars prequels. At the D23 Expo in August 2019, McGregor said that the still-untitled miniseries will be about four hours long and that production begins in early 2020. The show will be set around the same time as Solo: A Star Wars Story, when Obi-Wan Kenobi is hiding on Tatooine and protecting young Luke Skywalker from afar, which opens the door for all kinds of interesting stories.
Disney+ will also stream a still-untitled Rogue One prequel following Rebel spy Cassian Andor and his reformed Imperial security droid K-2SO. Both Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk will reprise their Rogue One roles.
What's the cost?
The service will cost $7 per month at launch, or $70 per year (don’t be surprised if that price rises quickly). But there’s more to the story.
Disney+ isn’t Disney’s only streaming service. Thanks to its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney also controls Hulu, and if you want to subscribe to both, you have options. In addition to the Disney+ stand-alone service, Hulu Senior Vice President Craig Erwich says that you’ll also be able to get Disney+ as a Hulu add-on.
Similar to other add-ons, like HBO, subscribing to Disney+ through Hulu means that you’ll have to use the Hulu app to watch shows like The Mandalorian and Falcon and Winter Soldier, but it also means that you’ll be able to keep all of your shows in one place. If HBO is any indication, Disney+ should cost the same — $7 –whether you get it through Hulu or all by its lonesome.
In addition, if you want Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, Disney will offer a bundle that will include all three. The bundle will cost $13 a month, which is $5 cheaper than subscribing to all three separately.
Impressive video and audio quality
The service was revealed to offer 4K resolution with HDR support upon its initial unveiling, but news from Disney’s D23 Expo gave cinephiles and A/V fans, even more, to be excited about. As confirmed by Dolby directly, Disney+ will offer content in both Dolby Vision, Dolby’s dynamic version of HDR that offers evolving content to supported TVs squeeze the best contrast out of each scene, as well as Dolby Atmos support, which provides an immersive, hemispheric soundstage for those with supported hardware.
While Dolby Vision is becoming more common, both Vision and Atmos are still rarities in streaming land, supported by only a few services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and only with select content. We don’t yet know what content will boast either of Dolby’s A/V enhancements on Disney+, but if its streaming rivals are any indication, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos will likely only be offered for newer original series like The Mandalorian, and possibly newer Disney film releases.
In addition, Disney+ will offer four simultaneous streams at once on its service for its basic $7-per-month fee.
What devices will it support?
Disney+ will be available on iOS, Apple TV (tvOS), Google Chromecast, Android, Android TV, PlayStation 4, Roku, and Xbox One at launch. Notably absent from this list is Amazon’s Fire TV platform. Disney and Amazon are said to be in heated talks over the service’s presence on the Fire TV, according to The Wall Street Journal. A fight over who gets to sell the ad space could prevent Disney+ from being on Amazon’s platform for launch.
If you’re an Apple device owner, or you have one of the many smart TVs and streamers that will feature Apple’s TV App, you’ll be able to subscribe to (and watch) Disney+ within that all-in-one streaming interface. Disney+ will also support in-app purchases on Apple devices.
Edited by HoldenRiot