After arriving in the UK at the start of 2020, Disney Plus has definitely been a success so far. The streaming platform is closing in on 100 million subscribers globally, making it one of the fastest growing streaming services ever.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was dubious about whether the platform had enough content to keep us busy. And the truth is that even though there’s some great Disney films to watch, this isn’t really going to be enough for a full fledged streaming service.
However, when you add in the Marvel films, caught up on the Star Wars saga and rewatched all of your favourite Simpsons episodes, there’s a good amount of content included in the service. The shrewd acquisitions of 20th Century Fox and Marvel have really proven to make a difference.
So, should you think about getting Disney+ in 2021, and how does it hold up against other streaming services? We’re going to take a look through that now.
Disney Plus Review for 2021
In short, Disney Plus is at least worth signing up for a few months to see if it suits. There’s a good amount of films on there to watch, especially if you have an entire family to share it with. It’s also a little bit cheaper than other streaming services too.
The Disney+ app is also pretty good when held up in comparison to Netflix, Amazon Prime and the Now TV applications. Though it’s not 100% perfect, and some people have had some buffering issues, which I’ll get to in a minute.
But the main thing to consider is the quality of the films and TV shows the service provides. Does it have enough content to keep you entertained all year round? Well, I think that it depends on the family and who’s going to be watching it. Let’s run through what you can actually access if you subscribe to Disney+.
Disney Plus Channels
There are no “channels” on Disney+, as it’s the same as Netflix effectively. There’s currently nothing live streaming on Disney Plus if you’re located in the UK. This may not stay this way forever, but at the most, there’s not individual channels like you’d find with live streaming apps.
In the United States, they actually have the ability for you to watch ESPN within the service – food for thought about what may become available for us later in the UK. But for now, these are some of the main films and shows to look out for on the service.
What films are on Disney Plus – Mulan, Onward and Frozen 2
Right, so let’s start with what Disney+ does have that you can watch. Well, it has all of the Disney films you’re going to want to see. It’s saving some of their acquired films for a later rollout to keep the content coming, but all of the good ones are still there.
That means that Mulan, The Lion King, Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp, the Jungle Book & Dumbo are all on the service. You can get them both in their original cartoon form and the live remakes made more recently (which are hit or miss in my opinion, but Aladdin is definitely worth a watch!).
If we’re looking at recent films (2021), then newer animated movies like Onward and Soul are both on the service. It could be worth signing up just to watch these two if you’re looking for brand new content.
Disney will offer premium access to films on their service before they’re fully released on the platform too. Currently, Raya and the Last Dragon is available if you’re willing to pay extra to watch it. Personally, I’m not going to pay £19.99 to watch a film I can see with a normal membership in a few months – but with nagging kids, you may not have much of a choice!
There’s also all the Disney classics like Snow White, 101 Dalmations and newer films like Moana. Both Frozen and Frozen 2 can be found on there service as well as Coco, Big Hero 6 and Wreck it Ralph if you’re looking for films made in the last decade.
The acquisition of Marvel was a touch of genius for Disney. The biggest selling film franchise has proven to be a profitable investment, and you can catch (almost) all of the Marvel franchise on the service. That includes Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame too.
We all know the company acquired Pixar long ago. That means that many of the best animated movies of all time are on Disney+; the Toy Story series, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and Wall-E are just a few of these. Oh, and I can’t forget Inside Out either ( now I’ll have “who’s your friend who likes to play?!” stuck in my head all day).
Another major set of films that Disney bought years ago are the Star Wars films. Whilst the newer ones may be considered a bit of a let down for some people, it’s nice to have the full set to watch easily. Although there are quite a few more films on the service than this, these are the main ones on there so far.
What films aren’t on Disney Plus – Harry Potter, Shrek & Spiderman
Secondly, none of the Dreamworks films are included with Disney+. Dreamworks is actually owned by Universal Studios. people often get confused with these as Dreamworks and Disney are actually pretty similar.
This means that some of your favourites will be missing from the Disney Plus interface. This includes all of Shrek films, the How to Train Your Dragon Series and my own personal favourites, Kung Fu Panda.
The final one that isn’t included with Disney Plus is two of the films from the Marvel Universe, Spiderman: Homecoming and Spiderman: Far from Home. The most recent of which is a must if you want to watch anything post Infinity War.
Although part of the MCU, Sony owns the rights to both Spiderman films, and they will do as long as they continue to release them. Whilst they’re not on Disney+ now, they could be within the next year or so. You can find them on other streaming services online.
What TV Shows are on Disney+
Whilst I knew that Disney would have the film front covered, I didn’t think they’d have a good selection of TV shows to watch as well. It still doesn’t really compare to Netflix as of yet, but it’s a whole sight better than what Apple TV currently has on their service.
What am I most impressed with? Well, the TV show everyone’s talking about is The Mandalorian, and it is definitely worth checking out. If you’ve been meaning to get into the Star Wars universe but have never really started, it’s a pretty great show to watch and you don’t need any previous knowledge to enjoy it.
As well as this, there’s the Simpsons, a few good Marvel series, a ton of kids shows and even some good National Geographic wildlife shows to watch as well. Whilst it isn’t the company’s strongest department just yet, it’s definitely going to grow a lot in the next 2-3 years.
What’s coming in 2021
The biggest concern about Disney+ was that it wouldn’t have enough continual content being released to keep up busy.
With Netflix having original series like Stranger Things, Ozark and The Witcher all due to release in the next year or so, it’s understandable that people would stay signed up to the service.
And though this is probably still a concern for Disney, they’ve managed to deal with it pretty well. Firstly, they’ve added Star TV to their service in the UK. This includes a lot of classic comedy shows that people rewatch time and time again, like Scrubs, HIMYM and Family Guy.
But with brand new content, they’re still a little short in my opinion. Their main bait to keep people on the hook is the new Marvel films and series being released. This started in 2021 with Wandavision, which has been released to a warm reception.
We’ll see this continue throughout the year with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki being released as series in the first half of the year, and Black Widow getting placed on the service later in the year after a theatrical release.
Does Disney Plus still offer a free trial?
When Disney Plus was first launched, the company actually offered a 30 day free trial. After a few months, this was reduced down to a short 7-day free trial of the service.
As of now, unfortunately Disney don’t offer any sort of free trial for their service if you’re based in the United Kingdom. This means that if you want to sign up to Disney Plus, you’ll have to pay full price for their service.
Though, you can just do this on a monthly basis, so you’ll only have to pay one month of subscription fees to see if it’s any good for your needs.
How much does Disney Plus cost anyway?
If you’re looking for the price of Disney+, then currently in the UK you can get it for £5.99 per month. When you compare this to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, it’s a little bit cheaper than both. You do get a lot less variety for your money.
It could also be worth signing up for the yearly package, which costs £59.99 for the entire tear. This works out as just £4.99 per month, which is a little more affordable. I think that there’s a years worth of content on there to watch if you watch TV a moderate amount and have kids.
I should also mention that you can stream at 4k for no extra cost with Disney+. Unlike Netflix, who charge a little more if you want to stream in Ultra HD, there’s no separate package with Disney. So, that’s another bonus.
Disney+ Lagging & Other Problems
Whilst for the most part the service is pretty good, there are definitely some improvements to be made.
They don’t have an app for Macbook web browser which is a bit annoying, but for most people, they can easily watch through the app on their mobile or a 40 inch smart TV.
To fix any Disney Plus lagging issues, you’re going to want to do is reset your internet router. Often, this is the problem if you’re having video playback issues, and you’ll want to check your internet connection first of all.
However, a few people have reported problems with Disney+, but when they turn over to Netflix, it works fine. If this is the case, it’s fair to rule out your wifi connection being the problem.
Next, you should completely uninstall the Disney+ app, and then go ahead and reinstall it again. This can fix any problems that may have occurred with your version of the app, and it’ll ensure that you’ve got the most up-to-date one installed.
Finally, if you’re watching within a web browser on your laptop, then you should go ahead and clear your cache. This will get rid of all of the temporary files that you have stored on your device, and allow the app to work as new.
In conclusion, I’m pretty pleasantly surprised with what Disney Plus has to offer. I, like many others, thought that the service would have limited options when it came to volume, although the quality was obviously already there.
But when you add in Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, 21st Century Fox, Pixar, Lucasfilm and a few more, there’s a ton to watch on there. So, whilst it can’t match Netflix as of yet when it comes to box sets, it’s definitely worth giving it a go for a month to see how it works for you.