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What is Disney Plus: plans, price, and everything else you should know

The Disney Plus home screen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Despite launching in November of 2019, Disney Plus has become a leading stalwart in the streaming service space. Boasting one of the best libraries of movies and TV shows around — including some of the best original series from the likes of the MCU and Star Wars franchises — Disney+ has shot up to 129.8 million subscribers worldwide as of February 2022. That puts it toe to toe with the likes of Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and others.

Despite a library that isn’t quite as large as Netflix, Disney+ makes up for it in quality. It’s the exclusive streaming platform for a significant portion of Disney’s massive content archive and the only place to see new originals like Andor, Obi-wan Kenobi, The Mandalorian, Hawkeye, and WandaVision. Plus, with content from National Geographic and deals that can also net you Hulu and ESPN+ for one price, Disney+ is a formidable service.

What does Disney Plus include?

Disney+ currently hosts hundreds of Disney-related movies and television series. Classic animated features like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio are there, as is 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, Pixar movies, and much, much more.

While the service includes most Marvel movies, there are still some MCU films that you can’t find on Disney+ due to licensing agreements with other streamers, such as Netflix. Titles such as all of the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies and The Incredible Hulk are not yet available. You will, however, find all of the X-Men films, and, happily, the Star Wars universe is all present and accounted for on Disney Plus.

Disney+’s original productions are where things get exciting. In addition to the latest Star Wars TV series — Obi-Wan Kenobi (which is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and sees Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen reprising their roles from the prequel films), The Mandalorian, and The Book of Boba Fett — Disney+ continues to host a slew of live-action Star Wars series. Those include the Rogue One prequel, Star Wars: Andor, in which Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk will reprise their roles from that film, and Ahsoka, in which Rosario Dawson will continue her starring turn as Anakin Skywalker’s embattled former Padawan.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe series Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki, WandaVision, and Hawkeye have already hit big on Disney+, in which big-screen stars like Elizabeth Olsen and Tom Hiddleston reprised their roles that directly affected Marvel’s big-screen adventures, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The latest string of shows introduces new characters like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight to the MCU before they appear in feature films.

You’ll also find the entire Pixar library, including new movie releases like Turning Red, Soul, and Luca, as well as the whole gamut of Disney Animation Studios films like Encanto and Raya and the Last Dragon.

Speaking of animation, Disney+ is now home to the entire Simpsons catalog, and after a fix for the aspect ratio was issued, they’re all available in their original glory. The platform does not include the season 3 premiere episode, Stark Raving Dad, however, which features the voice of Michael Jackson.

Disney+ on a TV.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Where is Disney+ available?

Disney+ is currently available in the United States, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, Ireland, Isle of Man, France, Belgium, Monaco, Italy, Portugal, Spain, India, Wallis and Futuna, French West Indies, French Guiana, New Caledonia, Japan, Indonesia, Latin America, Réunion, Mayotte, Mauritius, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and South Korea, with more countries being added this year.

Which devices support Disney+?

Disney+ is available on:

  • Computer web browsers
  • iOS
  • Apple TV (tvOS)
  • Google Chromecast
  • Android
  • Android TV
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku
  • Cox Contour TV and Stream Player Box
  • Xfinity Flex and X1 TV Box
  • Xbox, PlayStation
  • Select Amazon Fire TV devices
  • Smart TVs (LG WebOS, Samsung Tizen, Android TV, Google TV, Vizio SmartCast, Roku TV, Hisense smart TVs)

If you’re an Apple device owner or you have one of the many smart TVs and streaming devices that feature the Apple TV app, you can subscribe to (and watch) Disney+ within that all-in-one streaming interface. Disney+ also supports in-app purchases on Apple devices. The Disney Plus website has the full list of supported devices.

How much does Disney+ cost?

The pricing options for Disney+ — and for sibling services Hulu and ESPN+ — are a bit of a mess. And they’re getting a refresh as of fall 2023. For the sake of our sanity, and because Disney is doing everything it can to upsell you, we’re going to go ahead and list them all here. (New pricing, which we’re listing here, goes into effect on September 6, 2023 or October 12, 2023.)

Disney+ costs $8 a month if you don’t mind advertising. (There’s no annual option with that scheme.) If you want to get rid of ads, it’ll cost you $14 a month, or $140 a year.

However, Disney+ isn’t Disney’s only streaming service. Following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney also controls Hulu, and it also offers the sports-focused ESPN+.

  • Disney Bundle Duo Premium, which includes Disney+ and Hulu without ads for $20 a month.
  • Disney Bundle Duo Basic, which includes Disney+ and Hulu (both with ads) for $10 per month.
  • Disney Bundle Trio Basic with sports which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (all with ads) for $15 per month.
  • Disney Bundle Trio Premium with Disney+, Hulu (both with no ads), and ESPN+ (with ads) for $25 per month.

Hulu pricing now comes in as the following:

  • Hulu with ads: $8 a month, or $80 a year.
  • Hulu without ads: $18 a month, with no annual option.
  • Hulu With Live TV is $77 a month with advertising on the on-demand content, and $90 a month without ads.
  • Disney+ (with ads) add-on is $2 a month.
  • ESPN+ add-on is $11 a month.

And ESPN+ pricing is:

  • $11 a month, or $110 a year.

Impressive video and audio quality

Disney+ offers select content in Dolby Vision, Dolby’s dynamic version of HDR that offers evolving content to supported TVs to squeeze the best contrast out of each scene, as well as Dolby Atmos, 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, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV+ and available on a limited but growing amount of content. One of the most tantalizing aspects of Disney+’s 4K content  — for Star Wars fans at least — is the availability of its Star Wars films, including the original trilogy (that is, the ’90s special editions) in 4K with Dolby Vision and Atmos support. This makes Disney+ the only way to view these films in these formats.

And if that wasn’t enough, 15 of its MCU movies are available in IMAX format, which makes the image 26% taller (if your TV or projector is capable).

For those wondering about family viewing, Disney+ offers four simultaneous streams at once on its service for its basic $8-per-month fee.

What it won’t include

In keeping with Disney’s family-friendly approach to programming, there won’t be any R-rated projects available on Disney+. Any movies or TV series that push the boundaries of Disney’s typical PG-13 audience will be diverted to Hulu, according to various reports. This includes titles like Marvel’s Deadpool.

How do I get Disney+?

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Derek Malcolm
Derek Malcolm is a Toronto-based technology journalist, editor, and content specialist whose work has appeared in…
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