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Disney Plus Premier Access: What Is It, and How Much Is It?

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Disney Plus Premier Access is pretty much what its name suggests it is — it’s a premium part of Disney Plus in which users can pay extra to watch the latest cinematic releases from home. If you’re keen to know even more, read on while we guide you through everything you need to know about the add-on service.

What is Disney Plus Premier Access?

Disney Plus is one of the biggest streaming services there is right now. Launched in November 2019, it jas gone from strength to strength offering extensive content including classic and original shows and movies from the House of Mouse. It also offers everything Star Wars and Marvel, along with plenty of other great content. Disney Plus Premier Access is an extra service that Disney Plus offers. It means that customers can watch the latest cinema releases from the comfort of their homes by paying an additional fee on top of their subscription fee to unlock access.

Launched in September 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that closed or limited many cinemas around the world, Disney Plus Premier Access made some new cinematic releases available the same day via streaming as they were enjoying a theatrical release. If a user decides to sign up for one of the Premier Access movies, they get access to it forever. Rather than it being a rental, the consumer has access to the movie for as long as they have a Disney Plus subscription. All Premier Access movies also offer up to 4K resolutions, HDR, and Dolby Audio sound. The thinking is that this is the nearest someone can get to a cinematic experience in their home.

The trend started with the live-action version of Mulan. Shortly after that came Cruella starring Emma Stone, as well as Marvel’s Black Widow with Scarlett Johansson. Other movies have included Raya and the Last Dragon too. The last Premier Access title for the service was The Rock’s Jungle Cruise. The action-adventure movie was released on July 30, 2021. Since then, there have been no other Disney Plus Premier Access releases although it is anticipated that more could follow. Disney Plus Premier Access is not compulsory. Users don’t have to sign up for the additional movies if they have no interest in them. Instead, they can stick to their regular Disney Plus membership and only opt in to buy a Disney Plus Premier Access movie if they specifically want to. It’s ideal if you are keen to watch a cinema release but you would prefer to do so from the comfort of your home.

To use Disney Plus Premier Access, one simply needs to be a Disney Plus member. Sign up for the service, and it’s possible to buy new Disney Plus Premier Access releases. These are typically found either on the homepage or by entering the film name into the search bar. Premier Access titles are fairly limited in number so they may not always be available via the service, having switched to a regular release instead. Users can purchase Premier Access titles through any device that works with the Disney Plus app or via the web browser. There are no limitations here. Plus you can pay via your usual payment method that is attached to your subscription details.

How Much is Disney Plus Premier Access?

Disney Plus Premier Access is an additional fee on top of your usual Disney Plus subscription. Disney Plus on its own costs either $8 per month or $80 for a yearly subscription. The latter works out to a much better value, saving users two months’ worth of their usual subscription fee if they chose to pay monthly instead.

If you decide to buy a Disney Plus Premier Access title, you need to pay a one-off fee to gain access to the new movie. The fee is currently $30 for the additional movie. That is a set fee. No matter which movie is on Premier Access, the price has never changed. Once paid, the money comes from your chosen payment method for your regular Disney Plus subscription. Notably, once paid, you have access to the movie for as long as you want. While some services might only offer access for a few days as a rental service, Disney Plus Premier Access means you own the movie for as long as you are a subscriber to Disney Plus itself. That means you will still need to pay $8 per month (or $80 a year) but the thinking is that you are already tied into enjoying Disney Plus and keen to continue your subscription.

If you don’t wish to buy a movie via Disney Plus Premier Access, there is no need to pay the additional fee. The service is an entirely optional extra for Disney Plus users. No one is required to buy a movie using this method so you can always stick to your regular Disney Plus subscription. The idea is that Premier Access replaces the need for a visit to the movie theater. While $30 might sound expensive, once you factor in the cost of cinema tickets, food and refreshments, and parking, it should work out much better value. Additionally, it’s possible to watch Premier Access movies multiple times so if your family loves to rewatch favorites, it could work out much better value than repeated cinema trips.

One caveat is if you plan on watching a Disney Plus Premier Access movie via the service’s GroupWatch function. It’s possible to do so but each user will need to buy the movie individually so it can work out quite expensive if each household only contains one or two people at a time. There are no deals available for Disney Plus Premier Access movies so there is no way of offsetting the cost, although it is possible to find deals for Disney Plus if someone in the group does not already have a Disney Plus subscription. The best deals are almost exclusively for new subscribers rather than existing or past members.

Remember — Disney Plus Premier Access is not applicable for all new movies on Disney Plus. There are many new movies on the service that come as part of the standard Disney Plus subscription plan. Some recent releases like Encanto have simply joined the service as part of users’ regular fees with nothing extra to pay. It’s not guaranteed that a major Disney cinema release is available through the Premier Access scheme with Disney experimenting with different methods in a changing movie ecosystem. Currently, there is no confirmation as to when or what the next Disney Plus Premier Access movie will be. This may change depending on how permanently cinemas stay reopened or whether Disney wishes to pursue a more home theater-focused angle to its releases.

Will Disney Plus Premier Access Movies Be Free in the Future?

So far, all Disney Plus Premier Access movies have eventually been made free. There have only been five Disney Plus Premier Access movies released via the service as of the end of 2021. Originally, the live-action movie Mulan was the first addition. It was available via Premier Access between September 4 2020 to November 4. Following that was animation, Raya and the Last Dragon which was available between March 5 and June 4, 2021. During that time, Cruella was also released on May 28 and remained a Premier Access title until August 27, 2021. The last two releases were Marvel’s Black Widow and Jungle Cruise starring The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson. Black Widow was launched July 9 until October 6, 2021, while Jungle Cruise was released July 30 until November 12, 2021.

All these movies were eventually made free on the day that their Premier Access ended. Typically, we’re talking a wait of a few months between films releasing as Premier Access titles and switching over to being available via a regular Disney Plus subscription. Ultimately, you are choosing to pay to watch the movie before those that prefer to wait until they switch over to the regular Disney Plus package.

Much like going to the cinema rather than waiting years for a movie to be aired on TV (or waiting a shorter time for it to stream), the idea is being able to choose to watch a movie as soon as it launches. Being able to keep up with the social media hype about a newly launched movie, or simply enjoying a fun cinema-style experience at home, is what makes the cost appealing to many people. That goes even more so for people unwilling or unable to attend a movie theater. With many people having increasingly high-end home theater setups, it can be more appealing to stay at home.

Once a Disney Plus Premier Access movie switches over to Disney Plus as standard, it joins a substantial list of the best movies on Disney Plus right now. However, as with any new release, bear in mind that you will have to be patient and wait for that to happen. For some users, paying the extra cost can be worth it. As yet, no Premier Access movie has ever only been available through the service. They all end up eventually as part of the regular Disney Plus subscription package.

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Jen Allen
Freelance Writer
Jen Allen is a technology and lifestyle writer with over 10 years of experience.
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