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What is Disney Plus? The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Disney Plus.

Disney Plus has grown into one of the biggest streaming services since its launch in November 2019. It’s gone from strength to strength but if you still need to know more about it, read on while we narrow down everything you could possibly need to know about the streaming giant.

What is Disney Plus?

As the name suggests, Disney Plus is the streaming service from The Walt Disney Company. Originally set up in November 2019, it now has nearly 130 million subscribers around the world. It primarily distributes films and TV shows produced by the corporation but it also has dedicated content hubs for brands such as Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and other major names. Disney has dipped into streaming for a number of years with the UK offering DisneyLife in 2015, but Disney Plus is its most well-rounded service. The service was announced in 2018 before launching in 2019. It started in the United States before gradually rolling out to Western Europe and certain Asia-Pacific countries by early 2020. Eastern Europe and Latin America followed later in 2020.

Effectively, it’s a one-stop-shop for all things Disney but its combination of other Disney-owned franchises like Star Wars and Marvel means it has a lot of incredibly popular content. It also has some content from Disney-owned Fox including the vast majority of The Simpsons episodes. Disney has also arranged bundle deals with ESPN+ and Hulu for users that want more from their service. Known as The Disney Bundle, we’ll delve into that in further detail later on.

Disney Plus works like other streaming services. All you need to do is sign up for it by handing over your card details before signing in on any device. Disney Plus works through your web browser with multiple different apps also available to use through the service. It’s available via a broad range of devices so it’s simple to use whether you’re tech-savvy or not. Many Smart TVs also offer the app, so you can usually access it just as easily as any other TV station. Simply put, if you’ve used Netflix before, you know what to do here.

How Much is Disney Plus?

While some streaming services like Netflix offer multiple different streaming plans depending on your needs, Disney Plus keeps things simple. It offers a flat monthly rate of $8 per month or you can sign up for it for a year for $80. Regardless of whether you commit to a monthly or yearly plan, you still get full access to everything Disney Plus has to offer including all its HD and 4K resolution. Unlike other streaming apps, there is no need to worry about missing out on higher resolutions or being more limited for how many people can watch Disney+ at once, simultaneously. It’s all the same here. That makes signing up far less confusing than trying to figure out what resolution or quality you need most, and whether you’d benefit from paying the extra. However, that does mean you can’t cut back to solely have HD content and save cash if you don’t have a 4K TV.

The best savings instead come from signing up for an annual membership. It is far more cost-effective than using Disney Plus on a rolling month-by-month basis and is strongly recommended for all users. By paying $80 per year, users effectively save almost 20% compared to paying the monthly fee instead. If you’re able to pay a lump sum, it works out as far better value. Early in Disney Plus’s launch period, there was a seven-day introductory Disney Plus free trial. There’s no Disney Plus free trial anymore, with the company stopping the trial after a successful launch period. That’s because Disney believes it offers enough to be worth paying $8 for a month to see what it provides, as the content library is larger than it was at launch.

However, some cell phone users can benefit from Disney Plus for free. For instance, Verizon users receive six months of free Disney Plus by signing up for its Unlimited plans. It’s worth checking out your cell phone provider to see if it offers Disney Plus as a perk. In the past, Amazon has also offered perks in which Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers get Disney Plus access for a number of months too so it’s worth looking out for such deals. Remember though — these deals are only available to new subscribers rather than existing ones, but there’s nothing stopping users from signing up with different email addresses, although it is a breach of terms and conditions.

Finally, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate users can also benefit from trials of Disney Plus providing they are new to the streaming service. It’s worth checking to see if you are eligible for any of these offers before signing up for a new account. These offers typically relate to standard Disney Plus with the Disney Bundle, a different type of streaming service that we will get into shortly. There’s always the choice to ask for Disney Plus gift cards to pay for the subscription too, although that does mean that someone else is paying somewhere. It does make a great gift idea, though.

What’s the Disney Bundle?

Disney plus bundle.
Disney

The Disney Bundle is one of the best value streaming subscriptions there is. It offers tremendous value because it bundles together three very popular streaming services into one simple payment each month. It includes Disney Plus, Hulu (ad-supported), and ESPN+ for $14 per month. That works out at $6 less per month than subscribing to each of those services individually. Users don’t have to worry about juggling multiple subscription payments at once as it’s all covered in one easy-to-set-up fee. The only real downside finance-wise is that you can’t pay for the Disney Bundle annually so there’s no additional saving here. However, it still means you get all the benefits of Hulu’s extensive streaming catalog as well as ESPN+ on top of what Disney Plus provides you with.

Hulu gives you access to a ton of great content alongside the plethora of stuff to watch on Disney Plus. It has great TV shows like Modern Family, Bob’s Burgers, Fargo, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Rick & Morty. That’s ideal for all the family. There’s content you can watch as a family together, along with shows that are best suited for when the kids are in bed and you want to watch something more mature. Hulu also has great movie content with the best Hulu movies catering to all kinds of tastes. It includes blockbuster movies like World War Z, Deadpool 2, and The Hunger Games. There’s also room for indie hits like Another Round, and cult classics such as The Warriors. Old favorites like Batman, 28 Days Later, and The Holiday are all included too. There’s truly something for every mood here. Don’t like the idea of dealing with ads? When signing up for The Disney Bundle, you can always pay an extra $6 a month to avoid ads with Hulu.

There’s also ESPN+ which is the best streaming service possible for sports fans. An all-encompassing package, it has everything you could need. Subscribers to it get access to thousands of live events and sports broadcasts. These include sports such as soccer, combat, and mixed martial arts, as well as baseball, tennis, hockey, golf, and even college sports. All the big names are here including NHL, NBA, UFC, and PGA Tour Golf. ESPN+ likes to refer to itself as “the best seat in the house” for good reason. It also means you can easily access UFC pay-per-view too for those times when you don’t want to miss out on the big fight.

ESPN+ also provides users with tons of sports documentaries, acclaimed series, and ESPN+ originals with commentary from some of the best names in sports. This includes the award-winning 30 for 30 library. It contains a vast amount of sports documentaries you simply can’t get anywhere else. It’s a fascinating insight if you want to know everything possible about your favorite sports. Sports fans are going to love being able to lose themselves to ESPN+ after watching some Disney shows with the family or taking in a movie with Hulu.

What Devices Support Disney Plus?

Disney Plus is incredibly simple to use across pretty much every device you can think of. It’s possible to stream content via your web browser on Windows and Mac, as well as Chrome OS. That way, you can easily watch your favorite shows and movies even if you don’t own a TV. During work lunch breaks, you could even sneak in watching a quick show. As well as that, it has support for both iOS and Android-based phones and tablets, so it takes no time at all to watch shows on the move. The apps are simple to use and highly intuitive. They even make it easier to set up the apps on your TV too.

TV support is extensive. Disney Plus is widely available. That includes Amazon Fire TV Sticks and Fire HD devices, along with Chromecast, Apple TV, Samsung Smart TVs, LG webOS TVs, Vizio SmartCast TVs, Roku devices, Xfinity Flex, and much more. Basically, pretty much all TVs, smartphones, tablets, and computers can handle Disney Plus with extensive support ensuring that you won’t need to buy a special device to use it. The Disney Plus app is pretty much the same across the board with setup made easier if you already have the Disney Plus app signed in on your smartphone on the same network. Consoles are also supported with apps for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series consoles. However, there is no support for the Nintendo Switch at this time so if you only own a Nintendo Switch, you’ll need to use your smartphone or computer to access the streaming network.

However you plan on watching Disney Plus, the number of simultaneous devices remains the same. The service allows for up to seven user profiles per account so the whole family can have their own personalized profiles. These include being able to choose a lovable and familiar Disney character for your profile icon to help differentiate between them. Also, up to four devices can stream content simultaneously. That means the whole family should be able to watch their favorite shows at once without necessarily doing so from the same room or device. There are also unlimited downloads so the whole family can also download content for offline viewing. That’s particularly useful if you happen to be somewhere where there is no Wi-Fi or cell phone signal, or you’re simply looking to save on bandwidth costs.

Disney Plus offers content in resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD in Dolby Vision and HDR10 but it’s worth noting that not all devices support such resolutions. It’s important to check what device you are using to see if it’s capable of such technology. Also, Dolby Atmos sound is possible through Disney Plus with the right devices.

Disney Plus also has a GroupWatch feature which allows up to seven different Disney Plus accounts to link up and watch the same show together remotely. When doing so, viewers can react to content with a variety of different emojis. They can also control playback such as pausing the show when needed. It works in web browsers, via the smartphone app, smart TVs, and other streaming devices.

What Countries is Disney Plus Available in?

Disney Plus is now across the world. It will be available in more than 50 countries by the end of the year with the streaming service expanding to more than 160 countries by the end of 2023. It originally launched in the United States on November 12, 2019, as well as Canada and Netherlands. A week later, on November 19, it expanded to Australia, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico. Its launch further expanded in March 2020 covering much of Western Europe with the service soon expanding to India in April 2020. From there, it’s gradually spread its influence to cover many major countries across all continents around the world. Many people should be able to access it.

While Disney Plus does not quite offer the reach of the likes of Netflix just yet, it is fast expanding. In 2022, it intends on launching in the Philippines, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Iraq, Morocco, Palestine, Romania, South Africa, and many other countries. Some of these launches are standalone Disney Plus releases while others combine the services with Star which adds more content for users. Much of this depends on other streaming deals in the relevant country.

As with other streaming platforms, it is possible to access Disney Plus via a VPN. By doing so, users are able to check out content that may only be available in that country. Not all VPNs are capable of doing so correctly, but it’s worth checking out if users wish to see what else is out there. However, it is a breach of terms and conditions. In countries where Disney Plus is not available, it is also possible to sign up via a VPN but you will need to use a relevant payment method that works in the country you’re browsing. While Disney Plus is roughly priced the same across all countries, it’s worth considering how currency changes and exchange rates can affect what value it is. Content is often very similar but there can be some differences, especially when it comes to access to Star content.

Disney Plus is also available in multiple different languages, regardless of one’s location. These include Danish, Dutch, English (UK and US), Finnish, French (Canada and France), German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Spanish (Latin America and Spain), Swedish, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), and Chinese (Hong Kong). Disney intends to add more language support in the future.

Can You Watch Disney Plus in 4K?

Close-up of a hand holding a TV with Disney plus.

Disney Plus offers extensive 4K support. Unlike other streaming networks like Netflix which require you to pay extra for 4K resolution, Disney Plus is the same price whether you plan on watching 4K content or not. That may mean that HD only users feel like they are paying extra for 4K resolutions they can’t see, but it offers plenty of potential for when users upgrade their devices. As expected though, due to technological limitations, 4K resolutions can only be viewed on a device that supports it. That means to watch 4K content, you need a 4K TV or computer that supports 4K resolutions. If you do, all apps support 4K, so it will simply automatically work on your chosen device. Bear in mind though, that if you use an Apple TV, you’ll need an Apple TV 4K as well as a 4K TV to see 4K resolutions through the devices. The same goes for Amazon Fire TV Sticks in which you need an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to view Disney Plus in 4K.

Not all Disney Plus content offers 4K resolutions but the number is steadily growing. Many movies support 4K resolutions including all Star Wars movies, Marvel movies, and many Disney movies. Pretty much all of the latest movies such as Pixar’s latest releases are available in 4K resolutions and the difference can be quite noticeable. All Marvel films are also available in 4K which makes a significant difference to the picture quality.

Besides offering 4K resolution support, Disney Plus also offers other useful features for enhancing the quality. This includes Dolby Vision and HDR10 so the picture looks truly fantastic. There’s also Dolby Atmos sound support via supported devices. As always, it’s worth checking that your device supports all these but there’s nothing additional to pay on a Disney Plus subscription to access them. Not all the content on Disney Plus supports any of these features but the list is growing. Via the streaming service, you can check what supports which feature. A list of content in 4K resolution is also often included amongst the many categories too which is useful if you are testing out a new TV or monitor.

In recent times, some Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have also received IMAX Enhanced versions. These feature IMAX’s 1.90:1 aspect ratio for scenes shot in the format. In all, 13 movies offer the feature along with other advantages such as DTS audio. It’s bordering on offering a cinematic experience at home but not all movies support the additions. It’s expected that more movies over the years will include IMAX Enhanced scenes assuming they have been shot appropriately in the past.

What Movies and Shows are on Disney Plus?

Disney Plus has steadily developed its content library with new shows and movies added on a regular basis. It’s worth checking out the best movies on Disney Plus as well as the best Disney Plus series, but there’s a heap more available. As expected, Disney Plus is the home of all things Disney. That means you can check out Disney movies starting right back in the 1930s up to the present day. On a regular basis, new Pixar and Disney movies are added often simultaneously with the cinema release, or shortly afterward. There are also numerous Disney cartoons and shorts ranging from Steamboat Willy, the first Mickey Mouse short, up to ’90s hits like Darkwing Duck and Gargoyles. It also has a lot of family-friendly content that is much more modern in nature and suitable for young children. Modern Disney channel shows are also included.

Disney Plus does not just stop at Disney productions though. It also contains work from Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, 20th Century Animation, along with select movies from 20th Century Studios, Touchstone Pictures, and Searchlight Pictures. What does that mean? Tons of great content. Disney Plus is the ideal place for all things Marvel. That includes every movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe but it also means shows like Hawkeye, Loki, WandaVision, and more. Similarly, when it comes to Lucasfilm content, it means Disney Plus is the home for everything Star Wars. That means every single Star Wars movie, exclusive shows like The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, along with spin-offs such as movies starring the Ewoks too.

Extensive National Geographic content is also included as it is Disney-owned. This includes Disney Plus originals like The World According to Jeff Goldblum, Welcome to Earth, and The Rescue. If you’re keen to learn more about the world, the National Geographic side of Disney Plus is a great place to begin.

Disney originals are some of the best content anywhere. They include movies like Luca, Soul, Home Sweet Home Alone, Pixar shorts, specials such as Muppets Haunted Mansion, and much more. In recent times, Only Murders In The Building is a big hit too thanks to the charm of comedy legends, Steve Martin and Martin Short. There’s something for everyone here, simply put, no matter what your mood may be. Other non-Disney content on Disney Plus includes America’s Funniest Home Videos, almost all of The Simpsons, a direct filming of Broadway sensation, Hamilton, and some award-winning movies such as the works of Wes Anderson. The options here are border on never-ending. If you only sign up for one streaming service, Disney Plus should offer you more than enough to keep you happy.

In the past, Disney has promised it will eventually host the entire Disney film library with only a few notable exceptions due to controversies surrounding dated material. Other than that, this is a true historical archive of content alongside the latest and greatest too. There’s also Disney Premier Access which allows users to pay extra to unlock the biggest movies early. In the past, this was the best way of watching Black Widow without attending a movie theater. Movies like Cruella and Jungle Cruise have also been part of the scheme with both later becoming available for free via the service.

How to Sign Up for Disney Plus?

Signing up for Disney Plus is very simple. It follows the same kind of pattern you’ve probably already done when signing up for other services online. Simply go to https://www.disneyplus.com/ and click either Get the Disney Bundle or Sign up for Disney+ only. You’ve seen before what the benefits are so only you know if you need just Disney Plus or whether the whole bundle is best for you.

Whichever you choose, the process is very similar. You simply enter your email address, while choosing whether to receive emails from Disney Plus, then click Agree and Continue. Enter a password then click Continue. Once that’s completed, you will need to enter your payment method. If you choose to sign up for The Disney Bundle, it’s also possible to choose to upgrade to Hulu (No Ads) for $6 a month. While that brings your total up to $20, it’s still a bargain for three fantastic streaming services in one.

Once you’ve entered your payment details and clicked the Agree and Subscribe button, you are all set up. Simply log into the service and you can begin watching. At first, you’ll probably browse through the web browser but it’s easy enough to install dedicated apps onto your smart TV, phone, or games console. Fortunately, it’s all simple to do. Maybe best of all, once you sign in on the phone app, you don’t have to enter your password on the smart TV or console apps to get started. Providing your phone is on the same Wi-Fi network, Disney Plus will pick up your details at the touch of a button, saving you the need to enter anything manually.

Finally, if you have young inquisitive eyes at home, make sure to set up Parental Controls on your Disney Plus profile. As you’d expect, these are pretty strict if you need them to be. Click your profile image, then click Edit Profile. From there, scroll down to Parental Controls and choose to adjust the Content rating so only content suitable for particular age groups can be viewed. Also, you can add a profile PIN to any adult profiles so that curious children can’t access your mature content.

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