Claire Nottage | June 27th, 2022
Launched in 2020, Disney+ burst onto the already well-established streaming scene to compete with the likes of Netflix, NOW TV and Amazon Prime. With everything from classic Disney princess films to educational family viewing on National Geographic, Disney+ is a serious contender for the top position amongst the streaming apps currently available.
So what does Disney+ have to offer and is it worth the money? In this guide we take a look at what you can watch on Disney+, how to watch it, and whether it could be a good investment for keeping the whole family entertained.
Disney+ is a subscription streaming service that gives you access to thousands of Disney films and TV shows on demand – on your TV, tablet, games console or smartphone – from Pixar classics such as Toy Story to the latest Ridley Scott historical drama, The Last Duel. Disney+ is also the home of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will be a huge pull for many, and is a must for Star Wars fans too, as Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012.
However, as well as being stuffed with Disney princess classics, Pixar favourites and sci-fi and superhero successes like Star Wars and Marvel, it should be noted that Disney+ is not just for kids. In 2019, Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, which gave it the rights to TV shows as the Simpsons and Modern Family as well as hit films including Avatar and the Sound of Music. These can all be found under the Star banner within the Disney+app, alongside a host of addictive drama series, from classic Gray’s Anatomy to new drama Filthy Rich.
At the same time as buying 20th Century Fox, Disney also acquired National Geographic, so if you fancy watching something a little more brain-enhancing, there are hours of shows on history, wildlife and science to delve into, on subjects ranging from the Nasca Lines to climate change.
Disney requires a subscription fee that you can choose to pay either monthly or annually. At the time of writing, a one-month subscription cost £7.99 and a 12-month subscription costs £79.90 – essentially rewarding you with two month’s free when you pay for a year upfront.
If you already have a TV subscription with Virgin Media or Sky, you can watch the Disney+ app through your TV box. However, if you are a BT or TalkTalk TV customer, you will not be able to do this as YouView does not currently support Disney+. However, there are a number of alternatives available. Here is a list of ways to watch Disney+.
Disney+ offers the viewer six different categories to choose from. Simply click on the tab at the top of the page to go to the section that interests you. Within each section, there are further subdivisions to make finding what you want a piece of cake. From the latest Star Wars spin-off Obi-Wan Kenobi, to an in-depth documentary on Hitler’s addiction to medication – the choice is yours.
This is the biggest section, aimed at children and families, containing Disney classics such as The Aristocats and The Jungle Book, along with live action modern versions including Beauty and The Beast. There are several sub-sections devoted to entire franchises, including Frozen and Mickey Mouse. There are also sections devoted to The Disney Channel and Disney Junior (previously available as part of Sky TV Kids) that will appeal to younger viewers. Plus, with action and adventure sections including recent box office hits such as Jungle Cruise as well as Disney shorts, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
This section is devoted to Toy Story, Cars and all other Pixar films, including The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and A Bug’s Life. The recent Disney+ originals, Soul and Luca, can be found here, as well as a huge selection of Pixar shorts, many of which have been commissioned exclusively for Disney+ such as the Forky Asks A Question series, a spin-off from Toy Story 4.
From the Avengers to Marvel Defenders, this section is stuffed with everything Marvel. Both newcomers and entrenched Marvel fans can enjoy their favourite shows and Disney even has a subsection with the films in Marvel Universe order. The Moon Knight series and Wandavision are also included as well as sections devoted purely to Hawkeye and Spiderman.
Watch the original films that exploded into cinema screens in the 1970s or catch up on the latest movies in the Star Wars stories such as Rogue One and Solo. Fans will enjoy watching the Mandalorian series, the Book of Boba Fett, and, the latest arrival in the Star Wars stable, Obi Wan Kenobi.
Balancing entertainment and education, National Geographic also now comes under the Disney banner. From lighthearted looks at science with The World According to Jeff Goldblum and the ever popular Air Crash Investigations series to fascinating historical and natural world documentaries, National Geographic also has sections devoted entirely to Space Exploration, World War II and Nat Geo Kids, so there is something for everyone here.
Star is Disney’s truly grown-up section and rival to Netflix. With entire sections devoted to romantic comedies, thrillers, sci-fi and action movies, Star is also home to reality TV dramas The Kardashians, an array of adult animation including American Dad!, and original productions Love, Victor and Life & Beth.
Disney+ is one of the most technically advanced streaming services available, offering exceptionally high quality video and audio at no additional cost (unlike with NOW TV or Sky Cinema where a premium is charged to watch in HD).
However, be aware that you will only be able to take advantage of these features if you have the equipment to support it. Note that not all Disney+ content is available with all features; for example, at the time of writing, IMAX Enhanced is only available with Marvel titles.
Since its launch, Disney+ has scooped up the majority of its own productions, by removing them from competitor streaming services. That means that if you want to watch Marvel and Star Wars, for example, you can now only do so by subscribing to Disney+. However, if you are just looking for a good range of movies and TV shows, then there are several alternative streaming services to choose from.
One of the best for family and kids’ films, NOW TV Cinema offers a huge amount of popular movies such as Despicable Me and Minions, and the DC Comics films, all of which are owned by Warner Bros rather than Disney. NOW TV Entertainment is also worth a look if you are keen to find series to watch rather than films, although it is weighted more towards adult viewers than children.
With over 300 hours of box sets on offer, NOW TV Entertainment offers the best of Sky TV, with dramas, comedies and documentaries to rival those of National Geographic from Sky History and Sky Nature. NOW Entertainment also enmcompasses Sky Kids, so there is something for younger viewers thrown into the mix too.
Netflix offers an excellent catalogue of children’s and family films from Dreamworks and Sony Pictures Animation, with favourites such as Hotel Transylvania, Madagascar, Shrek and Paddington on offer. Plus there are hours of entertainment for the grown-ups to choose from too, with hundreds of box sets, films and documentaries.
If you want to watch a particular Disney film or TV series but don’t want to pay for Disney+, you can choose to buy or rent via Amazon Prime instead, although this will quickly work out more expensive. You may find the odd Disney film included with Amazon Prime for free but these are few and far between. However, there are plenty of popular, free alternatives included, from Angry Birds and Antz to Kung Fu Panda and Thomas and Friends, as well as plenty of box sets and films for adults.
DIsney+ costs £7.99 per month or £79.90 a year if you pay upfront, which gives you 12 months for the price of ten.
Although Disney+ doesn’t endorse this, it does not ban it either. You can choose to have up to seven profiles on your Disney+ account, so it is up to you if you wish to share your login details and passwords with other people.
Yes. Disney+ permits you to watch on up to four devices at once, from TVs to tablets.
Yes. Simply download the Disney+ app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, sign in and stream on your phone.