Disney Plus (or Disney+) has now been globally released in the US, Canada and The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.
Although the UK has now been confirmed to get Disney+, it will sadly be four months until it’s officially available, meaning that all the British Disney fans will be left in the lurch.
Or will they? We here at Tech Advisor have done some digging to see if you can use the same workaround for accessing streaming sites from abroad to watch channels like The CW, HBO or The Criterion Channel.
Not sure if Disney+ is the right streaming service for you? Check out our ranked list of the best TV streaming services.
How to watch Disney+ in the UK
- Download a VPN
- Create a US Apple ID or a US Google Play Store account
- Purchase a digital US gift card
- Create a Disney+ account using a VPN an iOS or Android device, and pay with the gift card
These are the most basic steps you need to know, but we have more detailed instructions below.
It's much easier if you already have a Disney+ account and you're travelling outside of the country, as all you'll need is a VPN.
Watch Disney+ using a VPN
The best way to access Disney+ from the UK would be to use a VPN. VPNs change your IP address, which means not only do they protect your identity and offer privacy while browsing the web, but they can also make it appear as if you’re in another country.
There are numerous VPNs that you can use for streaming, but our top choice would be NordVPN (which currently has a Black Friday deal of three months free - just enough time to watch The Mandalorian), as it offers a very seamless user-experience and numerous servers to choose from - all of which at a competitive price. If you’d like another option, we’d also recommend ExpressVPN, though this is slightly more expensive than NordVPN.
It's worth pointing out that there have been some reports of Disney blocking VPN accounts - we can confirm that this is false. Disney is trying to block VPN servers, and so right now many VPNs are unable to access the streaming service, but some still are - including Nord and Hotspot Shield at the time of writing - and even though we were on a VPN that didn't work, switching to one that did then let us watch as normal, with no sign of Disney actually blocking or banning our account.
You can take a look at other options in our list of recommended VPNs for Disney Plus. There are also free VPN options if you'd like to save some cash. However, these are less reliable and secure than the paid versions. We recommend trying a number of different servers if you can't get through to the sign-up page straight away.
Once you’ve downloaded your preferred VPN, you'll need to select your server of choice. To access Disney+ this will be either the US, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia or New Zealand. Once you’ve done that, you can head on over to the Disney+ homepage and choose the plan you’d prefer (i.e. paying monthly or annual).
We've spent time trying and testing using a VPN, and we initially hit a roadblock when it came to the payment info. Thankfully, we've managed to find a workaround through creating a US Apple App Store or Google Play store account.
As with any streaming platform, watching through a VPN is against Disney's term of service and therefore your account could be blocked by Disney, though we haven't had any issues.
Note that this method doesn't include Macs - just iPads, iPhones and Apple TV. We've successfully created a new Apple ID that's tied to the US, loaded it up with a USD gift card and then signed up for Disney Plus on an iPad using a VPN. Once you've done all that, you can watch it on any other device, still using a VPN.
There's a full guide here on creating a US Apple ID, but here's a summary of the steps:
- Open the App Store or iTunes and log out of your store account.
- Head to the Apple site to create a new Apple ID, you'll need a new email address and you'll need to select the United States as your region.
- Be certain to not include any payment information, as this is not how you'll be paying for Disney+.
- Load up your account with credit by purchasing a digital USD App Store gift card, which can be done via Best Buy or Amazon. The cheapest one is $15, and we got the redemption code a few minutes later. You may need to give a US shipping address. If one of the two doesn't work, try the other one.
- Log into your new US Apple ID and go to account settings in the App Store to redeem your gift code.
- Finally, use a VPN to connect to a US server on an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. Download the Disney+ app from the app store and install it.
- Within the Disney+ app, create an account and use your gift card credit as the payment option, and you're good to go.
From this point on you should have a Disney+ account that works on any iOS device or your browser, provided you have a working VPN server.
You can then sign out of the US Apple ID, returning your iOS device back to its normal account. It's worth noting that once your account is created you'll only be able to top the payments up using the gift card credit, so once Disney+ eventually drops in the UK, you'll probably want to make an entirely new account with your standard payment information.
How to sign up to Disney+ on Android
There's a very similar method that you can use on Android, but there are a few more hoops to jump through than with iOS. Nonetheless, we have tested it and it does work - but be sure to follow each step correctly to avoid being locked out of any accounts.
We accessed Disney+ on an Android phone, but there's no reason why it can't be done on a tablet as well. For this, we created a new US Google Play Store account, loaded it up with USD via Amazon and then signed up for Disney+ using a VPN.
You can find a full guide to creating a new Google Play Store account here, but here's the most basic instructions:
- Access a US server from your VPN and create an additional Google account/email to use on Google Play - test that your Play Store is connected to US servers by seeing if apps and games are priced in dollars.
- Turn off your VPN, and go create a new account on Amazon US - don't use your normal Amazon account for this.
- Load up your account with credit by purchasing a digital USD Google Play gift card, which can be done via Best Buy or Amazon. The cheapest one is $10, and we got the redemption code a few minutes later. You may need to give a US shipping address. If one of the two doesn't work, try the other one.
- Send your voucher to your new US Google account email address.
- Turn your US VPN back on, and go into your confirmation email to redeem your voucher, using a valid US zip code.
- Once the balance is added to your account, login to the Play Store app using your new US account to download and install the Disney Plus app.
- Select the free trial option to begin creating an account - when you get to the payment screen, use your Google Play credit as your payment option, and start streaming.
Once you've got Disney+ working on your phone, you'll also be able to access it on any browser. However, you'll have to ensure that your Play Store account is topped up with enough credit to cover the Disney+ subscription. We bought the $25 voucher from Amazon to cover a short amount of time, but you can get a higher amount if you'd like to sign up for the annual subscription.
Accessing Disney+ using US bank details
If the method sounds like too much work, there is another way that involves getting hold of US payment details.
If you aren't fortunate enough have the bank account or credit card you need, then you should be able to borrow the details of someone else who does - an American, Canadian or Dutch friend - to use during the initial sign-up process.
To be clear, we think that they won't be charged at all, as Disney+ offers a seven day free trial. In theory you should be able to sign up using their bank details, and then change your payment information to your UK bank once your account is locked in - though we haven't tested this ourselves.
How else can I get US payment information?
If you can bear to wait a few days, you can try setting up a TransferWise account, as this will give you a US debit card. You can convert your money to USD, and then get a physical card delivered to you. Of course, the downside to this is that you definitely won't be getting Disney+ straight away, and as a word of caution, we haven't tested it ourselves.
There may also be a loophole with gift cards - something that you can use to sign up for Hulu. You can purchase a gift card from anywhere in the world, load it up with money and then create an account with this. Disney has begun selling one-year gift cards for $69.99 but only through its own stores, which doesn't much help - we'll be keeping an eye out for Disney+ gift cards appearing in other retailers though.
Is there any other way to watch Disney+ in the UK?
At this current time, no. Unfortunately, VPNs aren't enough without the correct payment information, so we may have to wait until March after all.
However, if you're one of the few people who wants to simply watch classic Disney content and aren't bothered about Star Wars or Marvel, then we have some good news for you.
DisneyLife - which costs just £4.99 per month - is still an active streaming service in the UK at the moment. It includes classic films like The Lion King, as well as most of the content that aired on The Disney Channel. Sure, it's not Disney+, but it might fill that void for the next few months.
What can I watch on Disney+?
Though Disney+ is late to the streaming game, it’s still got a ma-hoo-sive library of content to choose from. It’ll please superhero fans to know that most of the MCU films are available, including 2019’s additions, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. Fans of The Simpsons can also catch every single episode, seeing as Fox is the latest pawn in the Disney game. If you're after a good movie, then check out the best films to watch on Disney Plus.
For brand new content, you can watch The Mandalorian - the new Star Wars spin-off show created by Jon Favreau. Other shows available upon launch include The World According To Jeff Goldblum, High School Musical: The Musical and Forky Asks a Question.
There’s also a lengthy list of content planned for the service post-launch; many of which are shows that will contribute to Marvel Phase 4, tying in with the cinematic releases. If you’d like to know more about Disney Plus and the shows available, then take a look at our Disney+ news article.