Disney is the latest company to wade into the film and TV streaming game with Disney+ - or Disney Plus if you prefer - a new streaming service that will let you watch all of the Mouse House's best and brightest in one place.
It's out now in some countries, and with movies ranging from cartoon classics and Pixar's finest through to Star Wars and Marvel - not to mention a bevy of exclusive new TV shows - Disney+ looks set to seriously shake up streaming. Here's what you need to know.
When does Disney+ launch in the UK?
Disney Plus is out now in the US, Canada and the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, with other major markets to follow within the first two years.
The UK gets the Disney streaming service from 24 March 2020. Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland will also gain access on this date as well. Other European markets (such as Belgium and the Nordics) will get the service in summer 2020. Variety also confirmed that Latin America won't get the service until Q1 2021.
#DisneyPlus will launch a week earlier in Western Europe!— Disney Plus News (@DPlusNews) January 21, 2020
The streaming service is set to debut on March 24 in U.K., Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Belgium, the Nordics and Portugal, will follow this summer. pic.twitter.com/OT82yjWQza
How much does it cost?
UK pricing has been confirmed as £5.99 per month for a rolling subscription, and £59.99 for an annual subscription. As with other markets, this price undercuts several rivals (including Netflix) by offering up to four simultaneous streams, 4K content and unlimited downloads on up to ten devices for no extra cost.
The rest of Europe will receive Disney Plus for €6.99 per month, and €69.99 for an annual subscription - the same pricing model as seen in The Netherlands.
It costs $6.99 per month (around £5.50) in the US, with the option of saving a little by paying $69.99 per year - which works out at $5.83 each month.
There's an even better deal if you don't mind spending a little more. Disney also bundles in Hulu with ads and ESPN+ into one single package for just $12.99 per month. Since Disney+ is normally $6.99, ESPN+ is $4.99, and Hulu is $5.99 on its ad-supported plan, that's a minimum saving of $5 each month. Don't expect this bundle in every market though, as Hulu and ESPN aren't widely available outside the US.
Elsewhere, Disney+ costs CAD$8.99 per month, and $89.99 for the year. In the Netherlands, the price is €6.99 per month, and €69.99 per year. For Australia, it costs AUD$8.99 per month, and $89.99 per year. Finally, in New Zealand the monthly cost is NZD$9.99 per month and $99.99 per year.
If you're looking to save some money, then we've also rounded up the best Disney Plus discounts so far and how to get Disney Plus for free, so that you can make the most of the Disney streaming service for less. If you're wondering whether Disney+ should be your new go-to streaming platform, here's how the service compares to Netflix.
How to watch Disney+ from the UK
It is of course a shame to be four months behind the States, especially with The Mandalorian available now across the pond. Fortunately, UK fans can still use a VPN to watch the Disney streaming service - but it's difficult.
VPNs allow you to browse the internet anonymously, blocking your IP address. This means that you can appear as if you're browsing from another country, allowing you to bypass any geo-blocking. We personally recommend trying out NordVPN first, as it's our best-reviewed VPN and is also so far the one doing the best to get around Disney's VPN-blocking attempts, but you can also try out ExpressVPN as another option.
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.
In theory you should be able to simply choose a VPN server from the USA or another country with Disney+, open the sign up page and get cracking, but there's one complication: you need a payment card for the appropriate country to create an account in the first place.
Luckily we've found a workaround, and in our guide to watching Disney+ from the UK we run through how you can sign up to the streaming service in the UK using the same method we have to watch The Mandalorian and the other new shows.
If all you want from Disney+ is the classic Disney content, then the UK is one of the few markets that already has another Disney streaming service: DisneyLife, which costs just £4.99 per month. However, it doesn't feature the latest Star Wars and Marvel movies, or the new Disney+ exclusives. We're expecting the company to fold DisneyLife into the new global Disney+ brand eventually, but we're not sure when that might happen.
Which devices does Disney+ work on?
Whatever you're looking to watch Disney Plus on - be it through a computer, smartphone, or tablet - you should be able to make it work.
You're able to watch Disney+ on Roku, Chromecasts, Fire TV, laptops, smart TVs, iPads, Android, iPhone, smart TVs, Android TVs and game consoles - including the Nintendo Switch.
Up to four users are able to watch simultaneously, and on some versions of the app you're able to download content to watch offline.
Disney+ gift cards
Just in time for Christmas Disney introduced its own gift cards for Disney+, though there are some caveats. You can grab physical cards from official stores or a digital version from Disney's site. Either way it costs $69.99 for a year's subscription, with no option at all for cheaper, shorter subscriptions.
It only works for new subscribers - so don't try and use it to gift extra time to someone who's already working through The Mandalorian - and you can't use it to sign up for the Hulu/ESPN+ bundle. It's also only available from Disney itself, with no option to buy a card from Amazon or Best Buy, at least for the time being.
What classic movies and shows are on Disney+?
Loads. Loads and loads and loads and loads.
First up, the service launched with "around 500 films from the Disney library," as well as "around 7,000 episodes of Disney TV." Those include the 13-film 'Signature Collection' of cartoons including Bambi, The Lion King, and The Jungle Book, along with 18 Pixar films.
Every Star Wars movie so far will appear (though The Last Jedi and Solo won't be available until after launch), along with films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with both Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame making their streaming service debuts exclusively on the platform. There won't be any of the Spider-Man movies though, even the Tom Holland ones - Sony has those rights - and there's no Deadpool either, for reasons outlined below.
Thanks to Disney's merger with Fox there is also a variety of Fox movies and shows - including the exclusive streaming rights to the entirety of The Simpsons.
One thing you shouldn't expect to see: anything R-rated. While Disney's never made much itself, its subsidiaries have, as has Fox. None of that will make its way onto Disney+ though, so you won't see Alien rubbing shoulders with Bambi any time soon. Instead expect those films to appear on Hulu, which Disney has a financial stake in.
Just over a month before the launch, Disney Plus tweeted a monster thread that detailed the biggest classic titles that are available on the streaming platform, including Bambi, Treasure Island, Big Hero 6 and more. Read the full list over on the Disney Plus Twitter page.
What are the new exclusives?
Arguably more exciting than all those old movies and shows are all the new things being made just for Disney+, including new shows set in the main Marvel and Star Wars Universes. Here's some of the biggest new titles confirmed for the streaming platform so far:
- The Mandalorian - The first live action Star Wars series from producer Jon Favreau (director of Iron Man and the new Lion King remake) will be available on the day of the Disney+ launch. It'll star Pedro Pascal as the titular Mandalorian bounty hunter, alongside the likes of Nick Nolte, Werner Herzog, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, and Giancarlo Esposito. It's out now, with season two on the way in 2020.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars final season, February 2020 - This popular animated series will debut its seventh and final season on Disney+.
- Untitled Rogue One Series, Date TBC - This prequel will star Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk as their characters from the recent film, exploring their adventures as a spy duo.
- Untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series, Date TBC - Hello there! This massively anticipated spin-off will have Ewan McGregor reprise his role as Obi-Wan. The show will take place around the same time that Solo: A Star Wars Story is set.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Fall 2020 - The first MCU original series to kick off will star Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. It will follow the duo's adventures post Avengers: Endgame, and also feature Emily VanCamp and Wyatt Russell, who will portray Sharon Carter and John Walker respectively.
- WandaVision, 2020 - Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) play two supers who are seeking to live a suburban lifestyle, but not everything is as it appears.
- Loki, Spring 2021 - Another series following the events of Endgame, Loki will explore the life of the god of mischief/brother of Thor. Karen Herron will be directing, and Michael Waldron will serve as the head writer.
- What If...?, Spring 2021 - Taking a step away from the live action, this animated anthology series will explore alternative universes for each of the MCU films. For example, one of the storylines will tell the story of what would happen if Peggy Carter got the Super Soldier serum as opposed to Steve Rogers in Captain America.
- Hawkeye, Fall 2021 - Jeremy Renner will be coming back in his original Avenger role, and he will be joined by the Marvel Comics character Kate Bishop, who will likely become his successor. Variety has reported that Hailee Steinfeld is in line for the role.
- Ms. Marvel, Date TBC - The first muslim superhero Kamala Kahn will enter the MCU in her own series, exploring her origin story.
- She-Hulk, Date TBC - Attorney Jennifer Walters (and cousin of Bruce Banner) will look to balance her own gamma radiation powers with her legal career.
- Moon Knight, Date TBC - The final MCU show in the lineup will follow Marc Spector, yet another billionaire superhero. But if the series follows the comics, we expect his story will be slightly darker than the likes of Tony Stark.
- Forky Asks a Question - The bizarre cutlery implement from Toy Story 4 will explore life's greatest questions in a short animated series. Voice actor Tony Hale will be reprising his role as the title character.
- Monsters at Work, 2020 - The Monsters Inc. duo Mike and Sully (Billy Crystal and John Goodman) will return in this new series exploring their lives after the plot of the first film.
Disney Channel series
- High School Musical: The Musical: Series - No, the name isn't a typo. This new series will follow a group of High School students who are putting on a musical of... High School Musical. We're all in this together, indeed.
- Lizzie McGuire, Date TBC - Years after the original series, Hilary Duff will return to her roots as a 30 year old Lizzie, living in New York City and trying to navigate through her career and personal life.
Other Disney+ originals and documentaries
- The Lady and the Tramp - The latest Disney live action remake, this time recreating the two dogs united by their love of spaghetti and meatballs. At least, we think that's what it's about, it's been a while.
- The World According To Jeff Goldblum - Think of 'An Idiot Abroad', but instead of Karl Pilkington travelling the world and sharing his thoughts and opinions, its Jeff Goldblum. Yep, we're sold too.
- Encore! - Kristen Bell executive produces this show which brings together former cast mates of real high school musical shows to recreate their productions.
- The Imagineering Story - If you're a big fan of the Disney theme parks, then this documentary series is a must, following the story and achievements of Walt Disney and the staff who brought the Disney brand to life for travellers around the world.
- Marvel's Hero Project - Instead of comic book superheroes, this documentary shines a light on some of the real-life young heroes who are making a difference in their communities.
- One Day at Disney - Although these will be short episodes, this series will contain 52 of them, showcasing the creative forces who work for Disney.
- Muppets Now, 2020 - This unscripted series will feature all your favourite muppets, naturally lead by Kermit and Miss Piggy, alongside a number of celebrity guests.
- Marvel's 616, 2020 - This documentary series will expand on the untold stories of Marvel, including the plots, characters and the creators behind the comic universe.
- Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2 - Frozen 2 is already a hugely anticipated release, and this documentary will delve into how the creative team came together to create this epic musical sequel.
- Be Our Chef, 2020 - You've heard of Bake Off and MasterChef, but this Disney cooking show has its own spin. Families from different cultures will compete against one another (in the setting of Disney World, naturally) in a series of themed challenges, Disney style.
- Earth to Ned, 2020 - This puppet talk show from the Jim Henson Company will see real celebrities interviewed by alien puppets in a twist on the talk show formula that's nothing if not novel.
Disney will also be remaking a few classic 20th Century Fox franchises with the aim to launch them on the streaming service. Home Alone, Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cheaper By the Dozen all in line for "reimaginations" for the platform according to Disney CEO Bog Iger.