I still remember the day that my two boys watched The Lion King for the first time. We were up at the cottage and had dusted off the VHS copy that their dad had watched growing up. I popped it into the VCR, hoping that the tape wouldn’t get eaten by the machine, and settled in to enjoy this special milestone with my kids. They loved it. (Even the parts where I sang along.)
It’s no surprise that parents who grew up in the 80s and 90s on all things Disney have been so eager for the arrival of Disney+. But is the streaming service really worth all the hype? If you’re still on the fence about subscribing, here are some points to consider.
• The amount of content available. Browsing the movie list on Disney+ is like wandering through Blockbuster on a Friday night in 1994. You’ll find Newsies, Blank Check, Camp Nowhere, and all the animated movies you grew up singing along with. Check out the Series section for classics like TaleSpin and Boy Meets World.
In addition to the Disney movies and TV shows you already know and love, Disney+ gives subscribers access to content from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. There is also some great original programming, like the cute holiday flick Noelle, and the live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp.
• The subscription fee. Disney+ subscriptions will set you back $8.99 per month, or $89.99 for the year. The single rate sets Disney+ apart from streaming services like Netflix, which uses a tiered-rate system. The subscription fee includes downloads and 4K streaming where available.
• The ability to watch on multiple screens. Also included in the Disney+ subscription is the ability to stream on up to four devices at the same time with no additional fees. You can watch Disney+ content on a mobile device (hello iPad time on a long road trip!), your desktop, through a gaming console or streaming device (like a Roku), or using a smart TV.
• The ability to set up a profile just for kids. Disney+ lets you set up multiple profiles, including profiles specifically for kids. Kids Profile mode limits viewers to content rated TV-7FV (for kids 7 and older, containing fantasy violence) and G (general audiences/suitable for all ages) in the US. If you step out of the room for a minute, you don’t have to worry that your kindergartener might be streaming The Avengers by the time you get back.
• It’s a bit light on the grown-up content. At first glance, Disney+ might feel a little limited in terms of content for adults. If you’re looking for something like The Handmaid’s Tale or Game of Thrones, this is not where you’ll find it. But with such a heavy nostalgia factor—and plenty of great PG-13 content to choose from thanks to Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic, and more—you’ll probably be too busy reliving your childhood to notice.
• It’s yet another subscription service. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of subscription-based streaming services on the go right now. Between Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Crave, and Apple TV+, there is an abundance of content to choose from—and it can all be a bit overwhelming. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide which content you’re willing to pay for based on your family’s preferences.
The Bottom Line
It’s worth the hype! In addition to introducing your kids to the beloved movies and TV shows of your childhood, Disney+ will let you bring an entire kid-friendly entertainment library with you anywhere you go. And with all the original content available (and more to come!) Disney+ is so much more than just a digital replacement for your DVD collection. Your living room may not be able to compete with the most magical place on earth, but with a little help from Disney+ it will surely be a close second.
Still not convinced? Disney+ currently offers a seven-day free trial, so you can check it out for yourself before you commit.