Wednesday, November 13, 2019

[REVIEW] First 24 hours with Disney+

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past year, you probably heard about the launch of the new online streaming service from Disney called Disney+ yesterday. Disney is estimated to have spent $20 million in advertising for the service. I signed up immediately and here is my first impressions after 24 hours of use.

First of all, signing up was super easy.


From the home page, there is lots of ways to browse and explore Disney's vast library of content.

  1. Search - This keyword-based search feature is prominent in the global nav on all devices 
  2. By Featured "Brands" - For lack of better words, when I say "Brands", I am referring to Disney's major studios or franchises, namely Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic. (How did Nat Geo make it to this list? Maybe Disney did some consumer research and found this to be a popular content channel). You can see this on the home page below the home page promotional carousel (see screenshot below, located below Mandalorian promo)
  3. By Collections - To help you explore, they have created "collections" for popular franchises or characters. For example, an obvious one is Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Collection, which includes all 8 Episodes of the motion pictures. They even have a Darth Vader Collection if you seek the "dark side" that includes the main Star Wars movies Darth Vader has been in, along with Star Wars Rebels cartoons and LEGO animations he's also been in. I was also happy to see a Spider-Man collection, which was a custom set of cartoons and some movies Spider-man has been in (more on that below). 

Disney+ Home Page (Desktop)

Disney+ Collections


After years of holding out from all the major streaming and download services, Disney+ has finally made all the Star Wars movies available online, except Solo, which it says is coming July 9, 2020. (No biggie since I thought that was a bad Star Wars movie. But you will find Rogue One, which I loved!)

I had to watch the much-hyped Star Wars: The Mandalorian show. Not bad so far. I'll give it time for the storyline to unfold and character to develop. The production quality is very high, like a full feature Star Wars movie! This appears to be a weekly series and the whole season is NOT available at once for binge watchers. Call me old school, but I actually prefer weekly releases so I can enjoy it over a few months =)

There is also a confirmed Kenobi: A Star Wars Story series coming to Disney+ next year starring Ewan McGregor again and set between Episodes III and IV!

While it appears all the Star Wars movies (except Solo) and the animated TV series, such as Clone Wars and Rebels, are available for streaming today, that's not the case for Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies.

I'm in the midst of re-watching all 23 MCU movies in chronological order (not theatrical release date order). Only 16 of the 23 MCU movies are available today. What's missing:

  • Incredible Hulk (2008) - Not found. This was kinda, but not really, part of the MCU series in my book anyways
  • Spider-man: Homecoming - Not found
  • Thor: Ragnarok - Available 12/5/19
  • Black Panther - Available 3/4/20
  • Avengers: Infinity War - Available 6/25/20. Oddly, Endgame was available.
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp - Available 7/29/20
  • Spider-man: Far From Home - Not found
Disney+ states the reason for the delayed releases is due to prior agreements. I get that. But my biggest disappointment is none of the recent Spider-man movies from MCU are even showing up in search results, as if they never existed. This is probably due to Marvel's prior contract with Sony when they licensed the Spider-Man character to Sony years ago and the recent contract disputes they've had. Luckily they resolved those issues and there will be more Spider-man MCU movies with Tom Holland coming. I hope they cut a deal soon to include these movies in Disney+!

Also, Disney's acquisition of Fox assets means the X-Men are coming back supposedly to Disney/Marvel. But you won't find any of the X-Men theatrical releases here...yet. Just some old X-Men cartoons.

All the Pixar movies appear to be available: Toy Story, Incredibles, Cars, Inside Out. No Toy Story 4 or latest Lion King yet.

Pixar on Disney+

Also from the Fox deal, all 30 years of Simpsons episodes is available! "WOO HOO!" as Homer would say.


Let's talk about some of the nice, unique features in Disney+.

"Skip Intro" button: Lets you skip the opening credits on TV shows. It appears on the lower right corner when credits start, similar to how the Skip Ad button appears on YouTube videos.

High Concurrent Viewers: You can stream on lots of devices at once. While you can maintain up to 10 devices logged into your Disney+ account, you can stream on 4 devices concurrently. Both are quite generous. As a comparison, my Hulu+Live TV normal subscription only allows 2 concurrent viewers.

Chromecast: Built in Chromecast icon in upper right let's you easily throw a show from your mobile device to a bigger screen.

Download: Easily download any program and go (see below), but it's only available on mobile devices and tablets. Not PC and TV. I'm actually surprised it's not on PC for road warriors who like to watch movies on laptops on planes. This is a huge benefit for families on road trips that want to download content on a tablet for their kids to watch in the backseat!
Mobile: Add to Watchlist, Download, or Chomecast


Overall, I didn't notice any performance issues while streaming. There were reports from others about logging in, which I also faced. When I first signed in to the mobile app, it appeared to not let me login (see below). But when I clicked on the search icon on the bottom nav, it let me enter and seemed fine after that.

Error Message on Mobile App
Also, I when I tried to edit my profile image, it crashed. When I tried again a few hours later, it worked.
Error Message Updating Profile Image

The Watch List is hard to find on the mobile and iPad apps. It's actually under your profile icon on lower right. But on a TV, it's a main menu item and not buried under your profile/account settings.

Also, on my Roku version of Disney+, if you rewind or go forward, there aren't thumbnails to show where you are, like other services. You have to solely rely on the time stamp to guide you! But this wasn't a problem on the mobile app or iPad. So why the inconsistent user experience?!?


I wish there was a Hulu+Live TV bundle with Disney+. (Yes, I'm a Hulu+Live TV user.) And not just the basic Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ $12.99 bundle.

That being said, $6.99/mo is a bargain for all this content. The $69.99/yr plan, which is less than $6/mo is a great deal! Even if I watched 1-2 things a month, it's way cheaper than renting a movie which can cost $4 minimum and up to $6 for new HD releases. So the 12-month plan is a great deal because you're basically getting 2 months free. Instead of $84, you save $14 or 17% off. I wish my Hulu+Live TV offered a discounted 12-month option because I would definitely do that and probably save enough to cover my Disney+ subscription! YOU HEAR ME, DISNEY?

Even with this low price, the best part (so far) is they are not supplementing their subscription income with ads, like Hulu and other OTT streaming services. I hope it stays that way!


Everyone talks about this as a Netflix killer. No doubt, especially as Disney continues to remove its content from Netflix as licensing agreements expire.

I can see this threatening YouTube too, especially among kids. Parents who put an iPad or phone in front of their kids can now have a safe, ad-free option to "babysit" their kids when they're eating out or need some "me" time. And kids love watching same thing over so this is perfect! Remember Frozen and hearing Let It Go for the umpteenth time for weeks?! That may happen again.

This will alter my movie rental behavior for sure. Instead of renting from Amazon Prime a new release for $4-6 per movie, I'll wait until it hits Disney+.

Given how no streaming service has ever licensed the Star Wars movies, there is a lot of pent up demand for these movies alone that make the low monthly fee worth it. Disney CEO Bob Iger is very optimistic about this new service, and I think they will get millions of subscribers easily. I wouldn't be surprised if they surpass Hulu in subscribers.

To sum things up. Disney+ is...

Best for: those seeking very affordable entertainment option for the entire family with no ads
Not for you if: you have no self control binge watching, as there is so much content here that you may not go out or sleep for months!
Final word: Definitely sign-up for the free 7-day trial. I'd be shocked if you or your kids didn't find something to watch!


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