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Everything You Need to Know About Disney+

Disney+ is the dedicated streaming service from The Walt Disney Company that launched on November 12, 2019 in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands. It has since expanded to over 150 countries globally. Disney+ offers subscribers an ever-growing collection of movies, TV shows, documentaries, and original exclusives from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more.

The Origins of Disney+

The origins of Disney+ can be traced back to MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), which was created in 2000 as the interactive media and internet company of Major League Baseball. MLBAM developed a major competency in streaming video and in 2015, The Walt Disney Company acquired a 33% stake in the company and rebranded it as BAMTech.Disney utilized BAMTech’s technology and platform to launch ESPN+ in 2018, which offered live sports and original programming exclusively through its streaming service.

The success of ESPN+ showed Disney the potential of becoming a serious player in the streaming industry and going head-to-head with dominant services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. In August 2018, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced plans to launch Disney’s own direct-to-consumer streaming service that would be built on BAMTech’s platform and would include movies and TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. They revealed the Disney+ name in November 2018.

Launch and Initial Offerings

Pirates of the Carribean

Disney+ officially launched in the United States on November 12, 2019 with Canada and the Netherlands following shortly after. The service was an instant hit, signing up over 10 million subscribers on the first day alone. The initial Disney+ catalog offered an extensive lineup of movies and shows spanning Disney’s near century-long history, including:

  • Over 500 films from the Disney library like Snow White, Cinderella, The Lion King
  • Thousands of episodes of Disney Channel and Disney Junior series
  • Classic films and shorts from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios
  • The entire Pixar film library
  • The Star Wars film saga along with Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  • 30 seasons of The Simpsons
  • All films released by Walt Disney Studios in 2019 going forward, such as Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Disney+ also launched with an impressive slate of original exclusives, including:

  • The Mandalorian – the first ever live-action Star Wars TV series
  • Lady and the Tramp – a live-action remake of the 1955 animated film
  • Noelle – an original Christmas film starring Anna Kendrick
  • High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – a scripted series set in the High School Musical universe
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum – National Geographic docuseries hosted by Jeff Goldblum

International Expansion

Following its extremely successful domestic launch, Disney accelerated plans to take Disney+ international. The service launched in Australia, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico in November 2019, coinciding with the North American rollout. Over the course of 2020, Disney+ expanded into Western Europe and India. The United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland received Disney+ in March 2020. Disney+ Hotstar launched in India in April 2020 after Disney took full operational control of Hotstar, an existing streaming service in the country.

More European countries were added in September 2020, including Portugal, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Further international growth followed in Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Africa over the next couple of years. As of January 2024, Disney+ is available in over 150 markets globally, reaching a vast majority of the world. It continues to launch in new territories, with plans to be fully rolled out worldwide by 2025.

Recent Developments

Chip n Dale series

In late 2022, Disney+ introduced an ad-supported subscription plan in the US for $7.99/month. This gave cost-conscious customers a cheaper option while allowing Disney to generate additional revenue. The ad-supported tier has averaged over 9 minutes of ads per hour. Disney also increased prices on the ad-free plan by $3 to $10.99 per month in late 2022. Additional price hikes went into effect in December 2022, raising the monthly cost in the US to $13.99. Annual plans are now $139.99 per year.

December 2022 saw Disney surpass 235 million total worldwide subscribers across Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. This makes them a strong #2 behind Netflix globally. Disney+ itself boasted over 164 million subscribers at last count. Some of Disney+’s most popular recent releases include Andor, a Star Wars origin series about the rebellion; Hocus Pocus 2 starring the original Sanderson sisters; and Disenchanted, a sequel to the hit film Enchanted.

Marvel Studios series like She-Hulk and movies like Thor: Love and Thunder have also been major draws. Disney+ sometimes releases major films directly on the streaming service for an additional one-time “Premier Access” fee, forgoing an exclusive theatrical run. Recent examples include Jungle Cruise, Cruella, and Pinocchio. After a couple of months, Premier Access films are made available as part of the standard Disney+ catalog.

Current Disney+ Price Plans

Disney+ offers two main subscription plans in the United States:

Disney+ Basic (With Ads)

  • $7.99 per month
  • Stream on 4 devices simultaneously
  • Unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices
  • Video quality up to 4K UHD
  • Over 300 titles available in IMAX Enhanced format

Disney+ Premium (No Ads)

  • $13.99 per month
  • $139.99 per year (equivalent to $11.67 per month)
  • Stream on 4 devices simultaneously
  • Unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices
  • Video quality up to 4K UHD
  • Over 300 titles available in IMAX Enhanced format
  • Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision supported

Many other countries including Canada, UK, and Australia offer similar plans and pricing. Some markets have annual plans but no ad-supported option. Add-ons like 4K and Dolby Atmos may cost extra in certain regions. There are also bundled packages available featuring Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for a discounted combined price, giving access to all three services.

Top Movies and Series on Disney+

With thousands of titles in its catalog, Disney+ offers something for all ages and interests. Some of the most popular movies and series available on the platform include:

Movies

  • Avatar
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Encanto
  • Frozen and Frozen 2
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Lion King (1994 and 2019)
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Toy Story 2, 3, and 4
  • Turning Red
  • Thor: Ragnarok

Series

  • The Mandalorian
  • WandaVision
  • The Simpsons
  • Loki
  • The Book of Boba Fett
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
  • Bluey
  • The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder
  • High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

Contacting Disney+ Customer Service

If you need assistance with your Disney+ account, Disney provides customer service through the following channels:

Phone: 1-888-905-7888

Online: Submit a request form through the Disney+ Help site: https://help.disneyplus.com/contact-us

Chat: Live chat is available through the Disney+ Help site during certain hours: https://help.disneyplus.com/contact-us

When contacting Disney+ support, be prepared to provide your account email address. If your issue is account-related, also have your password ready. Common requests fielded by the Disney+ customer service team include billing questions, issues with streaming or downloads, profile troubleshooting, content not available in your region, and general account management assistance.

The Future of Disney+

Disney Castle

After a tremendously successful launch and rapid global expansion, Disney+ seems poised for continued growth in the years ahead. Disney is investing heavily in new original movies and shows to attract and retain subscribers. While Netflix still maintains a comfortable lead in total subscribers, Disney+ has quickly established itself as a major force in the streaming landscape. Its unrivaled content library and robust pipeline of exclusives make it an extremely enticing streaming option for households worldwide.