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Disney Plus review

Our Disney Plus review talks you through all the movies and TV shows on the streaming service, from Marvel to Star Wars to The Simpsons.

Disney Plus review
(Image: © Disney)

Our Verdict

Disney Plus is essential for parents at home with kids, thanks to the wealth of classic Disney movies. Marvel and Star Wars fans are well catered for too, but it's less essential for anyone looking for a broad range of shows.

For

  • Huge library of family-friendly entertainment
  • High-quality original shows in the Star Wars and Marvel universes
  • Excellent stream quality, and great value

Against

  • Not updated with new content on a regular schedule
  • Content lacks much variety

Our Disney Plus review gives you all the info you need to know on Disney's streaming service, and we've updated it following the addition of several high profile movies: Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, and Frozen 2. But what is Disney Plus? It's Disney's own service, allowing you to stream new and classic Disney shows and films to whatever device you want to watch on. It has everything from the Star Wars universe, to the Marvel universe, to The Simpsons, and also includes a massive catalogue of classic - and not so well known - Disney movies, like Cars, The Lion King, Moana and so many more. Basically, if Disney owns it, you'll likely find it on Disney Plus.

When creating and updating our Disney Plus review we looked at the amount of content you get for your money, as well as the ease of use and the quality of the stream. We also considered how it compares to the other options we tested for our best TV streaming services guide. As one of the cheapest options - $6.99 per month - Disney Plus is great value, and if you have kids, it's the perfect thing to let them watch, or to create a family movie evening with. It beats out Netflix and Hulu for the sheer volume of family-friendly content.

Disney Plus is available on a broad range of platforms too, and has apps for tablets, most of the best TVs, and you can browse via computers and laptops. You can even watch it on your smartphone.

Disney Plus review: TV shows

The TV selection on Disney Plus is split between new originals and old favorites, although there are way more classic shows than new ones. The original show grabbing all the limelight is The Mandalorian, an adventure set in the Star Wars universe, but heavy-hitting Marvel shows Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, and WandaVision are coming soon. If your taste runs more to the real - but no less fantastic - a bevvy of National Geographic programming awaits, including The World According to Jeff Goldblum, a fun series where the actor dives deep into everyday topics like ice cream, denim, and bicycles. 

And as for the classics, well… do the words “I am the terror that flaps in the night” mean anything to you? Did Gadget from Rescue Rangers make you feel funny in your tummy? Did you ever wish you had a dad as cool as Goofy? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then my friend, Disney Plus is for you. Disney cartoons experienced a renaissance in the 90s, with classics like Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck, Talespin, Recess, and Gargoyles. Were they really that good? Does it matter? (But yes, they were, and I will fight you if you claim otherwise.) 

And then there are The Simpsons. Every single episode from every single season. All 30 of them. You’re welcome. Dig a little deeper and you'll even find the original animated Spider-Man cartoons from the 80s, a bunch of excellent Pixar shorts for all your favorite movies like Cars and Toy Story, along with more recent animated shorts for some of the Marvel brands.

Disney Plus review: The Mandalorian is a new Star Wars TV show

Disney Plus review: The Mandalorian is a new Star Wars TV show (Image credit: Disney)

Disney Plus review: Movies

Star Wars. The Marvel Universe. Pixar. And, oh, yeah, Disney itself. It’s pretty hard to argue with the movie library on Disney Plus. Ok, George of the Jungle 2 was a mistake, I think we can all admit that now, but The Great Muppet Caper, The Lion King (both of them), The Black Hole, Peter Pan, The Sound of Music, Avatar, Turner & Hooch, Zootopia, Aladdin (both of them), Coco, Escape from Witch Mountain? You could choose a movie with your eyes closed and still land on something worth watching.

That said, these are Disney movies, after all, which means you’re not going to find a lot of bite in the library. Happy endings are the order of the day, as are plucky kids and surprisingly intelligent animals. If your taste leans toward crime stories, horror, or romance that moves past kissing, you won’t find much to satisfy you. If you don’t enjoy an afternoon spent with superheroes, animated heroes, or space heroes, you may want to consider a different streaming service. 

It's worth noting that Frozen 2 has recently been added to Disney Plus too, which for some will justify the price of admission itself. If the coronavirus pandemic continues to drag on, we wouldn't be surprised to see Black Widow appear on Disney Plus, as it will definitely miss that slated May 1 release date in theaters. We've also seen Star Wars Rise of Skywalker added to Disney Plus too, which means you can watch the latest movie in this universe, at no extra cost, right now. Great deal when you consider it's $14+ on most other sites.

Disney Plus review: The site is easy to navigate

Disney Plus review: The site is easy to navigate (Image credit: Disney)

Disney Plus review: Pricing

You can pick up a Disney Plus sign up by itself for $6.99 a month or you can grab a $12.99 bundle that nets you Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+, a savings of about five bucks over the cost of each of those services individually. If you already have Hulu, blending your former account with your new Disney Plus bundle can be a minor hassle (we found ourselves in a log-in loop when trying to make it work on our Apple TV), but generally speaking, time from signup to viewing is less than 90 seconds. Disney Plus also offers a free trial in case you’re not sure the X-Men cartoon holds up as well as you remember and don’t want to commit until you watch a few episodes. 

Disney Plus review: Quality of Stream

We watched Disney Plus on an Apple TV, iPhone 8, and a desktop computer: playback on all was smooth, with no buffering or lag. Skipping through a program worked perfectly, as did picking it back up after leaving it paused for an extended period. Unlike some other streaming services, UI was consistent across all devices, making the switch from TV to phone, for example, seamless. 

Everything is available in HD 1080p, and a large quantity of movies and shows stream in 4K. Provided your broadband can handle it, the streaming works well even at the highest resolutions, although we did notice a little buffering during certain movies (Hocus Pocus, to be exact).

Most modern entertainment appliances will have some kind of app that allows you to watch Disney Plus. Smart TVs, most of the best tablets, and phones all have apps, while Disney Plus can be watched via a web browser on laptops and PCs. It's broadly available and easy to access.

Disney Plus review: Did you know The Simpsons is on here?

Disney Plus review: Did you know The Simpsons is on here? (Image credit: Disney)

Should I subscribe to Disney Plus? 

Do you have a kid? Then yes, you need Disney Plus in your home. Like, now. It doesn’t even particularly matter what age your offspring is, either, as Disney Plus has appropriate viewing for wee babes, toddlers, tweens, and teens. And while you may quietly grind your teeth at hearing yet another princess movie chirping away in the background, your kiddos having access to so much safe, high-quality content is probably worth the damage to your enamel. 

If you don’t have a kid, are you a comic movie or sci-fi fan? If so, having ready access to everything in the Marvel and Star Wars universes, including the upcoming original shows, is almost certainly worth it to you. If you’re neither a parent nor a nerd, whether Disney Plus remains worth the monthly fee will depend on the quality of content it adds, and the frequency with which new programming is added to the service.