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Published March 12, 2023
I’ve been talking quite a lot recently about programming on Disney+ and that’s because of all the streaming services around at the moment, they have some of the most high profile shows alongside some hidden gems. That’s because they are such a behemoth, the vast array of franchises Disney has under its banner is something to behold. As it is at the forefront of my mind right now, for whatever reason, it’s worth a second entry in the ongoing series Christine Reviews the Streaming Services.
A lot of Disney’s streaming content used to be with Netflix, and they even partnered up to produce things, such as the Marvel series’ Daredevil, Jessica Jones and other Defender-like titles. However, their streaming deal came to an end in 2019 and Disney took the opportunity to keep control of their titles and bring everything under one mouse-shaped roof. It took a while for the service to be launched across the globe, frustratingly, but gradually more countries were given access to the many, many films and programs on board.
The service has been extremely popular, given the nature of some of the franchises on board, but even Disney hasn’t managed to escape the dip that streaming services have seen recently. In January they confirmed their first subscriber loss since launch, but stilll, we’re talking about almost 162m subscribers remaining.
I mean, where do we even begin with this? The row of six main streaming areas on the Disney+ homepage is self-explanatory, really.
Disney features all those films you know and love (Mary Poppins, Lady and the Tramp, Frozen), along with Disney Channel greats like K.C. Undercover and High School Musical, as well as newer releases like the Willow TV spin off.
Pixar includes all the great animated films from the start of the studio’s history (Cars, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc), right up to date with some more modern TV shows and plenty of the shorts that keep this studio fresh.
Marvel gathers together all the elements that have kept this multiverse going, not just everything in the MCU official canon but also the extra-curricular Defenders saga, Legacy animations, and not-yet-canon movies such as Deadpool and X-Men.
Star Wars does the same thing for the galaxy far, far away as they have for Marvel. All the movies, all the TV shows, all the animations, all in one place.
National Geographic has such a broad range of topics in there, and is an area I find so hit and miss. The unhealthy obsession with sharks pops up every now and then, and some of the history pieces really try and make too much out of what could be a fascinating topic. But there are gems in there, like Chris Hemsworth’s Limitless, and the From Above series.
Finally Star, and I’m not really sure how to sum up this category… it’s kind of, everything else. The Simpsons and Extraordinary and Grey’s Anatomy, plus a random selection of films like Titanic, Father of the Bride, and Enemy of the State.
There’s not a huge amount to complain about with the design of the app and website. I’m pretty impressed with how the layout helps you navigate, considering the vast amount of stuff that is within this app, it’s normally quite easy to find something to watch. The app on iOS is quick and responsive, plays picture and picture, although I have found recently it doesn’t like to come back out of PiP, whatever is playing just stops and you go back to the homepage.
It doesn’t indulge the user in anything too extra, such as variable playback speeds, but all the usual extra details are there with audio and subtitles, language choices, and a watchlist to come back to later.
Disney falls in the mid-price range at £7.99 a month, which isn’t particularly cheap but I’ve seen plenty more expensive out there. Considering the range of content available and the fact that the big-hitters of Marvel and Star Wars are all here, it’s value for money for me, but if you don’t enjoy those it may be more of a question mark. The option to pay annually is available with a discount, so if you have the cash upfront you can bring the cost down to under £7 a month.
I was recently tempted to pause my subscription for Disney, as part of my efforts to not just have running subscriptions to everything but to try and put some thought into what I’m actually watching at what time. However, there was too much on the go and upcoming that I quickly reversed thinking and renewed for another year. It just had to be done!