The streaming wars are upon us. With Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock all launching soon, the field is going to be very crowded very soon. Do we need all of them? How will they compliment the streaming channels already out in the marketplace? With our “Streaming Wars” series, we want to give you a guide to each of the different streaming platforms coming into the market so you can figure out whether to buy it or not.
Streaming Platform: Disney+
When Does Disney+ Launch?
The Disney+ launch is scheduled for November 12th, 2019.
On the day of release, Disney+ will launch eleven new projects. This includes the highly anticipated “The Mandelorian” from the world of Star Wars. Additionally, over 300 catalog titles from across Disney’s various company acquisitions will be available on day one. The service combines Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Fox.
How Much Does Disney+ Cost?
Disney+ features monthly and annual payment plans, both with seven day free trials. To get the service, one can pay $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. It is currently available for pre-order.
Never fear if that initial price point scares you more than the witch from “Snow White.” Disney+ features many deals and loopholes around their initial monthly price point. For example, Verizon customers will be given 12 free months of Disney+ for being customers of their service. This deal extends to all existing and new customers of their Verizon Fios Home Internet, 4G LTE, 5G unlimited wireless, 5G home products.
For those looking to bundle services, one can join Hulu (ad-supported plan), ESPN+ and Disney+ for $12.99 a month. This bundle option will become available on Disney+’s launch on November 12th.
What Shows Does Disney+ Have?
“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”
Now that’s a tongue twister! The show’s premise proves just as confusing and meta and the title sounds. “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” takes place at the real high school in Salt Lake City where the original “High School Musical” was filmed. This high school has never mounted a production of the musical. An ambitious theater teacher (Kate Reinders) hopes to inspire students with this musical selection. Instead, much like the show, the musical serves as a backdrop for a high school love triangle.
Disney+ has already announced a second season for the show. Expect to see more of these Leopards (excuse me, Wildcats).
“Star Wars” fans won’t have to wait for “Rise of Skywalker” to get their fix. “The Mandelorian“ takes place between the fall of the Empire and the springing up of the First Order. As an authority figure from the New Republic, our titular character reaches out to the furthest regions of the galaxy to enforce order. The show stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito, with Jon Favreau as show-runner.
“Lady and the Tramp”
The live action remake craze has found its way to Disney+ right out of the gate. “Lady and the Tramp” marks the first Disney+ movie launch and remake developed specifically for the platform. Everyone knows the basic story. A rascally tramp (voiced by Justin Theroux) from the wrong side of the tracks falls in love with Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson), a pampered suburban dog. Though voiced by movie stars, the stars of the movie have much more humble backgrounds. The dogs used in the film were all rescues who found their “forever homes” following the production.
Not everyone is cut out to be Santa Claus. In “Noelle,” Santa’s two children have very different views on Christmas. Noelle (Anna Kendrick) bursts at the seams with Christmas cheer. Meanwhile, her older brother Nick (Bill Hader), who is tapped to replace Santa, feels crippled by the pressure. When Nick takes Noelle’s advice and takes a break but never comes back, Noelle journeys to find him in order to save Christmas.
Do you ever wish you were back in high school? The nostalgia for your teenage glory years isn’t strictly relegated for jocks and cheerleaders. Disney+ puts high school drama departments in the spotlight with “Encore!” Hosted by Kristen Bell, the show brings together former high school theater kids (now adults) for one more productions. It’s like the ultimate high school reunion, only with much more singing and choreography.
“The Imagineering Story”
Who doesn’t love a Disney theme park? Narrated by Angela Bassett, “The Imagineering Story” looks at the technological achievements and creative missteps that helped build the Disney theme parks. Starting with the building of Disneyland, the show champions the vision of Walt Disney. Through his vision, the show spotlights imagineers who took the most fantastical of concepts and turned them into reality. The six hour docu-series was directed by Academy Award nominated director, Leslie Iwerks (“Recycled Life”).
“Marvel’s Hero Project”
Have you ever wanted to have superpowers? Do you have a favorite Marvel superhero from the past twenty-six Marvel movies in the last decade? Superheroes don’t just wear capes. “The Marvel Project,” produced by Marvel New Media and MaggieVision Productions, spotlights young heroes making super differences within their local communities. This includes children who lead marches, work on projects to break down limits for children with disabilities and many more triumphs. Each of these subjects get their own comic treatment. After all, superheroes all derive from real, inspirational figures.
“The World According to Jeff Goldblum”
In partnership with National Geographic, Jeff Goldblum takes us into his unique, optimism-filled view of the world. The legendary actor uses “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” to take a different look at some of the most familiar things in our lives. Whether it be sneakers or ice cream, Goldblum uses his trademark wit to unravel new insights, crazy connections and tons of exciting ideas behind common topics.
“Forky Asks a Question”
This year’s breakout star has already got his own TV show. Forky, the adorable new character from “Toy Story 4,” heads to Disney+. In “Forky Asks A Question,” our favorite piece of trash contemplates some of the biggest questions in the universe (“What is Time?” “What is Love?” What is Cheese?”). These shorts are sure to delight fans of everyone’s newest favorite toy.
Have you ever wanted to visit race alongside the Pixar “Cars” or go into the world of monsters? “Pixar IRL,” a new short-form series on Disney+, takes the beloved Pixar animated characters and brings them to life for Pixar super-fans.
Who doesn’t love a good Pixar short? These delightful animated shorts have become as anticipated as the theatrical releases they come before. Disney+ caters to the short film lover in all of us with “SparkShorts,” a collection of eighteen original Pixar animated short films. These shorts hope to discover the newest film-making voices of the future.
As you probably saw from Disney’s epic Twitter thread, where Disney+ sets itself apart is in its catalog. The service will launch with over 300 movies from the legendary studio. This includes most of your favorite Disney classics (“The Lion King,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”), all the “Star Wars” and Pixar movies, as well as many old and recent deep cuts. Gone are the days of the Disney Vault, where one’s favorite movie would be unavailable on home entertainment for years at a time.
Disney hasn’t forgotten about the FOX titles. Their recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox has allowed Disney to launch with some of Fox’s key titles. This includes all thirty seasons of “The Simpsons,” the longest running TV series which still produces new episodes. Hit movies such as “Avatar” and “The Sound of Music” will also be available on Day One.
“One Day at Disney” – Starts December 2nd, 2019
How many kids (or adults) have wanted to work at Disney at some point in their lives? “One Day at Disney” rips back the curtain of what its like to work at the media conglomerate. Each episode highlights a different, unique job within the Disney organization. This includes Eric Baker (the imagineer behind “Galaxy’s Edge”), Eric Goldberg (the animator behind the Genie), Grace Lee (the senior illustration manager at Disney Worldwide Publishing), Dr. Natalie Mylniczenko (Disney’s veterinarian), and more.
The fifty-two episode short film series releases in conjunction with the coffee table book of the same name. Both will be available on December 3rd, 2019.
“Togo” – Starts December 13th, 2019
Who doesn’t love a good winter tale? Willem Dafoe headlines one of Disney+’s first feature film offerings, “Togo,” set to premiere on December 13th. Based on a true story, the title character refers to Togo, a sled dog who saves an Alaskan town in 1925 by delivering antitoxin serum. Dafoe plays Leonhard Seppala, a seasoned dogsled trainer who leads Togo on this lifesaving run towards a town with temperatures of -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
To 2020, And Beyond!
Disney+ has announced so many more upcoming projects over the past few months. In terms of the level of original content, Disney+ is going to be hard to beat. Already hard at work are Disney animators, who have plenty of great new series and shorts on the horizon.
- “Chip ‘n’ Dale” (Year One) – Everybody’s favorite chipmunk duo gets the 21st century treatment. The pair finds their tree-house home exists in a small park in a sprawling city, prompting them to deal with their urban environment.
- “Lamp Life” (Year One) – Forky isn’t the only “Toy Story 4” character to get their own Disney+ spinoff. The short film “Lamp Life” answers the questions of what happened to Bo Peep between “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 4.”
- “Short Circuit” (Year One) – A company needs to take risks to be successful. “Short Circuit” houses Disney’s experimental animation program, where exciting filmmakers will try out new visual and storytelling innovations.
- “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (Year One) – The Skywalker saga isn’t necessarily over. Anakin, Obi-Wan and more will be returning next year for a new twelve-episode season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” the Emmy Award winning series.
- “Marvel’s What If…?” (Year Two) – What if… Peggy Carter took the super soldier serum, not Steve Rogers? Marvel’s new animated series explores many different fan theories and alternate realities. Each episode inverts a pivotal moment in the MCU and asks fans “What If…”
- “Monsters at Work” (TBD) – There are more Monstropolis stories outside of Sully & Mike. The new series from within the “Monsters Inc.” world follows Tylor Tuskmon (Ben Feldman), a new Scarer whose world gets turned upside down upon learning that laughter powers Monstropolis better than screams. Back at the entry level, Tylor learns how to make kids laugh in order to make it to the Laugh Floor.
Though most famous as an animation studio, Disney+ continues to provide plenty of new, exciting live action narrative series. Check out some shows to keep on the radar for 2020.
- “Diary of a Female President” (January 2020) – The show follows a Cuban-American girl throughout middle school and high school, using her diary as narration. The story follows how these interactions helped her as an adult to become the future President of the United States. Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”), Emily Gipson (“I Can and I Will”) and Ilana Peña (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) will executive produce.
- “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” (Year One) – Marvel is full of interesting pairings. This latest series teams up Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie) with Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). The show takes place after the events of “Avengers Endgame.”
- “Love Simon” (Year One) – High school can be hard, especially for those struggling with their sexuality. “Love, Simon” the TV show takes place in the same world as the 2018 film of the same name. Victor, a new student at Creekwood High School, turns to Simon as he struggles with the pressures of a new town and the anxieties of working through his sexual orientation.
- “Muppets Now” (Year One) – The Muppets are back with new short form episodes packed to the brim with antics and mayhem.
- “Hawkeye” (Year Two) – Jeremy Renner reprises his role as the eagle eye’d archer in the MCU. His Disney+ show introduces us to a familiar figure from the comics as well, Kate Bishop (casting still under wraps).
- “Loki” (Year Two) – Never fear. There’s more Loki to come. Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as the trickster bad guy and Thor’s brother in a Disney+ show all his own.
- “WandaVision” (Year Two) – So many Marvel stars are finding new life on Disney+. This is quite literally true for Wanda aka Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany). The show finds Wanda and Vision living the suburban life they always dreamed of. However, all is not as it seems, as their perfect life gets turned upside down.
- “Big Shot” (TBD) – This ten-episode dramedy casts John Stamos as a college basketball coach whose temper gets him fired. The only job he can find is as a coach at an elite all-girls private high school. The show is executive produced by David E. Kelley, Dean Lorey and Brad Garrett.
Even further out are untitled series around Lizzie Maguire, Cassian Andor, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and She-Hulk.
Movie theaters won’t be the only place to catch the latest Disney movies. Disney+ carries with it some new, exclusive movies that will be released over the coming years. See below for some upcoming releases:
- “Flora & Ulysses” (Year One) – There’s no heart too cynical. Comic book fan Flora (Matilda Lawler) finds her pragmatism challenged when she rescues a squirrel named Ulysses who possesses superpowers. Directed by Lena Khan, the film also stars Alyson Hannigan and Ben Schwartz.
- “The Phineas and Ferb Movie: Candace Saves the Universe” (Year One) – The cast of the Disney Channel animated hit show returns for a new feature film adventure. Stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb set out on an intergalactic quest to save their sister Candace, who has been kidnapped. Unbeknownst to them, Candace has found her paradise in a new planet free from her annoying little brothers.
- “Secret Society of Second Born Royals” (Year One) – Not everyone is cut out to be a royal, but some are destined for greatness. Princess Sam (Peyton Lee) doesn’t desire the throne she’s about to inherit. Yet, when she discovers she belongs to a secret society and possesses superpowers that help keep the peace in her kingdom, Sam learns how to take responsibility in her role.
- “Stargirl” (Year One) – This coming of age story comes straight from a New York Times bestselling young adult novel. A homeschooled teenager challenges the conventional structure of her high school and catches the eyes of an unassuming boy in her class.
- “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” (Year One) – Oscar nominated director Tom McCarthy makes the jump to Disney+ with his adaptation of the “Timmy Failure” book. The film tells the story of a Portland Detective Agency (Total Failure, Inc.), staffed by the droll Timmy Failure and his 1,500-lb polar bear accomplice, Total.
- “Safety” (TBD) – Director Reginald Hudlin and writer Randy McKinnon bring to life the inspiring story of Ray McElrathbey, who overcame adversity to play football at Clemson University while raising his 11-year-old brother.
Disney+ won’t only be about narrative features. The channel has invested plenty of time in developing new, exciting documentary projects. Read on to learn more about some of the upcoming documentaries.
- “Be Our Chef” (2020) – “The Office” star Angela Kinsey hosts a cooking competition show that challenges different families to put their familial stamp on Disney themed dishes.
- “Dolphin Reef” (2020) – Disneynature explores the world of Dolphins in this new film narrated by Natalie Portman.
- “Howard” (2020) – Directed by Don Hahn (“Beauty and the Beast”), the documentary profiles the life of Howard Ashman, the Oscar winning lyricist behind “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Little Shop of Horrors” who died in 1991 of AIDS-related complications.
- “Into the Unknown: Making Frozen II” (2020) – Go behind the scenes of the making of this year’s massive hit, “Frozen II,” with this multi-episode documentary. The series features interviews with cast, directors and artists behind the film.
- “Marvel 616” (2020) – Where does Marvel get all of its influences? This new series delves into the historical context and societal implications of the Marvel stories. This anthology comes from a partnership with Marvel New Media and the Supper Club.
- “People & Places” (2020) – All of us are capable of extraordinary things. The “People & Places” documentary series pairs up-and-coming and veteran filmmakers with inspiring stories and people from around the world.
- “Magic of Animal Kingdom” (Year One) – Have you ever wondered what it takes to keep the Animal Kingdom park running? This documentary shows the work over 1,000 animal-care experts do to ensure the animals at the park are being taken care of. It also takes viewers inside one of the most advanced veterinary facilities in the world.
- “Prop Culture” (Year One) – From “Mary Poppins” to “Pirates of the Caribbean,” this anthology series tells the unique stories of the iconic props from some of Disney’s greatest films and the collectors who now own them.
- “(Re)connect” (Year One) – Do you feel like your family needs to unplug? This new series follows a different family each episode who leaves their devices and busy lives behind to address the issues that are driving wedges within their family.
- “Rogue Trip” (Year One) – Journalist Bob Woodruff takes his 27-year-old son, Mack, on a family vacation all over the world that goes far off the beaten path.
- “Shop Class” (Year One) – Were you a Shop Class Champ? This new competition series pits different students against each other as they try to design, build and test the newest and most innovative contraptions.
- “Ink & Paint” (Year Two) – Based on the book of the same name, “Ink & Paint” brings light to the trailblazing group of women in the Ink & Paint Department who created the most iconic animated creations in Disney’s lineage.
Other upcoming documentary projects will take us through the origins of Mickey Mouse, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and the life changing efforts of many conversationalists (working title: “Earthkeepers”).
Where Can I Watch Disney+?
Disney+ will be available across most major streaming devices. They’ve confirmed they will be on all devices with two of the biggest tech companies – Apple and Google. Every Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Android and Chromecast will be able to use the Disney+ app. Smart TVs and Roku players will also be able to download the Disney+ app. Disney+ will also be on major video game devices, such as XBOX One and PS4. The only device where Disney+ will not be immediately available is Amazon Fire TV or Tablets. However, that functionality should be coming soon.
Subscribers will be able to access Disney+ across four devices all at one time. This includes seven profiles, so that everyone in the family can have their own personalized experience. Those with 4K TVs will be able to watch select pieces of content in stunning 4K resolution.
Going on a trip? Load up your devices with your favorite Disney movies. Subscribers will be able to download any content on up to 10 devices, so they can take their entertainment on the go.
Final Verdict: Should I Get Disney+?
Disney+ looks to satisfy anyone from the casual to diehard of Disney fans. With their acquisition of Fox, Disney’s place as a content leader feels unchallenged. Their original programming appeals to the robust fan bases of “Star Wars,” Marvel and musical theater. To be fair, that’s a pretty all-encompassing swath of the population. However, for those who are less impressed by the new original programming, having access to the Disney digital catalog makes this an almost irresistible deal. The deal only gets better for Verizon customers or those looking to tack on a couple bucks to their existing Hulu plan.