Disney Plus: our guide to exclusive shows, 2020 movies and how to sign up
Disney Plus, officially called Disney+, is the streaming service from Disney that is currently rolling out around the world. It's the House of Mouse's equivalent to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and the studio is throwing all its big guns at this video streamer to make it happen: Disney Plus is where you can stream Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and even 20th Century Fox (which includes The Simpsons). You can sign up to Disney Plus here.
Disney had 28.6 million sign-ups as of February, showing people really want the service, and the recent lockdown has made it seem like an even better proposition. A steady global rollout commenced in November 2019, beginning with USA, Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands. Disney Plus UK launched on March 24, along with Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland.
The main appeal of Disney Plus, beyond eventually having every Disney movie in one place for a reasonable subscription fee, is its slate of original content. We've already had The Mandalorian, which gave us the Baby Yoda phenomenon, but in late 2020 we'll get to see The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision, the first TV shows to officially be part of the MCU canon. That's assuming the current global pandemic doesn't stop production all year.
Throughout 2020 as contracts with other streamers expire, more movies from Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and Disney will be added to the service, making the service even more desirable. Disney has begun to surprise release big movies, too, with Frozen 2 available to stream now and Onward launching on April 3.
Below, read our guide to Disney Plus, including a list of movies we know are coming to the service in 2020.
How to sign up to Disney Plus
If you're in the US, Canada or the Netherlands, you can sign up for Disney Plus here, or if you're in Australia or New Zealand, click here. No matter where you live, there's a 7-day trial that'll let you see if the service is right for you. You can also sign up to a bundle (US-only) that includes ESPN+ and Hulu's Basic package for $12.99 a month, which saves $5 on subscribing to the services individually.
ESPN+, of course, is for the sports plan in your life. Hulu, meanwhile, hosts a lot of shows from other networks, like South Park and Rick and Morty, as well as having its own originals like The Handmaid's Tale. While Disney Plus is family-friendly, adult-oriented content can be found on Hulu.
- The Mandalorian season 2: release date and what we know
- Check out the best movies on Disney Plus
- We've collected the best shows on Disney Plus
Disney Plus: our verdict and what you should watch
We've published our Disney Plus review, and we're mostly positive about the service. It's not as comprehensive as its competitors like Netflix, but having this selection of blockbuster movies in one place is very enticing. While not every Disney movie has made the leap yet, we're seeing that selection grow as the months go on.
It really helps that The Mandalorian arrived in the launch window, to give people an idea of how much Disney is willing to spend on original content. But a lot of its best shows, like the Marvel series coming to Disney Plus, feel a little far away. The months leading up to August, when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier arrive, could be a little fallow. That's the only note of caution we have on the streaming service right now. But the price is good for what you get.
Wondering what to watch? Check out our lists of the best Disney Plus movies and best Disney Plus shows for recommendations. If you can only watch one movie right now? Frozen 2. If you can only watch one show? It's The Mandalorian.
Disney Plus movies and shows coming in 2020 and beyond
While Disney Plus launched with loads of movies and TV, much more is coming after release, right into 2021 and beyond. Frozen 2 just launched on the platform, and Onward is coming next. Here are some highlights:
- Onward: April 3
- National Treasure: April 30
- John Carter: May 2
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: July 9
- Tarzan: June 23
- Avengers: Infinity War: June 25
- Race to Witch Mountain: July 1
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: July 29
- The Incredibles 2: July 30
- Cinderella: September 1
- Christopher Robin: September 25
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: August 2020
- Beauty and the Beast (2017): October 1
- Maleficent: October 1
- The Mandalorian season 2: October 2020
- Ralph Breaks the Internet: December 11
- The Jungle Book (2016): May 30, 2021
- The Lone Ranger: April 30, 2021
- Tomorrowland: September 1, 2021
- WandaVision: TBC 2020
- Loki: TBC 2021
- What If…?: TBC 2021
- Hawkeye: TBC 2021
- Moon Knight: TBC 2021
- Ms. Marvel: TBC 2021
- Untitled Mighty Ducks series: TBC
- Untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series: TBC
- Untitled Cassian Andor series: TBC
Expect more of Disney's recent movies to come to Disney Plus in 2020, too, like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. 2020 movies like Mulan, Black Widow, Soul, Onward, Artemis Fowl, and Jungle Cruise could arrive by the year's end as well. That's assuming the delayed release dates of movies caused by the worldwide pandemic don't keep moving back.
There's plenty to be excited about in terms of TV, too. Season 2 of The Mandalorian aims to capitalize on the success and thriving memes of the first, whereas The Falcon and the Winter Soldier step onto the small screen amid the fallout of Avengers: Endgame. Others are far off and don't even have release dates yet, such as TV series focusing on Obi-Wan Kenobi, Might Ducks, and Solo: A Star Wars Story's charming rogue, Cassian Andor.
Disney Plus FAQ: quick questions answered
- What is Disney Plus? Like Netflix, this is a streaming service, but it's exclusively packed with Disney content.
- When will Disney Plus launch? Disney Plus has already launched in the USA, Canada and the Netherlands. It launched in Australia and New Zealand on November 19, and it'll arrive in March 24, 2020 in the UK and most of Europe.
- What does Disney Plus cost? $6.99/month in the US (or $69.99 per year), $8.99 in Australia and Canada ($89.99 per year), $9.99 in New Zealand ($99.99 per year), and €6.99 in the Netherlands (€69.99 per year). It'll be £5.99 per month in the UK, or £59.99 per year.
- Where can I find it? Disney Plus has launched on on iOS, Android, Apple TV, PS4, Xbox One, Amazon's devices, browsers, and Android TV.
- Will Disney Plus beat Netflix? We pit Disney Plus vs Netflix to see who comes out on top, but there's likely room for both in your streaming life.
- What Disney Plus channels are there? There are no channels, as such, but there are five separate content hubs for Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and National Geographic. It will also feature content from Fox, like The Simpsons.
Disney Plus app links: start streaming on your device
As you can see, Disney Plus has launched on pretty much every major platform. Disney confirmed the list of platforms that will support Disney Plus sometime before launch. It includes Apple TV, Roku streaming devices, Google Chromecast, iOS and Android, PS4 and Xbox One – as well as the Android TV platform that supports Nvidia Shield TV, Sony TVs, and Hisense TVs.
Amazon's Fire TV is also supported at launch, following a late deal between Disney and the retail giant. Search the app on your preferred device if it's not linked in the box to the right, and you should find it.
A while back, we heard about a planned Disney Plus app for Nintendo Switch – but at launch, no such app exists.
Disney Plus error codes: what the numbers mean
This is how you contact Disney Plus customer service, too, if you can't resolve an issue. You can call 888-905-7888 if you're based in the US. You can also tweet the Disney Plus help account. This email should help, too: DisneyPlusHelp@Disney.com.
Disney Plus is out now in US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands
The Disney Plus streaming service launched in the US, Canada and the Netherlands in the early hours of November 12, hours before its official launch time of 6AM ET. It launched in Australia and New Zealand on November 19.
Disney Plus will arrive in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain on March 24, 2020. So if you're excited about The Mandalorian, you've still got a bit of a wait.
Disney will eventually bring the service to the entire world, but rolled out over a two-year period. You could be waiting a while depending on where you live.
Disney Plus price and bundles explained
The Disney Plus price is $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year in the US. The price is then $8.99 for both Canada and Australia (or $89.99 per year), while in New Zealand it's $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. In the Netherlands, the price is €6.99 per month, or €69.99 per year. In the UK, Disney Plus will cost £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year. We've created a comprehensive guide on the Disney Plus price tiers, to help you compare it to its rival streaming services.
You can also get Disney Plus with ESPN+ and Hulu in a bundle for a nice $12.99 per month.
All of this means the service is cheaper in the US than Netflix, for now at least. "I can say that our plan on the Disney side is to price this substantially below where Netflix is. That is in part reflective of the fact that it will have substantially less volume," said Robert Iger, Disney's chairman and CEO. "It'll have a lot of high quality [content], because of the brands and the franchises that will be on it that we've talked about. But it'll simply launch with less volume, and the price will reflect that."
Iger also suggested that the price could rise gradually over time as the service grows, which wouldn't be a massive surprise. This is exactly what has happened with Netflix as its investment in original content has escalated over the last few years.
- Check out these Disney Plus prices and bundles
Disney Plus has 4K HDR streams
Disney Plus streams to up to four devices simultaneously in 4K resolution and HDR (high dynamic range) at no extra cost – with up to seven user profiles on the platform. Not all content is available in 4K / HDR, of course, and naturally you'll still need a 4K TV to watch the content that is. But since all of the original Star Wars films have launched on the service in 4K with Dolby Vision, that bodes well for future films that make the leap to Disney Plus.
Netflix, on the other hand, has a premium tier that grants access to 4K / HDR streams. The all-in-one nature of the subscription is appealing by comparison.
Disney Plus supports both Dolby Atmos as well as Dolby Vision, making it a fantastic choice for movie lovers.
Disney Plus: Marvel TV shows and movies
By summer 2021, you'll see every single MCU movie on Disney Plus minus The Incredible Hulk and the two Spider-Man movies (the rights to those three belong to other studios – but it's not impossible they'll be licensed for Disney Plus). But the big draw of Disney Plus are original Marvel TV shows that will star your favorite superheroes, and they'll officially be part of the MCU canon.
One report suggested these shows will have budgets of $25 million an episode. A first look at these shows is available on Disney Plus right now, in a special called Expanding the Universe.
The first of these MCU shows will be The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan), reportedly coming in August, around a year after Disney Plus goes live. It'll be six episodes long, and will feature the return of Civil War's Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl). After that will be WandaVision, also coming in 2020, featuring Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany).
The numerous fans of Tom Hiddleston will be happy to hear that next in the new Marvel line-up will be the Loki TV show, a six-episode miniseries starring the trickster god. We also know from San Diego Comic-Con that the series will kick off after Loki's sudden escape in Avengers: Endgame, via the Tesseract. No doubt he'll get into plenty of mischief as a result. Expect that in 2021.
Then there'll be a Hawkeye TV show, with Jeremy Renner reprising the role, and mentoring a new iteration of Hawkeye, Kate Bishop. Expect that in 2021 too. Other Disney Plus Marvel shows include Moon Knight, Ms Marvel and She-Hulk, but none of those have release dates yet.
Expect this to just be the start of Marvel's expansion onto Disney Plus. And unlike the Defenders Netflix shows, they'll unambiguously be part of the movies' continuity.
Interestingly, there's also going to be a Marvel TV show that puts a different spin on the MCU. Called Marvel's What If…?, the animated series is based on a comics series where reality played out a little differently for our favorite superheroes and villains. Like how would Agent Peggy Carter have fared if she'd taken the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers? Many Marvel actors will be reprising their roles for this anthology show, making it much more than just a weird curio.
Disney Plus: Star Wars TV shows and films
You may remember that Disney bought Star Wars back in 2012, meaning it now has the rights to the entire library of movies, as well as the ability to make original programming set in that universe. Expect plenty of Star Wars films and TV shows on Disney Plus as a result. Every movie from Episodes 1-8 are now on Disney Plus in the US, with just The Rise of Skywalker and Solo left to be added later in 2020.
The first season of The Mandalorian is now complete, and it's the first live-action Star Wars show, created by Jon Favreau. Baby Yoda steals the show, but it's an incredibly entertaining slice of Star Wars regardless. This show has a rumored budget of $15 million per episode, and you can certainly tell from the level of effects on display. The Mandalorian season 2 is already on the way.
Two other live-action Star Wars shows will be exclusive to Disney Plus: a spin-off starring Rogue One's Cassian Andor, and an Obi-Wan TV show featuring Ewan McGregor reprising the role. Don't expect either until 2021 at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the seventh and final season of The Clone Wars comes to Disney Plus on February 20. You can watch the entire run of that show on Disney Plus, along with animated series Rebels, Resistance, and several Lego-themed spin-offs. The only missing piece is the 2D animated Clone Wars show. Hopefully that'll be added someday.
There's also a rumor about an as-yet-unannounced series featuring Star Wars spin-off character Doctor Aphra that may launch in 2020. We're unsure if that'll be the case – as with all rumors of this nature, treat it cautiously.
You can check out exactly what films and TV series are hitting the service in our Disney Plus Star Wars guide.
Disney Plus: The Simpsons and Fox content
Disney's acquisition of Fox was a very, very big deal – especially for Disney Plus. James Cameron's Avatar landed on day one, but Fox's back catalogue is pretty extensive.
Fox own the rights to a huge amount of classic television, including The Simpsons, which means every episode from the first 30 seasons of the show has come to the service (minus the season three episode 'Stark Raving Dad' for reasons that'll be obvious to fans).
Fox used to hold the keys to the X-Men franchise, putting big restrictions on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (such as the word 'mutant' never being used onscreen). The merger now means those characters can appear in the MCU, along with the Fantastic Four. They're likely to be saved for movies rather than TV shows, but either way, one day you're likely to see MCU projects based on both coming to Disney Plus.
It's possible you'll see some of Fox's superhero movies come to the service, like the X-Men or Fantastic Four films.
Disney Plus has a selection of animated '90s cartoon classics, like X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man. Fox movies like The Princess Bride and The Sound of Music will come to the service eventually. You can expect a reboot of Home Alone coming down the pipe exclusive for the service, too, which we were all definitely asking for. Home Alone itself was on Disney Plus in the US in time for the holidays, but has since been removed, presumably for licensing reasons. It'll likely return one day.
Expect the classic Fox sitcom Malcolm in the Middle to arrive at some point soon, too.
Other Disney Plus movies, shows, and exclusives
Marvel and Star Wars might be the highlights, but the Disney Plus originals extend far beyond superheroes and space. A gigantic selection of additional new shows and TV series are in the works, including a new Monsters Inc. project called Monsters at Work (coming in 2020), while the service launched with a mockumentary take on the evergreen High School Musical series that, brace yourself, is called High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Expect a new TV series based on classic movie Willow, with Warwick Davis reprising his role.
An original Christmas film called Noelle also arrived with Disney Plus at launch, starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader. Other original shows include Diary of a Future President, and the One Day in Disney series of shorts. Marvel Hero Project is a reality series about young community heroes.
For classic Disney lovers there's a live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp available to stream, while '90s animation fans will eventually get a new live-action Mulan that will hit both theaters and the streaming service. Deadline suggests that projects based on Don Quixote, Sword and the Stone, and 3 Men and a Baby are in the works, along with other projects titled The Paper Magician, Togo and Timmy Failure (the latter arrives in February).
Disney Plus will also be a home for DisneyNature documentaries, including Dolphin Reef – narrated by actress Natalie Portman. Disney Nature works both in documentary films and animation, and will also be bringing animated feature Penguins to the Disney Plus service. A documentary series called The World According to Jeff Goldblum is available now, with a second season on the way.
All of Disney Plus's original shows will roll out on a weekly basis, unlike services like Netflix and Amazon where every episode tends to drop at once.
What is Disney Plus missing?
The Disney streaming service won't have content from outside of the Disney ecosystem. The reason you see such a vast range of content on Hulu and Netflix is because they have a big web of licensing deals with external studios. Disney Plus is a more focused offering.
But, of course, Disney has plenty of content to draw from, especially with a slow drip of Fox movies and shows to come. It's also worth noting that there won't be any R-rated or adult-oriented content on the service. Expect mature-oriented Fox films to go to Hulu instead, according to a report from Deadline.
Even though Disney now owns Fox, for example, that doesn't mean you'll start seeing Deadpool swearing on Disney Plus. There's talk, however, of a PG-13 take on Deadpool 2's X-Force for the platform (via ComicBook). That hasn't materialized yet, though.
It's pretty obvious, but the Marvel TV original series on Netflix won't be crossing over to the new Disney Plus service – as far as we know. That means the likes of Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones won't be rebooted on Disney Plus in their current iterations. They've all been axed anyway, but we can't see them leaving Netflix any time soon. It's possible you'll see them return some day, but in different iterations as an official part of the MCU.
Disney Plus gift subscriptions: get a year of Disney Plus for a friend
If you want a great gift, Disney has introduced Disney+ Gift Subscriptions. For the same price as a yearly subscription, $69.99, you can gift a whole year of the streaming service to a friend. This only works for new customers, and doesn't include the 7-day free trial. You also can't purchase the Disney bundle with this, but it's an ideal last-minute gift.
You can choose the day the gift subscription is sent to the recipient via email. The gift subscriptions are also be physically available in certain Disneyland and Walt Disney stores.
- Best TV streaming service: We compared Hulu, Amazon Prime and more
- Check out the Star Wars movies on Disney Plus for a complete release schedule
Original reporting by Andrew Hayward.