If you’re reading this, you probably know that Disney+ — the massive, bet-the-farm streaming juggernaut that rolls up all of the content from the Marvel and Star Wars franchises and decades of output from the Disney, 20th Century Fox and Pixar studios—has launched.
You’ve probably also heard a lot of the details: That Disney+ is priced at a very aggressive $6.99 a month. That it debuted with the much-anticipated new Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian, a High School Musical reality show and Avengers: Endgame, the release of which was moved up a month for the launch.
The service makes a compelling case for a lot of people (I mean, come on, that Suite Life on Deck marathon isn’t going to watch itself). But if you’re still on the fence about adding Disney+ to your bundle, the StreamEasy team has a few things you should know:
They’ve Brought The Watercooler Back
Flying in the face of Netflix’s industry-changing strategy, Disney+ is releasing episodes of major new series weekly, rather than all at once. That means new editions of The Mandalorian are dropping on Fridays after the premiere. The approach, which kept HBO consistently in the cultural conversation for years, has also been adopted by Apple, which launched its streaming service on November 1. Of course, stretching out releases also has the effect of keeping superfans locked into the service for longer. (Hardcore bingers won’t exactly be suffering; the Disney + vault contains over 600 episodes of The Simpsons alone.)
It’s Required Streaming for Hardcore Marvel Stans
One of Disney+’s biggest draws is the promise of new series based on under-utilitzed Star Wars and Marvel storylines. New shows are already underway for Avengers alums Loki and Hawkeye, and there have been discussions of an Obi-Wan Kenobi prequel series with Ewan McGregor reprising the title role. But Marvel head Kevin Feige surprised a lot of fans by telling Bloomberg recently that important Marvel universe threads will develop in Disney+ shows – meaning that to fully understand some storylines in the movies, you’ll have to stream the shows.
There’s No R in D-I-S-N-E-Y
Disney+ is aimed at franchise superfans, nostalgic millennials raised on Disney fare and families looking for the motherlode of friendly programming. So Avatar is about as racy as it gets. Fans of Disney’s edgier programming, like shows from the recently acquired FX network, will find it on Hulu.
A lot of the series and movies on Disney + include bonus content. Some of these pieces, such as the original ending of Lilo and Stitch (which was changed after 9/11) have been seen before. But others haven’t – including a powerful deleted scene from Avengers: Endgame that features Tony Stark and his grown daughter in a realm called “the Way Station.”
It’s Pretty Cheap and Possibly Free
As mentioned, Disney+ is $6.99 a month, against $12.99 for Netflix’s most popular tier and HBO Max’s planned $14.99. But Disney is also offering Disney+ together with its ESPN+ streaming service and Hulu for $12.99, which is $5 less than the three purchased separately and a pretty great bundle.
Even more economical: Verizon customers who subscribe to 4G LTE, 5G unlimited wireless or Fios home internet can get a year of Disney + for free.
The first day of Disney+ arrived with reports of widespread technical problems, including difficulty streaming The Mandalorian. The situation might have even been aggravated by a winter storm that hit the Midwest and left a lot of kids at home for snow days. But Downdetector reported a dramatic decrease in service reports by Day 2, and the StreamEasy team has had few problems using the service on multiple platforms and devices.