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Disney Plus review: A spell has been cast over my streaming heart

Get your Mandalorian on
(Image: © Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Our Verdict

Bottom line: Two years after launching, Disney+ has established itself as one of the most popular and worthwhile streaming services on the market. In addition to being the official hub for classic Disney films and previously hard-to-find Disney Channel series and original movies, people can't resist the siren song of all the Star Wars and Marvel content being released on a regular basis.

For

  • Stream your childhood anywhere
  • High-quality original content
  • More concurrent streams than Netflix or Hulu
  • Super easy to navigate apps
  • Easily earns its price tag, especially with Hulu bundle

Against

  • Too much demand overloads servers at times
  • Still some holes in the library
  • Limited amount of 4K/UHD content

To call Disney a media titan is more of an understatement with each passing day, and the amount of content under its umbrella is mind-boggling, but it's easy to forget just how much Disney has when it's split up under so many apps and services. Disney Plus aims to bring all of that content to one easy portal, a streaming service with a catalog that is quite simply unmatched. But as good as it is today, Disney+ isn't there quite yet.

With more than 600 films and 7,500 TV episodes, Disney+'s media library offers a ton of content to browse, especially when considering it's all from Disney, Pixar, Fox, National Geographic, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. And let me tell you, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Disney+: Bringing the nostalgia and the new hotness

I just want to watch it all

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

I've waited most of my adult life for a service like Disney+ because even with services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video around, Disney kept its content too spread out, especially with some films stuck on cable services like STARZ. While most theatrical Disney films from the last 40 years have come out of the Disney Vault and onto Movies Anywhere, telefilms and Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) have been harder to come by, and Disney+ is the first real place to stream most of them legally.

This was even harder with TV content, as many old shows were never really available on digital retailers like Google Play or iTunes — and those that were tended to be ridiculously overpriced — which is why most of the buzz of rediscovering old classics has been centered more on the shows of our youth, like X-Men Evolution and Recess. I actually haven't streamed that many movies on my watchlist yet because I've been so engrossed in my favorite shows.

When Disney+ first launched, early adopters were quick to note there were some pretty massive holes in its catalog, especially where DCOMs and Disney Channel series are concerned. However, the streaming service has been working to fill some of those holes by adding a variety of classic content over the past several months. These include the 1997 Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella starring Brandi, Whitney Houston, and Whoopi Goldberg, as well as Proud Family, Fillmore, and American Dragon: Jake Long. There's also metric ton of Fox content that has taken some time to migrate to Disney+, but there's definitely enough here for most adults to relive and reintroduce their family to over the next few months.

They're waiting for you, Madalorian

Source: CordCutters (Image credit: Source: CordCutters)

But where Disney+ truly stands out is with its original content. In addition to spinoff series like High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, and Monsters at Work, Disney+ is the official home for a growing lineup of brand new Star Wars and Marvel series. These include Star Wars-adjancent stories like The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch, and The Book of Boba Fett, as well as Marvel properties WandaVision, Loki, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye.

It's also worth pointing out that most new Disney+ series release episodes weekly when they first premiere, which ensures there's a regular flow of new content debuting on the platform. Once the entire season has aired, subscribers can access every episode whenever they want.

Disney+: A mostly magical app

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central and Christine Chan / Android Central

Since the initial tsunami wave of sign-ups and logins in 2019, the Disney+ app has been mostly smooth sailing. The service has apps for most platforms except the Nintendo Switch, Linux computers, and uncertified Android TV devices. The Disney+ app has also proved to be both stable and easy to navigate. In fact, the app might be easier to navigate and use on Smart TVs than it is on mobile, where the Watchlist is hiding under the Profile tab. While the Disney+ app wasn't initially available on Vizio TVs, users can now download the Disney+ app via the SmartCast TV platform on Vizio SmartCast TV models from 2016 and later.

Playback is pretty seamless on most platforms, though when stopping and picking back up after a break, some users have reported issues where the stream will revert to the beginning. This is especially problematic on Chromecast, for some reason. While more focus has been on 4K content, the video quality on all Disney+ content has been impressively high, especially on smaller screens like the Pixel 4, Note 10+, an iPhone 11.

Disney downloads

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Downloading content for offline playback is also easy to do, but it can get overloaded if you try to grab too many shows at once, so pace yourself. It's easy for Disney+ downloads to chew through your local storage once you switch the download quality to medium or high, but being able to download every movie or series on the platform is a nice change of pace from Netflix's bizarre "some can, some can't" download policy.

It's easy to fast forward through scenes or tap back ten seconds at a time because someone started spacing out during the villain's ridiculous monologuing, even on smart TVs. I will say that when using Disney+ on my NVIDIA Shield TV, using a controller has been a life-changing experience. The rear triggers are the fastest and easiest method for fast forwarding and rewinding, so if you're on Xbox or PS4, try the triggers!

Disney+: It's time to try it

More than Princess movies!

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Despite the speed bumps and bugs that were present at launch, Disney+ continues to improve and is everything I thought it'd be: a place to relive my childhood favorites, host the ultimate Star Wars marathon, and get my superhero fix from Spider-Man and the Avengers.

With a pricing structure — and even better bundle option with Hulu and ESPN+ — that puts Netflix and Amazon Prime to shame, Disney+ is a deal that you shouldn't skip on, especially when there's so much more original content coming in 2020. Even if you're not a classic Disney animation fanatic, Disney+ offers way more than just the Mouse, and it's only going to get even more magical from here on in.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.