Among a myriad of streaming services, Disney’s release of Disney+ has delighted both the princess obsessed, the lightsaber devotees, and everyone in between. A one-stop shop of wonder for the franchises of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic, the content is extensive and exceptional, making it an instant favorite for many. Of course, like anything, there are positives and negatives, so with a little market research from other moms, I put together a list of some perks, some drawbacks, and a few hidden gem recommendations.
The Major Pluses
- All Disney content is in one place. You no longer have to jump between streaming services to figure out what is available where. If you want to watch a Disney film, they are all gathered in one place and ready to watch.
- The streaming service staggers the release of shows. Disney is adding new content all the time, including the gradual release of shows in some of their series. While some may prefer the binge-watch approach, I happen to like this kickback to old-fashioned releases. It’s teaching kids (and adults) a little patience and giving their mind time to imagine and predict (it’s the language arts teacher in me) what might happen next.
- It has old favorites. So many Disney classics have been hard to find for the last several years. I’m a huge fan of nostalgic 90s tv and movies, and now there are a lot more options for me to share my tried-and-true favorites with my kiddos.
- It lets you customize your viewer profile. Like most streaming services, the profile option allows you to customize for each member of your family. And thanks to algorithms and basic mind-reading, Disney will show you and your kids new content they may like to watch. I’m all for expert suggestions!
The Minor Minuses
- Suggested watchlist can be limiting. While the profiles are helpful, I find that sometimes it’s hard to see content different from what you might be watching, which is difficult for those of us with eclectic tastes. Also, the kid profiles only allow “G” ratings to be shown, and it would be nice for older kids to be able to watch a few PG items without having access to the PG-13 ones.
- Profiles aren’t password protected. While you may not see all the movies on the kids’ profiles, each profile isn’t password-protected, so there really isn’t anything to stop your kids from logging out of their profile and into yours to watch whatever they want.
- It can be hard to navigate. For a company that has efficiency down to a science in many ways, it’s not easy to search and find all the content. It’s a little busy and has so many categories to wade through that you may spend more time than you want to looking for something specific. You’ll also sometimes see suggested titles that aren’t available yet and that can be more than a little frustrating.
The Hidden Gems
- Check out old-school, live-action movies. The animated classics like Snow White and The Little Mermaid are getting a lot of press, but a few personal live-action favorites I remember renting on repeat from Blockbuster can also be found on Disney+. Try out the original Freaky Friday with Jodie Foster, an Angela Lansbury movie called Bedknobs and Broomsticks that is full of imagination, or Pete’s Dragon for some good old-fashioned fun.
- Watch sports movies galore. Family movie nights around here often find my husband and I reliving our sports movie glory days, and it’s much easier now with movies like The Sandlot, The Mighty Ducks, and Rookie of the Year available at our fingertips (and without a rental fee).
- Wach (and rewatch) “coming of age” material. So many shows and movies in the “coming of age” genre are absolutely timeless and now there are so many ways to enjoy both the new and the old. Boy Meets World and Lizzie McGuire give great opportunities to watch kids grow up, but the newer options like Diary of a Future President, Runaways, and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, you also get more up to date tweens and teens to love.
- Go behind the scenes. So many kids only see the finished products of movies and television, and they don’t know about all the hard work from other people (not just the actors and actresses) that go into it. With shows about the creation of the Star Wars franchise and Sleeping Beauty, not to mention some options to sneak a peek into the workings of DisneyWorld, you have many great options to show your kids a little more about the Disney magic.
So what do YOU think about Disney+?