The next chapter in the Streaming Wars gets underway one week from today, when a hotly anticipated new combatant (Disney) steps onto the battlefield. We’re now exactly seven days out from the launch of Disney’s streaming video platform Disney+, which will be the exclusive home for content from brands like Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and, of course, Disney itself. Disney+, which will launch in the US on November 12 for $6.99/month (or $69.99 for an annual subscription), will also be the exclusive streaming home for Walt Disney Studios films released this year and beyond, including Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Frozen 2, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, to name a few.
The November 12 launch date (in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands on that day, followed by Australia and New Zealand exactly one week later) comes on the heels of Apple launching a Netflix-like streaming service of its own, Apple TV+, on November 1. Disney’s, however, is an altogether different beast than Apple’s — by design. We prepared a guide for Apple’s offering that’s meant to tell you everything you’d need to know when deciding whether to sign up for its service, and the following is meant to serve as a counterpart guide for Disney’s offering, with all the major details, now that its launch, too, is at hand.
- Disney’s plan is to have Disney+ available in most major markets around the world within the first two years of launch.
- For a few dollars more per month, you can pay for a bundled package that includes Hulu and ESPN+, along with your Disney+ subscription. The price for that bundle is $12.99/month, and it launches the same day as Disney+ does on a standalone basis.
- If you don’t want to wait until launch day to sign up (which is the way Apple did things with its streaming service), you can go ahead and pre-order your subscription now by heading to the Disney Plus sign-up site. You’ll get a 7-day free trial, the ability to stream on four devices and add up to seven different profiles.
- At the time of this writing, Disney+ wasn’t set to be available on Amazon’s Fire TV platform at launch. However, the new service will be available across a broad range of devices, including iOS devices, as well as Apple TVs and the new Apple TV app; Android phones and tablets; Android TV-based devices; Google Chromecast and devices with Chromecast built-in; Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles; and Roku devices.
- If you miss the days when DVDs offered extra goodies like commentaries and other bonus material, you’re in luck. Some shows and movies on the service will offer that.
- A Kids Mode will be available for parents to set limits around age-appropriate content for their child.
You’ll also be able to download content to watch offline. And the great thing is, unlike Netflix, Disney won’t be cycling content in and out of the service. Disney will be hosting its own content and that of its associated brands, meaning it won’t have to deal with the licensing agreements common at Netflix which call for content to appear on the service for a time and then to be removed from it (An exception: Because of agreements that pre-date Disney’s effort to set up Disney+, a small amount of content will be rolling off the new service and back onto Netflix, but the amount is immaterial and Disney executives are saying this shouldn’t disrupt the overall experience).
Now let’s take a moment and talk about the biggie — what content will be available on the service, and what content will be available specifically on Day 1.
Launch day content
You can find the entire slate of 629 titles that’ll be available at launch right here, but let’s zero in on some of the original Disney+ content you’ll be able to start watching right away, once the service goes live on November 12:
- High School Musical: The Musical: The Series — 10-episode scripted series set where the original High School Musical movie was filmed
- The Mandalorian — Star Wars drama series set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, focused on the story of a lone gunfighter (the titular Mandalorian)
- Forky Asks a Question (a collection of 10 related shorts)
- SparkShorts (various PIxar short-form films)
- Encore! — per Disney, “Executive producer Kristen Bell brings together former castmates of a high school musical, tasking them with re-creating their original performance in a high school reunion like no other.”
- Marvel’s Hero Project — Series that focuses on the positive change “several young heroes” are making in their communities
- The Imagineering Story — documentary chronicling the history of Walt Disney Imagineering (the arm of the Disney corporate entity that focuses on creating and designing its theme parks)
- The World According to Jeff Goldblum — documentary series where we follow along as Jeff basically expounds at length on subjects that interest him and which he thinks would also interest us
- Lady and the Tramp (live-action remake)
- Noelle — a holiday-themed comedy about Kris Kringle’s daughter, starring Anna Kendrick as the titular “Noelle”
Let’s now stop for a moment and focus on one of those titles. We should say, one of the most eagerly anticipated of those titles. Disney has been keeping much of the details surrounding The Mandalorian under wraps — indeed, it declined to make episodes available to screen for critics, arguing that the need to preserve secrecy around Star Wars-related twists and surprises was too important.
The series, for which Jon Favreau serves as showrunner, stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, and Giancarlo Esposito.
The season premiere will be available on Disney+’s launch day, but Disney has chosen to roll out the remainder of the episodes over time. Official dates for the rest of The Mandalorian’s first season are as follows:
Episode 2 — November 15
Episode 3 — November 22
Episode 4 — November 29
Episode 5 — December 6
Episode 6 — December 13
Episode 7 — December 18
Episode 8 — December 27 (season finale)