Disney Plus Australia review
Quick verdict: Is Disney Plus worth it?
Disney Plus has worked out the kinks since launch and added a healthy line-up of quality original series and fast-tracked theatrical releases to the service.
Production issues could stunt the service’s already sparse release schedule and Disney recently removed its 7-day free trial program but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t making use of the wealthy bank of Disney classics, like Aladdin and The Simpsons.
- Top-quality originals on weekly release schedule
- Classics that were built for bingeing (e.g. The Simpsons)
- Added value with Disney Plus Star
- Original series few and far between
- No free trial
- Expensive entry point
Disney has brought a budget to the small screen that would make Scrooge McDuck blush; evidenced by the high-quality originals we’ve watched so far, such as The Mandalorian and Wandavision.
Then there are the Disney classics: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King all come to mind but more recent Pixar fare such as Frozen 2 and Onward are an on-demand godsend for parents across the world.
Disney’s high-profile acquisitions of 20th Century Fox also means you can find more 90s animation gold, such as The Simpsons and the animated X-Men series, and more mature content (like Arrested Development and Grey’s Anatomy) via Disney Plus Star. The content offered by Fox makes up some of the service’s best TV shows and best movies and help strengthen the case for streaming service.
The Disney Plus app has also improved significantly since its launch, so we’ve decided to re-evaluate the app’s worth in an increasingly competitive market.
Disney Plus Australia price
- $11.99 per month
- $119.99 per year
- No free trial
Disney Plus initially launched at $8.99 per month but with the introduction of Disney Plus Star, the monthly price has gone up to $11.99 per month. That change took Disney Plus from being cheaper than most of the competition, to more expensive (at the cheapest entry point). There’s no longer a free trial either, so you will pay $11.99 from the day you sign up. If you’re set on signing up, you can save money by paying $119.99 upfront for the entire year (which works out at $9.99 per month).
Here’s how Disney Plus’s pricing compares with other Australian streaming services:
|Service||Monthly price||Sign up||Max. Video Resolution||Devices|
|Disney Plus||$11.99||Sign up||4K||4|
|Binge||$10 – $18||2 weeks||HD||1 – 4|
|Prime Video||$6.99||30 days||4K||3|
|Netflix||$10.99 – $19.99||No free trial||4K||1 – 4|
|Stan||$10 – $19||30-day free trial||4K||1 – 4|
|Foxtel Now||$25 – $104||10-day free trial||HD||2|
Should you subscribe to an entire year of Disney Plus?
There are benefits to subscribing for an entire year. In the case of Disney Plus, you’ll save roughly $23.90 if you sign up for a year (rather than paying every month). It also temporarily safeguards you against sudden price increases. Disney Plus has been around long enough now that we can say with a good deal of confidence that if you like it so far, you’ll still be enjoying it a year down the track. That said, it’s not a guarantee and there aren’t any options to get a refund if you find you’re not using the service as much as you used to.
We’ve enjoyed the originals Disney Plus has released so far but they’re few and far between and the quality can be hit and miss. Still, if you’ve got those Disney classics on repeat, signing up for a year is a good way to save a bit of dough.
Disney Plus app and features
What’s the user experience like?
Navigation and user interface
Navigating the Disney Plus app is intuitive on every device we’ve tested. Disney realises that while the Venn diagram of Marvel, Star Wars, The Simpsons and Disney classics fans overlap occasionally, there are still many users who are here for one thing and one thing only. When you first launch the website or app, you’ll see buttons for each of those categories front and centre, in addition to Star, the new hub for more mature content Disney acquired when it bought Fox. Scroll down further and you’ll find carousels of the same categories you’d see on any other streaming service (e.g. ‘Because you watched’ and genre recommendations). At launch, Disney Plus was missing a Continue Watching feature, but that’s since been added and is given prominence on the landing page.
There are some fantastic navigational options you don’t get on most services. A-Z movies and series lists, lists of 4K/UHD content. That sort of thing. The A-Z list has come in handy a few times because the Disney Plus search function just isn’t very advanced. Take the Hulu original Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K for example. If you just search ‘modok,’ the search won’t recognise the title without the periods between each letter. Instead, you’re served the 1993 Iron Man animated series.
I’ve also seen different results in categories depending on the device I’m viewing on. For example, if I’m browsing the 4K/HDR list on my computer, I get a completely different list if I’m viewing on my laptop than if I’m browsing on my phone or PlayStation 4.
Disney Plus accessibility features
Disney Plus is touting a robust set of accessibility features, such as descriptive audio, closed captioning, and audio navigation.
The descriptive audio is the star of the show here. It’s clear, concise and does a bang-up job of describing every scene for the titles we’ve managed to test it on. However, the audio navigation could use a little work. Subtitle options and closed captioning customisation have also improved across devices at launch, allowing you to select the language of the audio and subtitles, and tweak the font (size, colour, background) to whatever reads best.
At launch, many users reported significant closed captioning glitches on select devices, such as subtitles only showing at the top of the screen, slow or delayed subtitles, and some cases where only half of the text would appear, but those kinks seem to have been mostly ironed out.
Where’s the Disney Plus free trial?
Disney Plus no longer offers a free trial.
At launch, Disney Plus offered a 7-day free trial promotion but in the lead-up to its exclusive Hamilton movie, the offer was removed. New subscribers are now billed the $11.99 subscription from the moment they sign up. This move echoed Netflix’s decision to remove its free trial just a few months before.
When did Disney Plus launch in Australia?
- Disney Plus launched on the 19th of November 2019
- Disney added Star on the 23rd of February 2021
Disney Plus launched on the 19th of November 2019 in Australia and New Zealand, only one week after the service debuted in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands on the 12th of November 2019.
It’s quite rare for Australia and New Zealand to get early access to these global entertainment services (or movies and television in general) so while the week wait felt like an eternity for Star Wars fans looking to avoid The Mandalorian spoilers, we still had it better than many other countries, such as the UK, Germany, France and Italy, who had to wait until the 31st of March 2020.
On the 23rd of February 2021, the company launched Disney Plus Star, a new add-on to the service that introduced an additional 447 movies and 155 TV shows.
TV shows and movies
What content is available on Disney Plus in Australia?
Over the last couple of years, Disney has been slowly herding all of its franchises and properties back into its own stable, buying back distribution rights across the world to launch Disney Plus with all the usual suspects.
At launch, it was slim pickings for anything with a more mature slant. Outside of its Star Wars TV movies and TV shows (and a few documentaries courtesy of National Geographic), the line-up was mostly aimed at children. The original Marvel and Star Wars TV shows that released in the months following helped that somewhat, but Disney dialled things up when it introduced Star, a new hub for all the seriously adult TV shows and movies the company gained in its acquisition of Fox (Deadpool, Logan, Alien etc.).
Disney also started streamlining its theatrical releases to the streaming service in 2020. First, Frozen 2 was released three months early, followed closely by its 2020 Pixar release Onward. Then, Disney introduced Premier Access with the release of the live-action Mulan. For an early-bird viewing, Disney Plus subscribers can pay an additional $34.99 for the “long-term” purchase of movies that would otherwise get a theatrical release. So far, Mulan, Raya the Last Dragon, Cruella and Black Widow have all been given the Premier Access badge.
Should you pay for Premier Access? Well, that depends on how desperate you are to watch Cruella or Black Widow. In the case of Mulan, Premier Access was offered from the 4th of September 2020 before becoming available to all subscribers on the 4th of December 2020. That’s a four-month wait. Whether you can hold out entirely depends on your ability to dodge Black Widow spoilers for that long.
TV shows on Disney Plus in Australia
At the time of this update (May 2021), there are 456 TV shows available to stream on Disney Plus, including what’s offered on Star. Some of the most popular TV shows available include Grey’s Anatomy, Family Guy, 9-1-1, Station 19, Criminal Minds, Arrested Development, The Orville and more.
You can find every TV show that was added with Disney Plus Star in our guide but we’ve also picked out some of the best TV shows available to stream on the service in Australia, including Gargoyles, Lizzie McGuire, Star Wars: Rebels and The Mandalorian just to name a few.
There’s also a huge selection of National Geographic documentaries to stream.
What movies can I stream?
Disney wasted no time corralling its cinematic gold from potential rivals before it first launched so the general rule of thumb is that if it’s under Disney’s thumb, you’ll find it streaming on Disney Plus. You’ll find every major MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) except for Hulk and Spider-Man available as well as every Star Wars flick, and most things produced by Fox (Die Hard, Predators, Alien… the list goes on).
There aren’t as many original Disney Plus movies in production as there are TV shows, but there are a small handful of original movies such as the Lady and the Tramp adaptation, Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader’s Christmas flick, Noelle and… wait for it… a new Phineas and Ferb movie. I mean, what more could you want.
We’ve dug through the entire list of movies available and have put together a solid binge list of the very best movies on Disney Plus.
What devices can I watch Disney Plus on?
Disney Plus is available on just about every major streaming device except Australian set-top boxes (Fetch and Foxtel iQ).
If you’re looking to watch Disney Plus, there’s a healthy line-up of compatible streaming devices available (see our recommendations here). There are the usual mobile and tablet suspects (iPhone and Android), then there are set-top boxes such as Apple TV, streaming media devices like Chromecast and Fire TV Stick, gaming consoles (PlayStation and Xbox) and Samsung, LG, Sony and TCL Smart TVs.
If you don’t have a compatible device, you can always stream Disney Plus via your web browser on PC or Mac.
Here’s the list of Disney Plus compatible devices:
- Android Smartphones/Tablets
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast
- Chromecast with Google TV
- Fire TV Stick
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
- Xbox One
- Xbox Series S
- Xbox Series X
- Sony Smart TV
- TCL Smart TV
- Samsung Smart TV
- LG Smart TV
- PC and Mac via Web Browser
Frequently asked questions about Disney Plus
Here are the questions people are asking about Disney Plus in Australia.
Is there a difference between Disney Plus AU and US TV shows and movies?
Unlike the Netflix Australia launch, which saw a fraction of the library migrated to our shores, the Australian Disney Plus library actually has more TV shows and movies in Australia than it does in the US.
Disney Plus login: Where do I sign up for an account?
That’d be over at the official website, disneyplus.com/au/.
Disney Plus no longer offers a free trial, so you will be faced with two subscription options: $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year. If you already have an account, select “Log In” and enter the email address and password you chose when you first signed up.
Can I download titles from Disney Plus for offline viewing?
Yes. Disney Plus allows subscribers to download TV shows and movies for offline viewing. In our time with the app, we haven’t noticed any restrictions on content that’s available for download (as is the case for Netflix and Stan).
Your data cap will also be thanking Disney because not only can you download TV shows and movies on your home WiFi network, you can also select Standard, Medium or High for the download file size and quality. So if you’re running low on data, you can opt for the lower quality download.
Does Disney Plus support 4K/UHD, HDR and Dolby Vision?
It sure does. Unlike most streaming services, Disney Plus offers support for 4K/UHD resolution, HDR10 and Dolby Vision on its standard subscription tier. Disney Plus also doesn’t make you go searching for it; it has a dedicated category for 4K/UHD/HDR titles that’s accessible directly from the navigation menu.
All you need is a subscription and an eligible 4K television (here are our picks for the best 4K TVs available).
Does Disney Plus offer accessibility features like closed captioning and subtitles?
Yes. Not only does Disney Plus offer typical closed captioning and subtitles but it will also offer descriptive audio support and audio navigation assistance as an option for users. That’s a decent range of accessibility features straight out of the box.
How much data does Disney Plus use?
Disney hasn’t disclosed any particular details about the service’s expected data usage but we’ve run a few tests streaming in HD and data saver mode to get an idea of how much data Disney Plus uses.
On average, we found that the Disney Plus app used 2.2GB per hour for HD streaming and 1.5GB per hour using the app’s data saving mode.
If those figures are giving you excess data shell-shock, we might suggest upgrading to an unlimited broadband plan.