This past week, the House of Mouse threw down the gauntlet against Netflix, Amazon and Apple with the launch of its highly anticipated Disney Plus service — a streaming smorgasbord of classic and pop culture movies, TV shows, animated shorts and documentaries.
It’s got everything we love and more, from the classic Disney animated movies, to the always-popular Pixar offerings, more than a dozen blockbusters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and, of course, the mother of all of pop culture franchises: Star Wars.
Disney Plus has nearly 500 movies and 7,500 episodes of television shows, along with a variety of original films, documentaries, live-action and animated series and other short-form content.
It’s now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it. OK, that may be a little melodramatic, but I’ve got a universe of movie quotes to work into this column, so just bear with me. And if you read on, I’ll fill you in on how to get a free year of the service. No joke, no strings attached and of course it’s completely legal.
BIG HERO SIX
According to media reports, Disney is pleased with the launch of its streaming service, even though some folks were experiencing technical issues on Tuesday. I did briefly myself, but when 10 million people sign up on day one (as Disney said on Wednesday), what do you expect?
Digging deeper into media reports on the launch of Disney Plus, it was, of course, a resounding success overall. The aforementioned 10 million subscribers on day one put Disney firmly on the map as a major contender in the streaming wars. Disney’s stock jumped more than 7%, and the company believes it will have no problem reaching its five-year goal on subscribers.
Netflix may publicly throw shade on the launch (as one of its executives did earlier this week), but make no mistake about it, the other streaming competitors are paying close attention to Disney Plus and definitely see the service as a threat.
Amazon, Netflix and others probably dreaded the arrival of such a heavyweight streaming contender. They can try to run from it, but destiny still arrives. But we the fans are all the better for it.
HIGHER, FURTHER, FASTER
I can’t possibly list everything that’s on Disney Plus, but I can give you a quick overview of some the noteworthy shows and movies you’ll find once you log in.
Disney: Classic animated movies like “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” “Pinocchio,” “Dumbo” and “Bambi.” The original Mickey Mouse shorts, more modern princess movies like “Frozen,” “Moana” and “Tangled.” Entire movie runs of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “National Treasure,” “Narnia” and “The Santa Clause.”
Pixar: Best as I can tell, everything from Pixar is on Disney Plus except for “Toy Story 4” and I imagine it’ll be on the site eventually. There are also new animated shorts made exclusively for Disney Plus, with more planned in the future.
Marvel: By my count there are 16 MCU movies on Disney Plus with more reportedly on the way. Plus, there’s tons of old animated series — X-men, Spider-man, Hulk and Avengers — and some live-action Marvel shows like the dreadful “Inhumans,” the excellent “Agent Carter” and the acclaimed “Runaways” series.
Star Wars: All of the animated series and live-action movies, except “The Last Jedi” and “Solo,” can be found on Disney Plus. These two are still sitting firmly over on Netflix and at some point will migrate over to the House of Mouse. The shining star of this category (and the whole service to be quite honest) is “The Mandalorian,” the first-ever live action Star Wars television show, written by Jon Favreau (of Iron Man 1 and 2 fame).
National Geographic: A bunch of documentaries and shows on nature and maybe animals. Sorry, I really don’t care too much about this stuff. I’m just here for the superheroes and lightsabers.
SECOND STAR TO THE RIGHT
Despite all the stuff that’s on Disney Plus, the service is not all-encompassing. Not all of the MCU movies are on the site, nor are the Marvel television series like “Daredevil,” “Luke Cage,” “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist” and “Punisher.” These still reside at Netflix for the time being.
And before you ask, no ... “Song of the South” is not on Disney Plus. It never will be. If you want a copy, there’s a place on the world wide web you can go to find this controversial flick.
Now, as I teased up top, getting a free week of Disney Plus is possible and rather easy. Trust me, it’s not a trap. To start, you have to have Verizon Unlimited or one of the many other “Unlimited” plans at Verizon.
First, sign into your “My Verizon” account and choose “Plan” then select “Add-ons and apps.” From the premium products, click on “Get Disney.” Review and accept the terms and conditions, then click on “Enroll in Disney+”
Signing up through the Verizon app is roughly the same, except you tap the Entertainment tab under Add-ons. Either way should take about the same amount of time.
So there you go. One year of Disney Plus for free. And all it took was a little faith and trust.
Matthew Lane covers Kingsport city government for the Times News. Email him at [email protected]