By Kayla Marie
Nothing has been more anticipated than the day we could all have Disney classic movies and TV shows readily at our fingertips. While in the past, Disney content was spread across other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Starz (either through their own app or as an add-on to Amazon Prime), it was becoming cumbersome to track down titles for viewing. When Disney+ was first announced, speculation was heavy. Would it unleash everything from the Disney “vault”? What would make this different from all the other streaming services out there? Is it even worth it?
Well, last Tuesday, we got our answers.
Day 1: Liftoff
In the early morning hours, those that had previously “pre-ordered” their subscription to Disney+ were finally able to download the app and begin streaming old favorites along with new original content, like the much anticipated newest Star Wars canon entry, The Mandalorian.
I was among one of the first in my circle to experience the app, via mobile, at 5:45 in the morning, and had little issues at first. It wasn’t until a few hours later that I ran into issues with my family accessing their profiles on the account. My original password that I had set up was not working for anyone and had to be changed three times before it stuck. However, taking that in stride, it was to be expected for a Day 1 rollout.
As more and more people downloaded the app during the day, the next issues users ran into with the app was it “crashing” upon opening. And it wasn’t so much a crashing as an adorable image of Vanellope and Ralph from Ralph Breaks the Internet, accompanied with this message: “There seems to be an issue connecting to the Disney+ service. Please try again later if the issue persists.” Not letting that deter me from finishing my watch of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I navigated to the search page and found I could still search titles and launch them from there, since the home page was presenting issues.
All in all, for a Day 1 launch of an app of this magnitude, even with all of its glitches, Disney+ was able to deliver.
Now for the fun stuff…
The biggest selling point for this launch was one thing and one thing only: nostalgia. Many have noted that the only reason they purchased their subscription was to relive the heydays of their childhood and for some, share those moments with their children or friends for the first time. A series that has lived fondly in the hearts of Gen X-ers and millennials for years, X-Men: The Animated Series, was one of the many titles trending for most of day one.
On the usability end, many praised the feature of turning off autoplay for video promos and opting out of auto-start for next episodes during a watch, a problem that has caused backlash for Netflix.
Upon selecting the search icon, users are also presented with collections, curated by Disney to help those who may be overwhelmed by the amount of content options. The “Disney Through the Decades” collection starts at the humble beginnings of the beloved Mouse and trips the light fantastic all the way to the present. The Marvel Animation collection highlights some of the best of what Marvel has presented in show form through the years. Users can relive Silver Surfer (1997) and Spider-Woman (1979) and then catch up on the latest from Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors (2018). There’s something for everyone, even if you have doubts.
What should come next?
While most are happy navigating through the app, others would like to see updates and additions sooner rather than later. The most essential function missing from the app currently is the “Continue Watching” section. Most streaming services utilize this and it simplifies the process of the user being able to pick up where they left off, whether after returning to watch or switching over to a different device. During the initial launch, the function seemed to be working but has since disappeared. At the moment, if users close the app, to go back to what they were streaming, they have to search for the title, press play and pray it resumes where they left off.
Users have also expressed desire for titles that have not been added yet, even though Disney had promised a full load. Disney shows like The Famous Jett Jackson, Pepper-Ann, The Weekenders, The Proud Family, and even PB & J Otter — all with huge fan bases — have been left off. Fans have taken to social media to inquire when they will be added.
— Bayou Billy (@Osito1034) November 12, 2019
— Wet Ath Puthy (@queerspecimen) November 13, 2019
And while there are a slew of Marvel comic shows on the platform, fan-favorites are noticeably omitted. The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008), The Super Hero Squad Show (2009), and even The Incredible Hulk (1982) did not make the cut, prompting questions if the animated shows produced in the past by other networks will work out a deal to have them available to stream on Disney+.
However, the most worrisome issue has been the security of the new accounts. As reported by BBC, hackers started targeting accounts upon the launch of the streaming services. Many found themselves locked out of their accounts, only to find that their accounts were being auctioned off on the dark web. After some digging, it seems that many of the accounts that were stolen had passwords that were used to access other websites. This is a common hacker trick; if they find your password on another site and it happens to be the same for another, then they have easy access to your account. Since Disney+ has not implemented two-factor authentication as of yet, it is suggested that users utilize a unique password for Disney+ until the dust has settled from the launch.
To launch an app of this degree with — in my opinion — minor issues outside of a universal security issue, is a feat that many did not think would be possible. With the capability of bundling with Hulu and ESPN+, Disney has made it hard to sit back and not join in with the madness. With Nickelodeon continuing its Netflix deal and Cartoon Network locked in with HBO Max, the next decade of streaming wars is sure going to be an interesting journey.
Disney+, for now, is clearly in the lead.