Disney+ is Here and it Brought a Wave of Nostalgia With it

Disney’s new streaming service officially launched to nostalgic users in the US, Canada and the Netherlands on November 12. 

The new streaming service, titled Disney+, has received so much traffic that the site actually experienced technical difficulties within the first few hours of its launch. 

Sidra Jafri, a third-year journalism student at Ryerson University, was one of the people affected, and had to sign up for Disney+ a day later because she couldn’t access the website. “There was a lot of traffic to the website, so I didn’t have the time to go on because it crashed pretty quickly,” she said. 

Jafri is subscribed to Disney+ because she says she finds it difficult to watch the classic Disney movies online, and is glad that there’s finally one place where she can access all the content. 

Adrienne Dacoco, a third-year graphic design student at OCAD, shares a Disney+ account with her three friends. Even though she hasn’t had the time to watch anything yet, she says her friends have already started using the service.

Dacoco was drawn to Disney+ because of its promise to deliver childhood classics, like Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, That’s So Raven and more. “Having the library of all the shows that I watched as a kid being available anywhere, anytime is a really great promise,” she said.

As a Netflix and Crave user herself, Dacoco thinks that the new service offers different elements than its competitors, but in terms of original content, she prefers to go to Netflix and Crave rather than Disney+.

“I’m not very interested in the newer shows that’s primarily being created for a younger audience,” she said about the Disney+ originals. “What I’m there for is what I grew up with as a kid.”

Eduardo Rodriguez, a fourth-year business management student at Ryerson University, is contemplating subscribing to the service for the Star Wars content, but is also disinterested in the original content Disney+ is offering.

“I’m sure it’ll improve over time with the original content, but there’s nothing that says I need to subscribe now,” he said.

Jafri however, who had trouble subscribing to Disney+ on launch day,  isn’t completely turned off by the original shows Disney offers. She says she will probably check out the new High School Musical series at some point, but in terms of original movies, she believes Disney outshines Netflix. 

“When you compare Disney originals to Netflix originals, most of the time Disney is going to win because they know how to make a movie, whereas Netflix started as a streaming service and then they began trying to make movies,” she said.

Rodriguez, who is subscribed to Netflix, thinks that the streaming market is only going to get more competitive as Netflix now has to compete with big companies like Disney.

“It’s interesting to see the things they’re trying to do to survive because they know they’re no longer the big boy on the block anymore,” he said.

In preparation for the launch of its service, Disney removed most of the content it owns from its competing streaming services, almost forcing users to subscribe to their service if they wanted to watch Disney and its affiliates’ content. 

Jafri thinks this was a good marketing tactic because older teens who are interested in re-watching films and series, like the Marvel movies, will eventually have to subscribe. 

“I definitely think people will get won over by Disney+,” she said. 

Rodriguez says the move is annoying but understandable. 

“As a consumer, yes, I’m frustrated because I don’t want to pay extra for an extra service just to see their content, but from a business standpoint, it makes sense,” Rodriguez said. 

The downside to this for those like Dacoco, is that she has to pay for multiple streaming services in order to access the content. “It feels like everyone's just being duped at this point,” she said. “When it was just Netflix, you pay that subscription fee for the luxury of convenience because everything was all in one place.” 

“With all the other companies and networks making their content exclusive, it’s almost like we’re reverting back to that TV network channel system, except it’s online,” Dacoco said. “The streaming services are becoming the new channels that everyone has to subscribe to.”

Out of all the services, Dacoco feels like Disney+ offers the best pricing. “It’s cheaper for the services that it provides,” she said. 

Disney+ has two payment plan options. Users can either pay CAD$8.99 per month, or $89.99 per year. 

The streaming service allows up to seven profiles per subscription, with up to four devices streaming content at once. 

Regardless of whether he’s going to subscribe or not, Rodriguez believes Disney+ will do well simply because it’s Disney. “The Disney brand is so strong for nostalgia reasons,” he said. “People that grew up watching Disney will want their kids to watch Disney.”

Jafri is one of those people interested in revisiting the shows and movies of her past. “I definitely want to relive my childhood in that regard where I get to watch my favourite series all over again and binge my nostalgia,” Jafri said.

When Dacoco finds the time to finally start watching shows and movies on her Disney+ account, she says she’s most excited to rewatch Wizards of Waverly Place. “That is my show. It’s amazing,” she said. “It sold me on Disney - and Alex Russo is like the queen of everything.”

According to Disney, Disney+ already has 10 million subscribers and will likely gain more when it expands to international markets.

Disney+ will be made available in several countries in Europe on March 31, 2020.