Could this be the start of something new? On Nov. 12, Disney launched a new streaming platform – Disney Plus. The hyped introduction of the new service promised to deliver all our childhood favorites, which have been steadily removed from other streaming companies, in one magical site. Classic and new Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic content can all be found on Disney Plus for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. Customers can also bundle this service with Hulu and ESPN Plus subscriptions for $12.99 per month. It sounds pretty tempting, but just because we can buy another streaming service – does that mean we should?
I, like so many ‘Gen Z’ members, am slowly falling victim to ‘lifestyle creep.’ This phenomenon occurs when comfy expenses – like Uber Eats, Netflix and weekly yoga classes – start to add up. For the most part, I avoid this by bumming other people’s passwords for Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Nonetheless, the launch of Disney Plus made me contemplate forking over $7 a month to binge unlimited Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) and Hannah Montana episodes.
Luckily, the new app allows users to take a test-run before deciding whether the ability to watch endless Disney content is worth the price tag. So in the name of science, journalism and responsible spending habits, I signed up for a one-week free trial of Disney Plus and pledged to watch something new each day before reaching a final verdict.
Day One: “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”
For me, the biggest draw of the streaming service was the fact that I could finally re-watch the early 2000s comedy shows I binged as a kid. The week-long trial started strong with Zach & Cody, but there was a drawback. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty weird to be a “grown-up” and watch a show about ten-year-old kids that I used to have a crush on. Still, the show gets an “A” as far as pre-teen sitcoms go – though I could do without the laugh tracks. Seriously, has a laugh track made anything funnier, ever?
Day Two: “Phineas and Ferb”
I wanted to mix it up and not just watch old live-action shows all week, so I went with this animated comedy for day two. It came out a little later in my childhood, but I have to say the writing and concept for the show are still solid – especially for something marketed to young kids. Is it an odd choice for a college student to binge it now? Maybe. But hey, I’m not going for mind-enriching material during study breaks.
Day Three: “Motorcrossed”
Day three was a Sunday, which all my friends know as the day I do whatever I want without remorse. Binging movies in bed day? Yes. So naturally, I went with an old Disney Channel Original Movie, the kind they don’t make anymore. This one was about a cheerleader who shaved her head to take her injured brother’s place in a professional motor cross tournament, falling in love along the way. The only problem: the dude thinks she’s, well, a dude. Classic Disney movie sexual tension. There’s no kiss at the end, but the two do share one romantic dirt bike race once the truth (spoiler alert) comes out.
Day Four: “Aladdin”
Truthfully, the first time I saw “Aladdin,” the genie was the fresh prince of Bel-Air. My dad was more of a “Terminator” guy, so we didn’t have Disney princess VHS tapes lying around the house. When I did finally have the opportunity to watch the original without paying $20 to rent it on pay-per-view, I went for it. Hearing Robin Williams’s voice in such a fun movie broke my heart a little bit. Plus, whoever drew Jafar deserves a raise. I could tell that man was evil just by the shape of his odd, creepy chin.
Day Five: I broke my promise.
Day five was leg day and I had three classes, so I knocked out the second I hit my bed.
Day Six: “Hannah Montana”
I had to. I used to pretend I hated this show because everyone else loved it, but we all knew the truth – I wasn’t that edgy. Is Miley? The jury is still out on that one, and I can’t believe she’d let go of a man that looks like Liam Hemsworth, but that’s for another day. The truth is, Hannah Montana is a solid show. The weird part about watching teen dramas as an adult is that you begin seeing things you didn’t before. For instance, have you ever noticed Billy-Rae wears a fake mustache when he’s Hannah’s father? Never caught it before, but it’s a nice touch.
Day Seven: “Free Solo”
Disney Plus also features content from National Geographic, so I went for a documentary on the last day just to check it out. This one was about a guy who lives in a van and spends his days climbing the massive granite walls of Yosemite without a harness. It was beautifully shot and made me feel unathletic and a bit like a coward. It was cool to watch, and it’s nice to see that Disney is offering content that appeals to a wide range of viewers on their platform.
I didn’t end up renewing my subscription after the free trial.
I actually meant to renew it for a month so I could spend a little more time being nostalgic, but I would’ve gotten bored of watching the old stuff pretty quickly. My apple payment wasn’t up to date, so my phone sort of decided for me. I’ll live.
For viewers who grew up eating, sleeping and breathing Disney, the new app might be a solid investment. For parents of young kids, it could either be a blessing or a nightmare, depending on how many times a child can watch “Moana” in a row. I suppose the need for another subscription depends on the viewer. For now, I have a season of “Euphoria” to finish watching on my brother’s old best friend’s HBO account.
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