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- Disney Plus is packed with family-friendly entertainment perfect for parents and their kids.
- Parental controls allow you to fine-tune what your kids can watch and set a PIN to protect profiles.
- At $8 a month, Disney Plus is also affordable, making it a great choice for families on a budget.
Bringing the magic of Disney to the small screen, the Disney Plus streaming service has a lot to offer families and kids. And best of all, the platform comes in at a budget-friendly price of just $8 a month.
After spending over a year watching the service with my wife, our 8-year-old daughter, and our 11-year-old son, I continue to be impressed by the platform's selection of all-ages content and kid-friendly navigation options. Here's why Disney Plus remains our go-to streaming service for family viewing.
What can kids watch on Disney Plus?
Disney Plus features a ton of movies and shows for kids and families. There's a good mixture of blockbuster films and TV series that cover Disney's entire library, from classics like "Snow White" and "101 Dalmatians" to recent releases like "Moana" and "Frozen II." Live-action versions of "Aladdin" and "Lion King" sit alongside the animated originals.
The Disney Plus catalog also includes Pixar titles like "Toy Story," Marvel superhero blockbusters, "Star Wars" cartoons and movies, documentaries from National Geographic, and plenty of kid-friendly titles from Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD.
In the US, Disney Plus has no R-rated content at all. The maximum ratings are PG-13 for movies and TV-14 for shows. This makes its library uniquely suited for families. Outside of the US, Disney Plus recently added an adult-focused section called Star, which does include R-rated movies and mature shows. Thankfully, Disney makes it easy to restrict access to these programs if you have kids.
My family experience with Disney Plus
We signed up for Disney Plus when it first launched, and I recently renewed it for another year. As big "Star Wars" and Marvel fans, my whole family has enjoyed watching and rewatching the major movies.
The highlight of the service so far has been "The Mandalorian," which became a weekly treat that brought us all together. We've also enjoyed introducing our bemused kids to nostalgic movies like "The Black Hole" and "Freaky Friday." There's a lot of choice if you're hunting for family-friendly films, and we often pick something from Disney Plus for family movie nights.
My 8-year-old daughter is by far the most avid watcher of Disney Plus in the house. She loves the Disney and Pixar movies and watches favorites over and over. She also enjoys many of the Disney shows. My 11-year-old son is less interested, but there are certain series they frequently watch together, such as "Phineas and Ferb," "Gravity Falls," and "The Simpsons." He also likes some of the National Geographic documentaries.
My wife and I enjoyed "WandaVision," but that's one of the few things we've watched on Disney Plus without the kids. That is beginning to change, however, with the addition of Star in the UK where we live.
Parental controls on Disney Plus
With the launch of Star in international markets, Disney Plus revamped its parental controls, enabling optional PIN protection for profiles. The updated parental controls rolled out globally, so they also brought new options to parents in the US.
When creating a profile for your child, you can now specify the content rating from TV-Y at the bottom of the scale all the way up to TV-14. This gives you tighter control for kids of different ages.
You can also toggle on "Kid's Profile," which changes the Disney Plus interface and limits the profile to content that's suitable for kids. In the US, that means shows rated up to TV-Y7-FV and films rated G. The kid's interface also organizes titles into simpler categories like "Super heroes" or "Princesses" instead of the "Marvel" or "Disney" categories you see with regular profiles.
The "Kid's Profile" is ideal for younger children and, as long as you add a PIN to other profiles, there's no danger your child will find anything inappropriate.
There is one potential issue here for families with multiple children, however. We set up PIN protection for the adult profiles, but didn't want to for the kids. We allow my son to access 12+ content, while my daughter has the "Kid's Profile" setting. But we soon found that this meant there was nothing stopping my daughter from choosing my son's profile to gain access to a slightly wider library. The only way around this was to add a PIN to my son's profile.
Can different family members watch at the same time?
For any family-friendly streaming service it's important to have support for a wide range of devices, and the option to have multiple simultaneous streams. Disney Plus nails this with support for most smart TV brands, Roku, Fire TV, PlayStation, Xbox, and pretty much any Android or Apple media device you can buy. You can also stream through a web browser.
You can have Disney Plus play on four devices simultaneously, so you and you children can watch different titles at the same time. You can also download as much content as you want on up to ten mobiles devices. This makes it easy to save shows for your kids to watch later when you might not have access to an internet connection.
How does Disney Plus compare to other services?
We also subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Technically speaking, Disney Plus has some advantages since it offers 4K movies at no extra cost and it handles limited Wi-Fi bandwidth gracefully.
With Netflix, you need a Premium account at $18 a month to get 4K and stream on four screens simultaneously. With Prime Video, there's no extra cost for 4K, but you are limited to three simultaneous streams. Prime Video is also slightly more expensive at $9 a month on its own, or $13 a month as part of Amazon Prime.
There are more adult-focused titles on Netflix and Prime, but Disney Plus is better for young kids. Classic Disney films are the kind of movies that kids will watch over and over. This type of content is disappearing from other services as Disney continues to make its programs exclusive to Disney Plus.
Netflix and Prime Video do offer some family favorites like "SpongeBob Squarepants," "Pokemon," and "Scooby-Doo," but we've also found that they carry a lot of subpar shows. The fact that they change content often can also lead to disappointment. So far, Disney Plus seems to have a more permanent library.
There's quantity and quality for kids on Disney Plus. If family viewing is a priority for you, then Disney Plus can't be beat right now.
Should your family get Disney Plus?
Choosing a streaming service for your family will largely depend on your children's tastes and your own beliefs about what's appropriate. We feel Disney Plus is a must-have for kids around 10 and younger, but it isn't as good for older kids unless they're heavily into "Star Wars" or Marvel.
It's nice to have a streaming service you can browse together without fear of inappropriate content, and there's always something on Disney Plus that you can watch with a family of all ages.
You can sign up for Disney Plus today for $8 a month or $80 a year. In the US, you can bundle the service with Hulu and ESPN+ for $14 a month. This is a great way to supplement your Disney Plus subscription with access to live sports and more adult-focused content, making the bundle a value that's equally strong for kids and their parents.