How to Watch Disney+

For the past few months, Disney has been announcing its new streaming channel, Disney+, set to be launched on November 12, 2019. However, you don’t have to wait till then to check it out for yourself. We went a-digging and found out how to watch Disney+ for free right now, and we’ll share the trick with you in this article.

If you want to get straight to that, click here to get to the jump, or use the table of contents above. If you want a bit more background first on Disney’s Netflix-buster, keep reading.

We’ve been talking a lot lately in our monthly State of the Cloud column about the streaming wars. You likely know the streaming giant Netflix, which has been growing almost nonstop since its inception more than a decade ago. However, you can’t grow that big — and make that much money — without others wanting a piece of the pie.

This has led to the current situation, where — depending on how you count — there are more than 15 major streaming services vying for your attention. This includes giants like Amazon Prime Video, as well as smaller, but equally good, services like the CW. Though the pieces are multiplying, the pie as a whole is still growing, which is good news for these massive corporations.

The Rise of Disney+ Streaming

That equilibrium may be upset soon, though, thanks to the world’s biggest entertainment corporation muscling in on the action. Disney, not merely content with running streaming site Hulu and sports channel ESPN, has decided to assault the throne by launching its own site, Disney+, which will carry all of its intellectual copyright.

Disney+-Homepage

That may not seem like much at first, but there’s a reason Netflix execs aren’t sleeping well at night. Disney’s copyright doesn’t just extend to the stuff you and pretty much every person reading this grew up watching, like Snow White, The Lion King and all the other saccharine schlock. Disney has been on a massive buying spree for almost a decade now, and it holds the rights to a lot of content.

A Ducky Dominion

Right now, Disney owns 20th Century Fox and its subsidiaries (the movie studio, not the entertainment channel Fox News), Marvel Studios (think The Avengers, Black Panther) and Lucasfilm (Star Wars, some Ewok stuff), among many, many others.

Besides the fun fact that Leia and Black Widow are now Disney princesses, this also means that Disney is looking at billions of dollars in entertainment income, even without having its own streaming channel. 

Disney+ will be a huge draw for many people, thanks to all these popular franchises, but what this also means is that Netflix won’t be showing any of this stuff. The streaming giant is losing on two fronts, and has been ever since Disney withdrew all of its content about a year ago.

Disney+ Price

If the above isn’t enough reason to think Disney is out to get Netflix, there is also the matter of pricing. Disney+ will be undercutting Netflix by a significant margin, asking only $7 for its basic plan and $13 for the plan that includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN. 

Contrast this to the $9 for Netflix’s basic plan and the $13 or $16 for its more advanced ones, and we can determine this is very much a case of shots fired.

Hulu by itself is a strong alternative to Netflix, and having it bundled with Disney+ may be too strong a lure for many Netflix users to resist. On top of that, most households have money for only one, maybe two streaming subscriptions, so it could very well be that Netflix could see its user base shrink. Only time will tell.

Disney+ Launch Date

The Disney+ release date has been set for November 12th, 2019. However, Disney has launched a trial of the service in, of all places, the Netherlands. Up till November 12th, residents of the land of dope and glory can watch Disney+ for the grand total of one euro cent, with the full price of 7 euros kicking in on the official launch date.

We assume the Dutch were chosen as guinea pigs because it’ll be a good market for Disney+ once it is officially released, while also being a large enough market so that any bugs can be straightened out in due course.

Disney+ Trial First Impressions

Of course, dedicated as we are to bringing you the best in streaming, we went and checked Disney+ out. This was actually trickier than you might think, owing to the site’s servers not being able to handle the load for the first few weeks and not letting us sign in. Already a good sign for Disney and a bad one for Netflix.

Once in, the first thing we noticed was that Disney+ looks a lot like Netflix. As in, the design is practically the same.

However, that’s a good thing, as you can get straight into watching whatever you want. There isn’t the same choice as with Netflix, though. Then again, if you’re really into Disney or Marvel, then there is more than enough to pick from.

Streaming went very smoothly, much like with Netflix, and we can definitely see where the attraction lies. Netflix has a right to be worried.

How Can I Watch Disney+ for Free?

Savvy readers will have already figured out from the above how they can catch Disney+ early and for free. Simply get yourself a Dutch IP address by using a virtual private network, log into Disney+, pay the penny, and you’re off to the podraces.

For the uninitiated, a VPN is a program that you can use to spoof your location to anywhere while remaining secure. They’re super handy, and we recommend them for everybody, all the time. The best VPN, in our estimation, is ExpressVPN and that’s the one we used to access Disney+.

It worked flawlessly, as you’d expect from the VPN service we consider the best VPN for streaming, though we do expect Disney+ to get a VPN ban not unlike Netflix’s in the near future. That said, right now it works fine, so we recommend you give it a shot to catch the latest in Star Wars.

How to Watch Disney+ for Free

  1. Go to ExpressVPN and sign up
  2. Download the ExpressVPN client onto your device
  3. Connect to a server in the Netherlands (any one will do)
  4. Once connected, go to disneyplus.com
  5. Sign up and pay the penny
  6. Enjoy, though remember to keep ExpressVPN on

Final Thoughts

Disney is gearing up to take on Netflix, and from what we’ve seen, it’s shaping up to be a real contender. Though Disney+ on its own isn’t going to make any competitors break out into a cold sweat, the bundling of Hulu and ESPN is going to place it firmly in the market as service to watch out for.

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What do you think of all this? Will you be ditching Netflix to take up a Disney+ subscription? Or will you keep both? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.

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2 thoughts on “How to Watch Disney+ in 2019: For Free, For Now”

  1. I tried this – it didn’t work – I managed to access the free site in Holland via a Dutch registered VPN server – but as soon as you try to pay via any of the payment options, it recognises that your payment method is from another country, and doesn’t accept the payment … unless there is someway of setting up a local Dutch payment proxy, then Disney have figured out how to stop overseas users from watching via a VPN …

    1. Cloudwards.net - Chief Editor

      Well, that’s weird, I paid with a Revolut card and it worked fine… No matter now, though, as Disney+ is launching tomorrow.

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