Since the Walt Disney Company announced it would be entering the streaming service foray, fans have been speculating as to what would be available on the platform that would come to be known as Disney+. Initially, individuals with DVD, Blu-ray, and digital collections amassed over the years were skeptical that there would be enough incentive to subscribe. However, it soon became clear that the massive back-library of Disney (and those of its many acquisitions) would only be the beginning of all the service would have to offer. For the last year, news of original content has trickled out enticing even those who would not consider themselves Disney devotees, let alone in the category of individuals who pay a monthly subscription for anything offered by the House of Mouse.
Then, when Disney announced that the streaming service would be offered for only $6.99 per month, lifelong Disneyphiles and FOMO-stricken mainstream consumers alike found themselves signing on for not just one month, but a year or even three years.
At less than the cost of a single movie ticket in many theaters (or a box of Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bars at the grocery store!), it is hard to argue against the value of what Disney is offering. Furthermore, if there was anyone out there who still needed convincing, on October 14, 2019, Disney unloaded a Twitter storm of over 600 tweets announcing everything that will be available on day one (November 12, 2019) of the streaming service. And there is most certainly something for everyone.
In case readers were unable to keep up with that inundation of information or missed it entirely, what follows are the top suggestions of what to stream on launch day in a number of categories. Get your snacks, blankie, jammies, and high-speed internet ready because come November 12, 2019, you aren’t going to want to leave your house!
Legend of the Three Caballeros
This 2-D animated cartoon series featuring Donald, Jose, and Panchito debuted on the DisneyLife app in the Philippines in 2018. It quickly generated a lot of buzz among fans of the new DuckTales series, The Three Caballeros, and/or the classic Donald Duck comics. The show begins when the trio inherits the estate of Donald’s ancestor Clinton Coot and learns that they are the descendants of adventurers. With the help of a goddess named Xandra, they embark on an unexpected and epic quest.
Brand New Content
The World According to Jeff Goldblum
Produced by National Geographic, this brand new series will follow Jeff Goldblum through a number of deep dives into everyday objects like sneakers, denim, ice cream, jewelry, tattoos, and more. Down the rabbit hole, he discovers the history, science, people, and insights behind these things we think we know all about. In the oddly enticing trailer for the show, Jeff declares, “I know nothing. That’s the premise.”
Waking Sleeping Beauty
Directed and narrated by acclaimed producer/director Don Hahn, Waking Sleeping Beauty details the history of the Disney Renaissance. The film uses archival footage to tell the story of how Walt Disney Feature Animation was floundering before it found its pinnacle of success with films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and others.
The Imagineering Story
The content Disney Parks fans have been waiting to see! This six-hour documentary series will cover the history of Walt Disney Imagineering and give viewers a peek behind the scenes of how the incredible parks, lands, attractions, and more have come to life through innovation, story, design, and more. This series was developed by Iwerks & Co., which is helmed by Leslie Iwerks, granddaughter of Ub Iwerks.
Live Action Disney (No, not a remake!)
The Ugly Dachshund
Starring Dean Jones as Mark Garrison and Suzanne Pleshette as Fran Garrison, this Disney live-action classic follows the comical trials of a Great Dane trying to fit in with the family’s prize-winning Dachshund and her pups.
As part of The Disney Afternoon, Bonkers was a product of the 1990s in every way. Originating in a number of cartoon shorts for the 1992 series Raw Toonage, the character Bonkers D. Bobcat (voiced by Jim Cummings) was a former cartoon star. After leaving show business, this bobcat-living-in-the-human-world became a police officer. The series followed his crime-solving misadventures with two different partners, Lucky Piquel and Miranda Wright.
When discussing classic Disney, could anything be more iconic than the Mickey Mouse cartoon short Steamboat Willie? The little whistling mouse that now introduces every Walt Disney Animation Studios film is synonymous with Disney itself. Revisit this iconic piece of American cinema or view it for the first time!
The Sound of Music
Considered by many to be one of cinema’s greatest films, The Sound of Music follows the story of the Von Trapp family and their governess Maria during the onset of WWII. Starring Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music includes a number of well-known songs like “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” and “Edelweiss.”
With episodes under-wraps in order to protect any surprises or shocking plot points, even reviewers have been banned from screening a full episode of this much-anticipated Star Wars series. According to The New York Times, the first episode will contain a “dramatic Star Wars-universe spoiler.” Set after the fall of the Empire, but before the rise of the First Order, The Mandalorian will tell the story of a lone gunfighter living in the outer reaches of the galaxy.
Many Disney/Pixar film fans may not even be aware of the existence of SparkShorts, having previously only been available online,. According to Pixar Animations Studios President, Jim Morris, “These films are unlike anything we’ve ever done at Pixar, providing an opportunity to unlock the potential of individual artists and their inventive filmmaking approaches on a smaller scale than our normal fare.” However, be aware, some of these shorts include mild language or cover less-childlike topics, so as a parent, you may want to pre-screen each short.
The Muppets – TV Series
This short-lived series was patterned after other single-camera, mockumentary sitcoms that gained popularity in the 2000s. Stuffed with celebrity cameos and classic Muppets humor, it is a mystery as to why this clever show failed to find an audience during its original ABC run.
There is a reason why the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become the juggernaut that it has, and it owes much of that success to the film that started it all, Iron Man. Re-watch Robert Downey Jr. deliver the performance that appealed to such a wide audience or begin the journey for the first time.
Rookie of the Year
American film-goers of the 1990s LOVED sports films, specifically the family-friendly fare. One of the greatest of these was Rookie of the Year, which told the story of Henry Rowengartner, a young boy who acquires an MLB-level pitching ability as a result of a freakishly-healed broken arm. With his newfound talent, Henry finds himself with a starting position on the Chicago Cubs.
Tree Climbing Lions
Working with National Geographic, big cat biologist Alex Braczkowski helped capture the last known footage of a pride of tree-climbing lions in Uganda. These interesting lions were found only in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, where they spent most of their lives in the candelabra trees. Baraczkowski spent 90 days counting the lions and learning of the dangers they faced from the ever-expanding human population.
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
This Saturday morning staple, which aired originally from 1988 to 1991, only grew in popularity during the 1990s as it aired in re-run on The Disney Channel and as part of ABC’s Saturday morning cartoon block. With the same cast of main characters as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the stories expanded, and so did the humorous dialogue and plot points that appealed to children and adults alike. Be sure to start the Pooh Party with the comical episode “The Good, The Bad, and The Tigger.”
Is this for real?
When a streaming service is touting 600+ titles, it is likely that a few of them will come from the deep random annals of history, and those titles are likely to cause a few eyebrow raises accompanied by claims that they cannot possibly be for real. This was the case when Disney+ tweeted an image for the film Fuzzbucket. At the center of the picture was what looked to be something like Chewbacca’s little, barefaced cousin. According to Disney’s website, this film tells the story of a 12-year-old Mikey who befriends “Fuzzbucket,” an invisible creature that helps him traverse middle school. Children of the 80s may have vague memories of seeing this film in 1986 on The Magical World of Disney.
Return to Oz
While Return to Oz is technically considered to be part of the “fantasy” genre, there is no denying that a film which includes poor Dorothy being sent to an insane asylum for electric shock therapy, bizarre creatures wheeling around on all fours, a decapitated witch with multiple heads, and all of the main characters being put in mortal peril, is the stuff of nightmares. On the other hand, if the disturbing concepts can be set aside, the visual effects were ahead of their time for 1985, and the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. Also, watch the film if for no other reason than to see what inspired the short-lived Return to Oz Main Street Electrical Parade unit in 1985.
12 Dates of Christmas
Before the popularity of Hallmark Christmas movies exploded, the Family Channel/ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas reigned supreme. In 2011, one of the original films that aired as a part of that block of programming was 12 Dates of Christmas. Starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Amy Smart, the story is of a young woman named Kate (Smart) who has to re-live the same blind date over and over again in order to discover whether she should go back to her ex-boyfriend or find love with Miles (Gosselaar).
Which Disney+ offering are you looking forward to watching most on launch day?
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