A Fan-Favorite Disney Experience is Ending, Unless Fans are Willing to Pay 38% More for the Same Experience

A fan-favorite Disney experience is going by the wayside unless those fans are willing to fork out more cash to Disney for the very same experience.

One of the best parts of being a fan of Disney is that there are so many things to love, that you don’t have to love it all. There are Disney Parks around the world, Disney films, Disney Television, a world-class cruise line, a vacation club with perks just for members, Disney characters, Disney Princesses, and Disney merch of every single conceivable size, price, category, and taste.

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Credit: Disney Parks

And then there are all things PIXAR, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. And then, of course, there’s Disney+.

Since it first went live in November 2019, Disney fans of all ages–whether classic Disney fans who love only Walt’s era and Disneyana, or younger fans who love only the newer Disney offerings (and every taste in between)–have enjoyed Disney’s streaming platform where they can watch anything imaginable. Walt’s animated classics are there, like Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, and The Little Mermaid, as are Walt-era live-action films like Swiss Family Robinson.

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Credit: Walt Disney Animation

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And the platform also includes offerings from Disney Junior, Disney Channel, PIXAR, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic, and more. There are so many choices in what to watch–for everyone and every age–that many subscribers can’t help but want to share.

Disney must have known that would happen. That’s why the platform has a feature within it called GroupWatch. Another is called SharePlay. Both of these features allow subscribers to remotely watch their favorite Disney show or movie with friends and family. What a great idea! It’s such a great idea that many subscribers used it routinely during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as a means of staying close to those they love. Today, in a post-COVID quarantine world, many still enjoy the features.

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Credit: TechCrunch

It’s become a favorite among fans who subscribe to Disney+. But soon, the experience of watching Sleeping Beauty with Grandma, who lives in another city, will be a thing of the past, according to The Verge.

For subscribers who continue to enjoy Disney+ at the ad-supported tier (that’s code for the least expensive monthly subscription, which will soon include ads during your favorite Disney flicks), GroupWatch and SharePlay will disappear. That’s according to code discovered in the platform by Steve Moser, a computer programmer who works as an iOS developer.

Moser discovered the code on Disney+, which gives an error message to subscribers on the ad-supported tier who attempt to access the GroupWatch or SharePlay features.

One message reads, “Please contact customer service.” Another one reads, “You’re not eligible to use this service,” and another reads, “GroupWatch and SharePlay unavailable for accounts on the ads tier.”


Credit: Twitter/Steve Moser

Disney has not made an announcement about the two features being unavailable to subscribers on the ad-supported tier, but the code does seem to do more than merely suggest it as a possibility. Could it be that the code is simply a placeholder while Disney tries to decide for sure if this is what should play out for subscribers? It just doesn’t seem likely that the House of Mouse would have to think too long about charging subscribers more.

Beginning on December 8, Disney+ streaming subscription options and pricing in the United States will change. A new ad-supported Disney+ tier will cost $7.99 per month, which is the price subscribers currently pay for a monthly subscription with no ads. Ad-free Disney+ subscriptions will increase in price from the current $7.99 per month to $10.99 per month, a 38% rise in the monthly rate.

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Credit: Digital TV Europe

We won’t be surprised if Disney moves forward with nixing GroupWatch and SharePlay for those who remain at the d-supported subscription tier of $7.99 per month, and we also won’t be surprised if the features are available, but only to those who pay 38% more for an ad-free subscription.

Time will tell, and December isn’t too far away.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!