The disappointing downfall of Disney+

May 11, 2024 — by Anthony Luo
Graphic by Amy Miao
Disney+ has plummeted down my ranking of streaming services, while apps like Netflix maintain their quality.
Ads, a dysfunctional mobile app and a decline in movie and show quality have led to millions of users to end their subscriptions to the service.

I remember it like it was yesterday — it was the middle of winter break of my freshman year, and I was looking for something to watch to pass the time. I opened Disney+, scrolled through Marvel movies and kid’s cartoons alike and finally settled on the second season of “The Mandalorian.” 

I pressed play on the first episode, and BAM! I was hit with a 30-second unskippable ad. 

To my suprise, Disney+ had added a new “Basic” tier to its subscription. This level now included MULTIPLE ads on almost every single piece of content on the platform AND the removal of the download feature. In other words, users began being forced to pay an extra $3 ($10.99 per month rather than $7.99) to get back all the benefits that they previously had been paying for at that basic level. 

For me, this change was only one of a variety of factors that ultimately led me to cancel my subscription to  Disney+ and switch to other streaming platforms like Netflix.

However, it wasn’t always this way. When I first subscribed to the new streaming service during the pandemic, it was everything a middle-schooler could need. Being able to watch any Marvel movie I wanted to or explore the wide range of Star Wars content, especially shows like “The Clone Wars,” was a dream come true. 

Even as some of the shows that were being released seemed to decline in quality, like “Obi-Wan Kenobi” or “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” I held out hope for shows like “Andor” and “Loki,” which consistently exceeded my expectations.

But eventually, those shows seemed to disappear as Disney began pumping out episode after episode of content that was completely lackluster in story, production quality and overall effort, and soon enough even the new movies that were coming out stopped capturing my attention. Nowadays, high-quality, well-made films on Disney+ seem to have vanished entirely, with the only hopes in sight being the upcoming “Deadpool & Wolverine” or possibly “Daredevil: Born Again.”

If the unpredictable quality and endless ads weren’t enough, the Disney+ interface itself drives me insane. Trying to navigate through either the mobile app or the website with their confusing groupings is so unnecessarily difficult that even when I finally find something decent to watch it’s rarely worth the effort. 

Not only is the navigation itself a burden, but basic features like “Continue Watching” or Watchlist constantly bug out, forcing me to restart episodes or try to find where I had left off, often trudging through 2-3 ads in the process.

Throughout the years, streaming services have continued to lower the bar for both content and usability. Yet, Disney+ has somehow managed to end up underneath this low standard, making apps like Netflix feel like an actual theater experience in comparison. 

Until Disney+ comes up with its own version of “Bojack Horseman” or “Mindhunter,” I think I’ll stick with Netflix, avoiding both the ads and frustration.

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