The first ever animated feature film, “Snow White,”premiered at the famous Carthay Circle Theater in 1937 and made cinema history.
Today, you can watch “Snow White,” or one of the hundreds of other movies owned by Disney without ever leaving your couch. With the release of the new streaming app Disney+, viewers can have instant access to the shows and movies that defined many of our childhoods.
Disney+ was first released on Nov. 12, 2019 for $7.00 a month. The service contains nearly every show and movie produced by the Disney company or one of the many studios they own, which includes Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
“No matter what age you are, there is something for you in the Disney Dynasty. business teacher Karen Roberts said.
In recent years, streaming services, which allow users to stream TV shows and movies instantly without ads, have transformed the way that many of us consume media, creating a culture of binge watchers. Disney+ joins the ranks of other services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, the latter of which is also owned by Disney.
For the vast majority of people, there is at least one show or film included in the vast Disney+ library of content that played a role in their childhood. With more than 7500 TV episodes and 500 movies, the main draw of Disney+ is its ability to return to old favorites from when the viewer was a kid.
“It’s really fun to watch with your family and friends who have also grown up watching the same things and you can reminisce together,” junior Debbie Wells said.
Of course, all streaming services have large libraries of tv shows and movies that had initially been released elsewhere, but many have pivoted to placing a large focus on making original content, like “Stranger Things” on Netflix or “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu. Disney+ has already released some new content themselves, but the majority of it is based off of pre existing properties, like “High School Musical: the Musical: the Series” being based off of the “High School Musical” movies or “The Mandalorian” being a “Star Wars” spinoff.
“It’s a cool mix between watching what like what you’ve already watched to enjoy all of the memories that you had as well as watching something new and being surprised and getting a whole new story,” Wells said.
By streaming old favorites and releasing new content in familiar fictional worlds, Disney+ is able to tap into the nostalgia that many of us have surrounding Disney. This sense of comfort is particularly appealing as a way to avoid the harsh realities of the world that we have very little control over. In times when life feels turbulent and unpredictable, which is emphasized by events in the news such as school shootings, climate change and political corruption, returning to the nostalgic and idealistic world of Disney can act as a temporary escape.
“Nostalgia is something that reminds you of your past and is something that is good about your past and you want to remember,” senior Brooke Wilkinson said. “Disney brings back good memories for people.”
Of course, like all new technology, there are ways for Disney+ to be improved to create a better experience for its 10 million subscribers. When the service first launched, there were extensive issues with people not being able to access certain shows or movies due to higher demand than expected, according to Variety. There were also initial issues with pausing and returning to shows.
“The formatting is a little difficult and a lot of times Disney+ will skip or glitch when you go to pause something,” Wilkinson said. “Sometimes I’ll pause and go off and then come back on and it’s paused later in the movie.”
Looking towards the future of the streaming service, there are many other new shows or movies in production that are exclusive for subscribers, such as several television series set in the Marvel or Star Wars universes. Even with these new additions, expect to be returning to familiar worlds and stories, whether that’s by rewatching old favorites or enjoying sequels or spin-offs set in the same universe.
For the past 96 years, Disney has played a role in shaping both our media landscapes and our collective memories. With the release of Disney+, people can go back and rewatch the stories that defined their childhoods while finding new content to enjoy. By watching, we’re able to return, briefly, back to a time when Disney made our childhoods a little bit more magical.
“Disney will continue to find magic in everything they do and I think unfortunately, in our daily hustle and bustle, we forget what that magic is in our lives,” Roberts said.