The era of streaming reigns supreme, with more and more consumers cutting the cord on cable in favor of on-demand entertainment. For any household, choosing the right streaming plan comes down to a combination of the content offered and the price charged. This streaming guide will focus on helping you determine the better deal between standalone Disney+ and the Disney streaming bundle.
Welcome to the Streaming Wars
First, some scene setting. The streaming market has rapidly expanded to offer seemingly endless options for your viewing pleasure. Netflix and Hulu blazed the trail, with Amazon Prime Video close behind. Now every media company wants a piece of the streaming pie – NBC, CNN, Paramount, and of course, Disney.
The Walt Disney Company announced plans for its own streaming service back in 2017. After acquiring majority control of BAMTech, a streaming technology provider, the studio had the infrastructure to launch Disney+. When Disney+ premiered in November 2019, it shook the streaming world.
Within 5 months, Disney+ amassed an incredible 50 million subscribers globally. Two years post-launch, Disney+ surpassed 116 million subscribers. The service remains on track to hit 230-260 million subscribers by 2024 according to Digital TV Research. What drove this massive growth? Let‘s take a closer look at what Disney offers streamers choosing between plans.
Disney+ serves as the dedicated streaming home for entertainment from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Studios. This includes new releases as well as existing library content.
Here‘s a sampling of the key titles available on Disney+:
- Over 600 Disney animated classics like Snow White, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast
- The entire Pixar collection including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Coco
- Live-action Disney films such as Mary Poppins and Pirates of the Caribbean
- Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, from Iron Man to The Force Awakens
- Hit Disney Channel shows like Hannah Montana and Phineas and Ferb
- 30+ original series and films exclusive to Disney+ like The Mandalorian
One estimate placed the total number of movies and shows on Disney+ at nearly 1,000 titles. That‘s considerable for a streamer only a few years old.
Disney+ is ad-free, with download capabilities for offline viewing. Subscribers can stream on up to 4 devices at once. Pricing currently runs:
- $7.99/month for standard plan with ads
- $10.99/month for premium ad-free plan
So in a nutshell, Disney+ gives you access to a deep content catalog anchored in Disney franchises for less than $8/month. That‘s tough to beat – but does the Disney Bundle provide an even better deal?
The Disney Streaming Bundle
Disney doesn‘t just offer Disney+. The media conglomerate introduced the Disney streaming bundle to combine Disney+ with two other popular services, ESPN+ and Hulu.
Bundling these three streamers together unlocks a huge entertainment universe spanning classic movies, hit shows, sports coverage, and more. Over 50,000 titles become available to subscribers who opt for the Disney Bundle.
Hulu and ESPN+ bring complementary content categories into the mix:
- Hulu delivers current seasons of network and cable TV, including shows like This Is Us, Family Guy and The Handmaid‘s Tale. The Hulu library houses thousands of movies as well.
- ESPN+ serves the sports fan with live events, original programming and on-demand sports coverage. Soccer, UFC, college sports, 30 for 30 documentaries – it‘s all here.
The Disney Bundle configurations include:
- Disney+ and Hulu (With Ads) for $9.99/month
- Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (With Ads) for $12.99/month
- Disney+, Hulu No Ads, and ESPN+ for $19.99/month
Bundling compared to subscribing separately saves subscribers 25% off normal pricing. That‘s undeniably a good deal.
Now that we‘ve got the lay of the streaming land, let‘s directly compare Disney+ solo against the Disney Bundle.
Disney+ vs. The Disney Bundle: Head to Head Comparison
|Price||$7.99 (with ads)
$10.99 (no ads)
|$9.99-$19.99/month (3 tiers)|
|Content Library||~1,000 titles||~50,000+ titles across Disney, Hulu, ESPN+|
|Top Titles||Star Wars, Marvel, Disney animation||All on Disney+ plus shows like Family Guy, live sports|
|Supported Devices||Phones, tablets, smart TVs, games consoles, streaming sticks||Same device support|
|Ideal For…||Disney fans, families with kids||Broader audience including sports fans, TV lovers|
Based on this head-to-head, the Disney Bundle appears to come out ahead. You get much more streaming content, with complementary programming suits a wider range of interests. But sticking with Disney+ as a standalone has advantages too. Let‘s examine the pros and cons of each option.
Pros and Cons
- Costs just $7.99/month for ad-supported plan
- Houses most iconic Disney movies and shows
- No ads on premium $10.99/month plan
- Downloads for offline viewing
- Smaller content library compared to competitors
- Lacks programming for older audiences
- Original content can‘t match Netflix or Hulu
- Wider range of content across Disney, Hulu, ESPN
- Access to live sports and current hit shows
- 25% discount compared to individual plans
- Options to remove ads from Disney+ and Hulu
- Multiple plan tiers can be confusing
- Not all content consolidated in one interface
- Most expensive no-ads tier is $19.99/month
To summarize, Disney+ by itself is an affordable option focused on family-friendly entertainment. The Disney bundle costs a bit more but expands your programming selection greatly. Which option is the better deal comes down to your household‘s viewing preferences.
Finding the Better Deal for You
For families with kids who mainly watch Disney animated films, Pixar favorites, and Star Wars or Marvel movies, Disney+ alone may fully satisfy your streaming needs. The $7.99 monthly plan lets you enjoy this content commercial-free at an unbeatable price. Paying $3 more per month for no ads could also be worthwhile.
However, households without kids or those looking for more variety have better value with the Disney Bundle. Access to all shows and movies on Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ creates a vast on-demand library. According to industry analyst Jeff Bakalar at CNET, "The Disney Bundle mathematically gives you the most savings."
The Disney/Hulu/ESPN+ combo caters to both adults and kids with hit shows, comedy, drama, and sports. Bakalar sums up the choice between plans: "If you have even the slightest interest in all three services, the Bundle is a runaway winner."
The Final Verdict
After this deep dive comparing standalone Disney+ with the Disney Bundle, the final verdict is clear:
For most households, the Disney Bundle provides the best deal and the most streaming content for your budget.
The Bundle unlocks tens of thousands of movies, shows, and live events for just $12.99-$19.99 per month. That‘s only marginally higher than a Disney+ solo plan. The breadth of programming options makes the combined Disney/Hulu/ESPN package better suited tomixed audiences. Unless you exclusively watch Disney-owned content, the value proposition strongly favors getting the Bundle.
Whichever streaming plan you choose, enjoy immersing yourself in endless entertainment! Happy streaming!