The UK has had Disney+ for a couple of months now and whilst I’ve been trying not to binge-watch it too hard, the lockdown has made it kinda hard! So if you’re considering getting the service or are just looking for some watching inspiration, here are my recommendations on what to watch on Disney Plus.
What to watch on Disney Plus…
The Imagineering Story
Probably my most anticipated watch before they released Disney+ so it had to be first on my list of recommendations on what to watch on Disney Plus, The Imagineering Story documents the story of the Imagineering department within The Walt Disney Company. From the days of Walt Disney and WED Enterprises to Bob Iger’s reign as CEO and the opening of Shanghai Disneyland. This is not one to miss if you’re a big Disney park fan! Each episode focuses on a different park – from the original Disneyland opening in 1955 to the most recent arrival of Shanghai Disneyland in 2016. We find out about the people behind some of the most iconic rides and how the Imagineering department has evolved to keep up with ride technology that brings joy to millions of people every year. We hear everything from the trials of opening new parks to the stories from cast members about what the parks mean to them and how they’ve impacted their lives. It’s an emotional journey from start to finish and one Disney Parks fans will cherish!
Lady and the Tramp Live Action
Lady and the Tramp as the very first thing I watched when the service went live. I love the animated classic and wanted to see if it lived up to expectation. I am happy to report it did and is even more emotional in parts than the original. If you love dogs, you’ll love this! I’ll admit it was slightly strange at first getting used to the dog’s mouths moving in an unnatural way but I soon didn’t even start to notice!
The World According to Jeff Golblum
I’m not quite sure when my obsession with Jeff Goldblum started but I remember squealing last April when they announced he’d be getting a Disney+ series. The World According to Jeff Goldblum is a little left field in terms of the regular Disney content – it’s a Nat Geo production after all! But it’s so interesting to follow Jeff’s learning about different topics and getting the perspective from a diverse group of people. I loved the ‘Sneaker’, ‘Ice Cream’ and ‘BBQ’ episodes and watching Jeff Goldblum tattoo his own face onto somebody was an experience too. All I’d advise with this one is when it’s about food – make sure you have snacks!
Into The Unknown: The Making of Frozen 2
If there is one thing I love, it’s a behind the scenes at Walt Disney Animation. I’ve had a personal fascination with it for a long time and nothing brings me more joy than learning about how a film comes to life. into the Unknown: The Making of Frozen 2 takes us behind the scenes of one of the most successful Disney animations of all time. We follow the filmmakers through the last 10 months of production and it’s incredible to see how Disney make their animated films, how many people are involved and how close to release date they’re still making changes. It feels like we’ve been invited along on the directors, Chris Beck and Jennifer Lee’s very personal journey. All the cast are involved, spending time speaking with the documentary crew, as well as many of the animators, special effects artists, composers and producers. Six episodes long and each one made me cry out of happiness.
If you’re into theatre, chances are, you’ve already heard of Hamilton – the multi-award-winning Broadway musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (who also wrote the music for Moana). Hamilton delves into the life of one of America’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. #Hamifilm (as it’s been dubbed on Twitter) was recorded with the original cast over a few performances in June 2016. A word of warning, this is like Les Mis in the sense that it is songs all the way through – there’s rarely any dialogue that isn’t part of a song! Where this isn’t like your average musical is the style of songs. It’s very contemporary with rap, hip hop, R&B, soul and many other styles of music – including your usual show tunes. The staging and cast are unbelievable and it’s made me more excited to go and see it on the stage one day (I had tickets this year sob!) Highly recommend!
One Day at Disney (and the shorts)
One Day at Disney follows the story of different cast members and what ‘one day’ at their job looks like. The 90-minute docu-film highlights a few different cast members in a longer format, but there are 52 shorts (no longer than 8 minutes each) coming to Disney+ before the year is out where you can learn more about even more of them. I warn you though, after every short episode you’ll say to yourself ‘I’d love that job!’ or ‘what a cool job’. It’s so great to see so many of the behind-the-scenes cast members and learn about their stories and how they make magic for so many people.
Disney Fairytale Weddings: Season 1
I kept seeing this pop up on a lot of people’s ‘first things I’m going to watch’ list and I’ll ADMIT I binge-watched the first series in less than a week. Disney’s Fairytale Weddings is pure ESCAPISM and you’ll be amazed at what the Disney Wedding Planners can pull off. I’m a huge Disney fan but before this, I’ve never really wanted a Disney Wedding. But after, well…
Disney+ is full of hidden gems – especially on the Nat Geo and Disney Nature side. If you love elephanst then the documentay Elephant is a must. If follows a family of African Elephants during their migration. It’s shot beautifully and it’s wonderful to learn about the animals. I’ll admit there is a bit of aDisney spin on it and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is no Richard Attenborough but you can feel her warmth and how investerd the is in their story. No spoilers but it’s quite emotional at the end.
Pick of the Litter
Warning, you’ll need tissues for this one, especially if you’re a dog lover. Pick of the Litter follows the journey of six adorable labradors as they prepare to become guide dogs for the blind. We begin the series meeting the dogs with their puppy handlers who raise them for around 18 months before Guide Dogs for the Blind test them to see if they can attend a training school. The dogs are wonderful and their puppy handlers have their own stories to tell. You’re constantly willing the dogs on, hoping that they won’t face the ‘career change’ and will complete their mission to become a guide dog.
Another fantastic programme if you’re into your Disney history and one I had to recommend in my list of what to watch on Disney Plus, Prop Culture explores some of the most famous props from the most famous Disney Live-Action films. Episode one focuses on Mary Poppins and some of the most famous props including the magical bag and Parrot umbrella! I loved this show as it reunited cast with props they hadn’t seen. As well as the Mary Poppins episode, my other favourite was the Pirate of the Caribbean one which gave some time to Jack’s hat amongst other famous props.
…finally, I’ve started watching all the Disney Classics in order and I thoroughly recommend it. Not only have I filled some gaps in my Disney film history (I’d never seen Saludos Amigos for example) it’s also been wonderful to see the transformation of the animation, stories and music.
I’m going to continue to update this post when I watch something great. Give me your recommendations on what to watch on Disney Plus.