Friday 1 July 2016

A family review of the DisneyLife monthly digital subscription service

We're all big Disney fans in our house. Hubs grew up in a Disney-mad home and got to go to Florida a few times, where he and his siblings firmly cemented their love of Mickey and co.

I had a few Disney VHS tapes when I was younger - Aladdin and The Lion King being firm favourites, to this day, plus Fantasia and Jungle Book - and would watch these on an almost weekly basis.

When I met Ste, I started to explore the world of Disney more and the friends I made at university, who are still my besties today, are all fanatics too so it didn't take long for me to join the party and become a big fan myself.

So much so, in our friendship group, we assigned each other with a princess each. I was given Cinderella but, over the years, I asked to be Rapunzel instead (I love her sass, I want a pet Pasquale and don't even get me started about her long locks...).

When Ethan came along, there was no doubt that he would be a Disney child. His first Disney friends were Winnie the Pooh - the main theme for the gender neutral nursery - and as he got a little older, we introduced him to Buzz and Woody, Mike and Sulley and so many more characters he absolutely adores.

Every time we show him a film or show for the first time, it gets added to the long list of favourites. Nemo. Lion King. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Hubs and I had already built quite the Disney collection between us before Ethan was born and we're subscribed to Netflix too, but we were still really keen to try out DisneyLife.

Why? Well, I like the idea of having everything in one place. Our DVD's are in a few different places and when Ethan gets his hands on them, who knows where a disc will end up. We've stopped buying DVD's in general so we don't have a copy of a few films, so having DisneyLife would mean access to the whole library.

And when I say whole library, it really is.

Films, television shows, sing-alongs, read-alongs - the lot.

Classics, Pixar hits, superheroes - you name it.

We've been trying out DisneyLife for a month now and as a family, we have had good use out of it. Here's what we all think about this monthly subscription service...

Me: Disney is such a broad place to explore, and with DisneyLife, we've been able to flick on family favourites as well as try out new things too. If you're a Disney fan, or you have children that are, it's a bit of a no-brainer. For me, the benefits of DisneyLife include:

* Convenience - whatever mood Ethan is in, or whichever character he asks for, I can use the one app to find it and pop it on for him. Likewise, if we think of a film off the cuff, I don't have to spend ages trying to hunt a copy down.

* Disney has something for all ages - from Mickey's Clubhouse through to the most recent films, there's a show or film that will appeal, so children are less likely to become bored and can grow with the service.

Ethan: There's so many fun characters to choose from and I almost couldn't make up my mind who to have as my profile photo (I chose Sven from Frozen in the end - he's great!). I ask Daddy most days if I can have a look at DisneyLife on his tablet. I really like:

* The collections - I like how DisneyLife gives you the option to search according to character or themes, so if I want to watch Tigger, Mummy can just pick him and it'll pop up with everything they have with Tigger in. Grr-reat!

* Explore - the layout is really bright and engaging and there's lots to look through.

* So much to do - I like watching my favourite shows and films too but DisneyLife also has some great stories and sing-alongs too. This means I can enjoy a lot more, when playing in the living room or when settling down to sleep.

Stephen: I wasn't sure whether we would really need DisneyLife having so many of the films already and being signed up to Netflix too, who tend to have a good selection. Having used it over a few weeks now, I think it's a good service and Ethan's enjoyed using it, but there's a few simple improvements they could make to make it even more user friendly:

* Search - if Ethan has a particular show he wants to watch, and you search for it, everything to do with your search term comes up and not in any real order so sometimes you have to scroll through to find what you're really looking for. It's ok for having a general look around, but not as useful when you know what you're looking for and somebody is being impatient...!

* Favourites - I like how you can favourite episodes but it's a shame you can't seem to favourite whole shows; a bit annoying if you know you'll be returning to something again in the near future.

* Continuous play - I guess we've got used to services like Netflix that automatically start the next episode when one finishes. Some shows can be quite short so before you realise it, you have a toddler tugging on your arm asking for 'more Mickey!' and you have no idea which episode he was just watching and have to go through the options again. We've used the service through Chromecast which doesn't go back to the menu, so you have to scroll through again to find where you were.

* Memory - I think that if DisneyLife could remember what you had watched previously, this would be really helpful. Again, we're used to this with other services and it's just a handy feature to make sure you keep your place. Only minor but a good update to consider.

* A great compendium and companion - with all of the above said, I do like the user interface of DisneyLife. The layout looks good, we like being able to choose avatars for each member of the family and it is pretty easy to pick up and use. It's given us more access to more Disney so it certainly delivers from a content point of view.


With more than 300 films, 5,000 songs, 2,000 episodes, 100 stories and a new app to download each month, you do get a fair bit for your £9.99 monthly digital service subscription fee (after a free trial period and with no minimum contract so you cancel anytime).

As the Disney universe is expanding all the time, I think it's a great choice for new and existing fans, both young and young at heart.

* We received a free subscription period in return for an honest review - all opinions are our own.

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