Disney+ vs the Disney+ Bundle with Hulu, ESPN+
Should you get Disney+, or take advantage of the new Disney+ bundle that’s poised to take on Netflix?
What if you already have Hulu and want Disney+ — should you get the bundle?
I’ll also compare what some of the top streaming services cost versus the Disney+ bundle, which includes Hulu and ESPN+.
If you are new to streaming or you’re considering cutting the cord from cable TV or satellite, this guide will give all the tools you need to get going.
How do I subscribe to Disney+ or Disney+ Bundle?
You can sign up on the Disney+ website for Disney+, which costs $6.99 per month, or $69.99 annually. Disney+ has a free 7-day trial, but there is no free trial for the Disney+ bundle.
The Disney+ bundle costs $12.99 per month, and has three streaming services: Disney+, Hulu (with limited commercials) and ESPN+.
Even if you were just wanted Disney+ and Hulu, getting the bundle is worth it when you consider the cost of them separately is $12.98 per month. So by bundling the three services, you’re getting ESPN+ for a penny more a month.
Having subscribed to ESPN+ for a little while now, I can tell you that you’ll definitely start using it once you have it. (More on that below.)
The bundle also costs about $5 less than subscribing to Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ individually.
Disney is offering a free trial of Disney+, but no free trial for the bundle.
All three services have widespread app support. So you can use a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, PlayStation 4, XBOX One and Android TV devices such as NVIDIA Shield. For Smart TVs, Sony TV, Samsung and LG devices are supported. There is iOS and Android support for smartphones and tablets.
What if I already subscribe to Hulu and want Disney+?
When you sign up for the Disney+ bundle, just be sure to use the same email that you’re using for your Hulu account. Disney should be able to figure out that you’re already a subscriber and handle the rest.
If you already subscribe to Hulu with limited commercials directly from the company — and want to keep the no-ads option — then you can sign upfor the Disney+ bundle and receive a $5.99 credit to your bill.
Here’s what you need to do, step-by-step.
What if I already subscribe to Hulu with no commercials?
According to the Disney+ help section, if you want to have a Hulu with no ads, you can either keep the account you have and sign up for the bundle. If you’re new to Hulu, you can still get the commercial free option with the bundle, it just costs a few bucks more.
Disney+ explains it like this:
- Sign up for Hulu via Hulu.com/welcome
- Head to Disney+ and resubscribe to the Disney bundle using the same email address associated with your new Hulu account
- Your new Disney bundle monthly charge will be adjusted to reflect a credit towards your Disney bundle purchase in the amount of $5.99/month (the value of the Hulu (ad supported) plan included in the Disney bundle), for so long as you have that Hulu subscription.
So you will be given a credit from Disney+ (of $5.99) and pay for Hulu with no commercials separately. That allows you to manage any add-ons you want from the Hulu account such as HBO or the Live TV option.
If you’re one of those lucky Verizon subscribers that gets Disney+ free for a year, you’ll still be able to take advantage of the bundle later.
The same is true if you signed up for Hulu through most other third-party services (except Spotify). That means, if you’re already subscribing to Hulu through Spotify, then you won’t be able to take advantage of the bundle.
Existing ESPN+ or Disney+ subscribers can switch over to bundle, no problem. Just be sure you’re using the same email address when you sign up. All of the above is also outlined in the Disney+ subscriber agreement.
Comparison: Disney+ Bundle with Hulu and ESPN+
Disney+ is the new home for movies and series from Disney and Pixar, everything in the Marvel Universe, and the Star Wars franchise. There is exclusive new programs from National Geographic and all 30 seasons of The Simpsons, too.
Disney+ subscribers get four simultaneous streams and access to 4K content at no extra charge. And you can create up to seven different profiles for a household, which allows each person to have a customized menu and recommendations.
With the Disney+ bundle, you are getting three streaming services — Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ — and a total of 7 simultaneous streams across all services. So that’s four streams from Disney+, one from Hulu and two from ESPN+.
What’s remarkable about the Disney+ bundle is that the cost is about the same as popular streaming incumbents; namely, Netflix. (A Netflix subscription at $12.99 per month gives you two simultaneous streams in HD quality.)
The Disney+ bundle also costs less than other standalone subscriptions such as HBO Now ($15 per month), and upcoming HBO Max ($15 per month).
The Disney+ bundle is more eye to eye on price point with Amazon Prime ($119 per year or $12.99 per month). But it’s kind of a different animal too. You are getting free two-day shipping and other Amazon-related shopping perks with a Prime membership that are unrelated to streaming.
Disney+ Lineup: Shows and Movies
Disney+ has more than 7,500 TV episodes, and 500 movies including some blockbuster films from 2019. And within the first year, Disney+ gets about 70 more titles. That includes more than 25 original series and 10 original movies or documentaries.
Star Wars: What’s available
Seven out of eight Star Wars movies are already on the service. (The Last Jedi will make its way to Disney+ within the year. The Rise of Skywalker debuts in theaters on Dec. 20.)
The Mandalorianwill make its debut when Disney+ launches. There will be 8 episodes for Season 1. If you’re getting Disney+ when it first becomes available, don’t expect to be able to binge all episodes of The Mandalorian at once.
Episode 1 will be released on Nov. 12. Episode 2 debuts a few days later on Nov. 15 and subsequent episodes will become available weekly through Dec. 27. Creator Jon Favereau is already at work on Season 2 of The Mandalorian.
Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogyis a 2004 documentary directed by Ken Burns. The two-and-a-half hour film debuted as a bonus disc with the Star Wars trilogy. A 90-minute version premiered on A&E Network later in the year.
A brand new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be featured alongside the entire library of the Star Wars animated series.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Seasons One to Five)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars — The Lost Missions
- Star Wars Rebels (All Seasons)
- Star Wars Resistance Season One
- LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles — Clash of the Skywalkers
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures (All Seasons)
- LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars
The Mandalorian won’t be the only live-action Star Wars series on Disney+. Two others are already in production. A prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will have Diego Luna reprise his role as a rebel spy Cassian Andor. Ewan McGregor will also return to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in another live action series centered one of the most legendary Jedis.
There will be plenty of movies available from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but don’t expect every film to be available on Disney+ right away. That’s because before Disney+ was formed, the streaming rights for some films were already licensed to other streaming platforms such as Netflix.
You will be able to stream Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, the standalone Iron Man movies and a number of other MCU titles. Recent titles seen on Netflix such as Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity Wars will arrive on Disney+ within the next year.
What new Marvel shows are on Disney+?
Knowing that the MCU fanbase is huge, Disney is making sure that fans have lots of new programming to watch in addition to the movies.
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is a live-action series with Anthony Mackie returning as Falcon and Sebastian Stan reprising his role as Winter Soldier.
- WandaVision is a live-action series with Elizabeth Olsen returning as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany reprising his role as The Vision.
- Marvel’s What If…? is the first animated series from Marvel Studios and takes inspiration from the comic book seriesof the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.
Notable Disney and Pixar films and shows
If you are a fan of shows from the Disney Channel, Disney Jr. or Disney XD, you’ll find more than 5,000 episodes of shows from the Disney vault.
There are 56 Pixar titles available at launch, including all three Cars movies, a bug’s life, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. And there are new projects including Toy Story-based projects: Forky Asks a Question, an animated short series, and the short film Lamp Life.
Lady and the Tramp has been re-imagined into a live action remake of the Disney classic film. Anna Kendrick stars in a holiday-themed comedy about Kris Kringle’s daughter called Noelle.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: is series based where the original High School Musical movie was filmed. There will be 10 episodes.
What’s happening with Hulu in 2020
Hulu is becoming the new home of FX shows and exclusive new series in 2020. In March, “FX on Hulu” will make its debut with more than 40 original FX series.
So, you can expect to see shows already there such as Atlanta, Baskets, Fargo and Fosse/Verdon, alongside a slate of new originals being produced by FX.
At least four new originals from FX will arrive next year. Devs is tech thriller from the writer of Ex Machina and Annihilation.
Jeff Bridges will star as a retired CIA officer in a new drama series, The Old Man.
Cate Blanchett will play conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in Mrs. America, a series that focuses on the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. A Teacher has a ripped-from-the-headlines premise, exploring the intimate relationship between a female high school teacher and an underage male student.
FX on Hulu is replacing the streaming service FX+.
What’s on ESPN+
ESPN+ supplements your existing ESPN app with live streams of exclusive sporting events.
Subscribers can find live NHL, and Big 12 college basketball games. In the spring, daily MLB games will return. ESPN+ is currently live streaming more than 300 live college football games this season from 12 conferences.
There are international soccer matches, Major League Soccer (MLS) and PGA golf.
ESPN+ has a multiyear deal with the FA Cup to stream English football matches in the U.S. And you will be able to live stream Bundesliga, Germany’s top football league.
For MMA fans, ESPN+ became the exclusive home for UFC Fight Night and UFC pay-per-view events. You can also check out the exclusive series UFC Destined.
You won’t find games aired on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ACC Network on ESPN+. But if you’re looking for episodes of 30 for 30, including the recent one about Dennis Rodman, ESPN+ is where it resides.
An ESPN+ subscription also gives you exclusive fantasy analysis, draft tips and recommendations by experts. There is a condensed version of SportsCenter for ESPN+, podcasts, sports radio and news. A new digital version of NFL Prime Time has been given a second act thanks to ESPN+.
ESPN+ costs $4.99 per month as a standalone service. But if you decide to get Disney+ and already subscribe to Hulu, you should get the bundleand essentially have ESPN+ for free.
Is Disney+ a good cord cutting option?
Disney+ is among the few streaming services that are launching with multiple subscription options. I’m going with the annual subscription because it makes the most sense for me this year.
Subscribing month-to-month might make more financial sense for you. It’s less of a financial commitment. And if you’re someone that is nomadic with your streaming services, then paying every month is probably best.
If you’re already subscribing to Hulu, and want Disney+ then signing up for the Disney+ bundle makes more sense because you’re getting a third streaming service, ESPN+, for just a penny more a month.
The strategy for the Disney+ Bundle is simple. Disney is putting forth a lot of value by combining Disney+ with Hulu’s vast library of TV shows, originals and movies. Live sports and original shows from ESPN+ is a bonus.
If you’re just getting into streaming, there are lots of resources within the Cord Cutting Report.
Have you signed up for Disney+? Has it lived up to the hype? Tell fellow readers about your experience in the comments below.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble