Disney+ subscribers in Canada as well as other countries will have received an e-mail this week advising about price increases coming by the end of the year. If you’re a subscriber, you will soon be paying more for your subscription. The other options? Downgrade to a new lower-tiered option for the same price, or pay for a year upfront and save.
The changes went into effect on November 1, 2023 and will first reflect on the December 24, 2023 invoice. Standard Disney+ plans are now called Disney+ Premium and are going up from $11.99 to $14.99 per month. Subscribers will automatically be charged unless they cancel or change the subscription prior to the next billing date. (Quebec subscribers can refuse the increase by cancelling up to 30 days after December 24, 2023 without cost or penalty.)
These changes went into the effect in the U.S. last month. Pricing there went up to $13.99 per month for the now-called Disney Plus Premium plan.
What are your other options if you want to stick with Disney+ but don’t want to pay more? There are a few to consider.
Downgrade to a New Lower-Tiered Plan
The first is to downgrade. Disney+ Premium, which as noted will now be $14.99/mo., offers up to 4K UHD and HDR video (with compatible content and a compatible TV), four concurrent streams, downloads on up to 10 devices, up to Dolby Atmos audio (with compatible speakers), and ad-free streaming. Disney notes that even though Disney+ Premium is ad-free, it will continue to include promos for Disney+ programming and limited live programs might still include ads.
The plan that now goes for $11.99/mo. is called Disney+ Standard, and it offers up to 1,080p full HD video, two concurrent streams, downloads on up to 10 devices, up to 5.1 audio, and ad-free streaming. You might be OK with this if you don’t have a 4K TV to fully enjoy the 4K content on anyway, or watch most of the time on smaller mobile devices.
If you’re only an occasional user, accessing the streaming service for movies and cartoons for the kids who don’t care so much about top-notch video and audio quality, or the occasional show or movie, you might be okay with the Disney+ Standard With Ads plan, which is $7.99/mo. This plan still offers up to 1,080p full HD video, two concurrent streams, and up to 5.1 audio. Naturally, as the name implies, it also includes ads. There is no option to download content to watch offline with this plan, however. That could be a dealbreaker for parents who want to load a tablet with content for kids to watch on a road trip or plane, or who love to do so themselves for enjoying during public transit commutes.
Pre-Pay for the Year to Save
The second option for heavy users who are confident they will be keeping their subscription for the next 12 months is to lock in for a year. You can do so for $149.99, which marks a 16% reduction in price, working out to $12.50/mo. (still slightly higher than you were paying before but less than $15/mo.).
For those who prefer, you can also save as much by signing up for a year of Disney+ Standard for $119.99/yr., which works out to $10/mo. or a $2/mo. savings.
Keep in mind that both these plans, like the month-to-month ones, will auto-renew if you don’t cancel or change prior to the new annual billing cycle.
Price Versus Value
Pricing in the U.S. is similar in the local currency, but subscribers also have options there to bundle Disney+ with other streaming services like Hulu and ESPN+. Disney announced earlier this month its intention to combine the Disney+ and Hulu apps into a single experience upon possible completion of the proposed purchase of NBCUniversal’s 33% stake in Hulu. This would add value in the U.S. but since Hulu isn’t available in Canada, it remains to be seen how this might work north of the border. With that said, many Hulu and FX series are available through Disney+ in Canada, including The Bear, Only Murders in the Building, and A Murder at the End of the World.
This means weighing value over what you get. On the one hand, the extra few bucks really only equates to $36 more per year, even less if you decide to pre-pay. For this, you get tons of fabulous content, including all the new shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Star Wars, and more; plus, as mentioned, many shows from Hulu and FX. Let’s not forget the entire Disney vault of movies. If you have kids, it might be worth paying even for the downgraded HD content subscription and deal with not being able to enjoy your shows and movies in all their 4K glory.
Whatever happens north of the border, for 2024, if you want to continue enjoying the same Disney+ experience you have been, put aside another Toonie to pay for 4K Disney+ content. If not, change your plan by logging into your Disney+ app from a mobile device, laptop, or TV and selecting Account, Subscription, and Change your plan (or Switch to Annual and save).