“Disney+” launched today. For as long as I can remember the Disney company has been a presence in my life. Be it through film or Disneyland, I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t Disney in my world. When I heard there was going to be a streaming service that would have the largest collection of streamable Disney owned content all on one source, I was elated. The list of initial shows and movies had numerous offerings for every type of fan. After running through the service at launch, 12:01 AM November 12, 2019, here are 5 programs that I immediately added to My Disney+ Watchlist:
1.) The Imagineering Story (2019) – Disneyland has always been a passion of mine. I’ve always had an eagerness to learn about the park’s history and hear stories from the people who developed it’s attractions. Admittedly, one of the small letdowns I had about Disney+ was that we wouldn’t get any of the original “Walt Disney Presents…” programs (either “World of Color” or “Disneyland” (the TV program)). Disney+ does offer recut shortened episodes of “Walt Disney Presents…” namely “Disneyland Around the Seasons”, and “The Plausible Impossible”. Those old archived “Walt Disney Presents” shows are treasures and if we can’t get the full uncut episodes, “The Imagineering Story” more than makes up for these recut episodes. You get the story of Disneyland right from the source.
2.) Heavyweights (1995) – I have 20 first cousins on my mom’s side of the family. When we all get together there are 3 films we can all agree to watch as a group. Those films are “Elf”, “Mean Girls”, and “Heavyweights”. This film is quintessential mid 90’s live action Disney. “Heavyweights” comes from that era of Disney film where the 2nd Disney Animation Renaissance was happening, the company was expanding their collection of direct to Disney Channel films, and through this period the company was still releasing a number of theatrical live action films like “Jungle 2 Jungle” and “Cool Runnings”. “Heavyweights” always stood out as a great subtle comedy with a plot that was instantly quotable.
3.) The Legend of the Three Caballeros (2018) – In 2016, I remember seeing posts on Tumblr of a rumored new Three Caballeros project in development at Disney Animation. The posts normally had leaked art, episode names and descriptions, but no solid dates for when they would be released. There were rumors that Disney was planning on releasing a new show in the Summer of 2017. Then mid 2017, it was announced “The Legend of the Three Caballeros” would be an exclusive release for the “Disney Life App”, which was only available for download in the Philippines, beginning June 2018. The series that did end up debuting in the Summer of 2017 was the “Ducktales” reboot (August 2017). After the “Ducktales” reboot was met with a great critical reception, it became clear that outside of the “Disney Life App” we might never be able to see episodes of “The Legend of the Three Caballeros”. The fact that we have the opportunity to see it on Disney+ is a very pleasant surprise.
4.) Recess (1997 – 2001) – Up until recent years, Saturday morning cartoons was an American standard. Saturday mornings were designated cartoon/kid programming times on most major networks. My favorite go-to Saturday morning cartoon was “Recess”. As a kid, I loved the adventures of the 3rd street crew and amount of imagination put into each storyline shaped how I viewed my world. As an adult, I admire the amount of character diversity and also how certain characters differences which would be brought to the forefront in other programs were pretty much secondary in this show. The show stressed a celebration of our differences and that’s why I loved it so much.
5.) The Reluctant Dragon (1941) – Another rarity from the Disney vault. In short, “The Reluctant Dragon” is a stylized, exaggerated journey of an idea pitch brought to the old Walt Disney animation studio. The full length feature was released in 1941 amidst a major artists strike at the Disney studio. Upon initial release, the film was met with a low audience response. Audiences had expected another full length animated feature in the same vein of “Pinocchio” or “Dumbo”, but instead were met with a film that combined live action sequences with animated sequences. The film would only be released in it’s entirety 3 other times as a DVD special feature accompanying more mainstream releases. What makes this Disney+ release special, aside from being an uncut feature, if you look closely you can see a number of now classic Disney films in their earliest stages of development (for example, in the sequence where the characters are reviewing concept figurines, you can see models for Peter Pan which wouldn’t be released for another 12 years).
– The Simpsons – Seasons 2 through 12 – Of the show’s 31 seasons, 2 through 12 are the best.
– Ducktales (2017) – I can’t recommend the Ducktales reboot enough.
– The Mandalorian (2019) – This was probably the main selling point for a lot of early adaptors.
– John Carter (2012) – Probably my favorite Disney flop, that was a crazy exciting movie, more than likely killed by a boring name.
– Frank and Ollie (1995), The Pixar Story (2007), Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009), and The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story (2009) – Essential Imagineering documentaries
Have Fun Streaming!