The biggest question with the launch of Disney+, at least in the minds of at least half the TV-watching population is: Can it replace Netflix as your go-to streaming destination? And the answer can be found by looking not at the massive lists of movies and TV shows, but instead, by taking a look at the categories Disney+ offers when you browse. If you’re not a child, you’ll find yourself with an inescapable conclusion: Disney+ is great, but it can’t replace Netflix.
Not all film categories on this platform are created equal. We decided to rank the Disney+ categories from Best to Boring to truly figure out if this service is the one streaming service to rule them all.
Arguably the wackiest of the categories, “Throwbacks” features a number of low-key Disney bangers like Smart House, Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century, The Sandlot, and Hocus Pocus. There are a few television shows sprinkled in here or there (Even Stevens anyone?) but otherwise, the category is a slate of the wackiest films you barely remember from your childhood.
Out of the Vault
With the zillion live-action remakes out in theatres and on DvD today, it’s actually refreshing to see Disney finally release the films that have been locked away in their vault for years: Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Jungle Book, and Cinderella are all in this category, and they’re not the live-action versions, either. Taking a trip down memory lane with these movies is worth the ride.
Feel-Good Sports Movies
Is there a better movie category than “feel-good sports movies?” I don’t think so. And this category is filled with obscure Disney made for television movies that would have absolutely (and potentially rightly) gotten lost to the annals of time unless Disney had popped these on their streaming platform. Double-Teamed — the Disney Channel Original Movie about two twins (who were clearly not twins in real life, or even related) who play volleyball and start playing basketball, “Ice Princess,” “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” a golf movie with Shia Labeouf, and “Miracle,” about the miracle on ice, all populate this category. Get ready to cry triumphant tears about mostly things that didn’t happen that you absolutely had no part in one way or the other.
Inspired By True Stories
This category is less funny, more classic, and occasionally thrilling. “The Sound of Music,” “Finest Hours,” “Queen of Katwe,” “Eight Below,” and other stories about the grit and daring people fighting to do something great against all the odds fill this category. Good for when you want to feel good about humanity.
Fun Mysteries, not to be confused with Boring, Creepy, Freaky, or Spooky Mysteries, is a good category largely because most of the movies are retro and because the prospect of introducing a kid to “That Darn Cat,” a movie that feels like a fever dream (a cat walks into a burglary scene and walks away with a watch that has a help note on it? Okay…) but also because there are legit classics: Disney’s “Get a Clue,” one of a young Lindsay Lohan’s best roles, “The Pacifier” with Vin Diesel, the forever classic, slapstick “Inspector Gadget,” “Sister Act,” “The Great Mouse Detective”… Yeah. These are fun mysteries.
“Treasure Island,” “Return from Witch Mountain,” “Old Yeller,” and other movies fit here. They may not all be fun (“Old Yeller” might be the most emotionally manipulative film ever made) but they do hearken to days long past.
Beasts and Monsters
“Monsters Inc.” Enough said.
The only reason “hit movies” is so close to boring is because most of these movies have come out within the last five years and most of them are blockbusters. That’s not to say they’re not fun — but it’s certainly not a trip down memory lane or a classic. “Avatar,” “Frozen,” and “Finding Dory” live here. That’s fine.
Does anyone really like musicals? Besides “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” this movie category is typical fare: all of the “High School Musicals,” “Moana,” “The Descendants”… Yawn.
Ultra HD and HDR
Great! A category just for high definition film! Think Marvel movies and the newest Disney+ series like “The Mandalorian.” The stuff in this category isn’t bad per se. Like at all. It just doesn’t deserve it’s on category.
Action and Adventure
Explosions! Superheroes! Stuff you saw 12 months ago!
Watch “Free Solo,” skip everything else.
If you’re an adult, with adult streaming needs, you’re probably not seeing a Thiller or Romantic Comedy category. And on some level, several of these categories are like the exact same thing. What’s the difference between Hit Movies and Ultra HD? Not much, really. In essence, the categories reveal something startling: there’s a lot of content on Disney+, but perhaps, not a lot of variety.