I’ve been waiting for ages for Disney+ to finally arrive in the Philippines and, to paraphrase the little cricket who sings in Pinocchio, dreams do come true! As someone who’s been dying for the streaming service to become available in the country, you can bet your bottom dollar I was wide awake on November the 17th to get a subscription. I actually waited until midnight of that day because I was that eager to get Disney+! So once the clock struck midnight, I immediately opened up my phone and kept on refreshing the Google Play website until I found it.
So I’ve had around a week of playing around with Disney+ and I can say I’m very satisfied with it so far. I have, of course, watched my favorite Disney movie of all time, The Little Mermaid, on the streaming service and also tried out some of the other shows it has available like the new Ducktales and even the Simpsons. I do like Disney+ but I can’t help but feel annoyed by some of the really bothersome quirks it has. There are simply some things Disney did to the Disney+ service that I’ve encountered and I’m pretty sure it’s something fairly unique to the Philippines. At the very least, these don’t appear to be issues you would get if you were in other territories. Let me try to enumerate some of the more weird things Disney did to the streaming service when they made it available in the Philippines.
For one, I just find the entire process of creating an account and login process very unnatural to me. Usually, when you subscribe and create an account with other streaming services like with Netflix and Amazon Prime, you have to give your email address and that becomes your username and primary way of logging in whenever you want to use a different device. Not so in the Philippines! Here, your username, if you can call it that, would be your mobile phone number. I guess it kind of makes sense for the Philippines as it seems like everyone here has a mobile phone and a good chunk of the population would use Disney+ on it instead of a computer or a smart TV. However, when you do try to log into Disney+ on a different device like, say, your laptop, you have to enter your mobile number. Once you do, the network will then send a One Time Password (OTP) to your phone and you use that to authorize that new device! It’s just feels so tedious when they just could’ve linked a password to the email like the other services!
This also leads to another problem with my PlayStation 4. I don’t have a smart TV because I didn’t think I would need one. I already had my PlayStation hooked up to handle that. I already have Netflix and Amazon Prime downloaded on my gaming console and I honestly thought I could just get the Disney+ app from the PlayStation Store and use that. The problem is the app still doesn’t recognize Disney+ as being available in the Philippines! This was never a problem with the other streaming apps I have on my PlayStation! I’ve even tried using getting the Disney+ streaming app from different regions and it still won’t recognize the Philippines as a country that has the service!
I don’t think it would matter that much, however, because of the entire “mobile phone as your username” debacle. While the app does say Disney+ is not available in my region (even though it is), it still allows me to try to log in. The thing is, it asks me to log in using an email address not my mobile number. Even though I did have to submit my email address when I did subscribe to Disney+, it won’t let me use that to log into the app! When I do, I get an error stating they have no record of my email address. So, even if I do have the app installed, it’s useless because it appears the Philippine version of Disney+ is different when it comes to the login process!
There’s also a matter of the content of the Philippines version of Disney+. You get the stuff you probably would predict. There’s your Disney movies and television shows like The Little Mermaid (nice!), Maleficent, both old and new Ducktales, Hannah Montana and many more, They even have the lesser-known stuff like The Straight Story. There’s also your Star Wars content like all of the 3 Trilogies, The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan and The Bad Batch. You also get the Marvel movies and cartoons. I’m not complaining on that front. My issue is more on the other movies and TV shows Western audiences get.
A big chunk that’s missing in the Philippines are some of the Hulu and Fox programs. We still get a good chunk of the shows likes The Simpsons, Family Guy and The Orville, for example. However, there are still some shows which aren’t and probably will never become available here. Shows like Fargo and Animaniacs are just a couple of Hulu originals that isn’t available here. There’s also a severe lack of Fox shows like Firefly and King of the Hill. That’s because, instead of also making Hulu and Fox available outside of the United States, Disney partnered with Star networks for a lot of their other content.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Star is a big enough network so it does have a very decent catalog of “replacement” programs. Unfortunately for me, it does seem like a lot of what they’re replacing them with are K-Dramas and anime. Now, the anime stuff I like. The only issue with the one Star has made available on Disney+ is that it’s practically the same ones you can watch on Netflix! I guess it’s to show subscribers you can dump Netflix and stick with Disney+ for your anime fix. It still feels very redundant on my end, though. The K-Dramas are what really gets my goat. Not only do I not really care for them, it does appear these are also the same K-Dramas you can watch on Netflix! It’s not only redundant, it’s redundancy that I don’t care for! I just wish Star gave us a more varied selection than this. Stick in some really odd animes like My Dress Up Darling or Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out, Star!
Speaking of anime, I’m also very disappointed with the lack of Studio Ghibli films in the Philippines iteration of Disney+. When I say “lack”, I really mean there isn’t a single Studio Ghibli film there! This is a really strange omission to me because Disney went through a lot of trouble to acquire the distribution license of films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and many more classic anime films. They even went through the trouble or re-dubbing them and getting big-named actors like Christian Bale, Patrick Stewart, Claire Danes and Kirsten Dunst, to name a few, to do the voices. I’ll never be able to hear Elle and Dakota Fanning voice the kids from My Neighbor Totoro on Disney+. I did do some research and I found out they’re also not available in pretty much all territories. I’m still voicing out my frustration from this, though!
The weirdest thing I’m peeved with Disney+’s service in the Philippines is it’s half-hearted attempt with their addition of the WWE. Being a huge wrestling fan, I really loved the addition of WWE programming to Disney+ in the Philippines. I thought this was going to be one of the best reasons to get the streaming service. I would be able to watch all of the WWE pay-per-view events with a click of a button. I would be able to look through the WWE’s back catalog of shows as well as the current showings of RAW and Smackdown. I was going to do all of this on Disney+ and just cancel our WWE subscription, which is a hassle in so many ways as we have to go through some shady means just to stream all of this.
Well, I was out of luck because the WWE on Disney+ is very, very, very lacking, to say the least! All they have are shows like Icons, Ride Along, WWE 365 and Story Time! No RAW. No Smackdown. No NXT. None of their weekly shows, the ones you’re supposed to watch to keep up-to-date, is available. They have this year’s pay-per-view events but they’re lagging behind by months! They don’t even have this year’s SummerSlam on there yet! That happened way back in July! This just makes it seem like the WWE was added to Disney+ in name as it’s severely missing a lot of the actual stuff you want to watch as a wrestling fan… the actual wrestling shows! I feel really gypped.
Even with these gaffes, the weird login protocols and the WWE lacking in up-to-date content, I still like Disney+ so far. Just by getting the service, I’ve added a ton of television programs and movies to my list, which I haven’t seen yet. Things like Shang-Chi, the new Ducktales, Encanto, The Simpsons, The Book of Boba Fett and many more. While I do feel that these issues are rather egregious, Disney+ does make up for it because of how much stuff you get with the service. I still hope Disney is working on fixing these things in the future for the Philippines, though.
While I wait for them to repair these problems, I can always watch The Little Mermaid again! Yay!
What are some of the problems you found with Disney+ in your area? Let me know in the comments section below!