Disney's new streaming service will feature reality series focused on its theme parks

Disney's new streaming service will feature reality series focused on its theme parks
Illustration via Disney
Walt Disney World looks like it'll be getting a leading role when Disney+ debuts later this year. Disney's new ad-free streaming service has been billed the "Netflix killer," thanks mostly to the vast library of existing content and low prices but while these important features of Disney+ have been discussed in the media at length, the original content is what will truly separate the service.

Blowing the doors off of the Disney Vault, Disney+ will have hundreds of Disney and Fox films and series, including all 30 seasons of The Simpsons, every single Pixar film, all Disney Signature Collection animated films, plus hundreds of other Disney films and television series. But the real news is regarding the original content being created for the platform. Disney CEO Bob Iger pointed to original content as a critical reason for the Fox acquisition, which combined with Disney's own production facilities would allow for a significant amount of new content to be created at a lower cost than buying content from third parties.

The original offerings include both films, like a live-action Lady and the Tramp and a Phineas and Ferb movie, and television series. Two original live-action Star Wars series, including one Jon Favreau directed blockbuster series, The Mandalorian, that many are comparing to Game of Thrones due to its rumored multi-million production budget.

Disney will also be bringing back the canceled Clone Wars animated series. This might explain why Disney opted to have Clone Wars characters in the upcoming "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" land. Marvel is to get six original series, including a behind-the-scenes documentary series focused on those who worked on Marvel projects. Other original series include a National Geographic science series hosted by Jeff Goldblum, a series focused on famous movie props from Disney films, both a High School Musical series and a reality series inspired by the film franchise, a Monsters, Inc. animated series and a reality series that follows families as they work through issues ranging from technology addiction to recently revealed family secrets, among others.

Despite this impressive lineup some of the most unique offerings on the platform will be the Disney Parks focused content.

A National Geographic documentary series, Magic of the Animal Kingdom, will give viewers a behind the scenes look at the animal care at both Animal Kingdom and Epcot's aquarium. The series will be similar to SeaWorld's award-winning series The Wildlife Docs. Busch Gardens Tampa, where that series is mostly filmed, built a new animal care facility with the television series in mind. It's unclear if Disney will do the same with any guest areas at the two parks featured in Magic of the Animal Kingdom.

Angela Kinsey, best known for her role on The Office, will host a cooking series, Be Our Chef, where families compete in themed challenges with the ultimate prize at the end of the season being that the winning dish will become a signature dish or treat served at Walt Disney World. The series is similar to WDW hosted cooking competitions previously seen on Food Network but with a much more impressive final prize.

One of the most anticipated series is an Imagineering focused one by Leslie Iwerks, granddaughter of Ub Iwerks, who assisted Walt Disney in the creation of Mickey Mouse. Leslie is no stranger to Disney, having previously made documentary films on Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic (the visual effects company founded by George Lucas), and her grandfather Ub. The Imagineering series was originally announced as a documentary film but has since expanded into a multi-episode series. A 2013 trailer announcing the film featured interview clips from Richard Sherman, Bob Iger, Bob Gurr, Marty Sklar and John Lasseter, though the Lasseter content has likely been scrubbed from the series thanks to his #MeToo fueled departure from the company.

An eight-part documentary series based on the book Ink & Paint is also in the works for the streaming service. Ink & Paint looks at the vital but often uncredited role women played in early Disney animation. It, too, will have a strong Imagineering focus, as will an engineering-themed competition series, Shop Class.

Not yet announced but also expected as part of the streaming service will be videos of Disney Parks shows, parades and special events. Many of these can already be found on demand via Disney Channel. Recent live streams on the Disney Parks Blog of nighttime shows at WDW are thought to be test runs for live streams that may eventually make their way to Disney+.

As the surreal Simpsons announcement for Disney+ joked about, Disney is known for its synergy and Disney+ won't be any different. Expect major promotions across all Disney platforms, including in the parks and Disney stores, later this year as Disney ramps up for the launch Disney+.

Disney+ launches Nov. 12, but some content will become available after the initial launch. Within five years the service will feature an estimated 50 original series, 120 recent movies, 500 library films, and 10,000 television episodes. It will cost $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year and will be available on most platforms. All content will be available to download for later viewing.

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