New shows for theme park fans coming on Disney+

April 10, 2019, 4:04 PM · As hard as Disney has been promoting its upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lands, Epcot transformation, and other theme park projects, the company hasn't pushed any of those initiatives over the past few months nearly as much as it has its upcoming streaming service, Disney+.

But Disney+ will have plenty to offer Disney's theme park fans, with a couple of interesting projects included in today's announcement of the service's non-fiction programming.

The first is a family cooking competition, to be called "Be Our Chef." If you're looking for context, let's just go ahead and call this "The Great Disney Bake Off." Angela Kinsey from The Office will host the show, which will be set at the Walt Disney World Resort. Each episode will feature two families competing in themed challenges. The finalists will be tasked with creating a dish that represents their family while celebrating Disney, with the overall winners getting their dish served at the resort.

The second will be an as-yet-untitled documentary series looking at the work of Walt Disney Imagineering. The show will be created by Academy Award-nominated director Leslie Iwerks — who, yes, is the granddaughter of Ub Iwerks, Walt's original animation partner and the co-creator of Mickey Mouse. Her father, Don Iwerks, also is a Disney Legend, who created Disney's first Circle-Vision films.

Iwerks has been working on an Imagineering documentary for several years now, so it's great to see that her work finally will be getting the wide exposure that many dedicated Disney theme park fans have been wanting. You can see a trailer for her Imagineering project on Vimeo.

As for the rest of the Disney+ slate, Variety has a good round-up of what fans can expect to see when the new service premieres later this year.

Replies (16)

April 10, 2019 at 4:26 PM

Not too excited about the majority of those programme concepts, but I’d definitely give Cinema Relics and the imagineering doc a watch.

April 10, 2019 at 5:33 PM

I think it's a good selection of non scripted series. There's a bit of variety.

Something for viewers who enjoy cooking shows, them parks, behind the scenes of entertainment, etc.

April 10, 2019 at 6:41 PM

I'm all for a show on a team of Imagineers working on creating VR recreations of beloved, but lost attractions and shows. The culmination of the series would be the release of a library of every lost Disney attraction in VR form.

April 10, 2019 at 8:33 PM

Rob - Now that would be great!

April 11, 2019 at 9:17 AM

..holds her credit card in her hand wide-eyed..."DISNEY! Where do I type this in!?!?!?!?!"

April 11, 2019 at 9:34 AM

If you can purchase a Disney+ in a package or discounted addition to an ESPN+ subscription, I'm all in. However, even with this new original content, it doesn't move the needle for me. It does sound like Disney is going for the quality over quantity approach, but considering that so many people that watch streaming content do so during weekend-long binges on tiny screens, I wonder if the quality will serve as an effective differentiator.

Some of these offerings, like the Imagineering series, sound pretty intriguing, but wouldn't be enough to get even a theme park fan like myself to subscribe. I'm a HUGE Star Trek fan, and am interested in the new Twilight Zone series, but that's still not enough for me to fork over for a subscription to CBS All Access (even for just a month since these services are notoriously difficult to cancel once they have you subscribed - like magazines). The same would go for me with Disney+ with enough original content to peak my interest, but not enough to make me want to subscribe for an entire year. Now, if you could purchase a single service that offered a discount for purchasing multiple streaming services that collectively had more than enough content to satisfy my curiosity, I'd be the first in line - oh wait, we had that solution called Cable/Satellite TV, but everyone decided that paying one price for nearly endless content was more expensive and less convenient than paying for each show a la carte.

April 11, 2019 at 11:27 AM

This reminds me of the Disney Channel back in the 80's. It started out pretty strong with unique documentaries about legendary animators (several of which were still around at the time), lots of behind the scenes things, etc. They've devolved to lowest common denominator youth sit-coms. I hope Disney+ can do a better job of not catering to narrow markets. The Imagineering show makes me smile, though!

April 11, 2019 at 2:07 PM

While some of this sounds intriguing, it's not good enough for me to subscribe. I, like Russel, think things like the Imagineer show would be neat, but not enough to get my $$. Unlike Russel, I like Star Trek enough to subscribe to CBS All Access.

In the streaming space, competition is tough. You've got heavyweights Netflix and Amazon, newly minted Apple which does almost everything they do to perfection, and now Disney is going to try to compete? I just don't see it going well. There are "Disney People" who will suck up any crap Disney dishes out (I'm looking at you, California Adventure).

Disney, when they started out with cartoons and theme parks, had very little competition. Now there are great studios like Dreamworks Animation and theme parks like Universal -- competition is tough in the theme park space. Universal is building a whole new park in Orlando, which hasn't been attempted for quite some time. The streaming space is going to be even tougher because every entertainment and tech company wants a piece of that market.

April 11, 2019 at 5:16 PM

Yeah. "Disney is going to try to compete." With it's entire catalog of flicks and shows (including Marvel, Pixar and Fox content) as well as new productions. And I see it going VERY well. I'm in!

April 11, 2019 at 5:49 PM

By the way, the Disney+ Facebook page is posting new, original content like every 10 seconds today.

April 11, 2019 at 7:15 PM

The price for Disney+ is $7 a month or $70 for the entire year....

That's actually not bad in terms of the price. When it comes to streaming, many people will subscribe for a few months or so & then cancel & resubscribe.

But $7 certainly isn't bad, it's on the lower end of streaming cost.

April 11, 2019 at 8:59 PM

Jay don't worry. Disney is good at raising prices.

April 12, 2019 at 2:42 AM

Among the series of Disney+ announcements today, I really enjoyed the reaction of The Simpsons to their new corporate overlords, seen at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8wctVg9zS4

Especially enjoyed them being flanked by statues of Darth Vader and Bob Iger and that they literally trashed an autographed photo of their former owner, Rupert Murdoch. ;)

April 12, 2019 at 11:31 AM

I was honestly pretty shocked by the cost ($7/month and $70/year), but don't doubt that Disney will quickly raise prices once it gets settled in. It also sounds like that they will be allowing for customers to "bundle" a Disney+ subscription with ESPN+ and Hulu (Disney is a majority stakeholder now), but they haven't revealed what the savings would be for those subscribing to 2 or 3 of the services. I also wouldn't be surprised if Disney tries to combat toggling (signing up for a month to binge new, original programming and then canceling until more original content is released) by charging progressively higher rates to customers that turn their subscriptions on and off.

April 12, 2019 at 12:07 PM

Not sure what the definition of "quickly" is (RM: "... don't doubt that Disney will quickly raise prices ..."), but since Disney doesn't have pay for its content it seems reasonable to assume/assert that the price for Disney+ will always be competitive with Netflix.

April 12, 2019 at 2:33 PM

Content is never free TH. While they won't be paying fees to outside studios for streaming content, there are still costs to produce new programming, especially for special effects-laden shows/movies. I would agree that Disney+ will always be priced competitively against Netflix, but I think the current price is "introductory" to draw initial users with prices increasing to be in line with other streaming services (in that $10-15/month range) within the next year. People thought Netflix was such a great deal when it started streaming at $7.99 for it's baseline subscription, and now they can quietly inch up the price $0.50 every 6 months or so without much of an up-swell. Disney would be stupid to not take the same approach as they establish a foothold in the market.

However, the key is to continue to produce enough original content to keep subscribers happy, which Netflix has been extremely successful at doing. It sounds like Disney has a strong lineup of original content for the first year, but they've got to keep the wheels turning. That might be tricky when they're only relying on internally produced programming instead of being able to outsource cheap B-level content to fill in the gaps like Netflix does. Again, Disney+ appears to be taking the quality (appealing to the masses) over quantity (appealing to the niches) approach, and it will be interesting to see if it will succeed, especially against established behemoths like Netflix and Amazon.

There's also the question as to whether Disney+ will undermine the home video market. I don't think I'm alone in owning some version (or multiple versions - I have 3 different versions of the original Star Wars trilogy) of virtually every Disney movie ever released. For those with mostly recent copies of the Disney library that include digital copies of those movies and shows, a majority of the Disney+ catalog is duplicative. Will home video owners still pay for Disney+ (personally, this is why I'm hesitant), and if they do, will they still buy home video/digital copies of content they can now stream through Disney+? Home video has always been a HUGE revenue stream for Disney, so will the money generated through Disney+ be able to make up for those inevitable losses while still generating enough money to fund new, original content?

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