Disney Movies Anywhere just became a smidge more useful by connecting your digital movies to Amazon Instant Video and Microsoft, who I didn’t even realize had a digital movie service. If you’re new to the service, Disney Movies Anywhere allows you the flexibility of having your digital Disney movie collection available across a myriad or providers and services, truly allowing you to have them anywhere you have a digital device. It launched in February 2014 with iTunes as its only connected service. By November, Vudu and Google Play were added leaving Amazon, the only other major digital media provider, left out. That wrong has now been righted.
To encourage users to sign up and connect their accounts, Disney Movies Anywhere has always offered a limited time window to get a movie for free. When it went live with iTunes, The Incredibles was your bonus gift. Vudu and Google gave you a copy of Wreck-It Ralph. Current and new users who link Amazon and/or Microsoft get the bonus gift of Monsters, Inc. These films are 100% free, there’s no obligation to buy anything. I’ve purchased a handful of Disney movies digitally, but more than 90% of my digital Disney movies came as digital copies with a DVD or Blu-Ray release.
Disney has gone out of their way to make it super easy to link your accounts. If you click on the Monsters, Inc. promotion on their main page, it brings you to the section of your account where you can activate the new services. Clicking “Amazon” took me directly to a page within amazon.com where I could login to my account and verify granting Disney Movies Anywhere the ability to share my digital Disney purchases. All of the movies in my Disney Movies Anywhere collection were instantly in my Amazon Instant Video library.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I clicked “Microsoft.” I thought maybe this was a service exclusive to X-Box players, which is not my video game system of choice. But a quick login with my pre-existing Hotmail email address gave me access to Microsoft’s online video store. Who knew? Like Amazon, all of my movies were instantly available.
While most services are consistent with their price for Disney movies, there are some times where one has a better deal than another. I personally prefer to watch my movies through iTunes because I feel it does a better job of handling HD content, it’s compatible with my Apple TV and I like knowing that I can have a downloaded copy of the film on my hard drive, unlike many digital media retailers who only offer streaming options. The great thing is that if Amazon has a sale on a Disney movie I want, I can buy it there and still enjoy it in iTunes the way I prefer.
Speaking of price elasticity, Disney Movies Anywhere and iTunes have been running a sweet promotion for the past few weeks to take advantage of the “Throwback Thursday” trend. Each Thursday, they announce a Disney film that is temporarily on sale for just $9.99 on iTunes. So far I’ve picked up two of my favorites, The Princess Diaries and Newsies, for under $10 in HD when they are usually $17.99. And while that sale price was exclusive to iTunes, I now have both films in my Vudu, Google, Amazon and Microsoft accounts. Other titles recently givin this deal have included Tron, Holes, and National Treasure.
Disney Movies Anywhere keeps finding ways to improve the service, which is great. Over the year-and-a-half that it has existed, Disney has expanded the service offerings from one provider to five. They started out as only offering standard definition video, but now support full HD. I hope their next focus is on expanding their content. They still only offer theatrically released films and have yet to expand into their deep library of short subjects or TV content. Also, the original That Darn Cat continues to be absent from the site. But overall, they’ve done everything users have requested to improve the service and I see only good things coming from them in the future.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.