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Whether you’re trying to watch ‘Big Hero 6,’ ‘Andi Mack,’ or ‘Hannah Montana,’ here’s what you need to know.
The Disney Channel offers plenty of ways to watch its latest kids cartoons and live-action family sitcoms online, and they’re so simple that even your young ones will be able to figure it out. Even better, most of the live TV streaming also offer Disney’s two sister channels (Disney XD for the teens and Disney Junior for the tykes). Plus, Disney has even more options coming in the near future. Whether you’re looking for Andi Mack or Ant-Man, here’s everything you need to know to enjoy a Disney Channel live stream.
Here’s everything you need to know on how to watch Disney Channel online.
What is the Disney Channel?
Disney Channel was founded in 1983, which means some of its original viewers are currently raising their own children on its programming. After a few years of figuring itself out, Disney Channel began emphasizing a healthy blend of animated series like Kim Possible and The Proud Family with live-action sitcoms like Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens. Since those days, Disney Channel had a consistent tug-of-war between the two genres of storytelling, but it’s launched the careers of Shia LaBeouf, Miley Cyrus (aka“Hannah Montana”), Selena Gomez on Wizards of Waverly Place, and plenty more.
Disney Channel live stream: 4 ways to watch Disney Channel for free
The Disney Channel is available on almost every major live TV streaming service (the exception being FuboTV), and each one offers a free trial, so you can see which one works best for your needs (and your kids).
WATCH: Is SlingTV worth it?
1) Sling TV
- Cost: $25-$40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire TVs, Android Fire Stick, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Oculus Go, and iOS and Android devices
- Sling TV local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here)
Sling TV is commonly regarded as a more a la carte program, meaning you have more flexibility to pick and choose the channels that work best for you. If you’re only interested in streaming the Disney Channel, you’ll want Sling Orange ($25 per month), but it’s also included in the far superior Sling Orange + Blue package ($40 per month), which tacks on a ton of great channels. You can also add the Kids Extra: Sling Orange package to either one for $5 per month to get Disney Junior and Disney XD, in addition to Nick Jr., NickToons, and TeenNick. Your kids will thank you for it. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels.)
Game-changing feature: Price. Sling TV offers the most football for the least amount of money.
- Cost: $40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
This package will net you Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Junior conveniently enough. The big advantage here is that you’re also getting access to Hulu’s on-demand content, making it one of the best options if you prefer your Netflix-style viewing as much as your live streaming. If the kids run out of interesting things to watch, Hulu is also pretty good at recommending new content to keep them busy while you’re watching a very healthy range of news channels like CNN and MSNBC. (Here’s a complete guide to Hulu Live TV channels.)
Game-changing feature: Every subscription comes with free access to Hulu’s on-demand library, meaning you can catch up on all of your favorite shows. (Here are our picks for the best movies on Hulu, Hulu documentaries, anime, and the must-see Hulu originals.)
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- Local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
You don’t even need a PS4 to access PlayStation Vue. The streaming service works with most devices (see above), and its basic Access package includes the full trifecta: Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Junior. But there’s three more options above that if you really want to blow out your channel options. (Here’s a complete guide to PlayStation Vue channels.).
Game-changing feature: You can stream on up to five devices at once, and there’s unlimited cloud DVR.
4) YouTube TV
- Cost: $49.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- YouTube TV devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
- Local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
YouTube TV is one of the stronger services out there, some minor setbacks aside. You’ll get all three Disney channels, including Disney XD and Disney Junior. For the adults, there are plenty of news options (CNN, BBC), entertainment channels (AMC, FX, and the CW), and tons of sports. But there are some duds. Freeform? Decades? New England Cable News? While you can stream on up to three devices simultaneously, you can’t use the Amazon Fire Stick or Fire TV, or the PlayStation 4. (Here’s a complete guide to YouTube TV channels.)
Game-changing feature: You can add up to six accounts per household, and each one of those accounts gets unlimited cloud DVR. Even better: You can fast-forward through ads in recorded programs.
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Other ways to watch Disney Channel
Like most other website methods, you’ll need to log in to a cable provider to access all but a few selected episodes of any shows or a Disney Channel live stream. That said, the Disney Channel site is pretty kid-friendly, helps recommend shows based on tastes, and is good about ensuring parents have the final say on anything kids watch. A subscription to DirecTV Now, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, or YouTube TV will unlock all of the content.
Devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Kindle, iOS and Android devices
Same story as the website version. You’ll have to log into a cable provider or live TV streaming subscription to access anything even remotely recent, but the app is excellently designed for all the aforementioned reasons, as you might hope from Disney. Plus, there are games to play.
3) The unnamed Disney streaming service
Disney is currently working on its own competitor to Netflix, so don’t expect Disney-owned franchises like Star Wars or Marvel movies to keep appearing on Netflix forever. The service will include old and new content, like classic Disney movies, but it won’t feature any R-rated films, keeping in line with Disney’s family-friendly image. You can check out our complete and comprehensive rundown. Disney’s streaming service is planned to debut sometime in late 2019.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, AMC, FX, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Golf Channel, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, the Weather Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
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Joseph Knoop is a gaming writer for Daily Dot, a native Chicagoan, and a slave to all things Overwatch. He co-founded the college geek culture outlet ByteBSU, then interned at Game Informer, and now writes for a bunch websites his parents have never heard of.