Disney+ Launches Its Own Virtual Watch Party Feature So Viewers Can Enjoy Shows Together

Lost track of time in quarantine? Miss movie nights with your friends and family? Disney+, Netflix, and other streaming platforms such as Hulu have been a go-to source of entertainment in these times.

To their credit, all of those services were popular before the pandemic and they’ve been feeding the masses with hours of content.

Separated by long distances and social distancing, some viewers are unable to gather around the TV with loved ones to laugh, cry, or enjoy shows and movies. Disney+ wants to change that for its subscribers with an option to hang out virtually.

Disney Plus logo
Disney+ logo | Chesnot/Getty Images

Disney+ introduces GroupWatch for watch parties

After being on the streaming market for nearly a year, Disney+ is adding another new feature for its users. Following in the footsteps of Hulu Watch Party and Netflix Party, Disney just announced GroupWatch, a new option that allows viewers to watch content together — remotely.

According to a Disney press release, GroupWatch is a co-viewing feature that “allows for up to seven people to watch together in a synced playback experience available across web, mobile, connected TV devices and Smart TVs, and share reactions in real time.”

Connected viewers can access the entire Disney+ library no matter where they are physically located.

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How Disney+ GroupWatch functions

Like Hulu’s Watch Party, GroupWatch uses invitations to set up the viewing session for one’s crew. By clicking on a special icon located on the show/film’s page, the subscriber will be provided with a shareable link to send to up to six other people. Everyone invited to the watch party must be a Disney+ subscriber.

The catch? Per the site, “Invitations must originate from mobile or web, but you can then watch from your connected TV device or Smart TV.” That means invitations cannot be sent from your TV screens.

To give the experience a more socially connected vibe, viewers can drop a series of emojis using the Disney+ app while watching their program. Anybody who hops on the session has the ability to rewind, fast forward, or pause the whole party. This option just went live in the U.S. but is also available in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

What about alternatives?

If you’re the only Disney+ subscriber in your inner circle, then it will be hard to find another way to host an online movie night. There is one other option called Squad, which is a screen sharing app that works with Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and other streaming platforms.

Not everyone is required to have a Disney+ subscription to use Squad, and it allows up to nine people in the virtual room. Partygoers can also send messages and share links to other sites such as TikTok or YouTube.

Disney+ subscriptions are currently $6.99 per month or $69 per year, and for those who are strictly interested in seeing Mulan, there’s an extra fee of $30. However, beginning Oct. 6, Mulan will be available on other digital platforms such as Amazon and Vudu for the same price — whether you watch it alone or with someone.