Disney Plus: Where Dreams May or May Not Come True

Streaming Service Launches in Korea With Snafus and Success


The Good and Bad Side of Disney Plus (Designed by Jane Nam).

Jane Nam and Jade Lee

“The greatest stories, all in one place.” That one magical place arrived here in Korea on November 12, 2021, with all your favorite flicks  – and some major problems that soon entailed. On Disney Plus, you can watch some of the world’s most beloved films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, the entire Star Wars franchise, National Geographic, as well as classic and exclusive originals only on this streaming service. However, the pressure on the company to make a perfect platform led to some noticeable drawbacks.  

Many avid Disney fans who purchased Disney Plus were initially filled with excitement – though their hopeful fantasies quickly dissipated upon their trial of the service which showed 3 main problems. First of all, Korean customers pay more money than American customers but get less content. In the US, people only pay $7.99 per month while you have to pay $8.40 per month in Korea. OTT, a media service offering television and film content, is getting stricter in Korea due to many startup platforms coming up. Strict regulations on the service made Disney Plus Korea provide less content compared to other countries that now stream using Disney Plus. Essentially, consumers are complaining about not having enough content while paying a higher price. Many consumers expected to have flexibility and freedom since it’s a foreign platform, but those expectations never followed through.. 

Since most of the Disney movies and shows are in English, Korean consumers use subtitles to understand and enjoy the content. Disappointingly, there were many problems with the subtitles such as synchronization issues, mistranslations, inconsistent font size, color, and placement. It was impossible for viewers to understand them properly and made it unpleasant to watch. For example, in Frozen, “You are welcome to join us in the castle.” was translated into “가랑이를 함께해요?” which means “crotch together?” Including this, there were many inappropriate errors that seemed to stem from possible reasons such as the employees not inspecting the subtitles properly or not hiring an expert translator. 

Bad customer service made people even more upset. One user had a 1:1 live chat with a chat agent and soon they found out that the chat agent couldn’t fluently speak Korean and was hard to communicate with. Many customers even faced disrespectful attitudes that made countless subscribers disappointed. The user asked to replace the chat agent with someone who could speak Korean but was denied for unknown reasons.

Most of the people who pay attention to this issue with Disney Plus Korea are probably die-hard Marvel or Disney fans like me. So the ultimate question is, “is this all worth it?” My answer after using it is yes, but there are some disadvantages to acknowledge before subscribing. 

Because I love Marvel and Disney, even with some negative aspects, I appreciate the content and streaming service overall. Additional movies that build off of originals launched in theaters a couple years back caught my attention, which definitely met my expectations. After watching “Wanda Vision,” I could understand why they made it into a series instead of a movieㅡthe fact that the series is cut into pieces makes the story more intense and fits the storyline much better. 

However, there is a big issue. If you didn’t watch all the movies, you won’t be able to understand the series. The originals I watched were “Wanda Vision” and short movies on “Frozen.” While watching the follow-up episodes or movies on these iconic originals, I noticed that a lot of terms or concepts from the originals were not explained briefly in the subtitles or the description. Ultimately, this will make understanding the storyline harder for new fans.

Disney Plus expects subscribers and viewers to have a background knowledge of previous episodes or movies.”

Some of you may be wondering what sets Disney Plus and Netflix apart from each other. As a consistent Netflix user for more than 2 years, I have noted that the content from Netflix is getting more provocative as time goes on. Most of the content from Netflix that’s gone viral is either sexual or violent. Because of this, despite the endless list of content Netflix provides, the demographic for their subscribers are very limited. The best part of Disney Plus is that all the originals, including other features or follow ups, are entirely appropriate. Almost all the stories are kid-friendly, so there’s no need to cover my eyes or freak out while watching it with my parents!

The interesting part about Disney Plus is that they provide 16 languages of dub and subtitles including Korean. As aforementioned, the dub was a bit awkward but it’s an option that the OTT platform has that Netflix doesn’t. If you’re tired of looking at the subtitles all the time, you can simply change the audio into your native languageㅡa feature Netflix does not provide. Not only do they provide Korean for Korean users, but they also have 17 Korean dramas and variety shows including “Out Run Running Man,” which is an original series only on Disney Plus.  

All the bad aspects of Disney Plus gave people a negative first impression of the platform. It’s going to be a big challenge for the company to improve it enough for the people that already have their backs against it. For me, I initially wasn’t sure whether or not to subscribe because of all the bad reviews, but those thoughts broke down after I used it. Those mistakes can be covered by the tremendous movies and shows that Disney Plus can provide you with. For those dedicated fans out there, if you are considering getting a subscription, get it right now. Trust me, you won’t regret it!