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What is Premier Access on Disney Plus? Explaining the 'experiment'

What is Premier Access on Disney Plus? Explaining the 'experiment'
(Image credit: Disney)

What is Premier Access? Is it the same thing as Disney Plus or a completely different service? Don't worry if you're confused - it's all a bit bewildering. Fortunately, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

If you're one of the many people wondering, "what is Premier Access?", don't stress. Think of it like going to the cinema: Disney Plus is the theatre, and Premier Access is your ticket. That makes it home to brand-new movies like Cruella, which is available now on Premier Access and in theaters. The same will be true for Black Widow on July 9.

To help you understand what Premier Access is, we've broken down everything you need to know about it below. Our guide will give you the lowdown on how to see Cruella for as little as possible, too.

What is Premier Access?

What is Premier Access?

(Image credit: Disney)

Premier Access is best described as an add-on to the Disney Plus streaming service. It allows you to watch new movies like Cruella for a one-off fee, kind of like a standard purchase. You can then see the film as often as you want (so long as you've got a Disney Plus subscription, that is). At the time of writing, Premier Access costs $29.99 in the US, £19.99 in the UK, $34.99 in Canada, and $34.99 in Australia. 

However, bear in mind that you need to have an active Disney Plus sign-up first. More specifically, you cannot pay for or see Cruella unless you have a Disney Plus membership. Without one, there's no way of watching the movie.

You'll be able to see Cruella as often as you like once you've paid for Premier Access... so long as you're an active Disney Plus subscriber

How much does a Disney Plus subscription cost, then? Although there are numerous Disney Plus bundles to choose from, a single month of the service is your cheapest option now that the Disney Plus free trial is gone. Sign up now and one month of Disney Plus will set you back $7.99 in the US, £7.99 in the UK, and $11.99 in Canada or Australia.

Not keen on sticking around? Because there's no binding contract, you can always cancel before being charged for the next month if you'd prefer to keep costs down (just remember, cancelling loses you access to anything you bought on Premier Access until you sign up again).

What is Premier Access?

(Image credit: Disney)

Here's the long and short of it, then - you'll be able to see Cruella as often as you like once you've paid for Premier Access... so long as you're an active Disney Plus subscriber. This makes its cost a little more palatable; if you're able and can do so safely, you could have a socially-distanced viewing party with your family or friends to justify the price.

The offer won't be available forever, though. Premier Access deals for Raya and the Last Dragon were removed after a month or two, so Cruella will almost certainly follow suit. You'll still be able to see the film if you already purchased it on Premier Access (phew), but everyone else will have to wait until its home release.

Is anything else available on Premier Access?

what is Premier Access

(Image credit: Disney)

Wondering if you can buy anything else through Premier Access? Not right now - it normally offers one movie at a time. Raya and the Last Dragon was taken down before Cruella arrived, for example. 

Once Cruella's had its moment in the sun, it'll be replaced by Black Widow. That film is slated to arrive via the service and in theaters on the same day (July 9, if you're keeping score), so you can see it from the comfort of home or in the cinema if you'd prefer. Jungle Cruise will then turn up on Premier Access this July 30.

It's unclear if anything else is going to make the jump to Premier Access during 2021, but never say never. Disney was emphatic that it wouldn't launch Black Widow on Premier Access during 2020, for example. But here we are. Could we see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings or Eternals make their debut on Premier Access as well? Time - and the global situation - will tell.

Even if more movies do turn up, you'll have to pay again anyway

Just don't think you'll automatically get them because you paid for Cruella or Black Widow. Even if more movies do turn up, you'll have to pay again anyway. As an example, anyone who bought Mulan Premier Access still had to pay for Raya and the Last Dragon Premier Access. That may seem harsh at first, but think of it like buying tickets to the cinema. You don't get to keep seeing films after buying one ticket.

You'll have a limited window in which to buy them, too. For instance, Mulan was removed a month or two after it launched. If you missed the boat, you had to wait until the film appeared on Disney Plus for free in December 2020. The same thing has happened with Raya. Once Cruella's had its day in the sun, Premier Access will disappear again until Black Widow lands.

Which devices can use Premier Access?

What is Premier Access?

(Image credit: Disney)

Any device that supports Disney Plus will support Premier Access and, by extension, Cruella. That list includes everything from smartphones to TVs, and some consoles are in the mix as well. We've got a full list for you below.

  • Samsung or LG Smart TV
  • PS4
  • Xbox One
  • Roku device
  • Google Chromecast
  • Apple TV
  • Fire TV
  • iOS/Android device
  • Web browser

Will Cruella ever be free on Disney Plus?

What is Premier Access?

(Image credit: Disney)

Will Cruella ever be available for free on Disney Plus? Definitely. Much like Raya and the Last Dragon before it, Cruella is coming to Disney Plus a couple of months after it disappears from Premier Access. More precisely, all Disney Plus subscribers will be able to watch it from August 27 2021.

It's likely to be the same story with Black Widow and Jungle Cruise

In other words, anyone on the fence about Premier Access (and those who aren't fussed about watching Cruella right away) are probably better to wait. Hold out for a few months and you'll be able to see the film as part of your standard Disney Plus membership.

It's likely to be the same story with Black Widow and Jungle Cruise. Once those movies have finished their theatrical run, they'll be pulled from Premier Access and won't appear again until they become available for all Disney Plus subscribers a couple of months later.

Premier Access deals

What is Premier Access on Disney Plus? Explaining the 'experiment'

(Image credit: Disney)

NOTE: A Disney Plus subscription (see deals here) is required to use Cruella Premier Access.

Premier Access deals for Cruella are now available, but costs vary depending on your region. We've listed a breakdown of these prices below, and you can order the movie as we speak (so long as you've got an existing Disney Plus membership, of course).

Premier Access deals - USA

Premier Access | $29.99 one-off payment
NOTE: You need an active Disney Plus subscription ($7.99 per month, $79.99 for a year, or $13.99 p/m for Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus) to access this deal.
If you have a Disney Plus subscription already, you can get hold of Cruella by paying the one-off Premier Access fee of $29.99. This allows you to watch the movie as often as you like, and there's no expiry date - it's available to you so long as you've got an active Disney Plus sub.
View Deal

Premier Access deals - Canada

Premier Access | $34.99 one-off payment
NOTE: You need an active Disney Plus subscription ($11.99 per month or $119.99 for a year) to access this deal.
For those of us with an active Disney Plus membership, all that needs to be done to see Cruella is pay the one-off Premier Access fee. That allows you to watch the film as often as you like (so long as you've got a Disney Plus sub). However, bear in mind that you'll only be able to buy Cruella through Premier Access for a month or so. Get a move on if you want to see it!
View Deal

Premier Access deals - UK

Premier Access | £19.99 one-off payment
NOTE: You need an active Disney Plus subscription (£7.99 per month or £79.90 for a year) to access this deal.
Got an active Disney Plus subscription? All that's left to do in order to catch up on Cruella is buy Premier Access. Once that's out of the way, you can see Cruella as often as you like so long as you've got a current Disney Plus membership - there's no limit or expiry date.
View Deal

Premier Access deals - Australia

Premier Access | $34.99 one-off payment
NOTE: You need an active Disney Plus subscription ($11.99 per month or $119.99 for a year) to access this deal.
Once you've got a Disney Plus membership (any of them will do), all that's left in order to see Cruella is this Premier Access deal. With that out of the way, you can watch the film as often as you like.
View Deal

Want to know whether the streaming service is worth your time? Be sure to check out our Disney Plus review for details. As for what's just arrived on the service, check out our guide to everything that's new on Disney Plus.

As one of our Hardware Editors, Benjamin looks after many of the tech reviews, board game features, deals, and buying guides you’ll see on GamesRadar+.