Disney+ has been live for less than two months and for the most part, the new streaming service has been receiving great reviews. We've seen a steady stream of original and library content added to the service every week. We've had new episodes of great shows like The Mandalorian and The Imagineering Story. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was just added to the service, so you can watch the entire Skywalker Saga in 4K before heading out to see the last chapter on the big screen.
However, on January 1st, something unexpected happened. While a host of new content was added to the service for the new year, some of it was also removed. Films including Home Alone and it's sequel, The Sandlot, Dr. Dolittle, Strange Magic, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, have been pulled from the service with no announcement on explanation.
It's possible that there was an existing contract with some other streaming service for these films before Disney+ and so the company had to pull them, and they'll show up elsewhere in a month or two. We know that Disney's deal with Netflix means that a lot of major releases are currently set to leave Disney+ and return to Netflix in 2026, and so something similar could be in place for these films.
If that were the case, we might have expected these films to immediately pop up on another streaming service, but since we don't know what these contracts look like, we can't be sure.
Alternatively, Disney just removed them itself for its own reasons, whatever those might be.
Rotation of content is standard practice for most streaming services, deals with content provides begin and end, but because Disney owns all the material on Disney+, there was an expectation there would be a lot less of it. And there has been, we haven't seen nearly the volume of content disappear from Disney+ that we see from other services, but it is still happening, even if Disney isn't mentioning it.
These aren't the first movies to vanish from the service, but because Disney doesn't make announcements of what's leaving the service the way other streaming platforms do, we simply don't know these decisions are coming until they happen, so we don't know when or where they'll happen again.
We'd previously seen evidence that some Disney+ content had been given "expiration dates," however, based on that data, The Princess and the Frog was set to disappear only a couple weeks after Disney+ launched, and that didn't happen, so there's really no way to be sure what's staying and what's leaving.
Certainly these movies will be back, but without knowing why they're gone, there's no way to guess when that will happen. People can probably do without the Home Alone movies or The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration, which is also now gone, until next holiday season, but the fact that you can't watch all of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on Disney+ is likely to annoy some people.
The library of content is the reason that people subscribe to Disney+ and at the end of the day, users should have an idea what content is, and is going to be, available. Hopefully, Disney will start being a bit more up front with these changes as other services are, so people know what they're paying for.