Disney Plus unveils GroupWatch — here's how to use it

Disney Plus Groupwatch how to
(Image credit: Disney)

Today (Sept. 29) Disney Plus released GroupWatch, its socially distanced watchalong feature, in the U.S.. This new option allows up to 7 accounts to watch Disney Plus content remotely, with the film or TV synced up across devices. 

Cross-sync playback is a feature practically every streaming service needs. When I try and watch movies and TV shows with friends, one person is inevitably ahead of the others, and it leads to spoilers or confusion. 

GroupWatch is supported across most Disney Plus devices, including web browsers, mobile apps, streaming devices and Smart TVs. It also enables each watch party member — not just the host who started it — to control playback. This way anyone can hit pause when they need to answer the door to get delivery, or take a bathroom break. 

There's only one feature missing if you ask me: the lack of audio chat to talk to each other. Instead, Disney Plus lets you send emojis that appear on screen, which feels a bit disruptive.  

And since Google Meet will cap you at 60 minutes of calls, we just lost another option for how to talk to each other during these streams when we're watching full movies.

This release follows the feature being tested in Canada (starting Sept. 10) and Australia and New Zealand (since Sept. 18) earlier this month. GroupWatch on Disney Plus couldn't come at a better time, as we're all preparing to watch The Mandalorian season 2 on Oct. 30. 

Hulu and Amazon have launched their own watchalong options, and third-party options such as Netflix Party have also thrived.

Here's how to use Disney Plus GroupWatch:

1. Tap the GroupWatch button on a show or movie's page.

Disney Plus Groupwatch how to - first step

(Image credit: Disney)

2. Tap 'Invite.'

Disney Plus Groupwatch how to - Invite

(Image credit: Disney)

Disney Plus Groupwatch how to - share widget

(Image credit: Disney)

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your GroupWatch party is complete.

4. Click 'Start Stream.'

Disney Plus Groupwatch how to - start stream

(Image credit: Disney)

5. Use emotes from the Disney Plus app to react.

Disney Plus Groupwatch emotes

(Image credit: Disney)

6. Enjoy the show (and pause whenever you want)

Disney Plus Groupwatch how to - paused

(Image credit: Disney)
Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.