Disney Plus suffers glitches during launch

New streaming service Disney Plus went live Tuesday after months of promotion and speculation — but not without hiccups.

Consumer demand 'exceeded our high expectations,' new streaming service says

The Walt Disney Company launched its Disney Plus streaming service Tuesday, but the roll-out came with some hiccups. (Richard Drew/The Associated Press)

New streaming service Disney Plus went live Tuesday after months of promotion and speculation — but not without hiccups. Only hours after its launch, customers across the United States and Canada were reporting technical difficulties, and "unable to connect" error messages when trying to play shows.

The service confirmed the glitches on Twitter, simply stating that demand "exceeded [their] high expectations."  A Disney spokesperson said they are working to resolve the problems.

Most problems were focused in Eastern Canada and United States, according to the outage-reporting website Down Detector. Many Canadian users tweeted about trouble — showing error messages alongside Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Wreck-It Ralph — or complained of excessively long wait times when trying to contact help services. 

Other users elsewhere in Canada say they got error messages which blocked them from the service, because they lived outside the countries where Disney Plus was available.

The service comes stacked with an extensive library of Disney titles, from animated classics like The Lion King to Disney TV movies from decades past. There are also selections from the 20th Century Fox film library, which Disney recently acquired, including Never Been KissedThe Sound of Music and Home Alone.

The new Star Wars series The Mandalorian is among its most anticipated titles, but it too encountered hiccups.

Some viewers say they were initially unable to play the episode, while others could hear the audio from the show, but the image was pixelated.

At $8.99 a month, or $89.99 a year, Disney is heavily invested in the service's appeal as the "streaming wars" heat up. Apple TV Plus, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max and more are all competing for audiences in a crowded field that in Canada also includes Netflix, Crave and CBC Gem. 

Prior to launch, Disney Plus faced some debate over how it would handle older shows which contain outdated, and sometimes racist, character depictions. Despite earlier speculation that some movies — such as Dumbo, Peter Pan, or The Lady and the Tramp — might be censored or otherwise altered to avoid controversy, they arrived in their original format on the service on Tuesday, prefaced with a disclaimer warning of "outdated cultural depictions."

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press