Disney+ offers tons of fun content — from its classic animated films and documentaries to its new and throwback TV series like Boy Meets World and Kim Possible. Perhaps more fun than watching classic Disney fare on my own is getting together to watch it with my Disney-loving friends and family. With the pandemic making in-person, indoor gatherings too risky, it's the perfect time for the newest feature on Disney+: GroupWatch.
The new addition to the platform lets you watch any title with your friends and family virtually through the Disney+ app. GroupWatch will sync your streams so that you can easily watch together, even when you're apart.
So how do you use GroupWatch? Here's a look. (Note that it differs slightly depending on whether you're on mobile or desktop versions.)
1. Launch GroupWatch.
First, make sure you have the latest version of the Disney+ app (I had to update mine to see the new feature). Then select the title you want to watch on Disney+, and when the screen for that title loads, select the GroupWatch icon to the right of the "play" button (the one that looks like three people in silhouette).
2. Invite Your Friends or Family.
Select the "invite" button in the GroupWatch room to get an invite link. A host can invite up to six other people to participate — of course, they'll need a Disney+ subscription of their own.
If you're on mobile, select your preferred method for sharing the invite link. If you're on a web browser, click "copy link" to copy the link and share it directly with friends and family.
3. Have Them Join You.
Once your friends have accepted a GroupWatch invite through the Disney+ mobile or web application, you're able to switch to your connected TV to watch on the big screen. You'll need to:
- Search for the title of the GroupWatch that you've joined
- Navigate to that title page
- Select the GroupWatch icon and select "Join stream"
4. Start Watching!
Need a bathroom break or a refill of popcorn? No problem! Anyone in the GroupWatch can control the viewing. Participants can pause, play, fast-forward, or rewind the content for everyone in the group.
5. React to the Viewing.
Perhaps the most fun part of the GroupWatch experience is reacting to the program or film in real time. Participants can send reactions from the Disney+ mobile app or web that will appear across all participant viewing screens. On the mobile app, participants can swipe left within a GroupWatch experience to bring up reaction emojis to share. On the web, participants can click on a reaction icon within the player to bring up the emojis to share. Participants watching a GroupWatch on a connected TV device (like a Roku or a Chromecast) can use their mobile device to share emojis.
6. Binge If You Want.
When just one episode of The Mandalorian isn't enough (obviously!), you can easily stream multiple episodes in a row on a GroupWatch. Once an episode ends, you have the ability to watch the next episode in the series. Note that the next episode doesn't start automatically. The host must manually select the "Play Next Episode" button to start the next episode.
Had enough? For those ready to end the viewing, they can leave the GroupWatch at any time via the "Leave GroupWatch" button.