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Disney+ GroupWatch: Review & Guide for Star Wars

Disney Plus GroupWatch has launched in North America and will launch later this year in Europe. With this functionality, you and 6 of your friends can binge-watch The Clone Wars, rewatch Season 1 of The Mandalorian, or group watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi in addition to any of the other content on Disney Plus together at the same time.

I am very experienced with group watches and have participated in Rebels and Clone Wars rewatches hosted by What the Force’s Editor, Hammie! Today, we are going to review the functionality and walk through the best way to make sure you get the most out of this feature!

Getting Started

There is a multi-person icon on the landing page for the content you want to watch.

This launches a GroupWatch page where you can invite friends and family.

Inviting GroupWatch participants

Pressing the plus (+) next to your profile picture, gives you an invitation link to send to your friends.

Invitation Tips

Some people have found the navigation less than intuitive, so here are some tips:

  • I do not recommend the email invitation option
  • Ask your friends to already be logged into their Disney Plus accounts before they click on the invitation link
  • On Mobile, you can directly send a link via apps associated with your device. The only annoying issue is if you started a watch, you cannot invite more people unless you save the link first. Otherwise, you will need to stop the watch and go back to the GroupWatch screen to grab the link again.
  • If you start a GroupWatch, I recommend ending it before joining another – an error will pop up on your computer allowing you to end your GroupWatch and join the new invite. On Mobile, the error popped up once, but other times GroupWatch just wouldn’t work. 
Disney Plus GroupWatch does not have a chat feature but viewers can react with emojis.

Things I loved:

  • Watching Disney and Star Wars content together is now an option! I can stream The Mandalorian Season 2 virtually with my friends when it releases on October 30th 
  • Streaming with your loved ones on the same account. If you share your Disney Plus account with someone who is not physically in the same space as you, GroupWatch still works! 
  • Watching across borders. As long as both countries have access to the content, GroupWatch works great! 
  • The reactions are cute and not super distracting. 
Unfortunately, anyone can pause and play the video with no option to change this in the settings.

Limitations:

  • There is no in-application chat or voice options, unlike with Netflix Party, Amazon Prime Watch Party or Rabb.it/Kast. The lack of chat/voice is frustrating, just for the pure need to coordinate with people. I recommend a Zoom Meeting, Discord Channel, or old-fashioned chat or text group to coordinate and talk while watching.
  • The number of participants (six) is also limiting. Netflix Party can support up to 50 participants. I hope they increase this number in the future, especially because watches that I’ve attended in the past usually had at least 10 people.
  • Anyone can pause or play which can be annoying so make sure to talk about who is in control of the watch. 
  • There is also some slight lag or jumping that happens when one participant hits pause or play. We have seen GroupWatch lag up to 30 secs.
  • There’s no way to invite people while the GroupWatch is in progress. You must save the original invite link or leave the stream to invite more people.
  • The GroupWatch navigation confused some people that we tested with. I recommend the direct invitation link instead of the email option.
  • Navigating between in-application content is limited. You can change episodes while group watching a show, but you need to set up a new GroupWatch to switch movies. (This is similar in Netflix Party and Prime Watch Party).

Overall, the ability to watch Disney and Star Wars content together is what’s most important. I’m excited to get GroupWatch going for my virtual nearest and dearest. What are you excited to try out first?

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Marie-Claire Gould
Marie-Claire is the creator, host, publisher and editor of What the Force? A Star Wars Fandom Podcast and the Executive Editor of What the Force?

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