Disney Is “Putting the Arms and Legs” on Amazon Prime-Type Membership Service

We learned earlier this year that Disney was exploring an idea to create an Amazon Prime-type membership service, which would bundle certain experiences together and provide unique perks to members. So what exactly is happening with that concept now?

Partners Statue

Back in August, when we first heard of this potential new program, the idea was in its very beginning stages. Now, we’ve finally heard an update! Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently participated in the Wall Street Journal’s annual Tech Live conference, where he commented on this project, what stage it’s currently in, and what it’s going to become.

Initially, The Wall Street Journal reported that Disney was studying membership services like Amazon Prime as models for their own version. In fact, some people within the company were referring to the project as “Disney Prime” (although that was never in the cards to become the actual name).

Amazon Box

Disney was hoping that this new service would allow them to “offer customers more value, prompting them to spend more on the company’s products and services, while providing Disney with a trove of information about their preferences.” So are we going to see the introduction of “Disney Prime” anytime soon? And what will it actually look like when it comes into being?

What Will the New Service Look Like?

During the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference, Bob Chapek was asked whether this new service would be similar to Amazon Prime. Chapek said, “Not really.” He said that the Disney version would be all about “customizing and personalizing” the Disney products and experiences in order to “cater to what individuals want” rather than making decisions based on the audience as a whole.


Chapek said, “We’re trying to […] build a toolbox of utilities that can be used by our creators […] to tell stories in customized ways.” He mentioned that many Disney franchises could be part of this service, including Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, etc.

Pixar Logo ©Pixar | Disney

So what does that actually mean? According to Chapek, a big part of this service would be connecting Disney+ (the company’s streaming platform) with the Disney parks. Disney could use information about what you did while you were at Disney World to inform suggestions for what you should watch on Disney+ once you return home.

Disney+ Billboard

For example, if you rode Pirates of the Caribbean in Magic Kingdom, you might get the suggestion to watch Pirates of the Caribbean on Disney+ once you return home.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Of course, in order for this to be a possibility, Disney would need access to a lot of data about Disney parks guests and Disney+ viewers. Disney already has much of that information available to them now (thanks to MagicBands and the My Disney Experience app), but Chapek stressed in this interview that the service would work based on the assumption that guests give Disney permission to access and use data about where they go in the parks and what they watch at home. He said multiple times that Disney would require permission for this feature.

Guests in Disney World

Previously, it was reported that this system could also tie in merchandise and shopping as well. So while you’re watching Pirates of the Caribbean, there might be a QR code on the screen that you could scan to access certain exclusive items related to the content you’re consuming. This retail feature on Disney+ was not brought up in the recent conference, but it may still be part of Disney’s plan.


The main goal of this membership program is to “customize and personalize” a variety of Disney experiences for each individual consumer. Chapek said that Disney is hoping to achieve “experiential Disney engagement,” making Disney+ much more than just a movie service.

Learn more about the initial plan for this service here.

When Will the New Service Debut?

Back in August, this idea was really just a concept. Disney said the discussions were in the early stages, and it was really only “being explored” at that point. So what’s going on now? According to Chapek, Disney is “putting the arms and legs on it right now inside [Disney’s] own technical groups.

©Disney || Bob Chapek

That could mean that the idea is now fully formed and now more practical steps are being taken to make it a reality. However, we didn’t get any specifics about a potential timeline for its release. But from what Chapek said, it sounds like this idea is far past the “Blue Sky” stage.

Learn more about “Blue Sky” Disney projects here.

Why Is Disney Creating the New Service?

We have the “what” and the “when,” but here’s another important question: Why? Disney seems to be doing pretty well, so what’s with the change in operations? Disney is known to be a forward-thinking company, and Chapek said during the conference that he likes “to be on the front end of the wave, not on the back end of the wave.” To him, that means “creat[ing] transformative moments for the company” and “be[ing] bold.”

Magic Kingdom

Chapek noted that, as technology continues to change and develop, it’s important to remember your legacy but “not be afraid to evolve.” This change seems to be part of the evolution. The new system would encourage consumers to interact more personally with the Disney company, and thus will tie those consumers more tightly to Disney.

Crowds in Disney World

Chapek commented that many Disney fans see Disney as more than just a company: “They look at it as a utility, a part of their lives, a part of their identity.” Creating a way for Disney to become even more involved in someone’s life caters to that demand for Disney to be more than just a company but to be actively involved in several aspects of their lifestyle.

It seems this idea of a Disney membership service is continuing to change and develop, but it’s also getting closer to becoming a reality. We’ll continue to watch for updates, so stay tuned to DFB for all the latest Disney news.

Click here to see a timeline of Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s financial decisions.

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Would you pay for a Disney membership like the one described above? Let us know in the comments.

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