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The trick to navigating Disney Plus’ challenging menu

On Disney Plus, the search icon serves a different purpose

The Disney Plus homepage is full of new and classic movies and shows Disney Plus
Chris Plante co-founded Polygon in 2012 as editor-at-large and is now editor-in-chief. He also created and occasionally teaches NYU’s Introduction to Games Journalism course.

Now that Disney Plus has launched, you can watch dozens of classic Mickey Mouse shorts, obscure Disney Channel television shows, and low-budget network TV movies from the 1970s and ’80s. Assuming you can find them.

While the Disney Plus design makes it easy to watch the company’s biggest properties — like Marvel films and shows, or The Simpsons — locating older or less-popular programs can be a challenge. Here’s a helpful trick.

The Disney Plus homepage presents five main categories: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. But the service has many other categories that allow for easier browsing. To find them, click the magnifying glass icon and scroll beneath the search field.

The categories on Disney Plus’ search page help users find hidden gems Disney Plus

In traditional streaming-service language, the magnifying-glass icon just means “search.” You type the name of the thing you want to find, and shows with similar names or genres appear on the screen. That still remains an option on the service when you tap the icon. However, the button also automatically loads a variety of useful categories, which then break down into help subcategories.

Looking for anything Mickey Mouse? Try the Mickey Mouse & Friends category. The Disney Channel Original Movie category lets you browse that specific catalogue by decade, beginning with the 1990s. The huge catch-all category Disney Through the Decades invites you to surf the entire Disney catalogue by decade, beginning with the 1920s and 1930s.

A collection of all the films on Disney Plus broken up be decade Disney Plus

It’s not a perfect solution, and some of the categories are thin and frivolous, particularly the Darth Vader Collection, which only has 12 entries, many of them Star Wars Lego novelties. But if you’re out to skim through old Disney movies and shows, and to find forgotten classics and oddities, the magnifying glass is your best bet.

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