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Disney Streaming Price Hike: How to Get the Best Deal With and Without Ads

Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN all get price increases soon. Here's how to choose your new subscription.

Disney Plus logo on an ipad
Sarah Tew/CNET

Maybe you've heard the news that Disney Plus is increasing its monthly price by $3 for US customers. Starting in December, its new ad-supported plan will cost $8, which is the current price of its commercial-free streaming service, and you'll need to pay $11 for the ad-free plan. The company also rolled out a bunch of changes to the Disney Bundle, a package that combines Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus and currently costs $14.

All three services are majority-owned by Disney, and in the next few months all three will go up in price and Disney will add three new bundle options. A lot to keep up with, right? Relax. We're going to break down all the changes and which options provide the best value. 

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The short version: You'll pay a lot less if you're willing to watch ads.

The best deal: Bundle Disney Plus and Hulu with ads for $10

Let's start with current prices. If you have a stand-alone subscription for Hulu right now, you're paying $7 per month to watch with ads or $13 to stream ad-free. Disney Plus is currently ad-free and $8 a month if you have the service without the Disney Bundle. 

On Oct. 10, Hulu with ads will raise its monthly price to $8. On Dec. 8, Disney Plus will offer its new, ad-supported subscription at $8. Paying for both services separately, with ads, costs a total of $16 per month.

For those who want to lock in an annual subscription, you can sign up for Disney Plus at $80 or Hulu at $70 before their rates increase to $110 and $80, respectively. We don't recommend annual subscriptions as they don't offer the flexibility of rotating services on a monthly basis, but it's your choice.

When the new prices roll out, the best way to save money is to choose a plan with ads and roll two or three services into one of the Disney Bundles. You can get Disney Plus and Hulu together -- both with ads -- for $10 a month, which is a completely new bundle and the cheapest way to get both services. Tack on ESPN Plus and pay $13 per month. Check out the breakdown in the chart below, but bear in mind ESPN Plus has ads no matter which standalone plan or bundle you get. 

Plans with ads: Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus

Current Price New Price Effective Date
Hulu (with ads) $7 $8 Oct. 10
Disney Plus (with ads) N/A $8 Dec. 8
ESPN Plus (with ads) $7 $10 Aug. 23
Bundle (best deal): Disney Plus and Hulu (with ads) N/A $10 Dec. 8
Bundle: Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus (with ads) N/A $13 Dec. 8
*Bundle: Disney Plus (no ads), Hulu and ESPN Plus (with ads) $14 $15 Dec. 8

*Existing subscribers only

Read more: Best TV Streaming Service Deals

Existing subscribers who already bundle Disney Plus (no ads), Hulu with ads and ESPN Plus will be grandfathered in at the new rate of $15, an increase of $1 (that's the last line in the chart above). In December, there will be a total of four bundle packages, three new ones and the legacy, grandfathered version, and only one will be ad-free.

Don't want ads on Hulu or Disney Plus? Pay more

Most of us have gotten comfortable watching Disney Plus without commercials for $8 a month. That's changing to $11. If you want the added luxury of streaming Hulu ad-free, prepare to shell out $15 monthly for your standalone subscription. While you certainly have the option of paying for these services separately, it will cost you $26. Adding on ESPN Plus for $10 brings that up to $36 per month. Again, the better deal is to bundle your Disney Plus with Hulu and ESPN Plus to get the most savings. 

Ad-free plans

Current Price New Price Effective Date
Hulu (no ads) $13 $15 Oct. 10
Disney Plus (no ads) $8 $11 Dec. 8
Bundle (best deal): Disney Plus and Hulu (no ads), ESPN Plus (with ads) N/A $20 Dec. 8

Hulu Plus Live TV is cheaper with ads too

Finally, Disney has new pricing for its Hulu Plus Live TV service, which is designed to replace cable TV with a selection of national and local TV channels. Subscribers automatically get access to standard Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus, and starting in December, you'll be able to choose among three subscriptions. For $70 a month, you'll receive Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN -- all with ads. Those of you who are currently paying that rate can be grandfathered into the updated $75 Legacy plan that includes ad-free Disney Plus, Hulu (with ads) and ESPN Plus (with ads). Check out the chart for a quick breakdown.

Hulu with Live TV Plans

Current Price New Price Effective Date
Hulu Live, Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus (with ads) N/A $70 Dec. 8
*Hulu Live, Disney Plus (no ads), Hulu and ESPN Plus (with ads) $70 $75 Dec. 8
Hulu Live, Hulu and Disney Plus (no ads) and ESPN Plus (with ads) N/A $83 Dec. 8

*Existing subscribers only

Remember that these pricing changes won't be fully rolled out until Dec. 8. In the meantime, if you want subscriptions for at least two of these services, your best bet is still the Disney Bundle to save the most money. Signing up can get a bit complicated, so check out our walk-through on how to convert your current plan to the bundle.