2 days ago, Disney removed the 1938 Mickey Mouse short Brave Little Tailor and moved it to the EXTRAS section of Sword in the Stone, a film that released 25 years afterwards. Wait, what? Multiple subscribers asked us to cover this so here goes nothing.
As usual, we have gripes about Disney+ that need to be rectified but we don’t expect to see resolved. You may have noticed Disney+ title pages often include a tab that says EXTRAS. You are less likely to have actually clicked through to this tab and seen what they list. Even less likely to have watched any. DVD and Blu-ray releases almost always include bonus features or extras to make the purchase more enticing. They’ll sucker people into buying the same film multiple times to get new behind the scenes features, deleted scenes, or bloopers.
Disney+ took a step further than other streaming services by including an Extras tab on their title landing pages. Unfortunately it’s time to go. Why would we say something so horrible? We were big fans at launch because it was unique but since have grown like many others to think it’s standing in the way of a cleaner and more consistent experience. Here’s why:
Disney+ content and operations teams have a lot to deal with and have struggled to handle an always replenishing list of metadata issues since launch. We hear from Helison (Disney+ Brazil expert) that Star+ and Disney+ have a laundry list of issues down there. Our friends in Italy (multiple, independently) have suggested Italy’s library is full of missing episodes, missing audios, and incorrect metadata. Adding another section for Disney+ to manage seems irrational. We believe their team is greatly understaffed and thus unprepared to manage a service of this scale. The more Disney+ expands and evolves the harder it will be to keep everything in good shape!
But why the extras? Why not remove something else?
The extras offered are wildly inconsistent. If you view any given title they’ll have some, all, or none of the DVD / Blu-ray extras. Think about it – how do they even decide which home media release edition’s extras to use? They could use all the extras from all the separate releases of the same title, but getting them all there would be a massive task and it would make the home media releases essentially pointless. We agree bloopers and deleted scenes are AWESOME to see on Disney+, but think Disney should drop the section anyway to simplify their team’s focus. What should be the focus is proper metadata of existing content, exciting originals, functional and convenient user interface, new library content, and responding appropriately to subscriber complaints about episode order issues or incorrect aspect ratios. We’d personally prefer more missing titles like the recently added Pepper Ann than missing extras.
If Disney wanted to go all-in on Extras it may sway our opinion a bit, but again, we’d be more concerned about what falls by the wayside to make that happen. Disney has recently started mentioning an extra or two in their monthly “Coming to Disney+” videos and every time people find themselves scratching their heads at why they bother to promote a 1 minute clip as if it’s a huge deal when content like that is added to YouTube all the time. A lot of the “Making of” extras they add ARE already on their YouTube channel…
These things get lost in the shuffle but serve to inflate the numbers each month. A few weeks ago we did a deep dive speculating that they may be preparing to make Thursdays “Extra” day. It just didn’t strike us as worthwhile. We still feel extras for a title should be added the day that title is listed, not later.
The biggest reason we want extras gone is Disney has unintentionally been using the tab to “disappear” classic or stand-alone shorts. This is a disregard for the creative teams associated and Disney’s legacy. As mentioned at the article beginning, 2 days ago, Disney pushed Brave Little Tailor, a 1938 Mickey Mouse short, under the extras section of a title it once joined on a Blu-ray release.
That sort of previous affiliated is no excuse to group them on a streaming service. Shorts under the EXTRAS tab are “buried” (to use a word many have yes to describe these occurrences). When a short is added to this tab on another title’s landing page it becomes unsearchable. Even IF extras were indexed and showed up in search this would be inappropriate. Shorts deserve to have visual tiles that can appear on the home screen or in recommendations. They are individual works created by talented teams and it’s disrespectful to hide them away.
Particularly frustrating? When Disney+ launched Brave Little Tailor WAS listed under Extras of Sword in The Stone. They FIXED IT months later, listing it as its own thing and people celebrated. They’ve literally taken a step backwards by re-burying it! Weirdly enough this is not the first time either! After launch they removed 3 Roger Rabbit shorts that were hidden in the Extras section of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. People rejoiced when they listed them separately as their own thing. Months after that they inexplicably re-buried 1 of them – Roller Coaster Rabbit. The comments here exhibit how confused and frustrated subscribers are growing with these inconsistent decisions.
Another weird example? Marvel One-Shot: All Hail The King recently got added to Disney+ as an individual title. The other One-Shots which were extras on Marvel home media releases remain un-streamable with exception of Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter which is… listed… under the extras section of Iron Man 3. What the FRACK?
Shorts should NEVER be listed under another title’s EXTRAS tab. Even when these shorts were initially released as extras on a home media release!
See what we meant? Wildly inconsistent and effectively a place to bury content that people may have wanted to watch.
They release awesome series… entirely under a non-searchable tab?! Another time when the public opinion was against shorts? The leading Disney+ news websites were in agreement in their podcasts and reports last October that Disney’s Behind the Clouds series going to Disney+ EXTRAS tab of Clouds was just straight up mismanagement. This EiC recalls vividly one of the leading “voices” in the Disney+ community from a very big site disheartened by the decision as he suggested (paraphrasing here) “It’s like they don’t want people to watch them.”
Why? Why does Disney do things like this that other streaming services would not imagine doing? They literally hid away 9 interesting, 10-minute+ episodes of a worthy series instead of just listing them as Behind The Clouds. They have numerous titles like Behind the Clouds already but only this ONE was an extra instead of separate listing. Ever heard of Disney Gallery? Marvel’s Assembled?
Another example? Last year this EiC remembers hearing that High School Musical: The Musical: The Series had run an entire weekly series called Extra Credit that was weirdly listed as an extra. Just because it has “Extra” in the name doesn’t make it a requirement. Then around the same time they… added a sing-along version of the series. As the Disney community grumbled – if anything should have been listed as an extra it’s that! Literally the same episodes re-added as a separate listing but with words on bottom of screen to sing along. THAT’S WHAT EXTRAS SHOULD BE. ORIGINAL content should NOT be buried under a tab. Extras should ONLY BE deleted scenes and bloopers and SOME behind the scenes featurettes.
We want the EXTRAS tab gone or we want them to consistently utilize it and keep shorts OUT.
ESPECIALLY when the shorts PREDATE the title they’re listed under the extras section for. Do not belittle your classic shorts by making them unsearchable.
Please do the right thing – list Brave Little Tailor, Roller Coaster Rabbit, and Behind the Clouds as separate titles. It’s time to start reducing the amount of ways Disney+ is inconsistent so that subscribers enjoy using the service more.
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.