This is another odd one to cover. When Disney+ launched November 12, 2019, subscribers were quick to notice that classic cartoons The Simpsons (earlier seasons), Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, and The Little Mermaid The Series were not correctly uploaded. In all 4 cases, Disney cropped the original image to “zoom in” and fill out a widescreen device. This practice was mostly utilized in the early days of widescreen TVs because executives thought it would bother people to see the black bars on the side of these new, bigger TVs.
Cropped aspect ratios are widely derided in the industry for disrespecting the original artists’ intentions and destroying the framing that they have intentionally crafted. It often creates uncomfortable situations where viewers are given abnormal close ups on characters and in some cases important information or moments on the sides of the screen are completely lost. The Simpsons was the subject of a lot of complaints and many articles were published showcasing how this decision cut out jokes and damaged the viewing experience.
A Fix In Sight?
Fortunately, Disney heard those complaints and quickly announced a solution would arrive. About 6 months later, they released a toggle switch that would allow subscribers to alternate between the cropped version and the original aspect ratio. They still made the questionable decision to make the default the incorrect ratio and buried the toggle under a different tab so to this day people are unaware, thinking Disney never fulfilled their promise. At least they did something.
Another Sort Of Crop
Another version of incorrect aspect ratios is the inverse problem. Numerous Disney Channel Original Movies have been uploaded with the sides of the image chopped off and replaced by black bars. The full list and images will be available at the bottom of this article. Yes, they actually intentionally erased footage that makes the overall image smaller for no reason. What a choice to upload ruined versions of your films and then stand by it. These versions were created to air on non-HD channels, but the full versions were still aired on Disney Channel HD, available on-demand, and digitally.
There are 2 reasons this is odd to cover here in 2022. One is because it should have been a moot point years ago. Unfortunately, here we are. 2 and a half years after launch a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate has not fixed any of the incorrect aspect ratios except for The Simpsons. The rest have been ignored. The other reason is because these shows ARE properly uploaded and released in most other locations they’re available. If one goes to Prime Video, Google Play, or YouTube Movies (TVOD sites) and rents or purchases the digital episodes of Goof Troop, Rescue Rangers, or Little Mermaid The Series, they receive a copy in original, proper presentation.
The brand new Blu-ray release for Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers was celebrated for providing the proper aspect ratio. Check out these glowing reviews that make sure to throw shade at Disney+ for what they did (and continue to do):
The recent Disney XD marathon used the proper aspect ratio:
Which was of course was celebrated:
We have covered this since the beginning. We have a page that lists all the aspect ratio problems. The good news is that after launch, they’ve not really created additional issues in this department. The bad news is they have made it clear that fixing the issues they created by not using the best copies available is not a priority. It would not take long considering they add series and films every week. It wouldn’t take any more time that adding a new title to re-add the titles appropriately. Subtitles would not need to be altered as they would continue to display in the bottom center of screen anyway.
What Can We Do?
We have personally reached out numerous times to their Operations team pleading them to repair them. We have specifically asked about Rescue Rangers, repeatedly. First, before they premiere of Chip ‘N Dale Park Life last summer. Then again this year before the premiere of the new Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers movie. Both times we mentioned the importance of giving new Chip ‘n Dale fans the ability to discover the original series properly at a time when it would see an uptick in interest. We’ve also asked them to move the pilot episodes to the front of the episode lineup as they did for DuckTales, but that has also not been done.
The truth is, we’ve all but given up on this fight. It’s been a lost cause for 2 years. When they followed up The Simpsons fix with silence, we knew things weren’t good for the other titles. We could tell beforehand when they kept ONLY mentioning The Simpsons. Disney+ has been very disappointing to subscribers, particularly in USA, Latin America, and Brazil. Some of those reasons are unique content related issues plaguing the Western Hemisphere where corporate greed and anti-consumer decisions have split the content library between two streaming services (Hulu for USA, Star+ for LatAm / Brazil). The others are issues that are worldwide, like episodes out of order and cropped aspect ratios.
We wish we could end on a positive or optimistic note, but we have no reason to. We encourage you to submit feedback to Disney+ using their newly revised and streamlined feedback tool here.
We leave you with these images showing off the many DCOMS that have been chopped up for 32 months.
DCOMS With Edges Cut Off
The Ultimate Christmas Present
Gotta Kick It Up
Mom’s Got A Date With A Vampire
Note the lovely green line artifact on the left showing where Disney trimmed the image. Wild!
DCOMS With Tops And Bottoms Cut Off (Zoomed In)
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.