Disney Channel is a kids and teen's entertainment channel available in the United Kingdom and Ireland since 1 October 1995. A one hour timeshift service called Disney Channel +1 is available on Sky and Virgin Media. Disney Channel currently has three sister channels; Disney Juniour, Disney XDand 50% of Sky Movies Disney.
Disney Channel was originally planned to launch in 1989 on the newly launched Sky satellite service. It was featured in much of the promotional material surrounding the launch of Sky Television and the Astra satellite. Its joint venture with Sky collapsed May 1989. The discussion about the venture had been taking place since November 1988, but Disney felt it was no longer on equal footing on "decision-making responsibility" in 50-50 partnership. Disney was supposed to start up two channels, but when the talks broke down, Sky issued a lawsuit against Disney, claiming £1.5 billion in damages. The suit was later settled with Disney selling its stake in the joint venture back to Sky, and agreeing to licence its movie library for a five-year period.
Disney finally launched in the UK on the BSKYB on 1 October 1995, as the first Disney Channel in Europe.
In 1997, Disney Channel adopted a new Mickey Mouse head shape logo. On 1 May 1999 another new logo was launched, with three symmetrical circles forming the iconic Mickey Mouse head shape.
On 29 September 2000, Disney Channel launched two sister channels, a preschool-oriented Playhouse Disney (now known as Disney Junior) and the now-defunct 24-hour cartoon channel Toon Disney (Which eventually got replaced with Disney Cinemagic which itself became Sky Movies Disney). A one hour timeshift of Disney Channel also launched on the same day. All 3 were only available to Sky subscribers. NTL and Telewest customers could only receive the main Disney Channel. On all platforms, the Disney Channel package was a premium offering, requiring an additional subscription fee in order to view, though Sky subscribers could receive the channels for free if they also subscribed to the full Sky Movies package (aka Sky Movies World, with contained 4 Sky Premier channels, 5 Sky MovieMax channels and 2 Sky Cinema channels). Despite the launch of Playhouse Disney, Disney Channel continue to air a block of Playhouse Disney-branded preschool programmes during school mornings, although has in recent years been greatly reduced. On 15 March 2003 a new logo and graphics were introduced.
In early 2006, Sky and Disney were locked in ongoing negotiations over a new contract for carriage on the former's digital satellite television service. The previous, ten-year deal, which was inked while Sky floated on the stock exchange in 1994, was temporarily extended whilst both sides attempted to reach an agreement. Sky was understood to have been seeking a substantially reduced payment towards the kids broadcaster. A new agreement, reported to be worth £130 million a year, was reached on 27 February 2007. As a result, on 16 March, changes were made to the Disney services in the UK. Disney Channel and Playhouse Disney ceased to be premium add-on channels and instead operated as part of basic-level subscription packages (such as Sky's "Kids Mix".) A new premium service, subscription channel Disney Cinemagic, was launched to take the Disney slot in the Sky Movies premium bundle; Toon Disney was replaced with Cinemagic, Toon closed at 6:00am and Cinemgaic launched at 10:00am. Disney Channel's main one-hour timeshift, Disney Channel +1 closed for 3 months and was replaced with Disney Cinemagic +1. However, Disney Channel +1 subsequently returned on 26 June 2006.
On 27 October 2006, Disney Channel was added to Top Up TV Anytime, a service that downloads programming overnight from various channels to a Thomson DTI6300-16. In 2007, Disney added more VoD content to Virgin Media's Service. On 22 November 2007 it was announced Disney Channel would join the lineup for Picnic, BSkyB's proposed new pay-TV service for DTT.
It began broadcasting in 16:9 widescreen on 14 May 2010. A new set of program mini-idents that would play before the program would start were launched on 11 September 2010. On 1 September 2011 a new logo was adopted and another version was carried out in fall 2012. On 15 September 2011 an HD version launched on Sky.
On 1 June 2012, Disney Channel updated their television format to the format used for Disney Channel's USA network, with the premiere of the DCOM, Radio Rebel The new format included a refreshed logo and new bumpers and promo layouts. In July 2013 a new website was launched with On Demand services and advertisements started to air.
In November 2013 a new logo was introduced along with a revamp of the website.