My Disney Plus account wouldn't stop getting error code 83 – here's how Disney fixed it

Disney Plus on a phone screen.
(Image credit: AFM Visuals / Shutterstock)

Imagine the horror. You've just started an episode of The Simpsons season 8 (specifically 'Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield') on Disney Plus, and you're hit by an error screen when you go to play something. 

You think it's localized to just this episode of this one show, but realize it's happening with everything on Disney Plus – across all your devices. Android phone? Error code 83. PS5? Error code 83. iPad? Error code 83. Web browser? Error code 83. 

This is a frustrating error to get, partly because Disney's own site doesn't offer much in the way of specifics on what this actually means. "It means we experienced an unknown error streaming to your device. This is typically a device compatibility issue, connection error, or account issue." 

Well, that doesn't narrow it down, does it? Not when it's happening on all devices, and even when I'm still getting the error on different internet connections. 

No offense to literally every website writing a help article on how to solve error code 83, too, but none of them actually helped me fix it (turning a device off and on again didn't work, nor did trying to update the app). In the end, I contacted Disney Plus customer service, because nothing on my end was affecting the outcome. 

They were genuinely brilliant, incredibly patient and detailed. After they couldn't solve the problem via text chat, an actual person called me to help fix it – the whole process took 39 minutes, according to my call log. 

First, they asked me lots of really obvious questions that I tried to answer patiently: have you tried logging out of all your devices, have you tried turning your router on and off again, are you using a VPN. That sort of stuff. They ask for your IP address, and verify you're the account holder. 

In short, they couldn't figure out how to stop the account from getting that error on every Disney Plus video, and I still didn't get a clear reason for the problem – though the person on the other end of the line suggested it could've been linked to the high number of devices logged in with my account.

But they did have a solution that gave me access to Disney Plus again instantly on my end, and it was surprisingly neat.

How did Disney fix it?

Disney's customer service representative actually had an elegant fix for this. For the first year of Disney Plus in 2020, I had a different account I used for work purposes – then when my year's sub was up, I created another for my personal account, which was attached to my credit card. That new account was the one getting hit with the error code. 

What Disney ended up doing was transferring all the permissions from my active account back to my defunct account – so all I had to do was log in with my old details, and everything was there. They warned this could take several days to pull through, so in the meantime they reactivated it with a 7-day free trial so there was no drop in service. 

Everything seemed to be working on my old account within a day, though, including Premier Access to Black Widow and Jungle Cruise. The error hasn't appeared on the new account since. 

Sure, getting the error code to begin with was a pain, and I've lost the benefit of any curation I might've done with my user profiles in the meantime. But Disney Plus isn't exactly Netflix when it comes to remembering your streaming behavior and recommending stuff via an algorithm – the inconvenience was relatively minor to me. I'm just happy to have it back. 

This account may have no idea I've already seen Loki, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but it won't really make a difference to the user experience. 

I'm more pleased that the customer service experience was so good for Disney Plus – I only had to wait a few minutes to talk to an actual human, and they solved my problem on the same day. 

Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for, and anything beats searching Google fruitlessly for a way to fix something that's clearly beyond your control. 

Samuel Roberts

Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.