Disney Circle Review: Super Customizable Parental Control

Circle Home Plus

    The Circle Home Plus takes a super customizable approach to parental control with unique features, so you can make sure your teens aren’t perusing Tik Tok at the dinner table ever again.

    Amazon.com price as of 10/31/2019 at 11:54 a.m. MST.

    The Circle Home Plus is a highly customizable way to keep tabs on your children’s internet consumption. It’s a simple solution, too: the device connects to your wireless router, so you can manage all the connected devices in your home, from your tween’s iPhone to your toddler’s tablet.

    You can monitor your children’s devices when they’re away from home too, so you can be sure your precious flower isn’t playing Fortnite while he’s at school.

    Read on to learn more about the Circle Home Plus, its most impressive features, and how it compares to other parental control devices.

    Disney Circle pros and cons

    • Pro BulletSets up easily
    • Pro BulletSupports an unlimited number of devicesHere
    • Pro BulletOffers unique restrictions and time limits
    • Pro BulletHas an intuitive, user-friendly design
    • Con BulletSome users complain that the Circle slows their network
    • Con BulletExpensive subscription

    What does Disney Circle do?

    The Circle Home Plus—also known as the Disney Circle—lets you monitor and set limits on what your kids can and cannot access online. That includes what they’re streaming on iOS or Android mobile devices, as well as other products that are always connected to your Wi-Fi network, like laptops, smart TVs, and game consoles.

    With the Circle Home Plus, you can give your children time limits for certain apps, so they don’t follow in your footsteps of idly browsing Instagram all day.

    You can also set a bedtime, so kids can’t access the internet at all after lights out.

    The Disney Circle has some other impressive features that help make parental control both easy and totally customizable.


    The Disney Circle is chock-full of features to help you limit your kids’ online usage and understand their internet habits. Whether you pay for a subscription or not, you’ll get access to some basic features like custom content filtering plus a history and usage log. 

    The Disney Circle comes with one free year of premium services, but after the first year, you'll have to purchase a monthly subscription to continue using premium features. With a premium subscription, you’ll get some thoughtful perks, including the ability to set time limits, schedule offline time, and more.

    Compare Disney Circle subscriptions

    Data effective 10/31/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.

    Custom content filtering

    Once you’ve installed the Circle Home Plus, you’ll use the Circle app to keep an eye on your children’s devices. The app allows you to choose age-appropriate filters—for kids, teens, or adults—for different categories—like social media or video games. 

    And the categories that you can manage are pretty extensive: the Circle Home Plus encompasses more general categories like arts, entertainment, and online games, as well as some of the most popular apps, covering everything from FaceTime to Facebook.

    Circle filters both apps and websites

    In the Circle Home app, you’ll be able to filter popular platforms on both the app and website level. So if you want your child watching only three hours of YouTube per day, both the time they spend on the app and the time they spend on YouTube’s website will count toward that total.

    For each app, you can choose “Allowed,” which gives your child access, “Unallowed,” which doesn’t, or “Unmanaged,” which means they can access the app or website to their heart’s content. “Unmanaged” is a good choice if you have a kid who can’t stop listening to the new “Oklahoma!” soundtrack, or if you want them to have unlimited access to educational material.

    Usage and history

    The usage feature lets you see how much time your family spends online and compare usage to previous days, weeks, or months. It’s a great way to start understanding your kid’s online habits (and your own). 

    The Circle Home app’s history feature shows you specifically what websites and apps your family members have used throughout the day, and for how long. It will also show you what sites Circle stopped your kids from visiting, whether it’s Facebook or something more sinister.


    The location feature lets you see where your family is—kind of like a Find My Friends app for your little (and big) ones. But in our testing, it wasn't super reliable: it didn't work until roughly 30 minutes after we first launched it. That's a long delay if you're trying to find a family member. 

    Time limits

    You can control your family’s screen time with Circle’s time limit feature. It lets you set time limits for specific apps, like Netflix, or categories, like social media. Plus, when someone is nearing their limit, the app will let them know. So they’ll get a heads up when they have only a few more minutes to see what happens at the end of that episode of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” 

    Pause the internet

    With Circle’s pause feature, you can pause the internet for a single family member or  device. Later, you can turn it back on with the push of a button once your pre-teen comes back from walking the dog.


    If you want to make sure your child isn’t up all night bingeing TV when they’re supposed to be asleep, you can use the bedtime feature. It will automatically shut off internet access at a certain time, and remind your kid to go to bed. The app will automatically reconnect to the internet in the morning, at whatever time you choose. 

    And if you’re looking to stay in bed for a few extra hours on the weekend, the Circle app lets you set different bed and wake times on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Circle Bedtime


    With the rewards feature, you can give your child what they really want: more screen time. If your daughter brings home an impressive report card, you can send her a reward, either extending her time limit on the PS4 or giving her a later bedtime. 


    You can also schedule offtime in the app, so it’s a bit easier for your kids to adhere to the “no phones at the dinner table” rule. You can set different family members to have different offtimes to fit their schedule, and name them—maybe “Dinner,” or “Piano Lessons”—so you can easily keep track.


    The Circle Home Plus is easy to set up. Once you’ve downloaded the Circle Home app, it will guide you through installing the Circle Home Plus and pairing it with your home network via Ethernet.

    You can also pair the Circle Home Plus to your Wi-Fi network, which works as a backup if the Ethernet cable is ever disconnected by accident (or by a scheming teen). Just be sure to plug in your Circle device as close to your router as possible for better connectivity.

    Check compatibility before you buy

    The Circle Home Plus is compatible with most routers, but not all of them. Double-check to make sure yours is compatible before you buy.

    During setup, you’ll want to connect all relevant devices to the Disney Circle. But you may have trouble knowing which device is which, since they’ll pop up as “Apple Device” or “Samsung Device.” To play it safe, look up each device’s MAC address, which is like an IP address, but for your specific device. That way, you won’t accidentally pause the internet on your smart door lock.

    Once you’re set up, assign devices to your family member’s profiles. And for extra care, we recommend installing the companion MyCircle app on all the mobile devices you want to cover.

    That way, you can still manage those devices even when they’re using cellular data—and your kid can’t sneak extra screen time by disconnecting from the Wi-Fi (they will, however, still be able to access any downloaded content or apps that don’t rely on an internet connection). The companion app also gives your children a chance to see remaining internet time, any rewards they’ve received, and more.

    Circle Home app

    You’ll be able to download the Disney Circle app, listed as Circle Parental Controls in the Apple App Store and Google Play, on both iOS and Android devices. In our testing, the app was pretty easy to navigate once the system was set up.


    The Circle Home Plus is priced at $129.99, which is on the expensive side, especially compared to other brands. Qustodio parental control monitors up to five devices for $54.95 a year and offers some of the same features, including time limits for internet usage and web filtering.

    Still, with the price of the Circle Home Plus, you’re getting unique features that other parental control devices don’t offer, like the ability to reward your child for acing their Spanish test with an extra hour or two on Snapchat. The Disney Circle also comes with a user-friendly mobile app that lets you manage and limit your children’s internet and app usage.

    Is there a monthly fee for Disney Circle?

    Yes, there is a monthly fee for the Disney Circle, but only after the first year. Purchasing the Circle device includes access to the Disney Circle’s premium features—including time limits, rewards, and the ability to pause internet access—for free.

    But after the first year, you’ll have to shell out $9.99 per month to maintain access to those more advanced features. It’s a bit pricey on top of the cost of the actual Circle device, but the Circle Plus Home isn’t really worth it without the unique features that the subscription provides.

    Disney Circle vs. the competition

    Data effective 10/31/2019. Offers and availability subject to change. *Amazon.com price as of 10/31/2019 at 11:54 a.m. MST.

    As far as parental control devices go, Circle Home Plus is one of the only physical devices on the market (Luma, a Wi-Fi monitoring system that could double as parental control, has been discontinued). But there are still some feature-rich parental control software options to choose from.

    Comparatively, the Circle Home Plus is the most expensive. But it’s also the most comprehensive. Net Nanny covers up to only five devices and lacks social media monitoring, although you are given the option to block apps completely. Likewise, Qustodio limits your total devices to five, but its social monitoring feature only tracks Facebook.

    When it comes to features, Norton Family Premier comes close to the Circle Home Plus, and it has a ton of solid offerings from location supervision to time supervision. However, some of the features work only on Windows desktops or Android devices, and social network monitoring is limited to Facebook.

    Frequently asked questions

    Does Circle with Disney slow down internet?

    Some users say the Circle slows down their network, but in our testing there was no noticeable difference in internet speeds. To keep your connection top-notch, be sure to place the Circle near your router and use the included Ethernet cable.

    What can Circle Go do?

    Circle Go was a companion app for the first generation Circle device, the Circle with Disney. It helped manage devices wherever your kids went so that you could still manage their screen time whether they were at home or at their best friend’s house for a sleepover. New Circle Go subscriptions are no longer available, but the new Circle Home Plus lets you manage your kids’ devices away from home with the Circle companion app.

    Our recommendation

    The Circle Home Plus is pricey, but you get what you pay for. In this case, you’re getting a ton of unique features, like being able to set a bedtime for your children or pause the Internet when your kid should be off the phone. While we wish it was a bit less expensive, it’s a solid way to keep an eye on your family’s device habits on a day-to-day basis.

    >>Parental control, your way. Get the Circle Home Plus on Amazon.