I’m a pretty big fan. I’m a DVC member. The only credit card I use consistently is my Disney Visa. I own every Disney movie I can get my hands on, including most of the crappy direct-to-video sequels and a bootlegged copy of Song of the South. I study Disney history, pore over Disney guides, help others plan their Disney trips, and talk, dream, and think about Disney nearly non-stop. I even write a blog dedicated to all things Disney three times a week. So if D23 isn’t for me, who in the heck is it for?
When Disney announced D23 back in early 2009, I was thrilled. I signed up the very first day, and was extremely excited to be a “Charter Member”. When the time came up for my renewal, I hemmed and hawed a little while, and then finally decided to renew it. But last week as I filled out a D23 survey, I paused to reflect over my purchase, and I found myself wondering: Did I get ripped off?
For those who may be unaware, D23 is the official Disney fan club. For $34.99 you can get a Silver Membership, which includes, in Disney’s words:
- Membership Card and Certificate: Your membership card and personalized, suitable-for-framing member certificate feature many of Disney's most beloved characters drawn by Disney Master Artist David Pacheco.
- Our 2010 member gift, Disney Undiscovered: A 23-Month Calendar of Disney’s Unrealized Masterpieces from the Walt Disney Archives Collection. This vibrant piece offers rare and never-before-seen images from Disney parks, animation, and live-action films.
- Special Member Events: The opportunity to attend numerous D23 Member events throughout the year
- Exclusive Merchandise: D23 offers its members access to exclusive, limited-edition merchandise and collectibles.
- Subscription to bi-weekly D23 FanFare e-newsletter with breaking news and special offers. (You may opt out of receiving FanFare after your first e-newsletter arrives.)
- Special promotional offers and discounts throughout the year.
While a $74.99 Gold Membership will provide all of that, plus:
- Disney twenty-three Quarterly Publication: A one-year subscription (four issues) to D23's exquisite collectible magazine, filled with stunning photography, dazzling illustrations and the ultimate Disney insider perspective. It's your all-access pass to discovering the magic of Disney's past, present and future!
Maybe I just have “sucker” tattooed to my forehead, but I thought this was going to be really cool. I was picturing a D23 lounge in the Disney theme parks similar to Club 33 in
Disneyland, maybe some sort of rewards program that would include a sizeable discount on merchandise or theme park tickets, and some real behind-the-scenes information that I couldn’t get anywhere else. Um, I was wrong. I didn’t get any of that. Instead, I get the four magazines, which actually do often come with a pretty cool gift, the yearly gift (which was also pretty neat), and then lots of opportunities to spend more money. My husband considers these drawbacks, not benefits. He still has nightmares about the shopping spree I went on when I discovered MouseSurplus.com.
The magazines are beautiful. I just don’t find them particularly informative. A lot of times I feel like I’m looking at a high-priced promo for an upcoming Disney film, instead of getting a cool peek into Disney’s history.
My biggest gripe though, is that the entire focus seems very West-Coast oriented to me. The bulk of the events are in
, with only a few token ones in Walt Disney World. I get that California is where a lot of the history occurred, but how about a little love for the fans of Walt Disney World? When last I checked, the average annual attendance of the California at Walt Disney World is 116% that of Disneyland Park, and the four parks at WDW combine for an average annual attendance of 47.146 million people, compared to only 20.287 million for the two parks at Disneyland Resort. Now, call me kooky, but doesn’t it make sense to hold the events where the people actually are? Magic Kingdom
So I guess what I’m saying is that while I don’t actually regret my previous purchases, I don’t know that I’ll be renewing my membership next year. Unless the yearly gift is really cool, of course.
Are you a D23 Member? Are you glad or remorseful? Let me know at http://www.facebook.com/disneygene!