Should You Join D23?
Did you know that there is a secret Disney club that you can join? No, I’m not talking about one of those underground biker clubs that are all the rage at Disneyland right now. I mean a much more important group for Disney fanatics. It’s called D-23, and membership in this club comes with a lot of fascinating benefits. So, should you join D-23? Let’s talk it through…
What Is D-23?
I’ll let the official site describe itself:
“Named in honor of the year 1923, when Walt left Kansas City, headed for Hollywood and founded what would become The Walt Disney Company, D23 celebrates the wonder and excitement that began that year and has only increased over the decades as Disney’s stories, characters, songs, and experiences have captured imaginations the world over.”
In other words, D-23 is a membership group that celebrates all things Disney. In exchange for a paid subscription, you gain access to features, discounts and special events that are unavailable to all other Disney fans. At the time of publication, the cost of D-23 membership is $79.99 plus tax for the Gold tier or $104.99 plus tax for a Family Gold membership.
That’s Not Cheap. Is There Any Free Option?
I should mention that you also have the option of the free General Membership. You’re likely wondering why you shouldn’t just do that. Free is better than 80 bucks, right? Well, the only thing that you receive with your General Membership is the chance to attend some D23 Member events.
The famous D23 Expo is one of these events; however, you are last in line for tickets for a show that DOES sell out. You also can’t purchase any of the special packages that Disney sells for this show at the Anaheim Convention Center. So, you should sign up for the free General Membership at a minimum, but it’s not the greatest. The sign-up page for the free General Membership is here.
Disney describes the membership benefits for this tier as:
“A One-Year D23 General Membership Includes:
- D23 FanFare: Subscription to weekly e-newsletter with breaking news, exclusive features and special offers. (You may opt out of receiving FanFare after your first e-newsletter arrives.)
- Plus, stay connected to D23 every day at com, featuring breaking Disney news, exclusive feature stories, event info, merchandise and more.
- Special promotional offers and discounts throughout the year: members can save hundreds of dollars on shopping, entertainment and their next Disney adventure.
- Exclusive Merchandise: Access to exclusive, limited-edition merchandise and collectibles.”
That’s a very good deal for free, right? There’s no downside in signing up since it doesn’t cost anything.
What’s the Difference between the Memberships?
From here on in, we’ll focus on the Gold tier options to decide whether they’re worth your money. D23’s Gold Membership comes with several standard features, whether you choose a single person or family account. You’ll get:
- The option to attend all D23 events, and you get to bring (at least) one guest
- A membership card along with a membership certificate that you can frame
- An annual membership gift (more on this in a moment)
- Access to special Member Events
- All of the benefits listed for General Membership
- A copy of the quarterly magazine, Disney twenty-three
Family membership comes with a couple of added benefits. You can get multiple membership cards. Also, you can bring up to three guests with you to member events. So, the $104.99 option is great for families or people who have several friends who are also Disney fanatics. A group of four can attend any or all events. D23 brings friends and families closer together.
What’s the Deal with the Magazine?
Okay, I know that you’re thinking, “print media is dead.” You’re also wondering, “Why would I want a magazine?” Most people throw magazines in the garbage rather than read them. And I say that as a frequent magazine contributor.
Disney twenty-three is different. The editors of this publication lovingly craft each issue as a tribute to the major Disney stories of the moment. Whenever a huge theatrical release is approaching, this magazine highlights why you’ll want to see the movie in theaters. The magazine oftentimes breaks news that was previously unknown about Disney titles, an amazing feat for a publication that’s only released once every three months.
Also, the glossy paper in the magazine is of the highest quality. I’ve literally never seen a magazine before that can match Disney twenty-three in terms of materials used. Each issue has a rectangular, nearly square shape, and it comes in a special plastic wrap inside of a unique mailer. Disney understands that they’re shipping a collector’s item each time. They package each magazine so that it can stand the test of time.
My suggestion is that people open the wrap, carefully read the magazine, and then package it back in the protective plastic. I’m of the opinion that the value of these magazines could rise to the point that your D23 subscription eventually pays for itself (many) years down the road. Disney collectors don’t care about the cost when there’s an item they want, and these magazines are truly special.
What’s This about a Gift?
The final selling point is the annual membership gift. This package merits special consideration. It’s a huge deal. Each year, Disney sends D23 members a spectacular set of items in this package. You can watch the unboxing of the 2017 annual membership gift here or the unboxing of the 2018 one here.
Any Disney fan who has watched those videos is drooling right now. If you haven’t, I’ll quickly summarize. The annual membership gift isn’t one gift but instead several. Limited edition items like framed lithographs and cels are included. Many other Disney knickknacks are part of the package. I’ve never actually counted, but it seems like 20 or more distinct items are part of the annual membership gift.
Here’s the best part. By subscribing to D23, you’ll receive the annual membership gift when it’s released. Spelling that out, you’ll get two distinct gifts during your year of membership. The last time we subscribed was in December. Disney sent us our gift for the first year that month and then the following year’s gift during the following February.
I never want to spend anyone else’s money. For us, however, the two annual gifts alone more than justified the price of a D23 Gold Membership. The fact that we get four different high-quality magazine issues plus a lot of membership discounts and benefits is a happy bonus. And the cherry on top is that we’ll have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for D23 2019.
Stating the obvious, I’m a huge supporter of D23. If you or someone you love is a huge Disney fan and $80 isn’t a lot of money to you, it’s a great deal. I’d go so far as to suggest that families should join D23 Gold Family for the extra $25. That’s what we did, and there are only two of us.
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