Anyone who’s here at families.com’s Disney corner is probably a Disney fan. Maybe we consider ourselves members in an unofficial fan club. Well, now we can join an official one.
Last March Bob Iger unveiled D23, the official Disney fan club/community. The “23” stands for 1923, the year Walt Disney left Kansas City for California and founded the Walt Disney Company with his brother Roy O.
You get the usual fan club stuff: calendars, membership cards and certificates, and subscription to a quarterly. Not to knock the quarterly; Disney twenty-three offers gorgeous photographs of and insight into past and present Disney studio projects: catnip to a Disney fan.
What makes D23 really tempting is that it’s got more than the typical perks. Members get exclusive passes to advance screenings, VIP studio tours, special gatherings at the parks, and what I consider the golden ticket of the D23 membership package: discounted admission and early entry into the D23 convention.
The D23 convention, held last year on September 10-13 at the Anaheim Convention Center, is Disney’s answer to Comic-Con.
The amount offered here is overwhelming: merchandise from popular to obscure Disney entertainment (everything from Mickey Mouse t-shirts to Daniel Boon caps), exclusive art and stills, featured clips and panels on upcoming Disney movies, and special announcements of future Disney projects, just to name a few.
For example, last year’s convention had screenings of clips from “Prep & Landing,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Beauty and the Beast 3D” (a project which was to run in IMAX this spring but was since scrapped), and more.
News like the new Muppet movie and the Fantasyland expansion were announced, and celebrity appearances ranged from Johnny Depp to John Travolta, Robin Williams, the Muppets, and a performance by Miley Cyrus.
Disney hasn’t yet announced the dates for (or even whether there will be) a D23 Convention this year, but if it does happen, members of the D23 club will likely be the first to know. Everything else about D23 membership sounds great, but it’s the cheaper and faster access to D23 that really tempts me to join.
But D23 membership, like everything else, has a down-side. First: some of the perks, like the subscription to Disney twenty-three, are available only to those who purchase the more expensive gold-tier membership.
Also, a membership to D23 does not automatically grant access to all of the special community events, like screenings and studio tours. Tickets are limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis.
D23 has two tiers of memberships: silver for $34.99/year and gold for $74.99/year. The only difference I could find between the two memberships was that those who pay for gold get the periodical subscription. To me, $40 seems like a lot extra just for four issues of a magazine, so I wonder if gold members get more perks that I can’t find advertised.
I can’t say I’m completely sold on joining D23, just because it seems like a lot of money (even at the silver tier) for little payoff, given that most of the exclusive events sell out almost instantly. I’ve never even had luck trying to buy tickets to popular concerts before they sell out, so I don’t trust my chances with D23 events.
But it’s just a fledgling community yet, and I’m excited to see what else might be included and offered in years to come. More information and purchase options are available at the D23 website.