New Disney D23 benefits enhance membership value for some – but definitely not all

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

On Tuesday, Disney’s D23 official fan community announced a few new benefits that will allow some members to save enough money to warrant joining the club, but leave others wondering what’s in it for them.

Here are the newly-announced discounts:

  • At the Disneyland Resort, D23 members can now show their membership cards for 10% discount on purchases at AMC 12 Theatres, Anne Geddes, Basin, Catal Restaurant & Uva Bar, Compass Books & Café, Fossil, Häagen Dazs, Hairwraps International, House of Blues, Island Charters, Jamba Juice, Kaman’s Art Shoppe, La Brea Bakery, LEGO Imagination Center, Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria, Napolini, Pearl Factory, Quicksilver, Rainforest Café, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Ridemakerz, Something Silver, Sunglass Icon, Tortilla Jo’s and Wetzel’s Pretzels. Letter Brush Art and Pastel Potraits also provide special offers to D23 Members. This is a similar discount to that already offered to Disneyland Resort annual passholders.
  • In addition, Mandara Spa offers D23 members 10% off of all services at Mandara Spa locations in the U.S., Mexico, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, including the Grand Californian Resort & Spa at Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin in Florida.
  • ESPN Zone locations throughout the U.S. are offering D23 members a burger, non-alcoholic drink and $15 game card for only $20. If you’re a gamer, getting a $5 burger and drink is certainly a good deal.
  • D23 members will also receive a $5 discount on admission to The Hollywood Show from April 23-25 in Burbank, Calif. which is scheduled to feature appearances by members of the original “Mickey Mouse Club,” and special pricing on tickets to the “Evening of Disney Rarities” at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

  • Throughout April 2010, D23 members can receive 10% off purchases at select Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group locations in New Orleans (up to six people, excluding alcohol).
  • Finally, eFX Inc. brings D23 members-only pricing on their Disney collectibles, though specific pricing details are not yet announced including $100 off their highly-detailed Nautilus model (regular price: $1,799), $75 off their Evil Queen’s Heart Box from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (regular price: $799), and $50 their 18-inch Rizzo the Rat Photo Puppet (regular price: $329). So if you’re interested in purchasing any of these items, it would be worth it to join D23 as a Silver-level member just to get the discount.
  • Two D23 membership levels are available, Gold-level at $74.99 a year and Silver-level memberships at $34.99 a year. All discounts and special promotions are available to both Gold- and Silver-level D23 Members, so the only difference between them remains that Gold-level members receive the quarterly Disney twenty-three magazine, which retails for $15.95 per issue. (Gold-level members also receive special surprise gifts with the magazines in the mail.)

    Given that most of the above-listed discounts are 10% off food, merchandise, and experiences, a D23 member would need to purchase $350 worth of those items in a year to “pay for” a Silver-level D23 membership (for the math challenged: 10% of $350 is $35, which is roughly the cost of a Silver-level membership).

    D23 membership has never made sense to me. Very few events take place at Walt Disney World here in Orlando and those that were here have either been too expensive (a premium on top of joining D23) or not interesting enough for me to join. Only the Mandara Spa and ESPN Zone discounts listed above apply to Walt Disney World and I am not a frequent visitor of either of those locations.

    These announced discounts leave me wondering why D23 members can’t also receive 10% off the same or similar restaurants and shops at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World? Once again, those who travel to Florida’s Disney parks more often than California will see little value in joining D23.

    But for those who frequent the Disneyland Resort and, for some reason, don’t have an annual pass which already grants them many of the listed discounts and more, perhaps this will be a new reason to join D23.

    And don’t get me wrong. I think last year’s D23 Expo was fantastic (for both members and non-members) and this year’s announced “Destination D” members-only event sounds like a ton of fun. But I won’t be joining D23 until/unless more exclusive events and discounts come to my coast.

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