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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      Josh Bunting

      I agree…I joined D23 because I love Disney, but basically all it got me was a magazine subscription and a poster. As far as any sense of community goes, Disney World visitors seem to definitely lose on that one. Most of the events seem to be at Disneyland as well as any discounts.

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        Jody Clarke

        It works for us, I bought my son a gold membership for his birthday last year and we’re from Canada. He loves the magazines and the small gifts and its convenient to have them mailed. Its closer for us to visit Disneyland but we’re not annual pass holders. The discounts work in our favor when we visit Disneyland Resort plus we have not been able to attend any special events so it makes us feel like we’re getting a little more out of the membership.

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      I really want to like D23, but there is nothing about it that really saves me money or gives me advanced inside details into WDW or Disney cruise line. I wish they would do something like the old Magic Kingdom Club again.

      Steve – Pixie Vacations

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      They need to create areas in the theme parks for members to meet up and see who else in in the park that day. A great way to meet people, like AAA used to have.


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        Ricky Brigante

        This is a great idea. I loved the old annual passholder lounges they had at Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Every time I visited, there were always a few other people in there. It’d be a great place to just hang out and chat for a while, taking a rest from walking around the parks.

        I would join if there were comfortable D23 lounges.

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      Josh Bunting wrote: “I joined D23 because I love Disney, but basically all it got me was a magazine subscription and a poster.”

      That’s odd, because I’ve gotten four copies of a magazine that I pick up almost constantly (there’s a lot in it), a calendar, a poster, a pin, a Tomorrowland patch, the Disneyland fan replica…and I honestly can’t remember the other gifts? Plus I actually did use my D23 discount the other day at Downtown Disney, and I saved $15 all told. (Trust me, it is NOT difficult to rack up hundreds at Downtown Disney!) And I am planning on using the D23 discount to buy the new Heart Box that EFX just announced. Now, I also went on one of the Archives tours, which was amazing and which I never would have gotten to do otherwise.

      But even taking that out of the equation, I figure it thusly: $15.95 for each magazine is $63.80. The calendar would probably be $10. The patch would be another $10 if they even sold them. The fan replica, if it were available at retail, is probably $5 or $10. And the $15 I saved at Downtown Disney, PLUS the $75 I’ll save on the Heart Box, that all adds up to $120 in SAVINGS. Add to that that I have never found D23 magazine at the local Barnes & Noble, so I’d have to order it online, which adds $5 shipping and handling, so that’s $20 savings a year, which brings me up to $140, so I’ve nearly doubled the cost of my membership.

      It’s a HUGE value to me. The Lounge sounds like a great idea, but how many people would use it? Can you imagine what the cost would be to Disney to manage a place like that? I’m all for it, though, if it were to happen. But there’s no literal price tag on the value of that.

      Oh, yeah, and since I’ll probably go to Disneyland again this year, and now might check out the spa, too, I’d save another $30 or $40, so that’s nearly $200 in savings for the D23 membership, which makes it a big bargain to me. WAY better than the cost of an annual pass, which for two visits a year I just can’t justify.

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        Josh Bunting

        All those gifts must have come in the first part of the year. I joined D23 about halfway through the charter year and got two magazines and a poster. We’re not saying D23 is not a great value to those in CA. The discounts/tours you mentioned are all for the west coast only. For those of us who visit Disney World, we get no discounts in Downtown Disney, there’s no Archive tours, spa discounts etc. Not to mention that the D23 Expo is held in CA. It’s great if you are in CA, but for Disney World fans there’s just not much there….

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          Josh Bunting

          …also, the D23 magazine is available in my local Barnes & Noble, here in eastern VA so I may just drop my membership when it expires and buy the magazine in the store.

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      Actually, correction — you DO get the spa discount, plus the ESPN Zone discount. You also get the Scrapblog material and the eFX discount. (If you happen to live in New Orleans, you also get a Ralph Brennan’s discount.) If you want to go out and buy the magazine “sans” gifts and pay $15.95 plus tax for each, go for it. Or, you could just get it delivered to your house, pristinely packaged, with a special gift. And if you drop your charter membership and go to D23 Expo in 2011, you won’t be able to take part in the Charter Member lounge.

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