D23 announces free memberships and ‘reimagined’ web site with exclusive Disney content from films, TV, and theme parks

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies, Television, Theme Parks

For the first time, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will soon offer a free membership level allowing Disney fans worldwide to gain access to exclusive benefits at no cost.

Today D23 announces plans to completely revamp its web site with new and interesting fan-oriented content in mind. The new site will launch on June 17, 2013 at D23.com, providing access to newly digitized content from deep within The Walt Disney Company’s vault of material, past and present, along with exclusive glimpses of the future.

Only D23 members will have access to the new content, but that access won’t cost a penny.

The new D23 Free Membership will include:

  • Members-Only Website Content: Access to all exclusive content on D23.com.
  • Exclusive Merchandise: D23 offers its members access to exclusive, limited-edition merchandise and collectibles.
  • Subscription to Weekly D23 FanFare E-newsletter with breaking news and special offers. (You may opt out of receiving FanFare after your first e-newsletter arrives.)
  • Discounted tickets to the D23 Expo 2013: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event
  • “We’re creating a unique destination that celebrates, in all respects, the essence of Disney,” said Steven Clark, head of D23. “We believe the new site will offer one of the most engaging Disney experiences yet—with even more to come in the future. We look forward to debuting the new D23.com to our current members as well as to new ones from around the world.”

    D23.com will continue to offer the latest Disney news free to all guests who visit the site. But D23 Members can unlock even more magic in each section by logging in and accessing content whenever a golden key is shown.

    The other D23 membership levels, Silver and Gold, will co-exist with the new free membership option, keeping the same prices and perks. A Gold membership, including a subscription to the now Gold-exclusive “Disney twenty-three” magazine, costs $74.99 and a Silver membership costs $34.99. The paid membership levels add value over the free one, including a membership card, annual gift, and access to D23 special members-only events.

    Among content said to be featured on the new D23.com will be exclusive celebrity interviews, vintage film clips, rarely seen artwork and photography, treasures from the Walt Disney Archives, behind-the-scenes previews of new movies and theme park attractions, and more.

    New departments and sections are planned for the site:

  • Ask a Legend, a video feature in which Disney Legends like Marty Sklar answer fans questions;
  • Attraction Rewind, celebrating the beloved attractions of Disney’s past which once delighted theme park guests;
  • Weird Disney, looking at some of the more unusual and outrageous pieces of Disney’s past;
  • Muppetology, which opens up the Muppet-acular universe of our fuzzy friends;
  • The Quotable Walt Disney, a digitized version of the out-of-print book featuring some of Walt’s most enduring words;
  • First Look, which gives members a glimpse into what’s new and what’s next including Monsters University;
  • Characters, profiling the most beloved characters from television, film and comics with concept art and complete biographies.
  • When the new site launches on June 17, highlights will include:

  • 23 Questions with Once Upon A Time star Ginnifer Goodwin and Phineas and Ferb’s “evil mastermind” Dr. Heinz Doofenschmirtz.
  • D’scovered: Treasures unearthed by the Walt Disney Archives, including rare imagery from the proposed Mickey Mouse Park, a concept which evolved into Disneyland; alternative dialogue for The Haunted Mansion penned by Disney Legend X. Atencio; the illustrated story script for “The Karnival Kid,” the 1929 short in which Mickey Mouse first speaks; and a special memento created for Walt by legendary artist Salvador Dali.
  • Disney A to Z – A complete and newly-updated electronic version of the definitive Disney encyclopedia with more than 7,000 entries written by Dave Smith, founder and Chief Archivist Emeritus of the Walt Disney Archives
  • D23 Presents – A deeper dive into all parts of Disney from the opening of Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland to rarely seen footage of the former Disney Studio on Hyperion Avenue.
  • Disney Legends and the Walt Disney Archives – Two new microsites; Disney Legends will provide a deeper look at those who’ve made significant contributions to the Disney legacy, and the Archives site will open up the doors of this institution so D23 can share more of The Walt Disney Company’s expansive collections.
  • D23 is also promising further surprises for the site down the line.

    27 Comments

    1. Chaz

      Sweet! Can’t wait!

    2. Justin

      As a charter gold member I really wanted them to create a site where you had to be a member to see it, out in a password and all. I love D23 but sometimes I feel there isn’t enough for me to hold onto my gold membership.

    3. Jorn

      Great news, but the only reason for me to join D23 would be the amazing D23 twenty-three magazine. However international shipping on a Gold Membership is around $61 – almost equal to the price of the membership itself!

      If they’d lower the shipping costs (why can U.S. residents get free shipping) or make the magazine available online/ipad at no additional shipping costs I would more than happily join…but now I find it strange I have to almost pay double just to receive 4 magazines a year…

    4. JudyD

      I am not sure why I am a “paying” member now. The only “perk” I had was discount for D23, everything else I have tried to get to has sold out so fast that I was unable to get it. Won’t this make this very crowded (but so much fun) event packed to the walls??
      My other problem has been my membership has been a gift twice and because someone else bought it, although under my name and contact information, they could never find me or recognize me as a member unless I would call each time and that once again would make it too late to get access to any of the exclusive events that sell out in minutes…sigh

    5. LeonardP

      I am concerned about this change. As a Charter Gold member I have come to appreciate the events put on by D23. If everyone can sign up to be a member, “member only” events are basically public events. It is difficult now to register for some of these events and current demand often crashes the D23 servers. Adding an unlimited number of free “members” will certainly make this worse. This may be a Hail Mary to keep D23 alive but it may well be the straw that broke the camel’s back and hasten the demise of D23.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        Free members will not have access to D23 events, except for the D23 Expo, which has always been open to non-members. Only Gold and Silver members (and their guests) will have a chance to attend member-exclusive events.

        The free membership only allows access to the benefits listed above: The new web site, launching in June, the e-newsletter, merchandise, and discounts for the D23 Expo.

    6. Stephen

      Like others, I too purchased a D23 Gold Membership (sure, for the magazine) but for the discounted D23 Expo tickets… now if *everybody* can get the discount, what’s the point? Kind of makes it a rip-off to those who paid for memberships to utilize what is now becoming free for all.

    7. Edward

      D23 was a good idea completely bungled in execution. It never made sense to anyone except the few people who ran it, who tinkered with “levels” and struggled to find a way to make it relevant to Disney fans. They won’t cooperate or “play nice” with any other Disney businesses, which at a highly political company like Disney means no one will help make your program super attractive to consumers. This “free to everyone” concept sounds more like the last gasp for life for D23, like a fire sale on D23 membership rather than a true attempt to delineate “super fans” from “regular fans.”

      I don’t think D23 is worth $75, I don’t think it’s worth $39, and I have some rather large doubts, based on what I’m reading, that it would be worth $0. The truly insider knowledge is already out there on sites like this one, Stitch Kingdom, MiceAge, MousePlanet. They don’t worry about how Disney is perceived, they are just there to serve the fans. D23 is ONLY concerned with toeing the company line, so it comes across as fake, boring and meaningless. I think I’ll just stick with reading my Disney fan sites on a daily basis … since they will share the biggest news from D23 anyway!

      1. sambycat

        this

    8. disneyphilip

      Oy vey! The glass is always half-empty with so many of you!

      To quote Flotsam & Jetsam in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, “It might be wise to stop before someone gets hurt”.

    9. John Malone

      I agree with most people on this one. I’m as big of a “super fan” as you can get, but I’ve never understood the point of paying 75 dollars to be a member of D23. Any breaking news will be public almost instantly, and everyone was eligible for the Expo as it is now.

      I’ve never seen the magazine, so maybe that’s the big draw, but what type of stuff is in there that we don’t already know from the internet?

    10. Marc Morini

      This is really not sitting too well with me. Seems like the $75 bucks I pay every year are not going as far as disney likes to think they do or at least markets them to. I really don’t see why free members should get a D23 Expo discount or even access to D23 items. Sure they can get a newsletter and all that but I feel really cheated right now……

      On a more positive note once again thanks Ricky for the info as always, I found it funny how I found out about this from you first rather than D23 itself. Keep up the good work dude! 🙂

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