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Friday, March 13, 2009

D23 - is it worth it? Depends on your interests

It's been a few days since the big announcement about D23 - the Official Community for Disney Fans. Since the announcement came out, I, like countless other Disney fans, have pondered the merits of this new group. Membership in D23 comes with a big price tag: $75 each year.

Almost from the very moment Disney CEO Bob Iger made the D23 announcement, Disney fans asked themselves and others the million dollar question: "Is it worth it?"

The answer, I have come to believe, really depends on your interests in what D23 has to offer.

Membership in D23 includes the following:
  • Four high quality coffee-table style magazines (one every quarter). These are on sale at Barnes & Noble for $15.95 per issue (total of about $64 per year).
  • A surprise collectible gift (so far there's no word what this is)
  • Membership card and certificate suitable for framing. The certificate features many of Disney's most beloved characters drawn by Disney Master Artist David Pacheco.
  • Access to purchase exclusive merchandise (including shirts, pins, artwork and other items)
  • Subscription to the new D23 Fanfare e-newsletter distributed bi-weekly.
  • Discounted admission to the new D23 Expo, held (at least for the first four years) in Anaheim. This expo is a huge Disney-fest - the first Expo, this September, may offer the first screenings of Disney/Pixar's new film Up.
So now that we've listed what you get for $75 a year, it's time to pick this apart. If you are interested in the magazines, they're $16 a piece. At four a year, that ads up to $64 a year. While I don't know what the surprise collectible will be, I'll bet it's retail value probably is more than $11 (which is all that's left from that $75 after deducting the retail magazine price). The rest of the benefits are gravy. Don't forget the exclusive merchandise - the pins are very nice looking (for those of you into pins).

All this being said, D23 isn't for everybody - nor should it be. Those not interested in the magazines might not be as inclined to join D23 if all they really want is the option to purchase exclusive merchandise given that D23 members don't get any sort of discount... just access. Also, if you can't make it to the D23 Expos in California (like me), that might make D23 less attractive.

It was with all this in mind that I considered whether or not to join D23. In the end, I decided to give D23 a one-year trial, despite the fact that I won't be able to go to the D23 Expo (much as I wish I could).

Remember this, D23 is an OPTION. You are not forced to join D23 to get Disney news. There will still be all the same fan podcasts, message boards, Web sites and blogs (like the DisneyDaddy!) that will continue to provide Disney news and entertainment. So it all goes back to what I said in the beginning - what are your interests and does D23 meet those interests? If so, then you might want to give D23 a try, if not, then sit back and don't worry about it.

I'm sure we'll be hearing more and more about D23 and all it has to offer in the coming weeks. Remember anyone can go to the D23 Web site to read the news and other content - that's free to anyone.


April said...

Up comes out in theaters in May, so if they are going to do a screening event for members they are going to need to do it before it opens to make it worth it.

Chuck Lionberger said...

Well spotted April. My bust.

Chuck Lionberger said...

I double-checked and it's true. There will be a screening of UP with some of the creative forces on hand. This is a D23 member exclusive.

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