June 22, 2024

D23 Disney Fan Club Membership Review & Info

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D23 is the official Disney Fan Club that offers paid Gold and free memberships. Perks include discounts at Walt Disney World & Disneyland, access to special events including D23 Expo tickets, an annual gift, and

D23 is the official Disney Fan Club that offers paid Gold and free memberships. Perks include discounts at Walt Disney World & Disneyland, access to special events including D23 Expo tickets, an annual gift, and more. (Updated February 16, 2024.)

Before getting started, we wanted to highlight the D23 Gold Member gift for 2024. Celebrating the stories that foster classic Disney magic and paying tribute to magician kits of yesteryear, the D23 Magic & Mystery Box Collector Set includes a Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Mouse collectible figurine, a mystery companion collectible figurine, a deck of playing cards, and a mystery pair of pins, as well as a Membership Card and Certificate. The 2024 Gold Member Collector Set will begin shipping in Spring 2024.

That’s not all D23 membership offers in 2024. For one thing, this is the 15th Anniversary of the official Disney Fan Club, so there will be celebratory events throughout the year. The bigger thing, though, is the 2024 D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. This happens every other year, but is a bit different this time around. See our Ultimate Guide to the 2024 D23 Expo for everything you need to know! Beyond that, here’s what you can look forward to as a member of the D23 Fan Club this year…

D23 15th ANNIVERSARY EVENT: On March 10, 2024, D23 is commemorating 15 years of fandom, fun, and favorite memories with a special Gold Member-exclusive event at The Most Magical Place on Earth: Walt Disney World Resort! The event will include exclusive access to Splitsville Luxury Lanes, where guests can enjoy entertainment and games, festive food, photo spots, and specialty merchandise.

D23 DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS: To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the beloved Walt Disney Animation Studios film The Princess and the Frog (2009), D23 is inviting members to re-experience the story with a Big Easy theatrical screening of the beloved film and a D23 “Dreams Do Come True” Grand Finale event at The New Orleans Jazz Museum featuring an exclusive reception, themed photo opportunities, live jazz performances, and a commemorative gift.

THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS OFFICIAL TOUR – PRESENTED BY D23: D23 welcomes guests to The Walt Disney Studios Lot, giving members the opportunity to visit the world-famous studio in Burbank, California. These tours offer fans a unique perspective on historic moments from Disney films, television series, and theme parks—along with the chance to look inside the Walt Disney Archives and draw inspiration from Walt Disney’s office suite.

2024 D23 EXPO: Join D23 and the entire Disney family in Anaheim, California, for a one-of-a-kind fan experience that will bring together the best of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and more! Tickets for the event will go on sale beginning March 26, 2024. Highlights of the event include:

  • August 4, 2024: D23 Day at Angel Stadium
  • August 8, 2024: D23 kickoff celebration at Disneyland Resort
  • August 9 to August 11, 2024: Enjoy exclusive shopping, exhibits, panels, and presentations at the Anaheim Convention Center, along with marquee shows every evening at the Honda Center

SIGNATURE EVENTS: Throughout the year, D23 Members can look forward to exclusive events such as previews of upcoming traveling exhibitions around the world from the Walt Disney Archives. Members will get the opportunity to enjoy advance and opening night screenings of the latest Disney movies at locations across the country.

Employee-exclusive merchandise stores, including The Walt Disney Company Store and Walt Disney Imagineering’s Mickey’s of Glendale, will open their doors to members for both online and in-person opportunities. Also, look out for the return of holiday magic at The Walt Disney Studios Lot. In November, fans will get the opportunity to enjoy a D23 experience like no other with a multi-day event coming to São Paulo, Brazil.

D23 MEMBER APPRECIATION MONTH: Throughout March 2024, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will be celebrating its 15th anniversary as part of Member Appreciation Month. D23 will share exclusive offers, fun downloads to showcase the beloved fandoms of The Walt Disney Company, and a truly magical sweepstakes. D23 Gold Members will be able to flaunt their fandom with brand-new exclusive merchandise that features some fan-favorite characters.

Finally, the normal benefits of D23 membership that are not unique to 2024 and the 15th Anniversary celebration…

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Disney “Twenty-Three” Quarterly Publication: Gold Membership includes a one-year subscription (four issues) to D23’s collectible magazine. When I say collectible, I really mean it. Twenty-Three is printed on nice and thick paper, and has a great glossy look. Slightly oversized, it is the perfect “Coffee Table” magazine.

If you’re a fan of all things Disney, and not just the theme parks, this is a pretty compelling justification to get the Gold Membership. In addition to the quality of the magazine itself, the D23 magazines frequently include little gifts with each issue that are also pretty nice (although way too many are patches).

Membership Card and Certificate: Your membership card, which you will need for events, and a certificate that could only appeal to children. Disney describes it as “suitable-for-framing.” I can’t imagine anyone on earth actually framing this thing.

Surprise Collectible Gift: This is something different every year. Once, it was a member watch. Another year there was a calendar. This year, it was a collectible pin set. This is something different every year, and it’s usually a thoughtful and interesting choice. Whether it’s something you’ll actually want is another story entirely, but the point is that Disney does put some effort into the Gold Member gift.

Exclusive Special Events and Merchandise: If you live in California or Florida, or make regular trips to either coast, this is a big draw. When D23 first debuted, many Walt Disney World regulars complain that “all of the events are in California.” That is no longer the case.

While many events are in California (including the D23 Expo), this is fair given that Disney’s corporate headquarters are in California, as are most divisions of Disney and Disneyland. Moreover, celebrities that attend these events are primarily located in Los Angeles, and convincing them to do a conference in Florida would probably be a tough sell.

In any case, D23 has responded to these complaints with various ‘on the road’ offerings located in major cities throughout the United States. In addition to that, there are now a handful of major events that take place in Florida at Walt Disney World, including the popular Destination D23 event. We’ve done this many times, and absolutely love it.

There is no way to purchase tickets to most events without being a paid member (most events sell out before being available for the Free Members), so if you want to attend any of them, you’re basically forced into buying the Gold Membership. Additionally, in years when the D23 Expo is held, members receive a discount to the Expo.

The greatest of these perks, for most, is the Twenty-Three magazine. Some argue that all of the information available from D23 is available for free, online. This is undoubtedly true, but for me, “information” isn’t the only reason to buy something. There is something to be said for the tangible feel of a magazine. Sitting outdoors with a cold beer on a summer day, I don’t want to be squinting as I try to view the poorly illuminated text on an iPad or similar device. But that’s just me. I am a fan of printed publications. Your mileage may vary on that one.

The second perk, and if you can avail yourself of this one it’s likely the greatest, is the opportunity to purchase admission to the events. While I was not overly impressed with the first Magic & Merriment we attended, we had an absolute blast at the second Magic & Merriment, and even more fun at the D23 EPCOT Center 30th Anniversary events!

We also are huge fans of the D23 Expo, and have attended most of these. This event isn’t for everyone (lines can be long and it’s always a bit chaotic the first morning), but as huge Disney history geeks, we love the panels–especially the ones on the Walt Disney Archives stage, which tend to be less popular.

If you’re unable to plan your trips around these events or take weekend jaunts when they’re offered, you might be disappointed with the event schedule. However, if you can attend even an event or two per year, Membership quickly becomes worth the while for you. If you cannot or will not attend any events, I do not see a lot of intrinsic value in the membership, and I wouldn’t recommend becoming a member, unless you’re interested in the magazine.

With that said, the question is whether the magazine is worth your money. Like I stated above, if you’re a fan of the whole company, most likely yes. If you’re a fan of just the theme parks, it’s questionable. When presented with the question of whether I should become a Free or Gold Member, I opted for Gold after looking at the prices of used magazines on eBay. Most were selling in the $10 range, meaning the magazines roughly paid for themselves.

Most magazines also include a collectible gift of some sort that also have some value. So as long as you don’t mind dealing with eBay, the subscription is probably worth it as an upgrade from the free membership to Gold. From a pure value perspective, I would have a hard time justifying the cost of the subscription if I only wanted the magazine, but I am primarily a fan of the theme parks.

Ultimately, D23 membership benefits vary widely: a SoCal local AP holder may be able to attend 10 D23 events in one year and have membership be well worth the price whereas someone in Topeka, Kansas may never be able to attend an event, and may not care about the watch or magazine.

That being said, while it’s really a personal decision, it’s neither a “terrible” or “great” club. Right now it’s just sort of mediocre. What Disney does with it in the next few years will determine its ultimate fate. On the plus side, D23 is actually run by passionate Disney fans (we’ve met them at a few D23 events, and they really seem to care about Disney and the Club), but it doesn’t seem like they’re the ones making the high level decisions concerning the direction of the club.

Need Disney trip planning tips and comprehensive advice? Make sure to read Disney Parks Vacation Planning Guides, where you can find comprehensive guides to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and beyond! For Disney updates, discount information, a free download of our Money-Saving Tips for Walt Disney World eBook, and much more, sign up for our free monthly newsletter!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of D23? Is it worth the money, or have you let your subscription lapse? Have you attended any D23 events? Will you be signing up to take advantage of the Disney+ discount? Any questions? We love hearing from readers, so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments below!

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