D23 Membership – What is it and is it Worth It?

If you’re a Disney fanatic the D23 membership was created just for you. The name stands for “Disney” and “1923”, the year Walt Disney founded Disneyland. This official ‘fan club’ brings Disney fans as close to the magic as possible without being at the parks.

The D23 membership is an official fan club, meaning it wasn’t started by a third party – it’s run by Disney. Even though it’s run by Disney, many people who call themselves fanatics aren’t aware of it.

So what is it and is a D23 membership worth it? Check out my review below.

What is a D23 Membership?

D23 brings the magic to life from its animated movies to the Disney Parks with events, experiences, merchandise, and exclusive written and online content only for D23 members. D23 members get access to insider information that they can’t get anywhere else. 

How Does it Work?

Disney fans can join D23 in a couple of ways – there is the free membership called the ‘general membership’ which isn’t much to get excited about, but if you don’t want to fork out the cash for a Gold membership, it’s better than nothing.

General members get access to the weekly FanFare e-newsletter and have access to some D23 exclusive events (not all).

If you want to get the true benefits of the D23 membership, you can become a Gold member. There is an individual membership or dual membership ($99.99/year or $129.99/year). If you’re married or have someone who loves Disney as much as you, it makes sense to get the duo membership and save money.

Here’s what you get  as a Gold member:

  • Personalized member card (one for individual and two for duo)

The membership card is needed for any events you plan to attend and is souvenir-worthy.

  • Personalized certificate (one for individual and two for duo)

Disney claims the certificate is frame-worthy, but most people don’t – it’s not as attractive as they make it sound, but it’s still a neat souvenir.

  • Access to in-person and virtual events (one for individual and two for duo)

This is perhaps the largest draw to the membership. Many of the events are in California and Florida, where the Disney parks are located, so if you live in either state or visit them often, the membership could be worth it.

Through the years, Disney has also planned on-the-road events to appeal to members all over the country, not just in California and Florida. 

If you’re looking for star-studded events, you’ll find most of them at Disneyland in California, but the Destination D event in Orlando is also popular. 

Access to these events is exclusively for D23 members and most tickets sell out before general members have access to them.

  • Ability to bring guests to certain events

The events you can bring guests to vary, but it’s a nice perk if you have a friend or family member that wants to see what the excitement is all about.

  • Access to exclusive shopping events and merchandise – D23 members often get early access to shopping events or new releases. Members also get special discounts on merchandise and experiences. 
  • One 2021 D23 Gold Member Set

The D23 Gold Member Set changes each year and is always highly anticipated by Disney fans. It always includes a handful of souvenirs and treats you can’t get your hands on any other way.

  • One annual subscription to Disney Twenty Three (released four times a year)

The Disney Twenty Three magazine isn’t your run-of-the-mill magazine. It’s a collector’s magazine that most members keep as a souvenir. It’s great for displaying as it’s made from thicker paper and is a bit oversized with glossy pictures. Some magazines also come with small gifts. 

  • Surprise collectible gift – Each year Disney also includes a ‘surprise’ gift. You never know what it will be, but in the past, it’s been a pin set, a watch, and a calendar. The gift could be hit or miss and isn’t a reason to join D23, but it is a nice perk. 

What is the 2021 D23 Gold Member Set?

Each year, members receive a D23 Gold Member Set and the 2021 set has Disney fans raving. Here’s what it includes:

  • Vintage lunchbox 
  • 5 custom-designed retro pins
  • D23 pennant
  • Vinyl record with park music
  • Commemorative Disney newspaper

Each year the gift changes to give members even more reasons to join. 

How do you Sign up for a D23 Membership?

To join D23, you must choose between general or Gold membership. If you want the free general membership, you just need a Disney account to sign up. If you’ll pay for a Gold plan, choose between the Individual or Duo plan and sign up with your Disney Account or create one when you sign up.

Your membership is good for the year and you must renew annually if you want to remain a D23 member. 

You must be at least 18 years old to purchase or receive a D23 membership. If you purchase the duo membership, you must choose a primary member and affiliate. The primary member makes the payments and receives the annual gift and quarterly magazines. The primary member is responsible for choosing the affiliate member and ensuring they register their account.

Pros and Cons

Like any paid membership, there are pros and cons to the D23 membership.

Pros

  • Access to exclusive gifts
  • Access to exclusive events 
  • Early access to shopping events and merchandise
  • Access to the Disney Twenty Three publication four times a year
  • The distinction of being a D23 member

Cons

  • To get the full benefits, you must be a paid member which costs $99.99 or $129.99/year
  • Many events are location-specific, and mostly in California and Florida
  • There’s no longer a family plan, but many events allow each member to bring a guest

D23 Membership FAQ – What Else Should you Know?

When did the D23 membership start?

D23 isn’t a new club, it’s been in existence since March 2009, bringing Disney fans all over the world the magic right to their doorstep.

What discounts do you get with a D23 membership?

The D23 discounts vary each year and even throughout the year, but some examples include:

– Free shipping on ShopDisney.com
– 10% off at Alex and Ani Disney Springs
– 15% off at Basin Disney Springs
– 15% off rooms at Howard Johnson Anaheim
– 20% off Wyndham Lake Buena Vista

How do I cancel my D23 membership?

While you can’t get a refund or partial refund of an existing membership, you can cancel auto-renewal so you don’t renew your membership the following year with these steps:

– Log into your D23 account
– Select My Account
– Choose ‘Modify/Cancel’
– Follow the prompts to cancel your account

How much does it cost to have the D23 membership?

You can join D23 for free, but you won’t get the same amount of benefits. If you want access to all the events, shopping exclusive opportunities, and gifts, you must pay for the membership which is $99.99 for one person or $129.99 per year for two people. If you choose the duo membership, you can choose who your affiliate is, giving the other membership card to anyone you choose, which is a nice way to split the membership and save on the cost.

What happened to the D23 Gold Family membership?

The D23 Gold Family Membership expired on January 1, 2021. Anyone who still has a family membership will be able to continue using it, but they will not be able to renew it once the current membership expires. Instead, families can choose the duo membership and have access for two people. Since most events allow members to bring a guest, it serves the same purpose as the family membership plan without the name.

Final Thoughts – Is a D23 Membership Worth It?

The D23 membership isn’t cheap and you don’t get a ton for it, so if you aren’t a Disney fanatic, it’s probably not worth it.

But, if you love all things Disney, love their collectibles and pins, and will read and/or display the quarterly magazines it can be worth it. If you live in Florida or California and go to the parks a lot and can take advantage of the in-person events, it pays for itself.

If you don’t live in either state, though, or don’t go to live events yet, you may not get much out of the paid membership but can enjoy the free membership and its perks.

Kim Pinnelli is a personal finance freelance writer and koopy.com contributor. She lives in the Chicago suburbs, writing from home for the last 13 years. Kim enjoys helping people understand personal finances and writes on topics about saving money, investing, planning for retirement, and ways to increase income. In her free time, Kim enjoys hanging out with her 3 children, reading, crocheting, and spending time outdoors.

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