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D23 unveils its Summer 2009 Special Events calendar, with Disney-related fun being offered all around the country in the coming months

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D23 unveils its Summer 2009 Special Events calendar, with Disney-related fun being offered all around the country in the coming months

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“I pay 75 bucks and all I get is four magazines, a litho and a membership card? It’s just not worth it.”

Ever since D23 was officially unveiled back in March, there have been those who have continually carped about this new Walt Disney Company initiative. Insisting that – given what it cost to become a Charter Member and what you got in return – joining “The Official Community for Disney Fans” just didn’t seem worth the expense.

One Man's Dream marquee Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Denise Preskitt

Well, those attitudes may be changing as of today. Coming on the heels of D23 arranging for discounted admission & reserved seating at the Newport Beach Film Festival (where Charter Members enjoyed special screenings of “The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story” and “An Evening of Disney Animation Rarities”) as well as becoming the defacto sponsor of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ “One Man’s Dream” exhibit last month, “The Official Community for Disney Fans” has just unveiled its Special Events calendar for the Summer of 2009. And when you look over this list of events – which feature once-in-a-lifetime type access to all sorts of Disney-related venues – suddenly $75 doesn’t seem like such a high price to pay anymore.

“What sort of access are we talking about here?,” you ask. Well, how about the chance to tour the actual Disney lot in Burbank, California? Where this two hour-long experience would include a visit to the famed Disney Archives?

Walt Disney Family Museum Logo
Copyright Walt Disney Family Museum. All Rights Reserved

Or – better yet – what if you could be one of the very first folks to visit The Walt Disney Family Museum? With the Museum’s Executive Director – Richard Benefield – personally hosting this special preview of this impressive new addition to the Presidio?

Have you ever dreamed of going backstage at a Broadway musical? Well, D23 can make that dream come true at one of three separate events this summer. In both New York & Chicago, Charter Members will be able to attend a Supercalifragilisticexpliadocious performances of “Mary Poppins.” Which will feature premium seats, merchandise discounts as well as the opportunity to stay on after the curtain has closed and then get a special “behind-the-scenes” experience at both of these theaters. And D23 members who live around Las Vegas will have the chance to have a similar experience at that just-opened production of “The Lion King” at the Mandalay Bay Resort.

New Amsterdam Theater New York City
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

There’ll be exclusive screenings of brand-new releases (like that free showing of “Up” which will be held at Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre on May 28th) as well as rarely seen Disney treasures (like “Disneyland U.S.A.,” that 1956 featurette which will be screened at the Team Disney Anaheim Building on July 17th in honor of Disneyland’s 54th birthday). Not to mention other fun events at the Parks like a D23-exclusive Flowers & Fireworks Celebration at Epcot on May 31st. Which starts off with reserved seating to that night’s Flower Power Concert (which features a performance by Tony Orlando) and then concludes with coffee and dessert while watching “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth” from a private viewing area.

And did I neglect to mention the Charter Members-Only contest, which will send one lucky D23 member and a friend to Las Vegas? So that they can then enjoy an incredible 2-night getaway in Las Vegas and catch a performance of “The Lion King” at the Mandalay Bay Resort?

Lion King Las Vegas
Photo by Joan Marcus. Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

You have to admit that this is a pretty impressive array of events. Which “The Official Community for Disney Fans” went out of its way to create because … Well, I’ll let Steven Clark, Head of D23, explain:

“D23 Members are Disney’s biggest fans, and they’re always looking for distinctive, memorable ways to celebrate the things they love most about Disney. For (this) inaugural season of events and contests, we’ve created an experientially and geographically diverse calendar that we know our Members will enjoy and remember fondly for years.”

Photo by Denise Preskitt

Now please keep in mind that these D23-exclusive experiences are subject to change without notice. More to the point, that they may have varying admission costs & registration processes. And that – due to space limitations – these “Official Community for Disney Fans” events will most likely require advance reservations.

But as you look over this list (And please keep in mind that this is just D23’s Summer 2009 Special Events calendar that we’re talking about here. And that there is lots more stuff in the works for Fall & Winter months), you honestly have to ask yourself: Does $75 still seem like too high price to pay for this sort of premium access?

D23 Welcomes You
Photo by Denise Preskitt

For further information on the “Official Community for Disney Fans” Summer 2009 Special Events Calendar, including admission prices and how to register for these events, please visit www.disney.com/D23 and click on the “Expo & Events” tab. 

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  • Wow that's really great for all the members who live in Southern California, New York City and Orlando...  Yup...  Sounds really great...  For them.

    Still love the magazine though.

  • Again I say, if you want to sign up, be my guest, I wish you nothing but the best.

    This year would be the year to enjoy this sort of thing. Some of us can remember the early years of annual passholder parties and events. Others can remember the early years of Disneyana Convention events. It doesn't get better with age.

    For those of you on the wrong side of the country, a word of encouragement. It is much less difficult than you might originally think to get an "archives tour", or admission onto the studio lot, or backstage at a Broadway theatre. You don't have to pay any money, but you do have to be nice to the right people.

  • Hey, curmudgeon, it's something. Maybe people could get in to some of the things and places if they happen to know the right people (and I've been lucky enough to get to do some really cool stuff thanks to groups or people I've known), but not everyone has the ability to meet and know the "right people". I like that Disney's offering more people the opportunity to experience this stuff.

    Tuckenie, I have to admit that the only thing I was disappointed in as far as the events announced was that the "Up" special screening was only being offered at the El Capitan. But you've got events announced for San Francisco, Chicago, and Las Vegas, too. Who knows what'll be offered next and where?

    At this point, I'm just happy that Disney's finally given an answer to the critics who've been complaining about D23 being nothing but a merchandising scheme. Hopefully, they can keep it up!    

  • "D23 - your opportunity to subsidize additional events for folks who live near Disney theme parks or theatre facilities!"  Is this what TDA thinks we want?

    I'll pass on D23 until it becomes an economic benefit to me personally.

  • It does sound like nice stuff to do if you leave near there. I would love to be a part of D23 as I am a huge Disney fan, but $75 is still too much for a magazine and "free" gift. They should lower the price of membership to get more people to join and still offer all these events as they are charging for most of them anyhow. More people would join that don't live near the parks or NY if the price was cheaper.

  • Yes, it's still too much to pay.  Not all of us are able to travel to where these events take place.

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