It's very interesting to see the reactions of the readers/members. On one hand, there's the camp that says, "Boo! Disney is charging us for all this stuff and that's not right."
On the other hand, there are the folks happy with the event lineup and looking at this as a sign that D23 is building and growing and adding fun things.
I'm more on the side of the latter -- Rome wasn't built in a day, and you can't expect D23, even with the marketing muscle of Disney, to be perfect out the gate. Nothing is, and in the case of D23, I've seen nothing but improvement.
For those who think $50 is unreasonable for the studio tour fee, consider that Disney has NEVER EVER had studio tours. Paramount does, Sony does, Warner Bros. does, Universal does, and guess what? Every single one of those is non-exclusive, open to the public and COSTS a lot of money. Disney is limiting its tours to D23 members, so access is tremendously limited, and it's charging an amount very much in line with the "going rate."
Events cost a huge amount of money. Having worked at many entertainment companies (including studios) over the years, it's not unusual for a big, private event like a Disneyland party to cost well over a quarter of a million dollars. Those costs HAVE to be offset; it's simply a reality of life. A $79 or $39 membership fee for D23 doesn't do that. Even if there were 100,000 D23 members, you have to factor in the costs of the staff, the costs of the magazine (production, mailing, etc.), the costs of the events, the cost of travel TO those events for staff running them, etc. It may seem like Disney's making a killing on D23, but they're probably just BARELY turning a profit. Adding an event in, say, Kansas City or Atlanta just isn't feasible if only 50 people go to it. (Think about airfare, rental cars, room costs, meals, etc., in addition to the cost of the events.)
These are not events that 1,000,000 annual passholders can get into. They're events created for YOU. It's time to stop complaining. You want $500 worth of value for $79, and instead you're getting $120 worth of value for $79.
With many fans, D23 just can't win. But I'm supporting it all the way!